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Best Highbrow Addition to Mid-Market 

The Strand

From vaudeville theater, to grindhouse, to den of vice, to boarded-up homeless squat, The Strand has come to emblematize change on San Francisco's main retail artery. And now it's transforming anew under the auspice of American Conservatory Theatre, whose artistic director, Carey Perloff, hopes to give the up-and-coming mid-Market arts district a bit of mooring. Slated to open in 2015, the new 285-seat Strand will feature simulcast performances in the lobby and video screens showing student films, in addition to its steep-banked orchestra seating and "black box" stage upstairs. Sitting almost cheek-by-jowl with ACT's funkier Costume Shop — which now hosts experimental community performances — and across the street from the Orpheum, it will complete the modest "theater district" that San Francisco has long dreamed of reviving.

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