Due to COVID-19, some information may have changed. Starting Dec. 1, 2020: Tours available Friday – Monday (closed Tuesday – Thursday).
Celebrating over 90 years of art in Balboa Park, the San Diego Museum of Art towers over the park’s central plaza. Opening its doors in 1926, as a fine arts gallery, the cultured and rich collection has only continued to grow. Changing its name in 1978, the museum continued to house a growing art collection provided by the generosity of countless donors and featuring the cultural growth of the San Diego community. With an art school, revitalized rotunda, international pieces and led by leading experts, the San Diego Museum of Art continues to share some of the world’s most beautiful artwork with visitors from around the world. Regularly showcasing world-class exhibitions as well as sharing a year-round schedule in educational and cultural programs for art lovers of all ages, the museum tells the history of the world through the brushstrokes and vision of artists. The mission ‘to inspire, educate and cultivate cultural curiosity through great works of art’ is seen through each exhibit, gallery and docent-led tour. Whether visitors begin their journey outside or in, there are spectacular paintings and sculptures to see and decades of knowledge to embrace. See glorious works from 19th and 20th century American artists, an amazing Asian collection, and of course both the old European and modern day masters. Take your time to see and appreciate all that the museum has to offer.
Don’t forget to check for discounts. San Diego city and county residents enter for free on the third Tuesday of each month. February is Macy’s Museum Month and all participating museums are half price entrance with coupon. Check the website for rotating and visiting exhibitions prior to visiting. During the summer, many museums are open later for a lesser entrance fee. Wander the pavement during summer Food Truck Friday to take in the gorgeous architectural facing of the museum or stay till night falls to check out their beautiful colored lights. Take in the courtyard for fabulous people watching, check your email with free Balboa Park WIFI, grab a drink at Panama 66 or bring your own blanket and chairs to take in an evening movie at the outdoor sculpture garden. Bags can be checked at the front door so you don’t have to carry all of your finds for the day when visiting the museum. Remember to stop by the beautiful displays at the museum store to take home a memory of your experience.
Whether you’re a fan of Andy Warhol or that of the modern day European masters, the San Diego Museum of Art has an exhibit to tickle your fancy. With an amazing Asian collection and countless works from renowned international artists, wandering through the exhibit takes you on a journey through the ages and around the world. Send your budding artists to the summer youth arts program or bring your entire family on any of the regular docent led tours of the museum. For more museum excitement to see art come alive after dark amidst live music, striking beverages, and delicious food, come to the ‘Adults Only’ event of Cultures and Cocktails. Be sure to book your tickets early since this event is constantly a sell-out. If you’re looking for a family friendly spectacle, check out the annual tradition of Art Alive. This phenomenal floral exhibition brings thousands of visitors to the museum each year. With activities and demonstrations for the entire family, Art Alive features floral interpretations of acclaimed artwork. The extravaganza lasts a few days and is an exceptionally intriguing way to look at art. Use your artist eye to see the pieces through this new medium.
Balboa Park is filled with interesting museums, unique people and nature as far as the eyes can see. For the explorer within all of us, there are countless museums within walking distance. Learn about automobiles, sports figures, history, space, science and more at the many acclaimed museums set amidst San Diego’s Balboa Park. Spend the day at the world renowned San Diego Zoo, take an art class in the Spanish Village, or pack a picnic and enjoy the music of Spreckles Organ Pavilion. Check the Balboa Park website for countless ongoing activities through winter and summer. Summer nights find buskers aplenty on the footpaths and summer Friday evenings explode on the plaza with food truck fare and music for all. Zoo summer nights showcase the animals and their performer friends as they stay late at the zoo for your utter enjoyment. There’s Shakespeare at The Old Globe Theater or channel your inner climber and make your way to the top of the bell tower at the Museum of Man. You can check out a drumming class at World Beats Cultural Center. On Sundays, you can wander the International Cottages for a taste, sound and aroma of countries around the world or check out the international trinkets and treats at the United Nations house. Time your visit with the scientific inventions of Maker Faire or come for the holidays and take in the excitement of December Nights in Balboa Park. If you’re up for something more adventurous, hike the many trails at Balboa Park, take in a game of lawn bowls or try your hand at chess.