Are you planning a trip to Toronto? It’s a beautiful city to visit in any season, for its architecture and its many parks. While developing ourToronto Civic Center Tourist Scavenger Hunt and our Old Toronto Tourist Scavenger Hunt, we discovered many beautiful Toronto theatres that you should see.
We’ve limited our list to the downtown core and harbourfront areas, where our scavenger hunts are located.
9 Toronto Theatres
- Ed Mirvish Theatre
- The Ed Mirvish Theatre is an opulent 2 balcony theatre where you can see musicals and plays on tour.
- Who was Ed Mirvish (1914-2007)? He was a Toronto businessman, born in Virginia (USA). He moved to Toronto with his parents when he was 9 years old. He was a great philanthropist and theatrical impresario for the city of Toronto. He also managed Honest Ed’s, a large discount store, before Wal-Mart arrived in this city.
- Massey Hall
- It is a music concert hall. It opened in 1894 and was, with the Eaton Auditorium, the only 2 places to listen to a classical music concert in Toronto before 1982. That’s when the owners of Massey Hall opened Roy Thomson Hall south of King Street (next to the Royal Alexandra theatre we just mentioned.
- This theater is named after Hart Massey who wanted a theater where you could enjoy a large non-religious choir. He did not want concert hall only for the rich, or that would be very large to maximize profits. He wanted a modest size place to attract music lovers of all social classes.
- Several prominent artists have appeared here over the years, including Glenn Gould, Bob Dylan, Joe Satriani, Neil Young, Cream, the Dalai Lama and Winston Churchill.
- Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Center
- The Elgin and Winter Garden Theater is a 2-balcony theater that features musicals, movie premieres and concerts. The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) uses this place among its theaters every year.
- They are actually 2 theaters here, one above the other. This style of double theater is called the Edwardian style. It is the last such Edwardian theater to survive the world.
- The Elgin Theater is at street level while the Winter Garden Theater is 7 stories higher. Marcus Loew’s opened them in 1913 to present vaudeville shows, as well as silent films. In 1928, the Elgin was converted to accommodate sound for the new “talking” films. The Winter Garden closed for about 60 years.
- In 1969, Famous Players, a Canadian cinema chain, purchased the Elgin, and later sold it in 1981 to the Ontario Heritage Foundation. It introduced the musical Cats to Toronto here. After two years of complete renovations, the two theaters reopened in 1989.
- The interior design of the Winter Garden Theater gives the impression of being outdoors, in a forest. A 90-minute guided tour is available on Thursdays and Saturdays before performances.
- Sony Centre for the Performing Arts
- The Sony Center for the Performing Arts is the third name for this theater, the largest in Canada.
- It opened in 1960 as the O’Keefe Center. It changed its name in 1996 to the Hummingbird Center until 2007. Sony took over the rights in 2008 and undertook major renovations and reopened in 2010.
- The first play presented here was a “pre-Broadway” show titled Camelot starring Richard Burton, Julie Andrews, and Robert Goulet. Musicals, ballet productions, traditional theater, and popular bands are presented here.
- Lawrence Centre for the Arts
- Here is the St.Lawrence Center for the Arts. This theater opened in 1970 to commemorate Canada’s centennial (3 years late). There are 2 theaters in this center.
- Roy Thomson Hall
- Roy Thomson Hall is the home of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. This concert hall originated in 1982. Its name comes from the donor who completed the construction, Roy Thomson, 1st Baron Thomson of Fleet, and founder of the Canadian publishing empire Thomson Corporation.
- Royal Alexandra Theatre
- The Royal Alexandra Theater, built in 1907 in the Beaux-Arts style, “Royal Alex” as the Torontonians call it, is the oldest theater in continuous operation in North America. Its interior is opulent. It features traditional theater plays and musicals, many of them from Broadway. It can seat 1497 people.
- Princess of Wales Theatre
- The Princess of Wales Theater is just east of the Royal Alexandra Theatre. It is another large theater. This one can welcome 2000 people. Her name honors Princess Diana (Lady Di). In fact, she had given her consent to the use of her name. It opened in 1993.
- Factory theatre
- This theatre on Bathurst at Adelaide presents new Canadian plays in a historic mansion.
We invite you to try our Toronto Civic Center Tourist Scavenger Hunt or Old Toronto Tourist Scavenger Hunt. They are 2-3 hours each, self-guided walking tours that you do with your smartphone (how it works). You’ll come across most of these theatres and much more. Moreover, you’ll enjoy solving the various challenges at each step of the way while learning the history of Toronto.
They each cost $35 for a group of up to 6 persons. There is an Explorer version of the Old Toronto scavenger hunt available for $45 – it’s longer and has more challenges.
