arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up play-button plus tab-indicator dots close menu search facebook google-plus instagram pinterest rss twitter youtube rss-two heart Check FeaturedBadge linkedin minus apps placeholder linkedin

One Perfect Art-Filled Day

Three local art experts weigh in on what to do in San Diego

You're a culture-lover and you want to see some of the city's great art - but our sweet San Diego weather is calling. Can you enjoy them at the same time? Of course! We asked three local leaders how they would spend one perfect day wandering around the region's many visual art opportunities, indoor and outdoor.

Mary Beebe

Director of the renowned Stuart Collection, 19 commissioned artworks on the campus of the University of California San Diego

Early mornings at UCSD are peaceful - prime time to wander around the eucalyptus groves and urban plazas, exploring the Stuart Collection sculptures. As I make my way into the heart of the campus, I listen for what tune is playing from Terry Allen's "Trees." A light ocean breeze wafts past as I wind my way along the charming "Snake Path". Just ahead "Fallen Star" is bathed in a warm glow from the rising sun.

Later I might head down to La Jolla Shores to meet friends for a margarita and a bite to eat at Galaxy Taco. They have the best and most authentic Mexican food in town. As the sun sets, I journey back to campus for a performance by the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus or some event at the Conrad Prebys Hall, where the sound is truly amazing and wondrous.

As I walk to my car afterwards, I pause a moment to watch Bruce Nauman's neon "Vices and Virtues", one of the works in the Stuart Collection, flashing like a frieze and filling me with almost sinful pleasure.

Lauren Lockhart

Art program manager for San Diego International Airport which boasts impressive permanent and temporary collections of public art

My ideal art day entails lingering with a single work for a long time or meandering through a favorite museum at a leisurely pace. I've brought along my 1 year old son, so parents out there will know that this itinerary is family-friendly but packs a lot in one day!

I'd start the day with a multisensory experience in The New Children's Museum's garden, then climb in Marisol Rendon's immersive toddler environment, "Wobbleland". Next, I'd visit Niki de Saint Phalle's stunning park, Queen Califia's Magic Circle, Tuesday and Thursday, 9:00 AM to noon, and second Saturday of each month, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Docents are available on Saturdays. Garden is closed in wet weather and on holidays. Magical is an understatement. Put it on your calendar and go.

We'd eat lunch in Balboa Park, followed by a stroll through the Art of the Open Air exhibit in the Plaza de Panama. Then we'd explore creative new presentations of the stellar collection at the Timken Museum. With work by Bruegel, Rembrandt and Rubens, the Dutch masters alone make it worth the visit!

In the afternoon, it's time to catch a performance by Fern Street Circus at San Diego International Airport through the Airport's Performing Arts Residency program. Their work in the circus arts is accessible to all audiences. It's joyous and fun. Finally, take in sunset from the airport's new Rental Car Center. Standing below Amy Landesberg's new works, "Swarm" and "Hive," the view is spectacular and the art is even more compelling.

J Noland

Public Art Coordinator for the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture as their Public Art Coordinator

So you've got one day in San Diego and want to see some art? No problem, we've got tons of it!

First, grab a cold brew coffee from one of the many locally-owned coffee shops in East Village. Nearby is San Diego's Central Library, home to some civic treasures. From psychedelic 3D lenticular prints to a human-scale trophy topper, there's some serious artwork to discover. Swing by the ninth floor to check out the art gallery, a stunning view of the skyline, and the Hervey Family Rare Books Room. Don't miss two of my favorite prints in the collection, William Hogarth's "Gin Lane" and "Beer Street."

Just a two-minute walk east of the library, you'll find one of the newest public artworks in San Diego: "Fault Whisper" by Living Lenses. Not only does this artwork visually measure the movement of the active fault rupture below the park, it translates the movements into music...so listen carefully!

Time for a quick beer? Try one of San Diego's craft favorites at Stella Public House. Afterwards, head south to Barrio Logan and Chicano Park, home to one of the world's largest collection of Chicano murals. When you've had your fill of monumental murals, fill up on tacos at Las Cuatro Milpas, ¡Salud! or one of the other new restaurants opening around the Mercado del Barrio. Then walk them off by visiting one of the galleries or boutiques along Logan Avenue between South Evans Street and Sampson Street.

Find a place to stay

Book online or call 1-800-350-6205 to speak with a local expert

Related Articles and Features

Deals just for you

Accommodation

Weekend With Benefits

Hotel Solamar
Valid: Feb 10 - ongoing

What’s the rush? Extend your stay with us through the weekend Stay two nights, save 25% off Thursday – Sunday Receive 20% off in our outlets Late checkout 2PM

Accommodation

Bed & Breakfast Package

The Westgate Hotel
Valid: Mar 8 - ongoing

Enjoy a night away in the grandest of European traditions, complete with breakfast. Stay for the night with our special Bed & Breakfast rate and we will credit you with $50 for a breakfast of your...

Accommodation

True-Blue Perks

Capri by the Sea
Valid: Dec 16, 2020 - ongoing

Stay with us and become a True-Blue Perks member. Returning Guests get an extra 10% off our lowest rate and other goodies. When you book directly with All Seasons Resort Lodging, you'll always get the...

Events to check out

Event

Comic-Con@Home

Jul 23 - Jul 25, 2021

This year, everyone gets a badge! Attend star-studded panels, watch sneak previews and virtually walk the famous exhibit hall for exclusive merch during Comic-Con@Home.

Event

La Jolla Art & Wine Festival

Oct 9 - Oct 10, 2021

The FREE La Jolla Art & Wine Festival returns for its 12th year with even more prestigious art, international wine, craft beer, and family fun on Saturday, October 9th and Sunday, October 10th,...

Event

San Diego Festival of the Arts

San Diego Magazine
Sep 11 - Sep 12, 2021

The 2021 festival is relocating to the San Diego Surf Park in North San Diego, formerly the Del Mar polo fields. The new location is ideally situated with easy freeway access from all parts of San...

Stay in touch

Sign up to receive the latest news, events, and updates about San Diego. Our monthly and weekly newsletters will keep you informed about the latest and greatest happenings in the destination.

Sign Up

Partners

Explore

Plan

Stay

Follow Us

Language:

English | Change Language

Select your country or region

China FlagChinaGermany FlagGermanyGreat Britain FlagGreat BritainJapan FlagJapanMexico FlagMexicoKorea FlagKoreaSwitzerland FlagSwitzerlandBrazil FlagBrazilFrance FlagFranceAustralia FlagAustraliaCanada FlagCanada USA

Or use Google Translate

Afrikaans Albanian Arabic Belarusian Bulgarian Catalan Croatian Czech Danish Deutsch Español Estonian Filipino Finnish Francais Galician Greek Haitian-Creole Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Icelandic Indonesian Irish Italian Japanese Korean Latvian Lithuanian Macedonian Malay Maltese Nederlands Norwegian Persian Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Serbian Slovak Slovenian Swahili Swedish Telugu Thai Turkish Ukranian Vietnamese Welsh Yiddish