What to wear?

The Grand Opera House does not have a specific dress code for audience members. We do ask that members of the audience are appropriately covered; shirts and shoes must be worn.

Generally, we find that most of our audiences’ dress in nice casual attire. The time of year, and type of performance can influence what people are wearing. For example, at a Concert for a Country musician most people dress in jeans, however for a ballet performance many members of the audience will be wearing business casual attire. In the summer we see lots of pretty summer dresses, in the winter more jeans or slacks and sweaters.

We suggest that you wear something you will be comfortable in.

What are the best seats?

This is always a tricky question. We find that the “best seats” are subjective. Different people have different preferences. We may be biased, but we think that there really aren’t any bad seats in the house. If there is a seat that isn’t ideal because of the way the performance is staged, we will sometimes block off those seats, so they cannot be sold.

If you still insist that you must have an answer to the “best seats” question here is what we can tell you:

  • Our most requested seats are on the Main Floor between Rows H and M.
  • Our Box Office Manager, Michelle, believes that the best seats are in the Balcony on the Center aisle.
  • Our Box Office Assistant prefers the seats on Main Floor Left or Right on the aisle.
  • We have several patrons who prefer the last row of the Main Floor.
  • And for some performances there is a “mad dash” for the first row of the main floor or the first row of the balcony.

Where can I park?

The Grand provides parking for most performances in the Iowa Street Parking Ramp. This ramp is located on Iowa Street between 6th and 8th Streets. There is an entrance to the ramp directly across from the Grand opera House’s Front doors on 8th street. All the exits for the parking ramp are located on the opposite side of the ramp from the Grand and let vehicles out on Iowa Street.

Street Parking is also available around the building at parking meters. There is no charge for street parking after 5:00pm Monday – Saturday and all-day Sunday.

The space directly in front of the grand opera house is a no parking area after 5:00pm Monday – Saturday and all-day Sunday. This area is for drop off and pick up only.

Where can I park if I am Handicapped?

There are several Handicapped Accessible spaces in the Iowa Street Parking Ramp, directly across from the theater. There is also space in front of the theater where passengers can be dropped off and picked up.

Is there a charge for parking?

Thanks to the generosity of sponsors and our donors, we provide free parking in the Iowa Street Parking Ramp. The Mechanical arm goes up 1 hour before each performance, so you can drive in without needing a ticket, and you will be able to drive out after the performance.

Where is my seat?

When you arrive at the theater there will ushers to assist you in finding your seat.

What time can I go to my seat?

The House opens for seating 30 minutes before the performance starts. Most of our evening performances start at 7:30pm, and most of our matinee performances start at 2:00pm

Where are the bathrooms?

There are bathrooms located on the lower level of the Grand Opera House. They are accessible by the stairs located in the inner lobby, or by the elevator next to the box office. The Bathrooms on the lower level are handicap accessible.

There is an additional single Handicap Accessible bathroom located behind the Concession’s Stand in the outer lobby.

Do you serve concessions?

There is a concession stand located in the outer lobby that serves a variety of candy, Pepsi Products, and Popcorn. The concession stand now accepts cash or credit cards. However, Grand Opera House Gift Cards are not currently accepted in concessions. All items at the concession stand are $2.

There is no Popcorn served during Ballet performances.

Do you serve alcohol?

The Rotary Club of Dubuque serves a selection of beer and wine from a bar in the outer lobby. They are cash only and do not accept debit, credit, or gift cards. Prices vary and are posted at the bar area.

Flowers and gifts to actors?

Our actors love when their friends and families bring them flowers and gifts! During our plays and musicals, we are not able to bring these items to the dressing rooms until after the show has begun, and many people prefer to give these items to the performers themselves after the show.

For ballet performances by the Dubuque City Youth Ballet, or the Heartland ballet, the ballet has people who are able to bring gifts to the dressing rooms before the show. There is a table set up in the inner lobby to the left where these items can be left. Please make sure the performers name is clearly labeled on the item.

Can I go backstage/into the dressing rooms?

No one is allowed onstage, backstage, or in the dressing rooms before during or after performances except for our performers and technicians involved in the production. This is for your safety and for the safety and privacy of our performers.

Will the cast come out after the show?

For almost all our performances the cast will return to the dressing rooms after the performance to change into their street clothes. Some of them do exit through the lobby. However, there are other ways they may exit the building, so we cannot promise that your favorite actor will meet you in the lobby after the performance.

How old is the building?

The Grand Opera House was built in 1889, making it the oldest theater in Dubuque. (There has been a theater on the site of the current Five Flags Theater on Main Street longer. However, due to a fire in the early 1900’s the structure of the Grand’s building is the oldest) The first performance was on August 15th, 1890 – it was a performance of Bizet’s opera Carmen. The Grand has been in almost continual operation since that date, closing only 2 times briefly for renovations or to change owners. If you are interested in learning more about the history of the Grand check out the history page here.