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Must-Visit Art Galleries and Museums in San Diego

mother and daughter on a museum in San Diego

A city on the coast of the Pacific, San Diego possesses great natural beauty with an expansive outdoors and stunning beaches. But San Diego is also a center for art and culture and there are many art galleries and museums to visit. In this post, we will take you through some of the best museums and galleries in San Diego.

The San Diego Museum of Art

One of the oldest and largest art museums in the region, the San Diego Museum of Art is known globally for its impressive collections of paintings and sculptures, some made by renowned artists including El Greco, Goya, Sanchez Cotan, and Ribera. Though the museum holds 2 major exhibitions every year, the calendar is filled with smaller shows and exhibitions, so there’s always something new to see. Exhibitions feature the art of the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Latin America, with pieces that span the centuries.

While the focus is on art, there is also a space for music. In the sculpture garden you’ll often hear the sounds of live jazz being performed.

Note that the museum is closed on Wednesdays.

The Chuck Jones Gallery

Ask anyone over the age of 40 “What’s up doc?” in a particular voice and they’ll immediately know who you’re referencing. The Chuck Jones Gallery is where you’ll find the artwork that made Loony Tunes one of the most famous cartoon studios in history. Bugs Bunny, of course, is prominently represented. But there’s also something for a younger audience, with work from prominent artists responsible for other cultural icons such as Star Wars and The Simpsons.

A Center for Creativity gives kids the chance to take art classes with the aim of fostering creativity. It’ll be a nostalgic trip for parents and an interactive time for the kids.

Museum of Photographic Art

The MOPA is dedicated to showcasing the history of photography and film. From the latest in world cinema to some of the sharpest documentaries, you can experience them here in its own theater. However, this is not intended as a niche interest institution, with the mission “to inspire, educate, and engage the broadest possible audience.”

As well as viewings, there are workshops and classes to help broaden both the public and enthusiasts appreciation and understanding of the film and photographic arts.

The library which contains a treasure of photographs is unfortunately closed as of writing, but when it reopens it will greatly enrich an already an already impressive museum.

The San Diego Watercolor Society

If you have a particular love for watercolors, a visit to the SDWS is a must.

As the name suggests, the Gallery’s primary purpose to spread an appreciation of painting with watermedia. To this end, the gallery not only holds a superb collection of permanent watercolor pieces, it also holds monthly exhibitions of new work. What makes the SDWS feel more like a community is how involved they make their visitors. Visitors are encouraged to vote for their favorite piece for each monthly show, with the winning artist awarded at the end of the month.

Like many other galleries and museums, there are workshops that cater for those who are just beginners to those who take a more serious approach to the craft.

These are just some of the many art galleries and museums in San Diego. If you’d like to know more about the great things to see and do in the area, or maybe if you’re looking to explore the option of moving to San Diego, call us at 760.632.8900 or contact us here.

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