San Diego Magazine

4 Young, Contemporary Art Galleries to Explore in San Diego

Sparks Gallery - San Diego's Art Scene

Beaches and breweries aren’t the only sceneries well worth your time in San Diego. The city is also home to a vibrant clutch of local artists working in every medium imaginable. Recent years have seen startup galleries and spaces burst onto the scene dedicated to featuring this homegrown talent. Here are some of the best stops around town to keep your finger on the art world’s pulse. Continue reading

Jennifer Davies

Best of Balboa Park: An Insider’s View on What to Do in March in the Park

Spring is (almost) here and Balboa Park has lots of ways to get into the swing of spring. From blooming blossoms to the music of mariachis to some scientific myth busting, there’s no shortage of things to do in the park this March.

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San Diego Magazine

Where to Explore San Diego’s Art Scene during Museum Month

San Diego’s local art scene is thriving more than ever. World-class museums abound across the county. As do independent galleries, unique pop-ups, and outdoor installations that can be enjoyed year-round, thanks to our perfect climate. February is Macy’s Museum Month in San Diego, which means you can enjoy half off admission to more than 40 local museums. When you’re looking for inspiration, it’s easy to enjoy the bounty of artistry right here in these creative-minded ‘hoods. Continue reading

Jennifer Davies

Can’t Miss February Events in San Diego’s Balboa Park

Balboa Park

It’s February and love is in the air and there is plenty to love in Balboa Park, too. From the science of love to pop-up Latin art to strolling Japanese gardens in a kimono, the park is alive with experiences you won’t want to miss. Continue reading

Brent Bernasconi

5 Special Exhibitions to Explore During Macy’s Museum Month

Ultimate Dinosaurs

This February, the Macy’s Museum Month invites you explore local museums with 50% off regular admission and to discover something new at these exciting exhibitions.

Macy’s Museum Month

Macy's Museum Month 2017 - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Leap into 40+ museums in San Diego this February. Presented by Macy’s, this popular event allows participants to enjoy half-off entry fees at 40+ San Diego Museum Council membership museums. The savings encourages locals and visitors to explore a variety of arts, culture and science-oriented destinations. From Oceanside Museum of Art down to the Tijuana Estuary, there are ample opportunities for edutainment, creating memories and fun for the whole family.

When: February 1-28, 2017
> Find out more about Macy’s Museum Month

5 Special Exhibitions to Explore During Macy’s Museum Month

Additional fees may apply for special exhibitions.

Dreadnought: 100 Years of a Mighty Martin Guitar

Dreadnought: 100 Years of a Mighty Martin Guitar

One of guitar maker Christian Frederick Martin’s greatest contributions to our musical landscape was its 1916 introduction of the Dreadnought style guitar. Named after the game changing British war ship, the HMS Dreadnought, this large-bodied, powerful acoustic guitar still thrives today. It is a primary tool of countless musicians, and a mainstay in the factories and shops of guitar builders around the globe. Come visit this unique special exhibition and experience the Dreadnought for yourself.

Where: Museum of Making Music – 5790 Armada Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008
When: Thru April 30, 2017
> Find out more about Dreadnought: 100 Years of a Mighty Martin Guitar

Radical Machines: Chinese in the Information Age

Radical Machines: Chinese in the Information Age

Explore the seemingly impossible, yet technologically crucial Chinese typewriter – a machines that inputs a language with no alphabet, yet has more than 70,000 characters. Experience the puzzles themselves along with other rare Chinese and Pan-Asian IT artifacts and materials from printing, telegraphy, typewriting and computing in China, Japan and Korea – the first exhibition of its kind.

Where: 28 J Street, San Diego, CA 92101
When: Thru April 16, 2017
> Find out more about Radical Machines: Chinese in the Information Age

Be the Astronaut

Be the Astronaut

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Be the Astronaut is a fun, interactive adventure where you are in control as you launch a rocket, pilot a spaceship, and drive a rover in space! Discover the solar system first hand with the help of virtual astronauts, and land on multiple worlds, including the moon, Mars, Jupiter and asteroids. Designed with the help of NASA experts, Be the Astronaut is fun for the whole family and takes STEM learning into outer space!

