Find Art in Unexpected Places throughout San Diego County

With all the beautiful beaches and great hiking trails, it can be easy for visitors to San Diego to forget that the city is also home to incredible art museums and up-and-coming galleries. Fortunately, for locals and visitors alike, you don’t have to head indoors to find great art – it’s all around you in San Diego!

Murals of La Jolla


A mural by Fred Tomaselli is just one of the Murals of La Jolla

Since 2010, more than a dozen artists have transformed the coastal seaside village of La Jolla into an outdoor contemporary art gallery. The Murals of La Jolla feature massive painted and photographic works by local artists as well as international contemporary art stars.

Writerz Blok

writerz blok graffit art

Writerz Blok, a project of the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation

Started as a community initiative to prevent vandalism, Writerz Blok in southeast San Diego offers one of the most unexpected and extraordinary art experiences in San Diego. Young San Diego street artists continually make over the park’s 10,000 sq. ft., which is covered inch for inch with graffiti art.

Galleta Meadows

Galleta Meadows Dragon art sculpture

Galleta Meadows Dragon sculpture!

Surrounded by the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and citrus groves, Galleta Meadows features 40 fantastic metal sculptures of dinosaurs, mammoths, saber-tooth tigers, sloths and other ancient former residents, as well as life-size animals of the non-prehistoric kind: camels, tortoises and wild stallions. Created by artist Ricardo Breceda, his “Sky Art” project tells the tale of San Diego’s fascinating and fossilized past one free standing, steel-welded sculpture at a time.

Outdoor Art Comes Indoors: Art Alive at the San Diego Museum of Art

San Diego Museum of Art's Art Alive 2013

Bella Meyer’s moss angel for Art Alive 2013. What will this year’s design look like?

In April, the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park blossoms during Art Alive, an enchanting spring exhibition. Transforming the museum into a colorful display of art and flowers, 120 floral designers take inspiration from the museum’s renowned art collection and create floral renditions of famous paintings and sculptures.

However, the most spectacular part of Art Alive is always the museum’s atrium. Each year, one designer is picked to create and enormous floral design that fills the rotunda from top to bottom. This year’s designer, Carlos Franco of Green Fresh Florals, was inspired by the Alhambra palace in Granada, Spain. Expect to see a design composed of 175 hanging pots, 120 bunches of roses, 300 boxwood bunches, 200 bunches of yellow china and white china mums, 8 date palms, 16 conical cypress trees, and 10 rose trees.

san diego museum of art art alive 2014

Volunteers prep hundreds of plants and flowers for Art Alive at the San Diego Museum of Art.

Still looking for more places to find art in unexpected places? Check out the Los Angeles Times‘ suggestions for finding outdoor art in San Diego, or watch our video tour or art in usual places:

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About Candice

Foodie, craft beer nerd, shopaholic, music geek, photographer and contemporary art fan could all be used to describe me. I’m a big proponent of highlighting San Diego’s hidden gems and local businesses and breaking stereotypes about our city. We’re more than just sunshine and beaches (though those are nice, too!).

What would you do on your ideal San Diego Day?

Eating and shopping around my favorite neighborhoods: Golden Hill, South Park, North Park, Little Italy and Hillcrest. Then popping into one of our great art museums and capping off the night with some live music and a a local beer at The Casbah.

What is your favorite San Diego outdoor activity?

Does shopping count as an outdoor activity? Or checking out the public art around town, like at Chicano Park? I do love visiting the La Jolla tide pools in the summer and ice skating at the outdoor rinks that go up each winter.

Do you prefer burgers and beer or linguine and red wine?

Let's get one thing straight here: San Diego craft beer goes with everything, not just burgers. Though it is really good with a burger.

Latest music purchases for my iPod player are…

I’m lucky to be married to a music journalist, so advance copies of the newest albums are constantly available to me for free. But I can’t seem to stop playing the new album by CHVRCHES, and San Diego band Rocket from the Crypt have been on repeat a lot lately.

Follow Candice on Twitter @candicesd

One thought on “Find Art in Unexpected Places throughout San Diego County

  1. Have a question.. I was in La Jolla recently and visited a sculpture and art gallery right across from the LaJolla beach tourist area. It had large interesting fountain sculptures and had a life size ‘end of trail’ sculpture. Can you let me know the name of this gallery. I was interested in purchasing a piece but lost the business card the woman gave me. Thank you!

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