The Music Concourse is an oval-shaped, open-air plaza in the Museum District of Golden Gate Park.
The land was originally excavated in 1893 to create the Grand Court for the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition, but the Music Concourse wasn’t actually built until 1900 to accommodate audiences for concerts at the Spreckels Temple of Music, which was built the same year. The sunken center was intended to provide protection from summer winds, and terraces around the perimeter were designed to seat an anticipated capacity of 20,000 people.
The concourse features several fountains, including the central Rideout Fountain, and statues of historical figures like Giuseppe Verdi, Ludwig von Beethoven, Ulysses S. Grant, and an impressive Roman gladiator. It also has a grove of London Plane trees and Wych elms, with some Maple trees and Walnut trees mixed in. Three historic pedestrian tunnels remain under roadways that provide access to the concourse.
Spreckels Temple Of Music
Sitting at the west end of the Music Concourse, Spreckels Temple of Music was dedicated in 1900 as a gift from Claus Spreckels, The Sugar King, who who donated $75,000 towards the almost $79,000 cost of the bandshell. Built in the Italian Renaissance style, it is an acoustically reflective coffered shell covered in Colusa Sandstone that stands 70 feet tall.
Spreckels Temple of Music, also commonly referred to as the bandshell or bandstand, was designed by Reid Brothers architects. The Temple features two relief sculptures, one holding a lyre and one holding a trumpet. They were created by Robert Aitken, a noted San Francisco sculptor who taught at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art, University of California, from 1901 though 1904, and was awarded some of the premier sculpture commissions including monuments to the Navy and to President McKinley in Golden Gate Park.
It was damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, and after a complete seismic reconstruction in 1994, it was rededicated.
The Golden Gate Park Band
The Spreckels Temple of Music is the focal point of the Music Concourse and home to the Golden Gate Park Band. The band has been playing free public concerts on Sundays in Golden Gate Park since September of 1882. They are one of the last big-city outdoor bands to present a full season of free concerts, from April to October, to locals and tourists from all over the world.
From classical music and opera, to swing tunes and Broadway hits, the Golden Gate Park Band plays a wide variety of music. Often artistic and ethnic groups from the San Francisco Bay Area are also featured.
Know Before You Go
- The Music Concourse and Spreckels Temple of Music is located on Music Concourse Drive and Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive at 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118.
- Paid parking is available at the 800-car Music Concourse Garage. There is also limited four-hour street parking on John F. Kennedy Drive and Martin Luther King Drive.
- The Music Concourse is surrounded by galleries and museums, including the de Young Museum, the California Academy of Sciences, the Japanese Tea Garden, and the Conservatory of Flowers.
- If the sun is out during your visit to Golden Gate Park, plan on having a picnic in the Music Concourse! Forgot to pack a picnic? No problem! Most of the time a few different food trucks park behind the Spreckels Temple of Music across from the Japanese Tea Garden.
- On Sundays from April to October, the Golden Gate Park Band performs free concerts in the Music Concourse at at 1:00 pm.