Where: San Diego Air & Space Museum – 2001 Pan American Plaza, San Diego, CA 92101
When: Opens February 3, 2017
> Find out more about Be the Astronaut

Sherlock Holmes and the Clocktower Mystery

Sherlock Holmes and the Clocktower Mystery

A terrible crime! A clever mystery! The game is afoot! A terrible crime has been committed. Victorian London’s most celebrated detective needs your help to find out “whodunit!” Sherlock Holmes and the Clocktower Mystery is a clever, interactive exhibition at the Fleet Science Center that will challenge your powers of observation and deductive reasoning as you work to solve a baffling mystery.

Where: Fleet Science Center – 1875 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
Dates: Opens February 11, 2017
> Find out more about Sherlock Holmes and the Clocktower Mystery

Ultimate Dinosaurs

Ultimate Dinosaurs

Cutting-edge, 21st century technology puts a new twist on these prehistoric creatures, bringing them to life-like never before. Through the use of augmented reality technology, full-scale dinosaurs are transformed into flesh-covered animated beasts. This same technology highlights the continental drift that altered the landscape of the ancient world, setting the stage for the evolution of these bizarre creatures. Feel the exciting and intimidating presence of these exotic creatures as you wander among 16 life-size casts and numerous prehistoric specimens. From the tiny Eoraptor to the massive Giganotosaurus (T. rex‘s bigger, badder cousin), Ultimate Dinosaurs is a fascinating study of species you haven’t met before.

Where: San Diego Natural History Museum – 1788 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
When: Opens February 25, 2017
> Find out more about Ultimate Dinosaurs

> Explore San Diego Museums & Galleries

Brent Bernasconi

Chicano Park Designated National Historic Landmark by National Park Service

Chicano Park in Barrio Logan

Chicano Park in Barrio Logan

In January 2017, the National Park Service named Barrio Logan’s Chicano Park a National Historic Landmark to recognize it’s cultural and historic significance to San Diego and it’s community.

Chicano Park’s Designation Announcement

As the National Park Service enters its second century of service and strives to tell a more inclusive and diverse story of America’s history, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced the designation of 24 new National Historic Landmarks.

The National Historic Landmarks Program recognizes historic properties of exceptional value to the nation and promotes the preservation efforts of federal, state, and local agencies and Native American tribes, as well as those of private organizations and individuals. The program is one of more than a dozen administered by the National Park Service that provide states and local communities technical assistance, recognition and funding to help preserve our nation’s shared history and create close-to-home recreation opportunities.

On April 20, 1970, community residents occupied Chicano Park in San Diego, California, in an ultimately successful effort to prevent the construction of a California Highway Patrol substation on land where the City of San Diego had promised the neighborhood a community park. Representative of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement, Chicano Park has become a cultural and recreational gathering place for the Chicano community and is the location of the Chicano Park Monumental Murals, an exceptional assemblage of master mural artwork painted on the freeway bridge supports.

> Interior Department Announces 24 New National Historic Landmarks

Barrio Logan: Arte y la Cultura Auténtica

One of San Diego’s most vibrant and exciting historic neighborhoods, Barrio Logan is home to young artists and designers as well as families who have resided in this industrial, seaport area for generations. Long a hub for Chicano art, culture and activism, Barrio Logan is now a destination spot for its gallery scene and authentic dining.

 > Learn more about Barrio Logan

Jeff Terich

4 Family-Friendly Concerts in San Diego

If you’re the type that wants to rock out on the weekends, but have children, it’s hard to reconcile those two things. Not every concert is friendly to all ages, nor is there an overwhelming number of places where you can take the whole family and have an outing that everyone will enjoy. But it doesn’t take too much digging to find some concerts that you can bring the kids to. Here’s a roundup of some of the better options for family-friendly concerts in San Diego.

