Want to check out some of the best art galleries, museums, and urban art around San Diego’s most iconic neighborhoods? If so, follow the recommendations of Local Expert Taylor Gallegos. An active artist in the community, he’s passionate about the power that art has to move us. Through this Featured Trip, he aims to help visitors experience the creative side of San Diego. If you are an avid art lover, or just want to feel inspired, let Taylor show you around town.
BALBOA PARK Dating back to the 1800s when it was known as City Park, Balboa Park is bursting with so many different things to do. More than a dozen museums will keep you intrigued with science and history, while nearly twenty gardens will dazzle you with their beauty. Balboa Park is also home to the world famous San Diego Zoo and countless other attractions.
As you walk up the steps to enter the San Diego Museum of Art, you’ll be able to guess that it holds an impressive array of artistic presentations. This museum houses several permanent collections that are definitely worth seeing. They include paintings and sculptures from 19th and 20th century American painters as well as paintings from Spanish, South Asian, and Italian greats.
Alexander Salazar Fine Art Gallery is one of San Diego’s best contemporary art galleries. Featuring international and national artists who are mid-career or emerging into the art scene, Alexander curates a spectacular and unique collection accessible to the individual collector, corporate, or celebrity collections. Whether you are hoping to expand a personal collection or you are simply enjoy gazing upon interesting art work, Alexander Salazar Fine Art Galley is a great place to experience some of San Diego’s best contemporary art and artists.
Tucked away in a quiet spot featuring a small, sandy beach augmented by an expanse of verdant grass, La Jolla Cove is a perfect paradise for photographers, swimmers, snorkelers, divers, and kayakers. Powered watercraft is forbidden, so you’ll get to enjoy the peace and quiet that often goes along with recreational locations where motors aren’t allowed.
The Museum of Contemporary Art has it all from special events to permanent collections to educational programs to temporary exhibits. Spend an afternoon exploring the finest artwork that San Diego has to offer. Tours are available and can include a visit to view a private collection. Chat with the artists or sip a glass of wine as you absorb the unique energy offered by a place containing beauty in so many interesting forms.
Quint Gallery was founded in 1981 and has presented more than 200 exhibitions that feature new artists as well as established contemporary artists. The gallery is an integral part of the Southern California art scene and, as such, is a great venue to visit if you love art. The great thing about the Quint Gallery is its exciting diversity. It’s possible to find traditional paintings interspersed with cutting edge techniques.
Chicano Park is famously the largest site of outdoor murals in the nation. The park is located in a Mexican-American center of San Diego beneath the San Diego-Coronado Bridge. The murals invariably celebrate the heritage and culture of the region. Aside from eye-catching murals, there are also sculptures and installation art works to be viewed. The official formation of the park occurred during the 1970s, but continual restoration of the murals is a vital part of the park’s ongoing maintenance.
Located in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp district, Michael J. Wolf Fine Arts has been a fixture of the San Diego art scene for twenty-five years. The gallery is an eclectic showcase of fine art, but it’s also the ideal place to have your art framed. Michael J. Wolf is a Certified Picture Framer, and the gallery grew out of his framing shop, The Naked Wall.
No matter why you’re in San Diego, you’ll probably want to drop by the Gaslamp Quarter while you’re here. Whether you’re a bar-hopping nocturne or a fashionista on a holy mission from the fashion gods, there’s plenty in this historic neighborhood to make you want to stick around. From a heap of bars and nightlife options to myriad of boutiques, restaurants, and other places to check out, you won’t be short-stacked on options.
PACIFIC BEACH Whether you are simply checking out the waves as you walk along the sand or you’re planning on taking your surfboard out, Pacific Beach delivers a fantastic experience. If you stroll out on Crystal Pier, you’ll have an even better view of the ocean, and you’ll be able to gaze out at the sandy beach and all of the way up to the boards.
The Museum of Contemporary Art has it all, from special events to permanent collections to educational programs to rotating exhibits. Spend an afternoon exploring the finest artwork that San Diego has to offer. Tours are also available and can include a visit to view a private collection. Chat with the artists or sip a glass of wine as you absorb the unique energy offered by a place containing beauty in so many interesting forms.
This five-story outdoor shopping mall in downtown San Diego is known for its arresting color scheme, wonky architectural tricks, mismatched levels, and long pedestrian ramps. Spanning over 6 city blocks, Horton Plaza is home to over 130 stores and restaurants as well as a movie theatre and food court.
Although the Embarcadero is a major tourist attraction in San Diego, it’s for a good reason: This stretch of road is right on the water, and it’s lined with hotels, museums, restaurants, and shops. There’s something for everyone along the Embarcadero, including the Museum of Modern Art San Diego, the USS Midway Museum, and the Maritime Museum. Public art is everywhere along the walk, from the whimsical Urban Trees sculpture project to statues and sculptures.
Want to explore San Diego some more? Check out the Discover San Diego page to find more restaurants, bars, museums, shopping, and more!