San Diego Museums: All Personally Reviewed
The Adobe Chapel was originally built in 1850 as a home, and was converted to a church by Don José Aguirre in 1858. After having been bulldozed for street realignment in the 1930s, the WPA reconstructed the adobe chapel in 1937. Much of the interior artifacts from the original chapel have been retained, including the… (read more)
On the windswept tip of Point Loma is Cabrillo National Monument, which is the third most visited national monument in the United States. From this vantage point, 422 ft high above the ocean, you will be able to enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of the city of San Diego and beyond. On a clear day… (read more)
The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center Presents “Cosmic Collisions” Digital Show through June 30.
“Cosmic Collisions” is a spectacular immersive digital theater experience narrated by award-winning actor, director and producer Robert Redford.
Featuring stunning images from space and breathtaking visualizations based on cutting-edge scientific data, it reveals the unimaginable, explosive encounters that shaped our solar… (read more)
What is unique about Deer Park Winery is that it caters to connoisseurs of both good wines and antique cars. Their collection of one-of-a-kind American convertibles includes over 100 models.
Equally as impressive as their vintage cars are their wines, which include zinfandel, Sangiovese, merlot, California champagne and petite syrah.
They also have a gourmet… (read more)
This is the only Command Museum dedicated to the history of Marine Corps aviation. The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum (13) … (read more) has more than two dozen vintage and historically important aircraft on display. They range from World War II “Warbirds” to present-day jet fighters and helicopters.
Inside the Flying Leatherneck Museum are artifacts, photos and displays
The Gaslamp Museum at the William Heath Davis House, built in 1850, is the oldest house in San Diego’s Historic Gaslamp Quarter. Because of the shortage of lumber in the area at the time, 8 to 10 pre-cut houses were purchased from a manufacturer in Portland, Maine and shipped to San Diego. After a long… (read more)
The Heritage of the Americas Museum is located on the campus of Cuyamaca College in Rancho San Diego. The Museum is a cultural and educational facility featuring the prehistoric and historic art, culture and natural history of the Americas.
Early inhabitants of the Americas came from Asia, both across the land bridge in the north… (read more)
If you’re looking for a truly unique venue in the Gaslamp, the House of Blues on Fifth is sure to please. Celebrating its 20th Anniversary as San Diego’s premier restaurant and entertainment venue, the artistic environment celebrates African-American cultural contributions of blues music and folk art like never before. In the decorative music hall patrons… (read more)
Enjoy free Sunday programs of ethnic song and dance from 2 p.m.-3 p.m. on the outdoor stage of the International Cottages. While you are there, be sure to visit The International Cottages, open noon-4 p.m. Sundays, featuring international artifacts, history and international food samples. Call (619-239-0512) or (619-234-0739).… (read more)
It is an idyllic retreat, radiating serenity, simplicity and beauty. View a Zen Rock Garden from a meditation room in the Exhibit House, which also features Japanese art and crafts. Relax on the moon viewing deck next to a restful koi pond and its soothing waterfall. The garden is truly a treasure you’ll want to… (read more)
The Junípero Serra Museum, in Presidio Park, is one of the most familiar landmarks in San Diego. As a major symbol of the city, it stands atop the hill recognized as the site where California began. It was here in 1769 that a Spanish Franciscan missionary, Father Junípero Serra, with a group of soldiers led… (read more)
The Society was founded to collect, protect, preserve, display, and further the preservation of items and documents of historical value and significance from the Lake Elsinore Valley. The Society was conceived and organized in 1996 and the museum is located at 106 South Main Street in Lake Elsinore, California, and is open on Saturdays and… (read more)
The fascinating floating museum at the Embarcadero consists of six historic ships and two submarines: the Star of India, which is the oldest active sailing ship in the world, the steam ferry Berkeley, the steam yacht Medea, the San Diego Harbor Pilot, also an actual Soviet-era diesel B-39 submarine… (read more) and the
One of California’s finest examples of the Arts and Crafts movement, the Marston House was constructed in 1905 for George W. Marston and his wife, Anna Gunn Marston. George Marston is noted for many things but most prominently as a civic leader whose interest and work in historic preservation, conservation and history is well known.… (read more)
This awesome, historically significant museum is dedicated to preserving the glorious history and rich tradition of the United States Marine Corps. This historical museum is visited by more than 100,000 people annually. “A Walking Tour of the MCRD Command Museum” features fourteen galleries, which encompass dozens of exhibits featuring everything from weapons, uniforms, equipment, paintings… (read more)
Southern California’s largest collection of art of the people from all eras and cultures of the world. Dynamic, changing exhibitions of historical and contemporary folk art, craft and design, and a popular museum store featuring handmade items from around the world.
