The Best Tips for Seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in San Francisco

San Francisco Photo by Andrew Coelho on Unsplash

Are you wondering if it’s worth it to take your teens and tweens to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in San Francisco? Want to know if it’s appropriate for your tweens? Need help deciding on all the details? I’ve got lots of tips to make your trip to San Francisco to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child go smoothly!

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Is it worth it to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?

Absolutely. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is an amazing stage production! The special effects are fantastic, the sets, music, choreography…all of it is worth seeing in person. If you want more detail, please read my article: Should I Take My Tweens to See Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child San Francisco

Should we see both parts of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in one day?

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is an unusual stage production in that it is performed in two parts, and you need to purchase two tickets for each person in your party to see the two parts separately. Each part is quite long. Part 1 is 2 hours and 40 minutes and Part 2 is 2 hours and 35 minutes, and both include a 20-minute intermission. This makes attending the play both very long and very expensive.

There are several different choices for how to book tickets. Currently, in San Francisco you can purchase the tickets in the following configurations:

  • Wednesday 2:00 pm & Wednesday 7:30 pm (as of May 19, 2020, this will change to Tuesday 7:30 pm & Wednesday 7:30 pm)
  • Thursday 7:30 pm & Friday 7:30 pm
  • Saturday 2:00 pm & Saturday 7:30 pm
  • Sunday 1:00 pm & Sunday 6:30 pm

Our family saw both parts in one day. Since we live about 45 minutes from San Francisco and the traffic is consistently awful, I didn’t want to fight the traffic twice. So I chose to buy tickets for both shows in one day. That was a good experience because we had one very intensive Harry Potter day. There was time to leave the theater and go out to dinner in between. Our family had fun sitting together and talking about the first part of the play. However, it also made for an extremely long day.

Deciding whether to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts 1 & 2 in one day or two

When you are deciding what to do, there are several things to keep in mind:

  • You only want to do it all in one day if you are very into Harry Potter. Otherwise, I think it would feel pretty long and dragged out. You might prefer to have a longer break in between the two parts.
  • Do you live in San Francisco? Then I think spreading it over two days would be better.
  • If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area like we do, then you can either do it all in one day or choose to spend the night in the city to make it easier.
  • Live far away from San Francisco? Then make a trip of it and spend a night or two in the city – that would be fun! If you see the play over two days, you probably should spend two nights, otherwise you will be leaving the city very late since the show won’t be over until after 10 pm.

What do I need to know before visiting San Francisco?

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is playing in San Francisco at the Curran Theater. The Curran is a beautiful old theater built in 1922 that is located at 445 Geary Street between Taylor and Mason in San Francisco’s theater district.

If you aren’t local to San Francisco, I feel I should warn you that San Francisco is no longer a safe city. There has been an increase in crime over the past few years and the city has handled it poorly. Property crimes have skyrocketed, especially car break-ins. So, don’t leave ANY valuables in your car.

That said, San Francisco is still a vibrant city with a lot to offer. Just be aware of which neighborhood you are in and pay attention to your surroundings.

The theater district in San Francisco is unfortunately located close to the Tenderloin neighborhood, which has long been a less-safe destination. Keeping that in mind, you will want to head in the safer direction when you are choosing where to park, stay, and eat. Here is a map that shows the area.

The theater is also close to Union Square, which is one of the best shopping destinations in San Francisco. Union Square is a good area for finding hotels and restaurants, too. It’s also close to Chinatown. If you are staying for a few days, definitely visit Chinatown and have a nice meal!

Where should we park in San Francisco while we see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?

I recommend downloading the SpotHero app. You can use it to search the area near to the Curran theater and prepurchase a parking spot. Parking in San Francisco can be very hard to come by, and also very expensive. Spot Hero offers better deals than what you will find in person. Plus, you are reserving a spot ahead of time, which can really decrease your stress.

We reserved a parking space at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square at 222 Ellis Street. This turned out to be a great choice! It is only 0.2 miles from the Curran Theater, so it is a quick walk. It is a very nice hotel that has a restaurant and restrooms at the street level where you walk out after parking. This is so handy! There’s even a convenience store in the lobby, so as you leave the city after the show you can grab a drink or snack.

