Approaching the Mondavi Center from Campus.

One Shields Ave. (Campus), next to the Buehler Alumni & Visitors Center
Ticket Office Hours
Mon-Sat 12:00PM-6:00PM
Also open one hour prior to all ticketed events
(530)754-2787 Ticket Office
(530)754-5000 Administration
Website (Upcoming Events, Tickets, Discounts, YouTube clips)
Facebook Page

The Mondavi Center for the Arts opened in 2002 as UC Davis's beautiful new home for its University Symphony Orchestra and other cultural events. It gives a more upscale environment to host events than Freeborn Hall. The center is named after the late vintner, Robert Mondavi, and his wife Margrit Mondavi, who donated $10 million toward the building cost. The project was estimated to cost $60.9 million. Sandstone tile covers the outside of the building.

And as seen from the front. The stage


The Mondavi Center was built on the site of Lot 1A, which was reported to have been built over a former Native American burial ground for the Patwin tribe. See the Parking Lot 1A entry for more information. In Summer of 2011, the building underwent repairs to fix waterproofing under the sandstone tiles. Many of the tiles will be replaced and the repairs will last until December 2011.


Every first-year undergraduate and graduate UC Davis student, as well as all first-year UC Davis transfer students are entitled to one free ticket to any performance on the current calendar. Details can be found on their website but this includes everything from ballet, dance, and theater companies; retrospective films; live music performances by artists like Elvis Costello, Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Buddy Guy, Wynton Marsalis, and the New York Philharmonic; and spoken word events featuring guests such as Sarah Silverman, Oliver Stone, Patty Smith, David Sedaris, Ira Glass (NPR's This American Life host) and Arianna Huffington (founder of The Huffington Post).

The 2011-2012 season features the 10th anniversary of the Mondavi Center, marked by a gala event co-hosted with the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine & Food Science. The Saturday, March 17, 2012 event will include the U.S. Premiere of Ballet Preljocaj's "Blanche Neige", an adult re-telling of the Grimm Brother's classic, Snow White, and a sold out $1,000 per plate fundraiser dinner. A second, matinee performance, is scheduled for Sunday, March 18 at 3 p.m.

Opening night is Friday, September 30th and features 14-time Grammy winner, Ricky Skaggs with his bluegrass band, Kentucky Thunder. There are approximately 85 world-class performances featuring jazz, bluegrass, guitar, opera, symphony, concert piano and violin, distinguished speakers, percussion and world stage artists between October and mid-May when the season concludes. Seats sell out quickly for major events and ordering well before the event date will ensure you get the best seating. Additionally, Mondavi Center adds 5-6 "late additions" to its performance schedule, so watch for them. In the past, late additions have included Tony Bennett, Elvis Costello, Lyle Lovett, John Clease and Arlo Guthrie.

Also, the Mondavi Center has played host to a statewide televised Whitman Brown 2010 gubernatorial debate.

In addition, all students (no matter which school you attend) get a 50% discount. Some find the performances to still be a bit pricey, but this is still a good deal for acts that might otherwise be completely unaffordable. Other performances, like a Mahler concert, can run as low as $14 for non-students. Given the headliners and famous speakers that the Center draws this can be a good place for celebrity sightings.

Exclusive ticket promotions and giveaways are available throughout the year and the only way to find out about these is to sign up on the Mondavi Center Facebook or Twitter page. There are also a number of free shows at the Center sponsored by various campus departments. Please check the Mondavi Center event schedule for a list.

If you're a student, join the student listserve and periodically they will e-mail "specials" to students. Usually a show is $7 to all students and sometimes free Woodstock's pizza. The catch is when you order via online (you have to), there is a fee for online purchases (Believed to be $2, please check on this).

Jackson Hall

Jackson Hall is the main event room in the Mondavi Center. It has four tiers and areas of seating and can hold up to 1800 people.

The hall is named after Davis resident Barbara K. Jackson and her late husband W. Turrentine "Turpie" Jackson, who was a UCD history professor. Jackson made her $5 million gift in March of 2001, a critical time when the fund drive for the (then unnamed) center appeared to be in danger of faltering. If her gift had not been eclipsed soon after by the Mondavis' donation, we might very well have the UC Davis Jackson Center instead.