School of Rock Concerts

Family friendly rock concerts aren’t always so easy to come by, but when the kids are the ones putting on the show, it certainly adds an interesting option to the table. School of Rock offers music education to kids with an emphasis on the “rock,” and several times a year they put on concerts showcasing either the work of a particular artist, ranging from icons like Led Zeppelin to more esoteric acts like Neutral Milk Hotel, or thematic shows, such as the popular annual local music covers show. The venues change each time, having been held as locales such as House of Blues and The Irenic, but there’s really no bad place to see junior find the rock star within.

> Browse School of Rock San Diego Concerts

San Diego County Fair Concerts

San Diego <3s Switchfoot! #sdfair

A post shared by San Diego County Fair (@sandiegocountyfair) on

There’s nothing quite like a trip to the fair. Every summer, the San Diego County Fair offers families a chance to indulge in all kinds of fried concoctions, carnival rides and, of course, live concerts. As it turns out, most of those shows are open to all ages, and this year’s 2016 lineup includes some big names, including Brian Wilson, Joan Jett, Carly Rae Jepsen and X Ambassadors. So make a day of it: Gobble some fried cheese, pet some friendly sheep and take in a concert before heading back home.

> Browse the San Diego County Fair Concert Line Up

Balboa Park Organ Pavilion Concerts

Spreckels Organ Pavilion Summer Concerts

The Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park has been regularly hosting Sunday afternoon performances for years, which are always free and open to all ages. However, of late those shows have expanded from being mostly classical to incorporating more contemporary rock, pop and experimental music. Civic organist Carol Williams recently led a pair of tributes to the music of David Bowie, and in 2014, she collaborated with local punk band Drive Like Jehu on their first live show in 20 years.

> Find out more about the Spreckels Organ Pavilion

Point Loma Summer Concerts

Point Loma Summer Concerts

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Sinclair (Point Loma Summer Concerts)

Taking the family to the park is never a bad thing to do on summer weekends. Everyone gets out of the house, gets some fresh air and takes part in something that doesn’t involve looking at a screen. But add music to the equation and it’s even better. The Point Loma summer concert series in Point Loma Park features a variety of concerts featuring local bands outdoors in a comfortable and fun setting that’s accessible to everyone. Even better, there’s a raffle each year, with proceeds going toward music education and music nonprofits.

> Check out the Point Loma Summer Concerts Lineup

> Browse San Diego Summer Music

4 of the Best All Ages Live Music Venues in San Diego

Featured photo courtesy of Cynthia Sinclair.
Jeff Terich

4 Must See 2016 Summer Concerts in San Diego

There’s a lot of competition for live music in San Diego, and the competition doesn’t always come from other live shows. Beaches, parks, museums, galleries – there’s no shortage of options for fun summer activities, but if you’re starting to figure out your summer plans, I’d like to suggest marking a few select dates on your calendar for some great concerts coming to town between June and September. I’ve assembled some great options for those seeking out a great live music experience this summer, from old-schoolers to newcomers, be it rock, pop or R&B. Start planning now – you don’t want to miss ’em.

Brian Wilson

The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds celebrates a milestone 50-year anniversary this year, and founding member and singer/songwriter Brian Wilson is playing the album in its entirety on tour. One of the stops is at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, and the concert is free to ticketholders at the San Diego County Fair, which is a major plus. God only knows there aren’t many opportunities to hear one of the great artists of our time perform the entirety of one of the best albums ever released, especially without paying a steep ticket price, so wouldn’t it be nice to be there when it happens?

Where: Del Mar Fairgrounds – 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014
When: June 30, 2016
Time: 7:30 PM
Cost: Free to fair goers. Reserved Seating – $16-$118
> Find out more about Brian Wilson at the San Diego County Fair

Savages

Three of the best shows I’ve seen in the last year and a half were all played by Savages. The London-based outfit has a dynamic stage presence, intense but big-hearted, loud yet overflowing with charm. It doesn’t hurt that their two albums, Silence Yourself and Adore Life are two of the best indie rock/post-punk records of the past five years, and in a live settings they grow into something even more powerful. This one’s at the top of my list, and should definitely be up there on yours as well.

