If you love a bit of art, culture and history when you head off for a trip, then San Diego will be right up your street. It’s got galleries, studios and museums of all shapes and sizes – and for all tastes and interests. We’ve pulled together some of the best areas to head for to get your dose of culture. But, of course, don’t forget to check out local listings when you’re in town for the very latest events and exhibitions on offer in this creative hub of a county.
If you’re on the hunt for things to do in San Diego, Balboa Park is a must see for many visitors. It’s billed as the largest urban park in America, and home to cultural institutions. There are more than a dozen museums here, and they’re all offering you a great experience. Art, technology and natural science are among the themes being brought to life here. The museums are all dotted around the gardens of Balboa Park.
The Fleet Science Center is certainly worth a visit if you have children with you, as it’s all about science, and it provides wonderful hands-on experiments. For train lovers young and old, there’s the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
If you want to delve into San Diego’s colonial past, then head for Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
This area, regarded as the “birth place” of California, offers all sorts of historical sites and museums – and many will let you in for free!
You’ll come across the Whaley House Museum Complex in the heart of Old Town. It’s got five historic buildings, including Whaley House – which is widely touted as being haunted!
You can see a scale model of the 19th century Old Town if you head for the Robinson-Rose House and, further out, up a hill, you’ll come across Heritage Park where you’ll find the Serra Museum.
The Gaslamp Quarter is a must for your bucket-list, with loads of history worth checking out. Back in 1980, it won a place on the National Registrar of Historic Places.
Many of the Quarter’s historic buildings have been turned into museums, hotels, bars, restaurants and shops among other things.
If you want to check out some of the architecture, some of the most interesting buildings are the Old City Hall, the Yuma Building, the Royal Pie Bakery Building and the Spencer Ogden Building, which heighten the connection to the past to this neighborhood.
North Park and South Park
Head to the North Park and South Park neighborhoods for some hipster and arts scene vibes.
In the North, there’s dozens of galleries on offer in Ray Street. And when you’ve finished absorbing all of that creativity there are plenty of places to drink, eat and shop!
You’ll also stumble across galleries in South Park. And, if your stomach is groaning a visit or two, you’ll find lots of places to eat here as well – with a focus on organic produce and sustainable meats and seafood.