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.
View this post on Instagram
Tuesday is the launch of Kids Free in October! 🎉 It's our ninth year participating in this amazing program. ⬇️ Download your coupon at sandiegomuseumcouncil.org and be sure to check online (link in our profile) for details and conditions. #KidsFreeSD #museum #sandiego #balboapark #thenat #kidswillbekids
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.
View this post on Instagram
After Thursday’s feast, come feed your soul in the galleries. Join a conversation-based tour of the new exhibitions at 2 PM today. Image: Installation image of Bound to the Earth: Art, Materiality, and the Natural World, on view at MCASD Downtown, 2019. Photo by Stacy Keck.
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; https://sandiegomuseumcouncil.org/specials/museum-month/
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.