If you're looking for a place in the Bay Area to attend an outdoor concert, Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View may be just the place for you. It's a pretty venue, with a large, tent-like structure over the stage, located on the shores of the southern San Francisco Bay.
The Venue and Crowd Factor
With 6,500 fixed seats and lawn seating that brings its capacity to 22,000, this outdoor amphitheater can accommodate a lot of people. In fact, you'll be glad they have two large video screens to give you a close-up view of the performers, no matter where you sit. Otherwise, you might need a telescope just to locate the performers on the stage, much less to see what they're doing.
The upside of its size is that you won't feel crowded at many shows. However, the most popular groups can draw big crowds. And all those people have to make their way to the amphitheater on a limited number of city streets and traffic is often at a standstill for miles.
Likes and Dislikes
Shoreline Amphitheater is a cool place to go on a hot summer evening, not only culturally but temperature-wise. The Bay's natural air conditioning makes it comfortable by showtime on even the hottest days.
Shoreline is not without its faults, however. Sadly, in spite of its pluses, it gets low ratings from people who review it online. Their biggest complaints include the fact that the staff does not police cigarette and weed smokers. However, if a performer requests it, staff will aggressively eject anyone seen holding a cell phone, which can cause a lot of disruption during the show. Traffic going in and out is also a frequent complaint. You can read more of their comments at Yelp.
Tips for Shoreline Amphitheater
- You can bring low backed-beach chairs to use on the lawn, as long as the seat is no more than 9 inches off the ground. You can also rent them on site. For most shows, blankets are allowed. However, the lawn is sometimes annoyingly overcrowded.
- You may not need sunscreen because the sun sets before the show starts, but insect repellent is a good idea.
- Tailgate picnics are not allowed, but you can take in snack or picnic food (one clear, plastic gallon-size bag per person) and a gallon of factory-sealed bottled water (one per person) are allowed, but alcohol and any cans or bottles are not allowed.
- To save money, skip the alcohol. If you plan to buy alcoholic beverages, you will need to show your ID every time you make a purchase.
- Leave "professional" cameras, video equipment and recording devices at home.
- No pets allowed. Only registered working animals are allowed inside the venue.
- For some shows, there's a Family Zone on the lawn, where no smoking or alcohol is allowed. Seating is first to come, first served.
- If you leave your big bags at home and stuff the essentials into your pockets or a small clutch bag, you can get through the gate faster. No Bag/Express Entry lane is at both gates, on either side of the Box Office.
- Download the Live Nation app to your mobile device. It has everything in one place: tickets, directions, updates, parking, and you can even pre-order food with it.
- For popular shows, go as early as you can. Commuter traffic makes things worse on weekday nights when you allow an hour or more to get off the freeway, drive down Shoreline, park, and hike in.
- If you want to buy merchandise, allow lots of extra time to do that. They only have two merchandise areas which often have waits that seem longer than the concert itself.
- Getting out of Shoreline can be as aggravating as getting in. Instead of starting up right away, grab that bottle of water and snack you wisely brought with you, post about your experience on social media or talk with your friends, or just hang out for a while until the traffic eases up.
Tickets and Reservations
The reserved seating has 6,500 seats. You can buy tickets for fixed seats in the lower level (best) and upper level (further from the stage).
The lawn behind the reserved seats has room for 15,500 more people, seated on the grass. Seats in the grassy area cost less, and some of them are only a few feet further from the stage than the fixed seats just below. If you choose that option, plan to arrive as early as you can.
Shoreline also offers VIP seating which is described on their website. Buy your Shoreline tickets online through Live Nation.
For concerts that may sell out fast, get prepared before you go online to buy your tickets. Take a look at a seating chart and know where you want to sit. Shoreline regulars say section 202 is the best for sound, but 102 is better if you want to see the people on stage.
To avoid paying a surcharge, you can buy your tickets in person at the Shoreline box office during limited hours (which you can find in the A to Z info on their website).
If tickets sell out, try Stubhub or try calling the box office at 650-967-4040, asking for released House seats.
What You Need to Know About Shoreline
You can get the current season's schedule and more information at the Shoreline Amphitheater.
Shoreline Amphitheater is located 10 miles north of San Jose, 35 miles south of San Francisco at One Amphitheater Parkway in Mountain View.
Parking is included in your ticket price, so you might as well park in their lot. They do offer VIP parking for an additional charge.