When you travel, do like to take in a play, some local theatre, maybe a Broadway show? Well, you’re headed to the theatre capital of the world! There are over 50 theatres in Midtown Manhattan!
In our research to develop a Tourist Scavenger Hunt in New York Midtown, we’ve come across much information, some of which can only be gleaned when doing the actual scavenger hunt.
However, we also wanted to share some of that information with you for your visit planning. Here are 14 theatres to see in New York Midtown.
14 Midtown Theatres you should see
- Winter Garden Theatre
- Built-in 1896 as a horse exchange, its converted into a theatre occurred in 1911. It is located on Broadway at W 51st It is the only Broadway theatre to have a runway extending from the stage into the audience. It was remodeled in 1922 and again in 1982.
- Lyceum Theatre.
- On W 45th east of Broadway, this 1903 theatre is the oldest operating theatre along with the New Amsterdam. It has a Beaux-Arts façade with 6 Corinthian columns.
- New Amsterdam Theatre
- Located on W 42nd at 7th Ave, this 1903 theatre is the oldest operating theatre along with the Lyceum Theatre. As with many other theatres, the New Amsterdam is rumored to be haunted. Its beaux-arts exterior leads into an art-nouveau interior. Art-nouveau features fruits, flowers, and vines.
- Disney now owns this theatre.
- Belasco Theatre
- Located on W 44th at Broadway, the Belasco Theater opened in 1907, commissioned by Broadway producer David Belasco. This theater’s mission is to put on living room plays where the audience is as close as possible to the actors.
- Helen Hayes Theatre
- This theatre opened as the Little Theatre in 1912 but changed its name in 1983. In 1983, the Hayes, Morsosco and Bijou theatres disappeared, making way for the Marriott Marquis hotel on W.44th
- Helen Hayes, known as the first lady of American Theatre, started her career at 5 years old and earning Tony, Oscar, Emmy and Grammy awards. This red brick building has a colonial style interior you’d expect to find in Boston and Philadelphia.
- This theatre also served as a TV studio in the ‘50s and ‘60s for Dick Clark, Merv Griffin, and David Frost.
- Shubert Theatre
- On W 44th west of 7th Ave, this theatre, designed along with the Booth Theatre as back-to-back theatres, opened in 1913. Both have Venetian-Renaissance façades.
- Booth Theatre
- On W 45th west of Broadway, this theatre, designed along with the Shubert Theatre as back-to-back theatres, opened in 1913. Both have Venetian-Renaissance façades. Its name honors the 19th-century actor Edwin Booth, brother of President Lincoln’s assassin John Wilkes Booth.
- Palace Theatre
- On Broadway between W 46th and W 47th
- This theatre opened in 1913 and was the most famous vaudeville theater in the United States. Every performer dreamed of playing at the palace. If you landed a gig at the Palace Theatre, you could say you finally “made it.”
- The ‘Who’s Who’ list of celebrities who have performed on the Palace stage, including Harry Houdini, Ethel Merman, Judy Garland, Jerry Lewis, Harry Belafonte, Bette Midler, Shirley MacLaine and Diana Ross.
- A DoubleTree hotel above it appeared in the 1980s. Most of the grand theatre hides behind the numerous billboards.
- Music Box Theatre
- On W 45th west of Broadway, built in 1921 specifically to house musical revues by Irving Berlin, in the neo-Georgian style. It resembles a large manor house with a colonnade.
- Al Hirschfeld Theatre
- This theatre built in 1924 by Martin Beck in a Byzantine style with Moorish arches along the façade. It is located on W. 45th
- Martin Beckis gave Harry Houdini his big break. Originally named for Beck, the renaming in 2003 honors the legendary New York Times caricaturist Al Hirschfeld.
- Richard Rodgers Theatre
- Originally named the 46th Street Theatre, it stands on W 46th St. It has hosted a large number of Tony-winning plays and musicals over the years. It was renamed in 1990 after the legendary composer.
- Radio City Music Hall
- This entertainment venue is part of the Rockefeller Center in Midtown Manhattan. It is nicknamed the Showplace of the Nation. Radio City Music Hall became a New York City Landmark in May 1978. Originally designed by Edward Durell Stone and Donald Deskey in the Art Deco style, it opened in August 1932.
- The Rockettes who put on a Christmas Spectacular here every year have been doing so since November 1932!
- Minskoff Theatre
- On W 45th west of Broadway. This theatre opened in 1973.
- Just outside the entrance to this theater hosting the Lion King, is the site of the failed Times Square bombing attempt. In 2010, 2 street vendors noticed smoke coming from an SUV filled with a crude propane bomb and called the police, who performed a controlled detonation of the bomb.