TRUE BLUE: Indigo, Turquoise, Cobalt & Lapis Lazuli… (read more). The color blue evokes mystery,
Founded in 1798, Old Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, known as the “King of the Missions,” is a National Historic Landmark. It is the largest of all the 21 California missions that flourished here in the 1700′s and 1800′s, is home to a community of Franciscan Friars and is open daily to the public… (read more)
Mission Trails Regional Park is the largest of the City of San Diego’s parks and is the third gem of the city’s park system. Mission Trails is larger than Mission Bay and Balboa parks combined. At 5,800 acres, it is the largest open space urban park west of the Mississippi. It includes two lakes, a… (read more)
The Mormon Battalion Historic Site is located in Old Town, at the corner of Harney and Juan Streets. Walk in the steps of The 500 men Mormon Battalion, Army of the West, as they left Winter Quarters, Iowa, and began their infantry march from Fort Leavenworth to the California Pueblo of San Diego. They are open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., there are also guided tours and admission is free.
NTC at Liberty Station, located at the former Naval Training Center in Point Loma, is San Diego’s flagship destination for arts, culture, science and technology. With 28 acres of beautifully renovated Spanish Revival architecture, NTC is a new landmark showcasing San Diego’s creative community, and offering state-of-the-art venues for indoor or outdoor weddings, events, parties,… (read more)
Don’t miss Balboa Park’s fascinating aeronautical museum. It’s the San Diego Air & Space Museum, which is located in the historic Ford Building. The building is directly under the flight path of aircraft bound for nearby Lindbergh Field. You can hear these massive jetliners overhead as you browse this astounding collection of aircraft.
This huge… (read more)
The museum showcases an amazing permanent collection of classic & vintage cars, racers, motorcycles, and special one-of-a-kind cars like Louie Mattar’s Fabulous $75,000 Car (distance driving record set in the 1950′s) and a rare 1948 Tucker. Specialty exhibits rotate throughout the year and are included in the admission price. Their most popular exhibits include the… (read more)
The San Diego Hall of Champions (29 on the map) is also a must-see Balboa Park attraction. It features San Diego’s sports history and memorabilia. This one-of-a-kind museum honors nationally known athletes with a San Diego connection, including athletes such as Ted Williams, Tony Gwynn, Bill Walton, Florence Chadwick and many more. It is is… (read more)
San Diego History Center (SDHC) was founded by George W. Marston in 1928, then as the San Diego Historical Society (SDHS). Marston stated that the objective of the Historical Society was “for the discovery, collection and preservation of books, pamphlets, maps, genealogies, portraits, paintings, relics, manuscripts, letters, journals, surveys, field books and any and all… (read more)
The San Diego Model Railroad Museum features interactive toy trains, Lionel-style electric trains and a 20-scale mile long rail crossing of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Plus, this museum is the only accredited railroad museum in the entire United States. It is the largest permanent operating model railroad exhibit in North America with 27,000 sq.… (read more)
The Museum of Man features fascinating exhibits on human evolution, Egyptian artifacts, Kumeyaay culture and Mayan monuments. Little ones can also enjoy the Children’s Discovery Center, which allows them to experience living in ancient Egyptian times. With its striking architecture and historic setting, the Museum of Man is a favorite for banquets, corporate functions and… (read more)
This huge Balboa Park treasure, which is the oldest museum in Southern California, is where you’ll find life-sized dinosaur models and hands-on natural history exhibits. The museum’s permanent exhibition is Fossil Mysteries, which takes you on a journey through 75 million years of Southern California’s rich history. Popular 2013 exhibits include On the Trail of … (read more)
The historic Santa Ysabel General Store, an iconic landmark, is now open for business with an innovative dual purpose. Dating from 1884, the store is now being restored, bringing a unique emporium brimming with heirloom and artisanal foodstuffs, back-to-nature gifts, wares for home and garden, and books and guides for the naturalist or cultural tourist.… (read more)
Since 1969, the Save Our Heritage Organisation has lead San Diego County as a powerful voice for historic preservation. They believe that the historic architecture and sites entrusted to this generation should be passed down to the next, so that they too will know the unique character of San Diego County.
