Teatro Zinzanni to Return to SF Waterfront—Permanently

Rendering of new Teatro ZinZanni location on San Francisco's waterfront. (Teatro ZinZanni)

San Francisco City officials have given the green light for the return of Teatro ZinZanni to the Embarcadero after an absence of nine years.

For just over a decade, from 2000 to 2011, the beloved entertainment spot attracted hundreds of thousands of tourists and locals to Pier 29 with its popular blend of circus, cabaret, comedy and dinner—all of it served up in a vintage wooden tent lined with mirrors and stained glass known as the "spiegeltent."

But the Teatro ZinZanni company, which also has locations in Seattle and Chicago, was forced to shut down its San Francisco operation to make way for the 2013 America’s Cup sailboat race.

It’s been negotiating with city officials to reopen ever since.

Inside the spiegeltent. (Teatro ZinZanni)

“We have worked for almost a decade to return to the city we love,” said Teatro ZinZanni founder Norman Langill, in a statement about the $142 million project. “We know it would not have been possible without the strong support of the community, our artists and our fans."

Over the past nine years, several circus shows in a similar vein to Teatro ZinZanni emerged in the Bay Area, including the Soiled Dove, held in a giant tent pitched on Broadway in downtown Oakland. Teatro ZinZanni's return, say officials, is intended to be permanent.

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Plans for the new Teatro ZinZanni—which will be housed in a different location, a port-owned seawall property at Embarcadero and Broadway (currently a parking lot)—will include a 192-room hotel and surrounding public park.

But the spiegeltent itself, known as the "Palais Nostalgique," will be the same one that operated in San Francisco at Pier 29.

Teatro ZinZanni aims to reopen its doors in summer 2022.