- The New Victory Theatre
- Located on W 42nd at 7th Ave, this theatre opened in 1900 and has changed names many times over the years: Theatre Republic (1900), Belasco Theatre (1902), Republic Theatre (1910), Minsky’s Burlesque (1931), and The Victory (1942).
- In 1990, both the New York City and the State of New York took possession of the Victory. It was renamed the New Victory Theatre in 1992.
- The New Victory Theatre is the first and only full-time performing arts theater for kids and families. Performances are appropriate for kids 1 1/2 years old and up to 12 years old.
- On W 48th west of Broadway
There are at least 40 other theatres to check out in Midtown, around Broadway.
Tourist Scavenger Hunts
We invite you to try our Tourist Scavenger Hunt in New York Midtown. It is a 2.5-hour guided walking tour throughout Midtown Manhattan from Grand Central Terminal to Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and everything in between. You do it on your mobile phone (how it works). It only costs $30 for your group (1 to 6 people). Moreover, you will enjoy seeing these theatres and much more while completing challenges and learning about Midtown’s history.
Are you planning a visit to Los Angeles? Considering visiting its downtown / civic center area? Do you like to check out the local art scene in the city’s theatres? In our research to develop a Tourist Scavenger Hunt in Downtown L.A., we came across a lot of information. Some we use exclusively in the actual scavenger hunt, but other we’d like to share with you.
As part of that research, we came across many theatres. You can see these theatres as you do the scavenger hunt. To enumerate, here are 11 theatres in Downtown L.A.
11 theatres in Downtown L.A.
- In the Los Angeles Music Center, and to the left of the Ahmanson Theatre is the Mark Taper Forum.
- Contemporary Tony-Award winning plays present take the stage here. It opened in 1967 and is named for a real estate developer/philanthropist.
- On the far right of the Los Angeles Music Center, on N.Grand Ave. is the Ahmanson Theatre.
- This is where Broadway musicals are put on. It is named for the second wife of Howard F. Ahmanson, Caroline Leonetti Ahmanson, who founded this theater through a significant donation. It opened in 1967.
- This theatre is a stylish venue showcasing underground & indie cinema, with stadium seating & craft beers on tap.
- It is located at 251 S Main St.
- This is a dazzling, French baroque-style movie palace from 1931, preserved & available for special events. It is located at 615 S Broadway.
- Also in the Los Angeles Music Center, and to the left of the Mark Taper Forum, is where the L.A.’s opera house.
- Opened in 1964 and named for Dorothy Buffum Chandler, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion houses the Los Angeles Philharmonic and opera companies.
- Another historical, multi-level 1,000-seat theater featuring concerts, movies & other events. It is located at 630 S Broadway.
- This building is an architectural marvel. It opened in 2003 and is home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra and the Los Angeles Master Chorale.
- A visit to the Walt Disney Concert Hall is free and very much worth your time.
- When the steel walls were initially installed, light reflecting off them heated up the nearby sidewalk to 140 degrees Fahrenheit! Since then, their surface has tarnished just enough to the panels to no longer affect the surrounding temperature.
- Located at 514 S Spring St, this performing arts center showcases theater, dance & music that celebrate cultural diversity.
- Built in 1918, this venue boasts an elaborate Spanish rococo arched facade & a massive auditorium.
- It is located next to the Grand Central Market, across S Broadway from the Bradbury Building.
- This old-school movie palace hosts music concerts & dance party nights in an elegant interior. You’ll find it at 740 S Broadway.
- Located in Japantown at 244 S San Pedro St, this is an 880-seat, medium-sized theatre with a custom designed Bose® RoomMatch® sound system and a warm, intimate ambiance. It opened in 1983.
We invite you to try our Downtown L.A. Tourist Scavenger Hunt. It is a 2-hour guided walking tour throughout the downtown core of Los Angeles you do on your mobile phone (how it works). It only costs $30 for your entire group. Moreover, you will enjoy seeing the sights and hidden gems you might have missed otherwise. All this while completing challenges and learning about Downtown L.A.’s history.
When you travel do like to take in a play, a concert or a film? Indeed, there are more than a few Hollywood theatres to see, visit and enjoy.
Whether you are planning a visit Hollywood, or if you live here but haven’t noticed these monuments to see in Hollywood, this list is for you. In our research to develop a Tourist Scavenger Hunt in Hollywood, we’ve come across much information, some of which can only be gleaned when doing the actual scavenger hunt.
However, we also wanted to share some of that information with you for your visit planning. Here are 10 Hollywood theatres not to miss.