Through education, advocacy and… (read more)
The focus of this impressive museum is to present a nostalgic walk through the past 100 years of American music and music-making. Featured are more than 500 vintage instruments. Plus, there are lots of interactive exhibits and hundreds of audio and video clips. This is an educational adventure for everyone!
General admission is ($8); seniors,… (read more)
This large 93,505-sq. ft. science center showcases more than 100 interactive exhibits. Plus, they offer several films on Southern California’s only Giant Dome Theater that surrounds visitors, creating a “you-are-there” experience. Admission is ($11.75) for adults; seniors and children 3–12 years are ($9.75).
Explore the ends of the Earth, dive deep into the ocean, float… (read more)
Admission is free, plus if you mention their ad in the SAN DIEGAN and print this review, you’ll receive a free gift. Here you’ll find the The William B. Kolender San Diego County Sheriff’s Museum and Educational Center. The best part about this museum are the interactive exhibits. You can listen to live police calls, hop on a sheriff ’s motorcycle and turn on the sirens and lights.
Experience the magic aboard one of the longest-serving aircraft carriers in U.S. Naval history, the USS Midway (13).… (read more). It’s a must-see San Diego attraction. On board you’ll enjoy a self-guided audio tours for adults and families and more than 60 exhibits and displays throughout the ship. These include the galley, berthing spaces, sick bay,
A landmark that you’ll be able to identify is the large round building of the Tijuana Cultural Center (9) . It’s located at 9350 Paseo de los Heroes in Rio Tijuana. It’s a major attraction and an excellent way to learn about life in all regions of Mexico. The Cultural Center features the Museum of… (read more)
The Veterans Museum & Memorial Center (31)… (read more) houses military artifacts and memorabilia from the Civil War to the present. Impressive murals of Pearl Harbor and significant historical military events adorn the walls. The bold faced number in the text corresponds to it’s location on the Balboa Park Map.
A tour of Balboa Park would not
Built in 1857 by Vincenta Carrillo, a prominent early Californio woman rancher, the adobe known as the Ranch House at Warner’s served as the Butterfield Stage Stop from 1858 until the beginning of the Civil War in 1861. As California’s first regular overland transcontinental stage connection with St. Louis, this pioneering stage route ran along… (read more)
A classic example of mid-nineteenth century Greek Revival architecture, the Whaley House was formally dedicated as a historic house museum on May 25, 1960 and has been open to the public ever since; it is one of southern California’s most popular visitor destinations. Over 100,000 people visit the Whaley House annually, with guests traveling from… (read more)
The Whaley House Museum Shop is a great source for regional history and for those interested in learning more about San Diego’s exciting past. Located in the charming 1870s Verna House, the shop offers visitors a distinctive mix of books and unique period style gifts from early California through Mid-Century Modernism.
Visitors will find signature… (read more)