Candice

San Diego Museum Month: Half-Off at 40+ Museums

san diego museum month 2014

san diego museum month 2014

Exploring San Diego’s museums, both big and small, is a great way to learn about the life, culture, history and art that makes up the city. But if you plan on visiting more than one or two, admission prices can really add up.

Fear not, budget-savvy museum lovers. San Diego Museum Month 2014 is right around the corner. From February 1-28, 2014, visitors can pick up a special Museum Month pass that provides half-off admission to 44 participating museums around San Diego.

With so many participating museums, it can be hard to choose which ones to visit. Fortunately, San Diego’s wealth of museums means that visitors from all walks of life are sure to find something one (or more) to love.

History and Heritage

maritime museum of san diego

The Star of India is one of the ships featured at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

The San Diego History Center showcases San Diego’s history with artifacts, costumes, art and one of the largest photograph collections in the western United States.

Famed architect Irving Gill designed the historic Craftsman period mansion, The Marston House, with an elegant English garden.

The Maritime Museum of San Diego in downtown San Diego along San Diego Bay offers one of the world’s finest collections of historic ships, including the famous Star of India – the world’s oldest active tall ship.

Artsy and Cool

lux art institute

The Lux Art Institute sits hillside in San Diego’s North County

The Museum of Photographic Arts presents photography from leaders like Ansel Adams, as well as cutting edge new artists. An intimate and elegant, state-of-the-art movie theater screens film classics and cult classics alike.

Set on a secluded hillside in a bright, modern structure that resembles a tiny Getty Center, the LUX Art Institute in Encinitas maintains an artist-in-residence program offering up-close opportunities to view international artists at work.

The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego displays modern masterpieces, including multi-media exhibits from world-renowned contemporary artists, in two locations, downtown San Diego and La Jolla.

Only in San Diego

USS Midway Museum

The USS Midway is an aircraft carrier turned museum.

The USS Midway Museum is a decommissioned aircraft carrier museum in downtown San Diego along San Diego Bay featuring aircraft displays and interactive exhibits honoring the U.S. military.

Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad features more than 450 musical instrument displays and interactive areas to listen to music, ranging from ragtime to rock ‘n’ roll.

California Surf Museum in Oceanside preserves the legacy of pioneering legends of the surfing world.

Museum Month passes are free and can be picked up at any San Diego area Macy’s store location (plus locations in Temecula and the Imperial Valley). Be sure to grab one early to make the most of your time in San Diego!

> Click here for a full list of San Diego Museum Month Participants

In the comments below, tell us which museum is your favorite and why…

Alison

A San Diego Holiday Tradition: Balboa Park December Nights

balboa park lily pond botanical building december nights san diego holiday celebration

Balboa Park December Nights is as close as San Diego gets to becoming a winter wonderland, and this year’s event promises to be bigger and better than ever. San Diego’s largest free festival, which is designed to be the city’s holiday gift to the community, is expected to draw at least 300,000 in this its 35th year.

The two-day celebration of entertainment, food and fun, takes place Friday, Dec. 6, from 3–11 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 7, from noon–11 p.m. Balboa Park is decked in twinkling lights and silvery garlands. Fanciful Christmas trees abound, and the aromas of multi-cultural holiday treats waft through the air.

balboa park lily pond botanical building december nights san diego holiday celebration

The Lily Pond and Botanical Building decked out for December Nights. (Photo by Manny Cencieros)

In the spirit of the season, participating park museums open their doors to the public free of charge from 5–9 p.m. both evenings. Many present special holiday programs. Kids will be awed by the elaborate gingerbread constructions at the Mingei International Museum and can join in holiday-inspired craft projects at the San Diego Air & Space Museum. All ages will be enthralled by the amazing handbell ringers who perform at the San Diego History Center, and don’t miss the San Diego Floral Association’s exhibit at the House of Hospitality of 30 beautifully decorated holiday trees.

balboa park organ pavilion san diego december nights holiday event

Festive performances take place on the beautiful stage of the Organ Pavilion.

Festivities are family friendly, multi-cultural and staged throughout the park.  The San Diego Civic Youth Ballet will perform excerpts from “The Nutcracker” on the Casa del Prado Stage. Steps away on the California Quadrangle near the San Diego Museum of Man, revelers can see the Santa Lucia Procession and children’s choir performances. The San Diego Civic Dance Company will present Rockettes-style routines, while a puppet version of “The Christmas Carol” will be presented at the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater. African drumming and dance performances and Reggae music performances are planned at the WorldBeat Center. Dozens of singers, dancers and musicians will take to the stage at the Organ Pavilion.

