Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to the Susan and Phil Hammer Theatre Center! Our goal is for every person to enjoy an outstanding experience. Below are answers to frequently asked questions.

When is the box office open?

Our Box Office is open weekdays from 12-5pm, and 90 minutes prior to performances.

When should I get there?

  • Performances, screenings, concerts, and any other events at the Hammer Theatre are anticipated to begin promptly on time, please arrive at least 10 minutes BEFORE the start time of the event to ensure you are seated and comfortable by the time the performance begins.
  • You will also want to arrive for performances early enough to allow time for parking. Downtown San José is quite busy, particularly during the holiday season, and parking structures can fill up quickly. VTA light rail stops are also convenient, the Paseo de San Antonio stops along 1st & 2nd Streets provide access to the theatre after a short walk.

When can I enter the theatre?

  • Usually doors into the building will open 1 hour prior to the performance start time, and doors into the theatre will open 30 minutes prior.

Will I still be able to purchase tickets/see the show if I am late?

  • We strive to begin our performances on time. To avoid disturbing both the actors and other patrons, latecomers will be seated at the discretion of the House Manager. You may be asked to wait in the lobby, or other alternate seating. Late seating after curtain-time could be as late as intermission. We encourage all patrons to arrive at the theatre early.

I am trying to buy tickets online for an event happening today, why does the website say tickets are unavailable?

  • The online ticketing for any show will close at least 2 hours prior to the start time of the performance. You are still able to purchase tickets at the box office up to 90 min before the performance or you can call our Box Office to purchase tickets up until the start of the performance!

Is food allowed inside the theatre?

  • Outside food and drink is permitted in the lobby, but NOT permitted in the theatre auditorium. Outside beverages and water bottles may be taken inside the theatre if they have a lid. We also have concessions food and drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) available for purchase for most events. You can find a full menu here.

Is there a place close to the Hammer to grab a bite to eat?

  • Located between San José State University’s main campus and Cesar Chavez Park, there are plenty of restaurants, cafes, and diners nearby!  You can find coffee shops and sit-down quick bites along the Paseo, walk down 2nd street for restaurants, or enjoy Whispers cafe right behind the Hammer building!

Is there parking at the theatre?

  • The Hammer Theatre Center (The Big Blue) is located at 101 Paseo de San Antonio in downtown San José between South 2nd & 3rd Streets, and San Carlos & San Fernando Streets. There are several conveniently located parking garages and lots near the theatre.  Unfortunately, we are unable to validate parking for the nearby garages/lots, but some of the nearby eateries or grocery stores will validate with the purchase of food. There is also metered street parking. For complete information about parking locations and programs, visit

Are there extra charges to buy tickets online?

  • Yes, typically there is a $5 convenience fee when purchasing tickets online. Tickets purchased at the Box Office window or over the phone do not carry any convenience charges. Every seat sold includes a $1 Capital Fund Fee, which goes to the care and upkeep of our beautiful building. You can also purchase tickets online at:

Are there any student or group discounts?

  • Group Ticket Discounts, SJSU student discounts, and other special offers will vary depending on performance, inquire at the Box Office for more information.

Does my child need his/her own ticket?

  • ALL patrons, regardless of age, must have a ticket to enter theatre, by order of the Fire Marshal. LAP PASSES for young children are sometimes available for certain performances, but you must purchase either a ticket or a lap pass for your child to enter the theatre. Inquire at Box Office for additional information.
  • Although the Hammer Theatre often presents family shows geared toward all ages, we do not recommend live theatre performances for children under the age of 4.

Are there booster seats available?

  • If you or a family member have difficulty seeing above taller patrons seated in front of you, booster seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis, just ask your ushers!

Can I get my ticket refunded if I don't use it?

  • Unless told otherwise by a Hammer staff member, consider all sales final, no refunds or exchanges.

Are service animals allowed in the theatre?

  • We welcome service animals, but no pets please! While Emotional Support Animals or Comfort Animals are often used as part of a medical treatment plan as therapy animals, they are not considered service animals under the ADA and are therefore not permitted in the theatre. Thank you for your understanding.

Is wheelchair seating available?

  • Wheelchair seating is available in both our Orchestra and Balcony sections.

Do you have Assistive listening devices available?

  • Assistive listening devices are available for patrons with impaired hearing, free of charge, at the Box Office window. Patrons are asked to leave a photo ID to check out the listening device.
  • Smoking is not allowed in the theatre or lobby areas.
  • No food or drink is allowed in the theatre, except in approved containers. Water bottles, with caps, are always permitted.  Concert Cups are available at the concessions counter.
  • All electronic devices should be turned off before entering the theatre.
  • The use of any recording device, either audio or video, and the taking of photographs, either with or without flash, is strictly prohibited.  
  • Coat check is provided at limited performances.  Inquire about availability with a theatre usher.
  • CONDUCT: We reserve the right to refuse admission or eject any person whose conduct is deemed unbecoming or interferes with the audience’s ability to enjoy the performance in the manner in which it was intended, without a refund on their ticket purchase or exchange to another performance.  
  • PARCELS, BAGS: Theatre Management reserves the right to require you to open personal bags and knapsacks for inspection as a condition of entry to the theatre. We may require that some items not be allowed into the theatre for security concerns.

If you like the arts in Downtown San José and want to make a difference, we would like to meet you! Usher volunteers get validated parking when they serve at the Hammer, and the opportunity to meet new people and share the love of theatre, music, dance, film, great authors, social issues, and more! Go online to sign up at, or contact Maria Bones, Director of Patron Services at 408-924-8510. New events are listed every month so check back often!

Need more help?

Please call us or email at

Phone: (408) 924-8501
Email at

For additional information about San José : City of San José’s Visitor Webpage