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“A true Gem” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of City Opera House

City Opera House
Ranked #29 of 106 things to do in Traverse City
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Traverse City's City Opera House is a non-profit destination attraction for quality arts and cultural entertainment, public and private gatherings and educational programming, located in the heart of downtown, on Front Street, in Traverse City, MI. City Opera House's versatile design allows the venue to function as a state-of-the-art 700-seat theater while providing the flexibility to clear the main floor of seating for large gatherings. Enjoy a performance! Unparalleled Victorian charm, superior acoustic quality, and an accessible location all add up to a unique public environment in the heart of downtown Traverse City. City Opera House is an ideal multi- season venue for weddings, corporate events, private events and more. Host your event! City Opera House is open for self-guided tours Monday through Friday 10 am - 5pm EST. Come take a look! About the City Opera House The City Opera House is one of six historically intact Victorian opera houses in Michigan and boasts a rich history as a cornerstone of culture in the Grand Traverse region. Since opening its doors in 1891, this elegant historic theater has hosted everything from plays, concerts and operettas, to gala balls, social functions, community festivals and celebrations. The "Grand Old Lady," as she is lovingly known, has served as a community gathering space for more than a century. The City Opera House was added to National Register of Historic Places in 1972. Soon after, a committed group of inspired citizens led efforts to faithfully restore this cultural gem to its former grandeur and preserve it for generations to come. Its dramatic barrel vault ceiling, fresco paintings, gold leaf accents and Victorian styling offer residents and visitors a vibrant, one-of-a-kind venue for a diverse array of events. In 1891, three Traverse City businessmen - Anton Bartak, Frank Votruba, and Charles Wilhelm - had a vision: Build a community gathering place in the heart of downtown that would serve as a vibrant venue to cultivate continued growth and prosperity of the region. Continuing the mission of these visionaries, City Opera House is focusing on three areas to preserve this community treasure: 1. Performing Arts Series presented in a professionally equipped facility 2. Community Event Space with historic charm and unparalleled service 3. Youth Arts Education Programs that inspire creative thinking and self-confidence
Traverse City, Michigan
Level Contributor
135 reviews
48 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“A true Gem”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 November 2013

The Opera House is a popular venue for all types of performances. It is large enough to hold big events, but small enough to be an intimate setting. There isn't a bad seat in the house, and the events are always worth the admission price.

Visited October 2013
Thank jcfrickpa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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53 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Traverse City, Michigan
Level Contributor
83 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
“City Opera House is for everyone!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 November 2013

It's easy for visitors to Traverse City to miss City Opera House. Located downtown along busy, touristy Front Street, it is nestled between storefronts and hidden among tall, cherry trees. The front of the facility at street level is fairly small. But look up. The second and third floors spread over the other businesses and you finally get a hint of the spacious grandness waiting inside.

COH is a grand old dame that you don't find often anymore. Volunteers have renovated it back to it's former glory: the wood glows, the chandeliers sparkle and the tilework shines. A wide, winding staircase leads you up from the simple lobby/box office and administration area up the performance venues. It is so lovely that many local brides use the facility for their wedding photos.

If you are just visiting for the day, you can ask for permission to look around. But better yet, pick up season calendar or go online and see what is scheduled for your visit. COH offers everything from live shows for kids, to classic films, author talks, holiday extravaganzas, music, dancing and nationally known performers. I drove by recently and blinked when I saw a line of costumed guests waiting for a late night showing of The Rocky Horror Show.

The acoustics in the theater are wonderful! But, like other old theaters, the seats are teeny tiny. Seriously. If you are larger in height or weight, I'd recommend calling ahead and asking for sitting suggestions. I prefer to sit in the balcony where there is more leg room and elbow room.

City Opera House is definitely worth a visit when you are in Traverse City!

Visited October 2013
Thank deeindiana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
217 reviews
89 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 113 helpful votes
“A Jewel of a Place”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 October 2013

Saw Arlo Guthrie here on October 4th, 2013. It was a spur of the moment thought to go to this and we were lucky enough to get tickets one week before the performance. The acoustics are fabulous in this small venue opera house. It holds about 650 people I believe. We had seats in the very last row of the balcony and the view was absolutely fantastic!! It is not very handicapped accessible though, as I noticed. They do have an elevator but there are not any ramps for seating. Their is a lounge that has cocktails that are a little pricey-$5 for a small plastic cup of wine, but they use all local wines-so to me, it was worth it. The seats were not the most comfortable though. My knees were against the seat in front of me (I am 5'6" tall). Overall, I would return to the Opera House for a performance I was interested in.

Visited October 2013
Thank lbingamanPetoskey_MI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cadillac, Michigan
Level Contributor
199 reviews
51 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“National Writers Series”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 October 2013

Beautifully renovated opera house. The whole place is nice, clean, and well set up. I lean towards events there because I like the place.

Visited September 2013
Thank dhinkley66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Thompsonville, Michigan
Level Contributor
195 reviews
55 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
“Beautiful facility; TC is lucky to have it.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 July 2013

Attended a concert here in April. Beautiful grand old lady of a venue. Volunteer ushers were friendly and helpful. Bar on the second floor is nice and I appreciate how you are able to bring your beverage into the venue. Appreciated how they had signs saying it was a seated concert due to the historical significance of the building; wish I could remember the elegant way they worded it. Basically – it is an old building; stay seated. Sound system was appropriate for the size of the venue. Seats were roomy in the balcony (third row), leg room however was at a premium. I am 5’7” and my knees were killing me at the end of the evening. I felt very sorry for the guy well over 6’0” in front of me. I’ve sat in the boxes previously and on the floor and haven’t had issues with leg room. I really wish they would allow you to use the alternate exits at the end of the show to help clear the building. It takes such a long time to exit when you are in the balcony with just one main staircase to clear the entire Opera House. I don’t care if they are ugly utilitarian exits; they must be functioning due to fire codes, so please just let us use them! So pleased with the artists that are making their way to Traverse City.

Visited April 2013
Thank upnorth98
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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