Step into the lobby of Paramount Theatre and admire the shining gold ornamentation and the attention to detail in every part of the room. Get to your seat before the lights dim to admire the spectacular auditorium. Take a tour of the building or enjoy a drink in the bar. It’s worth getting here early since the building is as impressive as the entertainment.
The Paramount Theatre was designed in the art deco style by architect Timothy L. Pflueger and was completed in 1931. When constructed it was the largest multipurpose theater on the west coast with seating for over 3,000 people. Some of the world’s most famous acts have played on the stage. Musicians Bruce Springsteen and Bob Marley, comedians Bill Cosby and Chris Rock and classical ensembles including regular performances from the Oakland East Bay Symphony Orchestra have helped make this one of California’s most famous entertainment venues.
Dress up and come to watch the ballet. Paramount Theatre is home to the Oakland Ballet Company, with classic performances in May and December. Stay for another week and you will almost certainly have the chance to come and watch something completely different: a rock concert from one of the world’s best bands, a stand-up comedy show from a household name, a performance by the Oakland East Bay Symphony Orchestra or a screening of a classic Hollywood film.
Whatever performance you come to watch, be sure to look around the building as well. The grand lobby with its golden “canopy of light” on the ceiling and walls is a stunning sight. Make time to enjoy a drink in the bar and explore other areas such as the men’s and women’s smoking rooms. If you want to learn about the building in detail, attend one of the tours that are offered on mornings of the first and third Saturdays of every month. They last around two hours and there is a small charge for participation.
The Paramount Theatre is located on Broadway in downtown Oakland. All Oakland’s public transportation has stops nearby. Note that the tours don’t run on holiday weekends.