10 Hollywood Theatres you should see
- TCL Chinese Theatre
- The world-famous Chinese Theatre, built by Sid Grauman in 1927, is a great place to catch the latest movie, ideally, in the main theatre. However, most people come here to see the hand and/or foot imprints of approximately 200 Hollywood stars.
- The Chinese Theatre served as the backdrop for many scenes in Blazing Saddles (1974) and Singing in the Rain (1952).
- You will find it located on Hollywood Blvd at Orange Dr. You can take a tour of the theatre or actually see a film here.
- Ron Hubbard Theatre
- Ron Hubbard (1911-1986) was a science fiction novelist and the founder of the Church of Scientology. This theatre, established in 1997, presents radio theatre as it was presented in the 1920s, with an audience. You can attend the presentation of a play read by several actors, who each may play several characters in the story.
- You will find the L. Ron Hubbard Theatre, on Hollywood Blvd at N.Sycamore Ave. Admittance is $15 for adults, $7.50 for youth and free for children.
- Dolby Theatre
- Originally named for a previous sponsor, Eastman Kodak (The Kodak Theatre), the name changed in 2012 to Dolby Theatre. This is one of Los Angeles’ most impressive live entertainment venues. ABC broadcasts the Academy Awards ceremony from his theatre every year. The Dolby Theatre hides at the end of an atrium, at the top of a set of stairs. The atrium served to present on many columns the best picture winner of every year the Oscars have been held.
- The Dolby Theatre nestles itself behind the TCL Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Blvd at Highland, although its huge entrance stands next to it.
- The Ricardo Montalban Theatre
- This is the embodiment of Ricardo Montalban’s (star of Fantasy Island, and Khan in Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan as well as the television episode prequel from the 1960s) dream to provide young people with a place to learn and practice performing arts.
- There is a full live-action theater as well as rooftop exterior film screenings.
- The Ricardo Montalban Theatre stands on Vine St below Hollywood Blvd.
- Pantages Theater
- Originally called the RKO Pantages Theater, this Art Deco live theater venue, opened in 1930. Nowadays, this Theater predominantly presents Broadway musicals since the 1970s. It also hosts a few movie premieres each year, such as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in 2016.
- You will see the Pantages Theater on Hollywood Blvd at Vine.
- Vine Cinema and Alehouse
- The Vine Cinema and Alehouse is the place to enjoy great films along with good food, beer or wine. This cinema, located on Hollywood Blvd just west of Vine, presents both new releases as well as the classics.
- The Egyptian Theatre
- This 1922 movie house built by Sid Grauman, the same man who later built the El Capitan and the Chinese Theatre. The American Cinematheque faithfully restored the Egyptian Theatre in 1998, including a large inner courtyard featuring columns and hieroglyphs. Today you can see here classic films on the big screen.
- The Egyptian is also on Hollywood Blvd near N.McCadden Pl.
- The Fonda Theatre
- This historic 1920 theatre, originally built as Carter De Haven’s Music Box, is today a live music venue hosting acts such as Katy Perry, Radiohead, Stevie Wonder and the Black Eyed Peas to name a few.
- You will find the Fonda Theatre located on Hollywood Blvd between El Centro Ave and N.Gower St.
- El Capitan Theatre
- The El Capitan is the 3rd cinema opened by Sid Grauman in the early 20th century. This Theater opened in 1926, one year before the Chinese Theater across the street. Walt Disney Studios now owns this theatre and uses it to showcase its recent productions.
- El Capitan sits on Hollywood Blvd across the street from the Dolby Theatre.
- The Hollywood Bowl
- You will find this world-renowned amphitheater on Highland a few blocks north of Hollywood Blvd and has a capacity of 17,500 spectators. Here you can enjoy a variety of live arts from jazz to rock, Broadway musicals to stand-up comics.
Side-note about the Hollywood Bowl
At the time of this article’s writing, Linkin Park & Friends Celebrate Life in Honor of Chester Bennington who took his own life while we were visiting L.A. in July 2017. We were having lunch at Disney’s California Adventure when we learned the news from friends on Facebook. Linkin Park is one of our favorite bands and we had tickets to see them 2 weeks later in Montreal, Canada. Needless to say, this Disney day wasn’t so magical the rest of the afternoon…
Tourist Scavenger Hunts
We invite you to try our Hollywood Tourist Scavenger Hunt. It is a 2-hour guided walking tour throughout the heart of Hollywood you do on your mobile phone (how it works). It only costs $30 for your group. Moreover, you will enjoy seeing these Hollywood theatres and much more while completing challenges and learning about Hollywood’s history.