Barbara Jackson has her own box seat in the hall, shown at the arrow in the picture above. Even ushers rarely see her, since she usually comes through the performers' entrance and walks up the fire exit stairs just before the curtain.

Jackson Hall has exceptionally clean and precise acoustics. The hall changes between amplified and unamplified setups. For amplifed shows, such as jazz, folk, blues and spoken word, a system of drapes and banners is deployed, dampening the space. The hall also features the world class Meyer Sound M'elodie line array. The drapes, banners and speakers are retracted and replaced with a 26 ton acoustical enclosure for classical events, creating an acoustically "live" space, where you can hear a pin drop.

Vanderhoef Studio Theatre

The adjacent Vanderhoef Studio Theatre is for smaller, more intimate performances like small jazz bands, string quartets and piano recitals. The seating can be rearranged to hold up to 250 people, has a club atmosphere and a refreshment bar. The three arrangements are:

Stage faces guests
Smaller stage surrounded by seating on three sides
Smaller stage faces guests sitting at small tables

The theatre was named in honor of Larry and Rosalie Vanderhoef in recognition of their efforts to establish the Mondavi Center.


  • There are no backpacks allowed inside the auditorium. Their "solution" is having a couple tables in the lobby (for you to leave your backpack on or under) with a sign warning that it is unattended and that you leave your valuables there at your own risk. Fools! They desperately need to install lockers, such as they have at Segundo Dining Commons. More intelligently thought-out places have attended coat check rooms.
  • Be sure to bring your student ID if you purchased a student ticket.

*There is no longer an ATM in the lobby.

  • Visit their website and sign up to become a volunteer usher. See great shows for free! There is a lengthy application process, dress code, etc. It's not a way of getting in for nothing...
  • Some have commented that it looks like it's made of plywood from the freeway, and a shrubbery or two would improve the look.
    • Once trees grow up around it, it will look better. Trees make anything look better. —NickSchmalenberger
  • There is a gift shop that sells plenty of unnecessary things, like wine with the Mondavi Center on the bottle.

*Concessions ain't cheap, but the nice old ladies don't really care.


Parking is available across the street in the parking structure. TAPS works every night that the Mondavi holds an event and charges $7 per vehicle as of 9/2011. Dated parking passes for $7 can be included with your tickets when you pre-pay for tickets through the Box Office or online. This expedites your arrival in the parking structure since you don't have to wait in the line of patrons' vehicles individually paying for parking permits.

You can avoid the $7 parking fee altogether by walking, biking or using shuttles which drop-off directly in front of the Center's doors.

The average wait time to get out of the parking lot is 15 minutes (thanks to TAPS blocking off exits). Options to avoid this wait is parking in other parking lots (some have visitor machines that put out visitor permits), leave the performance early, or sit in your car for 20 minutes while the traffic clears out. The closest lots are 3 (next to Mrak Hall) and 46 (next to Academic Surge), which allow for visitor parking after 5pm. On the weekend, TAPS does not enforce parking so you can avoid paying the $7 by using one of these lots (or nearby streets) rather than the Mondavi parking structure.

Associated Programs


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Were bodies exhumed when they were constructing the mondavi? Daubert

2013-02-06 19:06:10

I was really disappointed today when I went to the Mondavi Center buy advanced tickets for a performance tomorrow, just to find out that they now only sell those through ticketsmaster. Ticketsmaster, in turn, charges “handling” fees that make it unaffordable for my family to attend these events. On occasion, when I was waiting for a performance in the past, I’ve overheard people from Sacramento saying that they would drive all the way to Davis to purchase an advanced ticket, to avoid ticketmasters’ absurd handling fees. And I, who live in Davis, have always purchased my tickets there; it’s just a bike ride away for me. I’m sure the Mondavi Center will lose customers and that performances are now a step further away from people like me in the Sacramento area. —UpsetCustommer