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For years, the Barrio Logan neighborhood has been one of San Diego's best kept secrets. An epicenter of the city's Mexican-American culture, this neighborhood is quickly becoming a hotspot for cutting-edge art and authentic local culture.
Barrio Logan's transformation into an art-centric neighborhood began as far back as the 1960s. When the construction of the Coronado Bridge encroached on a local park, Barrio Logan residents re-claimed the park by painting enormous, colorful murals on the bridge's pillars. The murals depict the life and struggles of San Diego's Mexican community. Today, this art-filled park is known as Chicano Park, and it houses the largest collection of Chicano murals in the world. The park is also the site of many cultural celebrations throughout the year, including Chicano Park Day every April. This popular festival celebrates Mexican culture, both traditional and contemporary, with everything from folk dancing to low rider cars on display. Of course, Chicano Park isn't the only place to spy eye-catching public art in Barrio Logan. Many local artists have taken their paints to the neighborhood's streets and buildings, using art as a tool to foster neighborhood development. Keep an eye out for murals from local artists on the La Entrada apartment buildings, Mercado del Barrio, and many other business and residential buildings in the neighborhood. The Mercado del Barrio also features live music during the summer months.
In recent years, formerly vacant warehouses have turned over into funky and creative spaces for art exhibitions, music performances, and much more. Once a commercial bakery building, Bread & Salt is now a popular spot for cutting-edge art shows. The unique Glashaus building is home to several artists' workshops, many of who leave their studio doors open for visitors to the neighborhood. La Bodega is another of Barrio Logan's warehouse-turned-galleries. Artists ranging from musicians, DJs and swimwear designers all make their home at this space. Not all galleries are open every day, so be sure to check each gallery's website or Facebook page for information on their next art show.
If the culinary arts are more your speed, Barrio Logan has a lot to offer diners as well. Las Quatros Milpas has been a local favorite for years, serving up some of the most authentic homestyle Mexican food you can find north of the border. The tortillas are made fresh daily and worth the often long line at the door. If tacos are what you're craving, try Salud! by San Diego Taco Company. Their chorizo and fish tacos are not to be missed. Coffee fans flock to Barrio Logan, too, thanks to freshly roasted brews at Ryan Bros Coffee, Café Virtuoso and Cafe Moto. And, of course, Barrio Logan features venues that serve another of San Diego's most popular brews: craft beer. Try the unique Blood Saison, brewed with hibiscus at Border X Brewing, or the Velvet Glove Imperial Stout at Iron Fist Brewing Co.
Based on its richly vibrant and authentic concentrations of art, culture and creativity, Barrio Logan has been designated as one of 14 California Cultural Districts, which showcase some of the unique artistic identities that drive California’s culture. The districts help promote authentic grassroots arts and cultural opportunities, increasing the visibility of local artists and community participation in local arts and culture. Balboa Park and Oceanside are also official California Cultural Districts.
With new galleries, breweries, restaurants and more popping up every day in Barrio Logan, it won't be long before San Diego's best kept secret neighborhood is known world-wide as a destination for art lovers and cultural explorers alike.
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