The peninsula that makes up Point Loma has been described as the spot where California began, as it marks the place where the first European expedition came ashore. Today, this area is known for its mix of interesting art and storied history.
ARTS DISTRICT Liberty Station is the hub for Point Loma's arts scene. In addition to dance studios and art galleries, there's also the Women's Museum of California, one of five museums of women's history in the country. San Diego Comic Art Gallery showcases sequential comic book and graphic arts in a dynamic space, while the Visions Art Museum is home to quilt and textile artists. And one of the best fine arts festivals in the city, ArtWalk Liberty Station, hosts an annual two-day festival with more than 175 fine artists display their work across the grounds of Liberty Station.
Venturing off the ARTS DISTRICT campus, you'll find even more opportunities to engage with the arts. The picturesque campus of University of San Diego (USD), which Travel + Leisure named one of the most beautiful college campuses in the US, sits on a mesa overlooking sparkling Mission Bay. End an afternoon of strolling its grounds and admiring the Spanish Renaissance architecture with a stop at the USD art galleries. These three art galleries feature rotating exhibits in each. The school has a much-admired print collection - including Rembrandts - that is expected to grow in the coming years as it has become the university's pride and joy.
Stop in the All Souls Episcopal Church of San Diego on Catalina Blvd. to see the breathtaking stained glass window designed by celebrated artist James Hubbell, known for his organic architectural elements and buildings. Plus, right outside the church is an incredible fountain my mid-century ceramic artist Rhoda Lopez not to be missed. For more mid-century décor, head over to The Pearl, a boutique hotel and restaurant with great cocktails and a sleek mod design. Wednesdays are movie night, when guests can dine by the pool and watch a movie projected onto an outdoor screen.
Visitors can spy a unique public artwork by the artist-architect tea Marcos Ramirez and Teddy Cruz located at the city's Pump Station No. 4, where Carleton Street ends at Shelter Island. The original gray concrete block building was painted navy blue, and a metal structure added to two sides and shaped to say "Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same."
Keep an eye out for the many events held by the Point Loma Artists Association, including an annual art sale. Visitors can view many of the artists' work at the Point Loma's Land and Sea Festival, which features games and activities for both children and adults centered around boating, southern California's coastal waters, and the environment. Another Point Loma festival not to be missed is the history-oriented Cabrillo Festival, which includes educational activities, cultural demonstrations and traditional folkloric performances. And music lovers will thrill over the free, outdoor concerts in the park held throughout the summer as part of the Point Loma Summer Concert Series.
Point Loma is also home to great wining, dining and craft brew options. Hundreds of wines are available to taste and purchase at The Wine Pub, where the focus is on unpretentious wine exploration. For a uniquely San Diego dining experience, try Fathom Bistro, Bait & Tackle, a gourmet hot dog and craft beer spot in a tiny shack on the Shelter Island Fishing Pier. Kegs are stored in the water to keep cold, the menu includes house made sausages, and the views of downtown San Diego can’t be beat in this low-key spot with a perfect So Cal vibe.
Before you leave the area, you can't miss a Point Loma tradition: Kobey's Swap Meet. Some call it an open air market, but it's bona fide swap meet, and it’s huge! More than a 1,000 sellers hawk everything from electronics to antiques. You have to do some picking and sorting, but patience hunters can be rewarded with incredible finds.
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