Housed in stunning structures of Spanish-Colonial, Mayan, and Aztec designs, exhibits at these acclaimed museums constantly change, making Balboa Park a year-round attraction. Enjoy fine art, photography, aerospace, anthropology, model trains, and much more.
The most important contemporary art trends are presented at this museum. Docent-led tours, lectures, and special family nights make art accessible to all. The museum’s flagship facility (see Museum of Contemporary Art) is at the former oceanfront home of Ellen Browning Scripps, with a satellite location downtown.
404 3rd Ave • 619 338 9888 • Open 10:30am–4pm Tue–Sat, noon–4pm Sun • Adm • www.sdchm.org
A wide range of artifacts such as ceramics, bone toothbrushes, and old photographs document a fascinating slice of San Diego’s history in this Spanish-style building that once served as a Chinese mission. Of note is the ornate bed that once belonged to a Chinese warlord. In the back garden is a koi pond.
820 Prospect St, La Jolla • 858 454 3691
This gallery presents international contemporary artists. Discover the colorful works of Gaudi-influenced artist Niki de Saint Phalle, the pen-and-ink drawings of Mexico’s José Luis Cuevas, and the surrealist paintings of Chilean Roberto Matta, among others.
1492 N. Harbor Dr • 619 234 9153 • Open Jun–Aug: 9am–9pm daily; Sep–May: 9am–8pm daily • Adm • www.sdmaritime.org
This fascinating museum pays tribute to the men and ships that so influenced the history and life of San Diego. A range of exhibitions educate and entertain, while several anchored ships can be boarded and explored.
530 6th Ave • 619 696 1416
Housed in the historic Sterling Hardware Building, this is one of San Diego’s top galleries. Exhibits span a range of mediums, from photography to sculpture and painting, all by contemporary artists from Southern California.
7547 Girard Ave, La Jolla • 858 454 3409
Since 1981, Mark Quint has brought outstanding contemporary artwork to San Diego. Collaborations with collectors, artists, and curators have garnered global acclaim. Exhibited in the 3,000-sq-ft (280-sq-m) space are works by traditional and cutting-edge artists, local and international.
363 5th Ave • 619 702 5388
The oldest gallery in the Gaslamp Quarter features works of emerging US and international contemporary artists. See the urban landscapes of Luigi Rocca, mixed media paintings by Josue Castro, and portraits by Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood.
7661 Girard Ave, La Jolla • 858 456 5620
This intimate gallery showcases important vintage prints and contemporary photographs. Three exhibition areas display photography of a superb quality and host a busy program of themed and solo shows. Both renowned and emerging photographers are represented, and past exhibitions have included work by Ansel Adams, Ave Pildas, Dana Montlack, and Wayne Gudmundson.
1770 Village Pl • 619 233 9050 • Open 11am–4pm daily • www.spanishvillageart.com
In a Spanish village-like atmosphere adobe houses from the 1935–6 California-Pacific Exposition have been turned into lovely artists’ studios, where you can shop or even take a lesson from the artists.