Planning Your Visit to the Best San Diego Museums

San Diego is a brilliant destination for museum lovers — not only does it have dozens of museums, from the San Diego History Center to the Timken Museum of Art, but many are within walking distance of each other. Check out our guide to planning your trip throughout the particularly museum-heavy Balboa Park area and beyond.

Museum of Natural History

Exhibitions at the Museum of Natural History, or “the Nat” as it’s known to locals, showcase everything from landscape photography by National Geographic to the dinosaurs of the Southern Hemisphere to international gems and minerals. There are also movies such as “Hidden Pacific 3D,” which takes you on a tour of remote Pacific islands housing pristine reefs, sharks, giant crabs, and more.

Come between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on any day except Thanksgiving and Christmas, or, if you’re visiting summer, take advantage of extended seasonal ours (and day camps for kids). Don’t leave without grabbing a bite or a cup of coffee at the Flying Squirrel Café, or a souvenir at the gift shop.

Balboa Park Museums

Aside from The Nat, Balboa Park has 16 other museums, from the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society to the Museum of Photographic Arts to the San Diego Air & Space Museum. You can learn about such topics as the Apollo 9 mission, the history of motorcycles, and the paintings of Rembrandt — the Timken features San Diego’s only publicly displayed Rembrandt artwork. All of these are within easy walking distance of each other, mostly in the lower half of the park, so check out the walking map on the park’s website.

Balboa Park is just a 20-minute drive from Pacific Terrace Hotel.

La Jolla Contemporary Art Museum

La Jolla’s Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego features work created in the second half of the twentieth century and the first half of the twenty-first, with a focus on minimalism, pop art, and locally produced art. The museum building is roughly three miles from Pacific Terrace, but renovations are currently taking place, so works are instead on view in the Jacobs and Copley Buildings downtown.

Museum Month

If you’re looking to explore the above museums and various others throughout the city, San Diego Museum Month is the perfect occasion to do so, as admission at more than 40 venues is half off. It’s a great opportunity to check out the Junipero Serra Museum, the Museum of Making Music, the Oceanside Museum of Art, and more.

February 1-29, 2020;

Plan Your Art-Filled Escape

If any of these culturally rich destinations caught your eye, then check out the fantastic accommodations at Pacific Terrace Hotel and start planning your stay.