Dr. Seuss' how the Grinch Stole Christmas Old Globe Theater San Diego Balboa Park December Nights holiday event

Kids can get their photo taken with the Grinch at the Old Globe.

Youngsters will have the opportunity to visit with Santa as he strolls the park, and they can pose for a photo in the Old Globe courtyard with Dr. Seuss’s Grinch who stole Christmas. Kids of all ages can join with Junior Theatre students singing holiday songs. A series of children’s holiday movies will run nonstop both evenings in the theater at the Hall of Champions. There also are plenty of carnival rides to keep the younger set entertained.

Hungry? December Nights is known for its mouth-watering range of food and drink offerings. The House of Pacific Relations International Cottages offer traditional holiday foods from a smorgasbord of nations: think empanadas, egg rolls, shepherd’s pie, pasties, pancit, samosas, plantains, pierogi, bourekas, baklava, paella, and even blueberry soup. Many museums offer tasty treats as well. You’ll find roasted chestnuts at the San Diego Art Institute, yakisoba at the Japanese Friendship Garden and hot toddies at the Hall of Champions. In addition, numerous food vendors sell an array of yummy holiday delights, from melted Swiss raclette to fresh-baked gingerbread cookies.  The 21+ set can sip a locally crafted brew at one of several beer gardens.

House of China Food International Cottages San Diego Balboa Park December Nights holiday event

Ethnic food specialties are part of the delicious fun at December Nights.

December Nights are prime time for holiday shopping.  Find great gifts at museum stores, from Spanish Village artisans and at a wide range of arts and crafts booths.  For $300 or less, buy a piece of original art right off the walls at the San Diego Art Institute. And don’t forget to buy a sprig of locally sourced mistletoe from San Diego Natural History Museum Canyoneers.

With so many attending December Nights, parking can be tougher than fitting down a chimney. Your best bet is to take public transportation or park for $5 at Petco Park or for free at City College. Free shuttles will ferry celebrants to and from 6th & Laurel from 3 p.m.–midnight on Friday and from 11:30 a.m.–midnight on Saturday.

Finally, be sure to bundle up!  While San Diego may better known for sandmen than snowmen, it can get downright chilly here on December nights.

What’s your favorite part of December Nights in Balboa Park? Let us know in the comments.

 

Maren

Mariachi, Murder and Museums: San Diego Music this March

Cruzar La Cara at the San Diego Opera

This March, San Diego offers a dynamic and culturally diverse musical calendar that includes internationally acclaimed Mexican mariachi, Indian classical music and an intense Italian opera, proving once again there is more to San Diego than meets the sundrenched eye.

A Week of Mariachi

Cruzar La Cara at the San Diego Opera

See the very first Mariachi Opera with the renowned Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan. Photo courtesy of San Diego Opera.

Celebrate the art of the Mariachi with exciting events around town leading up to the San Diego Opera’s West Coast Premiere of Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, the first mariachi opera starring Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan, playing on March 16, 2013 at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM. Before each show, enjoy the festivities in the San Diego Civic Plaza including food, fun and performances by student mariachi groups.

> Click for full list of Mariachi events from March 6-16, 2013

Music at the Museums

Art of Elan Musicians playing at the San Diego Museum of Art

Art of Élan performs in the beautiful, rose-colored Hibbin Gallery at SDMA

The museums of Balboa Park offer ample after-hour chances to enjoy visual and musical masterpieces hand in hand.

On March 13, 2013, from 4:00 to 6:00 PM, in conjunction with the week of mariachi, see different mariachi groups alongside exhibits related to mariachi, music or Mexico at the Mingei International Museum, San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Man and Timken Museum of Art. $2 at the door (Free at the Timken).

On March 5, 2013 at 7:00 PM, the San Diego Museum of Art also welcomes the Art of Elan’s third concert of the season. Enjoy a voyage through Indian classical music and its influence on modern-day composers. Featuring specialists in the Indian classical tradition as well as Robert Aldridge’s “threedance,” a highly rhythmic and lyrical work for violin, marimba and table, this program draws connections between yesterday and today, while reminding us of the transportive nature of music.

Murder in the Cathedral

Murder in the Cathedral with San Diego Opera - Music in San Diego

The West Coast premiere of Murder in the Cathedral with San Diego Opera. Photo courtesy of San Diego Opera.

Opening March 30, 2013 at 7:00 PM the San Diego Opera brings the faith, passion, tragedy and hope alive in the West Coast Premiere of Murder in the Cathedral, based on the T.S. Eliot play about the assassination of Archbishop Thomas Becket in December 1170 at Canterbury Cathedral.

> Hear more live music in San Diego