Golden Gate Theatre

1 Taylor Street,
San Francisco, CA 94102

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Golden Gate Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The RKO Golden Gate Theatre had a ‘sister’ theatre in Los Angeles RKO Hillstreet Theatre.

Built in 1920, the Golden Gate Theatre was a movie theater for over 50 years until it closed in the 1970’s. By the time it was shuttered, the Golden Gate Theatre had already been converted into a two screen theater in the 1960’s, with the balcony theatre known as the Penthouse Theatre. With the twinning it suffered little permanent damage as it was restored to a single auditorium by the Shorenstein Hayes Nederlander group.

When it was finally renovated and reopened in 1979 into a performing arts center, the original detail and look of the theater was restored as well. Although the neighborhood has remained a little seedy, the theater is still very grand, with a marvelous Art Deco vertical sign that is nearly 4 stories high. Today, the Golden Gate Theatre is still a premier venue for travelling broadway shows and a visual journey into San Francisco’s gilded past.

Contributed by Juan-Miguel Gallegos

Recent comments (view all 59 comments)

robboehm on March 2, 2010 at 8:54 am

Today it worked.

TLSLOEWS on April 4, 2010 at 8:07 pm


William on September 14, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Should add the Penthouse to the aka list for this theatre. During the theatres Trans-Beacon days of operation as a twin, the balcony was known as the Penthouse.

gomesrox on October 24, 2011 at 10:04 pm

I recently bought a desk at a thrift store for my daughter, and when we were refinishing it, I found 2 orchestra tickets for the Golden Gate theatre from 1982. As I understand there is a G.G. in L.A. as well? Im not sure if I have the right one or which one they are from, but if anyone has an idea of how i could find information about what show was playing, I would be interested in info.

William on October 25, 2011 at 2:11 pm

gomesrox, this is the Golden Gate Theatre you want. The one in East Los Angeles only showed movies. Check with the Public Library or the area newspaper for past listings. Some have converted past to the internet or microfilm.

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on June 21, 2012 at 12:40 am

Hi gomesrox… S.F.’s Golden Gate Theatre once had a twin sister in Los Angeles. I believe it was the Hill Street Theatre?

terrywade on January 20, 2013 at 8:23 pm

To bad the front of this RKO Golden Gate Theatre is a mess today in 2013. What is left of the great marquee is now painted a ugly brown color. Even the tall blades that say Golden Gate are painted in brown. The neon is not on or working. The front in the 50’s and 60’s was like a huge neon accordion of color ornage, green, yellow and blue. Please, the Shorenstein’s make big bucks in Broadway shows they play here, why can’t they get a good neon company back in and fix the front up with some color and repair the neon. This is one of the worst spots in SF day or night, even with theatre security you take your life in chance.

Mikeyisirish on May 31, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Hey HDTV – Do any of the neon lights outside work? Does it light up at all? I’ve been looking to photograph this one for a while, but don’t know it’s worth the two hour drive!

Hanse4 on April 17, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Hi – I am working with a WWII Veteran that happened to be on leave and in the Golden Gate Theatre the day that the Japanese surrendered – August 14th, 1945.

He does not remember the name of the movie that was playing that day and I was wondering if anyone might know if there is a way to find out? I have called the theater and they are seeing what they can do – but thought I would check with other resources as well !

Chapps on January 26, 2017 at 5:29 pm

The theater was one of my favorites – a real grand palace – but it had become careworn even in the 60s, when I was a kid. My mother loved taking me there, because she could recall how thrilling it was to see ‘King Solomon’s Mines’ there in 1950, when she was a teenager. Her godmother had taken her for a ‘girl’s day’ in the city (my mother was attending the all-girl Dominican Convent school in Marin County – now San Domenico School), and they had already had lunch and gone for a day of shopping at City of Paris. The movie theater was everything to my mother – and the movie was thrilling. Amazing how a place can become emotionally tangled in your memories like that. And she succeeded in transferring that thrill and love for the Golden Gate in me as well. Glad that it’s still there, even if it doesn’t show movies any more.

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