Your Destination Guide to San Diego

Destination Guide San Diego - Your Destination Guide to San Diego, CA

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© Dirk Hansen

San Diego is a cultural and artistic mecca, the home of an incredible array of museums with both a regional and international focus. From the traditional masterpieces of the San Diego Museum of Art to the contemporary take on the history of the automobile and Southern California car culture at the San Diego Automotive Museum, San Diego's museum scene has something for everyone. A surprising number of museums feature interactive displays designed to engage all ages, such as the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center where hundreds of scientific exhibits provide hands-on activities that illustrate scientific concepts, and the San Diego Air & Space Museum featuring an aircraft carrier with a simulated flight deck.

San Diego | Museums

Air and Space Museum
  • Air and Space Museum
  • The Air & Space Museum in Balboa Park features a collection of aircraft and space vehicles that covers five centuries of aviation history and illustrates the amazing advancement in manned flight.
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Aircraft Carrier Museum
  • Aircraft Carrier Museum
  • The San Diego Aircraft Museum is located on the USS Midway, a World War II era aircraft carrier retired in 1992 after almost 50 years of service. The lead ship of her class, she is more than 1,000 feet long and 250 wide.
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Archaeological Center
  • Archaeological Center
  • Dig in the dirt and you may find a piece of San Diego's history... or millions of pieces, which is what happened in the early 90's when various cultural anthropologists were busy discovering the rich historical significance of San Diego soil.
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Automotive Museum
  • Automotive Museum
  • Nothing typifies the lifestyle of Southern California more than its love affair with the automobile. The San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park chronicles the history of this iconic 20th Century vehicle, featuring more than 80 historic automobiles and motorcycles.
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Firehouse Museum
  • Firehouse Museum
  • A common dream among little boys is to grow up and become a firefighter. It comes as no surprise, then, that the San Diego Firehouse Museum allows children of all ages to indulge their youthful firefighting fantasies.
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Hall of Champions Museum
  • Hall of Champions Museum
  • For sports memorabilia, this is absolutely the place. The San Diego Hall of Champions Sports Museum in Balboa Park evolved from the Breitbard Athletic Foundation, founded by Bob Breitbard in 1946 to honor San Diego athletes.
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Maritime Museum
  • Maritime Museum
  • Located on San Diego’s historic Embarcadero Promenade, the San Diego Maritime Museum offers a cornucopia of sites and experiences that make the era of big ships come alive.
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Mingei Museum of Folk Art
  • Mingei Museum of Folk Art
  • Established in 1978, Mingei International Museum collects and displays what it calls "art of the people" – the tools crafted and lovingly used during humankind's daily activities, in all eras and from all cultures of the world.
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Model Railroad Museum
  • Model Railroad Museum
  • The San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park is dedicated to preserving the heritage of railroading and the history of model railroading.
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Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Museum of Contemporary Art
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) is a hedonistic visual feast, with two locations housing over 4,000 works of contemporary art in all genres and media in more than 16,000 square feet of exhibition space. Both locations are worth visiting.
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Museum of Photographic Arts
  • Museum of Photographic Arts
  • As one of the country's leading photographic arts institutions, the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park contains over 7,000 works representing the entire history of photography, including its aesthetic movements and technological achievements.
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Museum of San Diego History
  • Museum of San Diego History
  • Within Balboa Park's centrally located Casa de Balboa is the Museum of San Diego History. Simultaneously serving many purposes, the museum displays informative exhibitions, serves as the San Diego Historical Society's headquarters, and houses the Society's Research Library.
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Natural History Museum
  • Natural History Museum
  • The San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park is home of the San Diego Society of Natural History, an active research institution which is, in fact, the oldest scientific institution in southern California and the third oldest west of the Mississippi.
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New Children's Museum
  • New Children's Museum
  • Peter Pan said it best: "I will not grow up. You cannot make me!" If you are a true believer in fairies, then the New Children's Museum is for you (and your kids).
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Oceanside Museum of Art
  • Oceanside Museum of Art
  • Nestled in downtown Oceanside, North County, in what was originally City Hall, the Oceanside Museum of Art is a prized cultural resource for Oceanside and Northern San Diego County.
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Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
  • Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
  • On the first Wednesday of every month, The San Diego Astronomy Association sets telescopes up at the Rueben H Fleet Science Center to offer guests a great (and free!) view...
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San Diego Art Institute
  • San Diego Art Institute
  • The San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park is dedicated to the advancement of the visual arts through outreach, education, and exhibition, with an emphasis on supporting and exhibiting the work of emerging artists from the San Diego area.
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San Diego Museum of Art
  • San Diego Museum of Art
  • The San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park holds its own among the country's major museums, housing nationally-renowned collections of European old masters and American paintings and sculpture from the 19th and 20th centuries.
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San Diego Museum of Man
  • San Diego Museum of Man
  • The only museum in San Diego devoted entirely to anthropology, the San Diego Museum of Man in Balboa Park holds an array of ancient treasures, including over 72,000 artifacts and 37,000 historical photographs.
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Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Serra Museum
  • Serra Museum
  • From Presidio Park's vantage point well above San Diego's valleys and beaches, visitors drink in unparalleled panoramic views of the city, Mission Bay, San Diego Bay, and East County.
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Stephen Birch Aquarium
  • Stephen Birch Aquarium
  • San Diego has long been renowned for its storied Scripps Institution of Oceanography where marine research and public education have always been twin missions.
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Timken Museum of Art
  • Timken Museum of Art
  • The Timken Museum of Art in Balboa Park is an unusual display of artwork from the collection of two sisters, Anne R. and Amy Putnam. The Putnam sisters, who came to San Diego in the early 1900s from Vermont, spent decades acquiring European old master paintings.
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WorldBeat Culture Center
  • WorldBeat Culture Center
  • Brightly painted murals color the round building on the Eastern side of Balboa Park, a former water tower transformed into the vibrant WorldBeat Cultural Center.
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