Where: Observatory North Park – 2891 University Ave, San Diego, CA, 92104, USA
When: July 29, 2016
Time: 8:00 PM
Cost: $25
> Get Tickets to Savages at Observatory North Park

Duran Duran/Chic

Individually, I’d be pretty enthusiastic about recommending a show that featured either Duran Duran or Chic, but both bands? That’s definitely a must see. New wave icons Duran Duran have been on tour with disco/funk legends Chic since earlier this spring, but their double-headlining old-school dance party makes their way to Sleep Train’s outdoor stage right in the middle of summer, making for a perfect night of vintage jams in an open-air setting. Freak out!

Where: Sleep Train Amphitheatre – 2050 Entertainment Circle, Chula Vista, CA 91911
When: August 2, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
Cost: $36-$152
> Get Tickets to Duran Duran: The Paper Gods Tour with CHIC featuring Nile Rodgers

Anderson .Paak

California’s Anderson .Paak (the period is intentional) has been making funky, just slightly psychedelic R&B for a few years now, but his new album Malibu has made him an early MVP for 2016. His style is a mix of ’70s-era soul a la Stevie Wonder or Marvin Gaye, filtered through contemporary electronic and hip-hop sounds, with more than his fair share of unique quirks. His music is pure joy, and nothing but good times are guaranteed when he hits the stage.

Where: House of Blues San Diego – 1055 5th Avenue San Diego, CA 92101
When: August 3, 2016
Time: 8:00 PM
Cost: $20-$45
> Get Tickets to Anderson .Paak at House of Blues San Diego

> Explore more of San Diego’s Concerts and Music Scene

Susan Myrland

Arts Worth Traveling For: 3 Creative Festivals Not to Miss

Poets and Painters Spoken Word and Graffiti Art Festival

If you need an excuse to stay a little longer in San Diego, we have one word for you: festivals. From Shakespearean folios to interactive film fests, you can immerse yourself for a day or a week, enjoying the unique combination of cultural enrichment and pure escapism at these fun fests.

Discover Shakespeare’s First Folios

First Folio! San Diego 2016

Title page with Droeshout engraving of Shakespeare. Credit: Shakespeare First Folio, 1623. Folger Shakespeare Library.

Fans of the Bard are in for a treat, as San Diego is the only California stop for “First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare,” a traveling exhibition commemorating the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death. The folio is the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays, published in 1623 by two of his fellow actors. Without their foresight, treasures such as “Macbeth,” “Julius Caesar” and “Twelfth Night” might have been lost. The rare volume will be on display from June 4 to July 7 at the San Diego Central Library’s Art Gallery, complemented by props and costumes from The Old Globe Theatre. Admission is free but reserving tickets in advance is highly recommended.

In addition, the Old Globe, San Diego Public Library and several partners are hosting Shakespearean-themed performances, panel discussions, film screenings, family workshops and tours – even an alternate reality game – throughout May, June and July. Many of the events are free; some require reservations.

When: June 4 – July 7, 2016
> Find out more about First Folio San Diego 2016

Graffiti Art Meets Poetry Slam

Poets and Painters Spoken Word and Graffiti Art Festival - San Diego Festivals

At the Jacobs Center’s Market Creek Plaza Amphitheater, you’ll find a year-round calendar of culture from jazz to culinary fusion. On June 25 from noon to 5:00 PM, the Poets and Painters Spoken Word and Graffiti Art Festival presents award-winning poet/playwright Gill Sotu along with Writerz Blok graffiti artists Jose Venegas and Sergio Gonzalez. This free event includes a poetry slam, live mural painting, music, storytelling, hands-on workshops and some of the hottest all-style dance from The Junkyard Dance Crew.

When: June 25, 2016
Time: 12:00 to 5:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Poets and Painters Spoken Word and Graffiti Art Festival

Immersed in Mozart

Mainly Mozart Festival

The Mainly Mozart Festival is a long-running local tradition, expanding over the years to include a range of composers from the 18th and 19th centuries. Performances are held in cathedrals, the outdoor Spreckels Organ Pavilion and the exquisitely restored Balboa Theatre, a 1924 jewel box that CNN Travel listed in the top ten of “World’s Most Spectacular Theatres.” This year’s edition of Mainly Mozart is more than music – there’s also a one-woman play, “The Other Mozart,” and a three-day symposium, “Mozart & the Mind: an Exploration of Prodigy,” with renowned speakers from science, medicine and the arts.

