Are you a history buff? An art aficionado? A curiosities enthusiast? San Diego is home to a wealth of museums and galleries to inspire and educate. Whether you’re looking to learn about the native flora and fauna of the San Diego region, hoping to set foot aboard the largest-serving aircraft carrier of the 20th century, or peruse a gallery filled with colorful works of art, there’s a museum or gallery for every interest in San Diego.
Saturday, May 18 is International Museum Day, and employees at The San Diego Foundation were eager to share their favorite spots to engage and learn in the region.
Everett Au, Environment & Thomas Murphy Fellow
I am a huge fan of museums that let you learn through hands-on experience and give you a sneak peak of how the world works. As you might have guessed, this puts local museums like the Fleet Science Center and the San Diego Natural History Museum at the top of my list. These two wonderful learning centers let you explore the intersections of science, technology and the natural world through hands-on learning experiences. I am always on the lookout the next museum to explore!
Cori Hamilton, Operations Liaison
The Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla is a beautiful space containing incredible exhibitions from talented artists. It’s temporarily closed for renovations, but I’m looking forward to returning once it opens up again! There is also Museum of Contemporary Art located downtown.
Pauline Martinson, Director of Development
It’s hard to choose just one museum in San Diego, so I’m going to go with two! I love the Museum of Man for both the amazing exhibits and the beauty of the museum. I was fortunate enough to be able to tour the museum’s iconic tower before it closed for seismic renovations – what an incredible view of the park and San Diego! My favorite exhibit currently on display is PostSecret — a unique community project where people can anonymously share their secrets through postcards and voice recordings. The Mingei International Museum is also a must-see. I’ll always remember the origami exhibit I experienced during my last visit. The intricate creations were incredibly beautiful, and I was able to learn so much about the traditional art form.
Matt Fettig, Chief Investment Officer
At this stage in life, my favorite “anything” is dictated by my six-year-old twins. But in the case of museums, my whole family agrees that the San Diego Natural History Museum is our favorite. It’s a wonderful place for children to learn about the history of our planet and I would highly recommend it.
Catrina Dulay, Graphic Designer
My favorite San Diego museum is the La Jolla Map Museum because I love cartography and the artistry behind it. Since we rely heavily on GPS to navigate, physical maps have become antiquated, but I still enjoy looking at hand-painted maps and using printed maps when I travel abroad. Maps also remind me that the world is big and there is still so much more of it to explore.
Hallie Jacobs, Digital Marketing Manager
San Diego is full of art, history and culture, so choosing just one museum is hard to do! But I have to say, my favorite museum is the Museum of Contemporary Art downtown. It’s a beautiful space that curates amazing exhibitions with a diverse array of mediums. As someone who doesn’t have one artistic bone in her body, I’m constantly blown away at the beautiful and innovative creations on display in the museum.
Miguel Lopez, Prospect Research Analyst
As a born and raised San Diegan, my favorite museum is the San Diego History Center. I have a deep connection to our city and most recently I’ve developed a curiosity to the remarkable stories of our San Diego region. The storytelling at the San Diego History Center has grown my appreciation for the region. A current remarkable exhibit, LGBTQ+ San Diego Stories of Struggles + Triumphs, showcases the rich history of the LGBTQ+ community in our region.
Gabby Herencia, Coordinator, Membership & Operations, San Diego Women’s Foundation
My favorite museum is the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park! This museum is really fun to take your family and friends to, especially if you enjoy learning about the wonders of animals and nature. One time, they featured Body Worlds displaying human bodies ranging from athletes to older adults. I strongly believe that this museum sparks interest in science and other facts about our everyday surroundings.
Eva Comeau, Board Liason
The San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum in Escondido is a great place for children and adults alike! There are tons of hands-on exhibits and opportunities to engage and learn about a variety of things in a different way.
Brian Zumbano, Vice President, Chief Development & Stewardship Officer
My favorite museum in San Diego isn’t technically open yet, but when it does open, I know it will be a huge hit — the Comic Con Museum in Balboa Park is a fantastic representation of San Diego’s colorful connection to comic history. I had the opportunity to explore the museum behind-the-scenes with my son last year and was impressed by the space. Once the museum is complete, it will be a wonderful addition to Balboa Park’s museum landscape.
Visit the San Diego Tourism Authority website for a list of museums and galleries in San Diego.