San Diego is a place where artistic spirit and world-class artworks cannot be confined to museums. The streets, art galleries, main library, and other nooks and crannies are overflowing with art. Checking most of it out doubles as a way to enjoy the weather or a night on the town, so pack a good pair of walking shoes to take in some of San Diego’s best works.
Murals of La Jolla
Adding to La Jolla’s considerable natural beauty are more than a dozen murals peppered throughout the area. At the moment, 16 murals grace the sides of buildings and other surfaces in the neighborhood. Coordinated by the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, murals have been cycled through since 2010 featuring dozens of artists. You can join one of the periodic mural tours organized by the library, or discover them at random on foot or by car as you explore the neighborhood.
When it comes to murals, fewer places can boast as many as Oceanside, where 30 of them add color to restaurants, coffee shops, alleys, and other walls around town, with nine more slated for completion over the next few years. Seeing every last one requires a map and a bit of legwork. But just about any outing in Oceanside will take in some of this art.
Fault Whisperer and Other Downtown Works
Downtown San Diego is rich in public art and any tour should include “Fault Whisperer,” an award-winning piece installed in Fault Line Park in 2015. The husband-and-wife team who dreamed up the twin, 7-foot-tall silver orbs, created them to record the slightest movements in the earthquake fault beneath the park. While in the neighborhood, have a look at Horton Plaza’s “Don’t Believe the Hype,” and the environmentally-themed “Hunger” located at 827 14th St.
Ray at Night in North Park
North Park and South Park
You can explore Ray Street’s artist studios, galleries and other businesses displaying Socal artists’ work on your own. But many people choose to join Ray at Night, San Diego’s biggest monthly art walk, held every second Saturday of the month. The event crawls along Ray Street between University Avenue and North Park Way.
UCSD Stuart Collection
Students rushing between classes aren’t the only people who can enjoy the impressive Stuart Collection dispersed around UCSD’s campus. Anyone can visit the 19 site-specific works that range from traditional sculptures to precariously perched houses to manicured gardens and snake-like footpaths.
Balboa Park Museums and Spanish Village Art Center
With more than 17 museums and cultural institutions, art aficionados will have plenty to enjoy in Balboa Park. The San Diego Museum of Art and Timken Museum of Art are obvious stops, but none is better for simultaneously enjoying the outdoors as the Spanish Village Art Center, a collection of three dozen artist studios dotting a cobblestone-lined courtyard. Enjoy San Diego’s idyllic weather and stroll the outdoor sculpture garden between the Old Globe Theatre and Panama 66 restaurant.
Art at the Central Library
With its enormous metal bonnet, San Diego’s Central Library is a work of art in itself. Yet, besides the works of literature and music in its archives—and even the actual Art Gallery on the Ninth Floor—the entire library was designed by architect Rob Quigley to showcase art. Every floor features pieces in a variety of media.
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