Observatory North Park Theatre

2891 University Avenue,
San Diego, CA 92104

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davidcoppock on September 27, 2023 at 3:39 am

This was the first movie theatre in the World to be built to screen talkies.

dallasmovietheaters on November 9, 2022 at 6:06 am

…and the website listed here is not correct

JackCoursey on November 24, 2021 at 7:13 pm

The theatre is currently for sale on LoopNet for $14,980,000.

rivest266 on April 1, 2012 at 3:40 pm

This opened on January 17th, 1929. The grand opening ad has been posted in the photo section.

neeb on November 22, 2011 at 9:43 pm

The first run of WEST SIDE STORY was at the Capri (aka Park) in 1962.

KING OF KINGS had its 70mm run at the California in Downtown San Diego.

MUSIC MAN didn’t have a 70mm run, but its first run was at the Fox (aka Copley Symphony Hall), also in Downtown.

dickneeds111 on November 22, 2011 at 9:28 pm

I am trying to finf out what Theatre I saw the first run 70mm res. seat showings of West Side Story and King of Kings plus the 1st run of The Music Man in SanDiego.

CSWalczak on October 11, 2010 at 12:08 pm

A replica of this theater’s original vertical sign was recently installed: View link

jruthg on August 6, 2007 at 10:07 am

The North Park Theatre space is alive and well! On 25 July 2007, I ate dinner in the restaurant that now occupies the trapezoidal space that once was the entry to the theatre. Not only is this the current incarnation of a favorite restaurant, but a fine use of part of the space that was my late mother’s (and aunt’s) neighborhood theatre. On the night I visited, the actual performance area was “dark.” We were able to see the vestibule area, however, as well as the bar. Original architectural details, especially the ceiling over the bar are once again alive and full of color. The next time I am in San Diego I hope to combine dinner and a performance.

Now if only someone would be so kind to my childhood theatre, “The Hillcrest” (later “Guild”) on Fifth Avenue in Hillcrest. It is in sad shape these days. While never an opulently decorated theatre, it certainly had it’s own comfortable neighborhood ambiance.

Gaithersburg, MD

holtwebb on July 25, 2007 at 11:49 am

For Fine Art images of the restoration of the North Park Theatre, visit www.holtwebb.com and go to the “Una Nuova Vita” gallery.

A limited edition of coffee table books were printed to commemorate the renovation of the theatre and were purchased by the Lyric Opera Board of Directors, the renovation architect, and the developer. A few copies are still available.

For more information, contact

marqueza on November 7, 2005 at 8:10 am

“This is a photo of the North Park being used as a Farmers Market.
posted by Lost Memory on Nov 6, 2005 at 4:07pm”

More specifically, this photo shows the marquee of the shuttered theater being used to advertise North Park’s Thursday Night Market, about which you can learn more here:


Interestingly, the farmers market had to move due to the new parking garage built specifically to support the rehabilitation of the North Park Theatre and continued redevelopment nearby!

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on October 14, 2005 at 10:59 am

The first full production at the North Park Theatre begins tonight with the Lyric Opera San Diego production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Mikado”. The newly refurbished theatre is now also the new home to the San Diego Mens Chorus.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on September 26, 2005 at 10:23 am

The North Park Theatre is set to re-open on 30th September 2005. The first production to be staged by the Lyric Opera San Diego will be “The Mikado” on 14th October 2005. The San Diego Cinema Society wants to screen the theatre’s first film sometime in October.

marqueza on February 1, 2005 at 12:11 pm

Well, the North Park isn’t actually lonely these days; it’s very close to staging live performances again, slated to begin later this year (!). News links and PDFs of architects' renderings are available here:


The North Park will operated by Lyric Opera San Diego, formerly San Diego Comic Opera, known for years primarily for championing Gilbert & Sullivan:


Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 15, 2005 at 5:29 am

The North Park Theatre is mentioned in the June 22nd, 1928, issue of Southwest Builder and Contractor. It was financed by Emil Klicka, and the estimated cost was $300,000.

I have come across two other references to theaters on University Avenue in San Diego, neither of which is listed on this site (and perhaps may never have been built.) The May 17th, 1913, issue of Southwest Contractor and Manufacturer announced that Barney, McKie & Company were intending to build a theater at the southeast corner of 6th and University, which was to be designed by architect Eugene Hoffman.

Then, in the June 20th, 1947, issue of Southwest Builder and Contractor, a notice says that Jack Lowenstein intended to erect an 800 seat theater on University Avenue (exact location not mentioned) and that it would be designed by Vernon W. Houghton.

If anyone familiar with the San Diego area can confirm that either, or both, of these two projects were ever actually carried out, please post them. The North Park is very lonely. This is only the second comment it has ever received.

cyclonebob on February 1, 2003 at 2:12 pm

what is the address