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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 public-art experts how they would spend one perfect day discovering some of the region's finest visual art, indoor and outdoor, on a wander through San Diego.

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 along Avenida de la Playa. As the sun sets, I journey back to campus for a performance by the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus or some event at The Conrad (aka La Jolla Music Society's Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center), where the sound is truly amazing and wondrous.

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

Lauren Lockhart

Executive Director of the La Jolla Historical Society, and former 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 should 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, we'd visit Niki de Saint Phalle's great, kid-friendly sculpture "Nikigator" in Balboa Park. (The artist's works also get great showcases at Queen Califia's Magical Circle in Escondido and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla.)

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 works by Bruegel, Rembrandt and Rubens, the museum's Dutch masters alone are worth the visit!

In the afternoon, it's time to catch a performance at San Diego International Airport through its Performing Arts Residency program, as well as check out the extensive collection of public art throughout the airport. Finally, take in the sunset from the airport's Rental Car Center. As you stand below Amy Landesberg's works "Swarm" and "Hive," the view is spectacular and the art is just as compelling.

J Noland

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

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 Downtown's East Village. Nearby is San Diego's Central Library, home to 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." And be sure to take the glass-elevator ride, with its views of the diorama installation "Corpus Callosum."

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 a local brewery such as Bay City Brewing. Afterward, head south to Barrio Logan and Chicano Park, home to one of the world's largest collections 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.

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