When: June 2-18, 2016
> Find out more about the Mainly Mozart Festival

> Discover More Festivals in San Diego

Robert Arends

Top 5 San Diego Spots to Explore the Birthplace of California

The new San Salvador, the Mayflower of the West! Photo credit: Jerry Soto

The new San Salvador, the Mayflower of the West! Photo credit: Jerry Soto

Did you know, San Diego was discovered by Europeans 473 years ago? Yep, only 50 years after Columbus and more than 200 years before the Spanish missions were started.

Spanish explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo sailed his galleon ship, the San Salvador into San Diego Bay on Sept. 28, 1542 – going down in history as San Diego’s “first tourist.” He didn’t stay long, though, as there was no San Diego Zoo or LEGOLAND for the crew to explore. 😉

Today, tourists by the millions are drawn to our attractive sun-kissed shores in search of sun and fun, as well as the fascinating living history of San Diego.

Following are Top 5 places to step back in time and trace Cabrillo’s momentous discovery, and the founding of San Diego:

1. Maritime Museum of San Diego

San Salvador docked at the Maritime Museum. Photo credit: Jerry Soto

San Salvador docked at the Maritime Museum. Photo credit: Jerry Soto

Last month the Maritime Museum of San Diego launched a full-size, functioning replica of the San Salvador – the Mayflower of the West – much to the delight of landlubbers like me! The $6.2 million vessel took 5 years to construct (check out this cool time-lapse video of the ship’s construction) and can be seen docked at the museum’s pier on Harbor Drive. Plan is to have it open to the public (as in actually go onboard) later this year, hopefully by the holidays {fingers crossed}.

2. Cabrillo National Monument

Impressive statue of Cabrillo at Cabrillo National Monument

Impressive statue of Cabrillo at Cabrillo National Monument

Wonder what Cabrillo looked like or what he saw as he sailed into San Diego’s impressive natural harbor? Head to Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego’s only national park. There’s a 14-foot high statue of Cabrillo (originally envisioned as a 150-foot tall sculpture!) and incredible 360-degree, birds-eye views of the city. Also fun to explore are the Old Point Loma Lighthouse (one of eight original lighthouses on the West Coast), tide pools and bunkers from WWII.

3. Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Folklorico dancers at Old Town State Historic Park

Folklorico dancers at Old Town State Historic Park

The Junipero Serra Museum on a hill overlooking Old Town, marks the spot where Spanish friars and soldiers established a presidio and the first Mission San Diego in 1769 (the original structures are no longer visible; the ruins are buried). Downhill, Old Town State Historic Park with its adobe buildings, old timey plaza and other sites, shows what life was like at San Diego’s first “downtown” in the 1800s. This is where the Wild West meets mariachis and our Hispanic heritage.

4. Mission San Diego de Alcala

Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala

California’s first mission, Mission San Diego de Alcala in Mission Valley

In the aptly named Mission Valley near Old Town, is the second Mission San Diego de Alcala – which was moved here in 1774 to be closer to the San Diego River (makes sense). You can stroll through the mission and its beautiful gardens, chapel, church, a museum with original artifacts and an excavation site out back, believed to be the monastery.

5. Mission Trails Regional Park

Old Mission Dam in Mission Trails Regional Park. Photo credit: Ce Helton

Old Mission Dam in Mission Trails Regional Park. Photo credit: Ce Helton

Mission Trails Regional Park, one of the largest urban parks in the U.S., is just up the road from Mission San Diego. Highlights include the original Old Mission Dam, a state-of-the-art Visitor and Interpretive Center featuring exhibits dedicated to the Kumeyaay Indians who lived here 1,000 years ago and 60 miles of hiking trails including an awesome trek to the top of Cowles Mountain, the city of San Diego’s highest peak (1,593 feet).

See you in San Diego, and make your own history! 🙂