San Diego

A diverse and sophisticated arts scene probably isn’t the first thing that visitors—or even locals—associate with San Diego. It’s a destination for those who seek out its perennial sunshine, gorgeous beaches, and beautiful scenery. Even those within the arts scene readily admit their fiercest competition is the beach! But just a
A diverse and sophisticated arts scene probably isn’t the first thing that visitors—or even locals—associate with San Diego. It’s a destination for those who seek out its perennial sunshine, gorgeous beaches, and beautiful scenery. Even those within the arts scene readi
A diverse and sophisticated arts scene probably isn’t the first thing that visitors—or even locals—associate with San Di

A diverse and sophisticated arts scene probably isn’t the first thing that visitors—or even locals—associate with San Diego. It’s a destination for those who seek out its perennial sunshine, gorgeous beaches, and beautiful scenery. Even those within the arts scene readily admit their fiercest competition is the beach! But just a little to the right of the Pacific Ocean, there are some amazing and diverse artistic offerings to prove that San Diego can hold its own.

The theater scene in San Diego may not have the commercial appeal that Broadway does, but it more than makes up for it with talent. In fact, a long list of Broadway-bound productions started right here, including Jersey Boys, The Who's Tommy, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Memphis.

Balboa Park’s Old Globe Theatre is modeled after the Shakespearian Globe Theatre in England, and hosts both an annual Shakespeare Festival as well as contemporary plays. A little bit north is La Jolla Playhouse, which was founded by Gregory Peck in 1947, and has hosted dozens of world-premiere productions, in addition to star actors like Laura Linney and Neil Patrick Harris. The playhouse has also launched the Without Walls initiative, which places theater in a new context by removing the theater entirely.

Music also has a major presence in San Diego, courtesy of the world-class San Diego Opera, which performs major works by Puccini and Mozart, and the San Diego Symphony, which caters to a diverse audience thanks to both its classical concerts and its more accessible Summer Pops series.

There’s always something new and exciting happening with visual arts in San Diego. No longer limited to a collector’s market, younger urban artists are making in-roads with warehouse gallery spaces in Barrio Logan, while galleries in La Jolla and Little Italy showcase bold works of contemporary art on their walls. The annual San Diego Art Prize highlights rising figures in the visual arts realm, and in the field of architecture, Orchids and Onions honors the best and worst in structural design—and with a sense of humor at that.

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  • 1. Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

    Downtown | Art Galleries–Arts

    Centrally located in Downtown between a trolley stop and the train station, MCASD has built up a reputation for being the premier site for cutting...Read More

  • 2. Arts District Liberty Station

    Point Loma | Art Galleries–Arts

    The former Naval Training Center at Liberty Station has been transformed into an eclectic and family-friendly alternative to the more avant...Read More

  • 3. Bread & Salt

    Barrio Logan | Music

    The spacious factory setting that houses Bread & Salt feels like a modern art warehouse, though its name nods to its long history as a former...Read More

  • 4. Industry Showroom

    Gaslamp Quarter | Art Galleries–Arts

    This large space in downtown serves both as a workspace for local designers and artists, and as a storefront showroom to show off their wares. ...Read More

  • 5. Quint Gallery

    Bay Park | Art Galleries–Arts

    For more than 30 years, art lovers and museum directors have snagged new pieces from established locals as well as international contemporary...Read More

  • 6. Shane Bowden Gallery

    Art Galleries–Arts

    This up-and-coming gallery in La Jolla's art community features the cutting edge, surrealist paintings and silkscreen art of Shane Bowden in...Read More

  • 7. The Stuart Collection at UCSD

    Art Galleries–Arts

    Less a gallery than an open-air scavenger hunt for some of the city's most impressive works of visual art, the Stuart Collection—located on...Read More

  • 8. Thumbprint Gallery

    Art Galleries–Arts

    This quaint little gallery brings a little edge to otherwise sleepy La Jolla, showing off some of the best lowbrow and street artists in the...Read More

  • 9. Glashaus

    Barrio Logan | Art Galleries–Arts

    A prominent fixture in the up-and-coming Barrio Logan arts district, this repurposed warehouse space plays host to exhibitions from local artists...Read More

  • 10. Prospect Place Fine Art

    Art Galleries–Arts

    Etchings and lithographs by 19th- and 20th-century masters include works by Miró, Matisse, Rufino Tamayo, and Chagall. ...Read More

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