I highly recommend parking within just a few blocks of the Curran theater, and avoid going more than a block west of the theater. East or north of the theater is preferable.

Where should we eat in San Francisco if we are there to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?

There are lots of restaurants in the area, and making a reservation would be the best thing to do, as restaurants can get very busy in San Francisco.

There are several restaurants that offer deals to theater-goers! See the list here. I chose Bartlett Hall, since they were offering a 20% discount with a Harry Potter and the Cursed Child ticket. Bartlett Hall was a really good choice! It’s located at 242 O’Farrell Street, just a few minutes walk from the Curran. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was very pleasant.

Bartlett Hall, San Francisco

I made a reservation ahead of time using Opentable at 5:15. This was the perfect time between our 2 pm and 7:30 pm shows. We were expected to be back at the theater an hour ahead of time for security reasons, so keep that in mind when you make your plans. 5:00 would be good if you were going to just one evening show at 7:30 pm, and 4:00 (yes, that’s a weird time to eat) would work well if you are going to the Sunday shows at 1 pm and 6:30 pm.

Where should we stay in San Francisco if we are seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?

I like to use hotels.com to find hotels when our family travels. You can set filters in your search – if you want to be close to the Curran theater, use Union Square – and you can set other filters, too, such as family-friendly, free wifi, parking, and breakfast. If you use hotels.com regularly, you will start to accumulate free nights.

Hotels.com Destination Inspiration: Not sure where to go? You've come to the right place!

I already mentioned that the Union Square Hilton is a good choice for parking, and I think it would be a good choice for accommodations, too.

It’s also really handy that you can search using a map view. That is very helpful for making sure that your hotel is in an okay area. You can choose to stay in another area of the city, too, of course, so I have some pointers for that.

San Francisco neighborhoods

  • Stay in the city of San Francisco. Any other city that comes up in your search, such as Burlingame, Daly City, or even South San Francisco, is too far away from the tourist destinations. Traffic is always bad, and it can take quite a long time to get across town.
  • Union Square, The Embarcadero, North Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, Nob Hill, and the Financial District are all close to where the action is and will have interesting things to see within walking distance.
  • Cow Hollow, The Marina, and China Basin (The Hyatt or the Via, not the Utah Inn) are all pretty safe areas a bit further out. You can probably find better prices in these areas since they are less touristy.
  • There are a few hotels out toward Ocean Beach and the Sunset District. These tend to be old and a bit run-down, however they might be a good choice if you’d like to be right on the coast or near the zoo. There are also rental homes and apartments available that you can book through VRBO.com or Homeaway.com.
  • If you do decide to stay farther away from the tourist areas, Uber or Lyft can be a great option to get around. I would not recommend renting a car in San Francisco as driving around town is pretty unpleasant and parking is very expensive. If you want to get a car and see more of California after your time in San Francisco, I’d recommend reserving a car (we like Hertz) at the airport and taking BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) there to pick it up and then head away from the city.
  • In general, I don’t recommend public transportation in San Francisco. The MUNI buses are dangerous. BART can be okay, but stay alert. There has been an increase in crime on BART in recent years and there are often druggies and questionable looking people hanging around. If you are going to ride BART, it is safest during commute hours when there are (way too many) people. It’s also dirty and gross.
Visit one of the greenest cities in the U.S. San Francisco Vacation Rentals.

What else should I know before I go to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in San Francisco?

We had to be at the theater an hour ahead of time for security reasons. Since the play started at 2:00 pm, we had to be there at 1:00 pm. We also had to drive into the city and have time to park and walk to the Curran theater. That meant we had to leave home around 11:00 am for our 2:00 pm start time. Plan accordingly!

Seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in person is a not-too-be-missed experience! It’s so magical. I highly, highly recommend it.

Want to learn more? Read these articles:

Should I take my tween to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?

Harry Potter Gift Ideas for Tweens and Teens

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in San Francisco
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