The Marion Oliver McCaw Hall is located at 321 Mercer St. (Mercer Street and 3rd Avenue North), on the North side of the Seattle Center. It is home to the Pacific Northwest Ballet and is also part of the Seattle Center.
what to bring: your tickets, a camera, a very small purse/clutch, a layer of clothing to keep you warm: shawl, cardigan, sweater etc.
getting there: traffic is terrible around the Mercer street area due to construction. Get to the ballet early and give yourself 30 minutes to wander around, take pictures, pre-order food/drinks, and use the bathroom.
where to park: park at the Seattle Center Mercer Street Garage. The Garage is located on Mercer Street next to the Teatro Zinzanni tent. The cost to park is usually $15-20. They accept Visa and Mastercard. If you have driven around the garage and can’t find parking, head back to the ground level and ask a parking attendant where to park. They may let you park on the ramp. The garage is attached to McCaw Hall by an overhead pedestrian walk-way.
patron amenities: McCaw Hall has complimentary: coat check, booster cushions for kids and assistive listening devices for the hearing impaired.
You can rent binoculars for $5.00 (cash only).
where is the bathroom: the restrooms are on every level on the far right.
where to sit: my favorite place to sit is on the Orchestra Level at the back.
Here’s why: the view is always unobstructed, you can get out quicker to the bathrooms during intermission and after the performance.
when you get there:
1.) Use the bathroom. Even if you don’t feel like you need to go, use the bathroom. If you get up during the performance to go to the bathroom, you will not be allowed back to your seat until intermission. The bathroom lines may get long and you don’t want get stuck waiting.
2.) Pre-order for your drink/food for intermission: Stand in line at any of the bar areas and pre-order your drink/food during intermission. Do not wait during intermission to stand in the horrendous line to get your drink/food. The bartender will tell you what is available to drink and eat. Food ranges from cookies to a small ramekin of macaroni and cheese. The bar where you pre-order is where your drink/food will be at intermission.
You can also pre-order a meal at the restaurant on the entry level lobby. At intermission, your meal will be prepared, on the table and waiting for you.
3.) Walk around and take pictures. Don’t forget to go in the auditorium and take a picture of the orchestra pit and the instruments.
4.) Get your program and find your seat. The auditorium runs a little cold for me. I don’t check my coat, but wear it during the performance.
5.) Read your program. The program contains the story-line for the performance. You will understand the scenes/acts if you read ahead.
during intermission: send someone to find a seat/ table around the bar where you pre-ordered your drink/food. Head near the bar where you pre-ordered your items. Your order will be set aside with a card bearing your name. Please do not take someone else’s food/drink.
If you pre-ordered a meal at the restaurant, go to the restaurant.
Warning bells will mark the end of intermission and encourage you to return to your seat.
ballet etiquette and McCaw Hall guidelines:
arriving late: the attendants will seat you if you arrive a few minutes late. After about 10-15 minutes late, they will seat you in the back or ask you to wait and view the performance from the lobby monitors.
what to wear: since it’s Seattle, you will see a range of patrons wearing jeans to formal gowns. Please dress somewhat nicely.
electronic devices: turn off your electronic devices. No one wants to hear your phone etc. during a performance they paid money to see.
The use of photographic and recording equipment during performances is strictly prohibited. Flash cameras are inconsiderate and dangerous to the artists.
food and beverages: are not allowed in the auditorium. This rule goes for kids too!
noises: try to minimize noises during the performance (coughing, blowing your nose, rustling of programs, whispering etc.) It’s rude to other patrons who are trying to enjoy the show.
smells: limit your use of perfume, cologne or scented items. Some people are sensitive to smells and you don’t want to subject someone to stinky stuff.