15 Museums You Must Visit in San Diego

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Source: Smart Destinations

Museums are always perfect places to spend holidays or weekends with families. These places offer not only entertainment but also education. There you can find so much information about history of certain nations, the exhibits, workshops, children’s center, and many more features. In San Diego, there are some museums with various collections you can visit. Here are top 15 of them. Here we go!

1. San Diego Natural History Museum


Source: Ray Bouknight

This museum has been operating since 1933. So, you can guess how great this place is for existing since very long time ago. You can also imagine how many people are educated by coming to this place. There are many features you can get from this museum. One of them is programs for students. It’s available for pre-K up to 12th graders. This is the hands-on classes handled by the museum staffs. The classes are allowed to be at the museum or at schools. Don’t forget to make schedules for this program.


  • Name: San Diego Natural History Museum
  • Address: Balboa Park, 1788 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
  • Phone: 619-232-3821
  • Opening hour: 10am-5pm
  • Website: http://www.sdnhm.org/
  • Since: January 14, 1933

2. San Diego Museum of Art


Source: Aaron Vowels

Weekends are the perfect for parents to spend time together in a day. Instead of going to the malls, why don’t you take your children to this museum? There is a family program feature where you can spend times to take the museum tour. This museum opens every day! There are activities designed by the team and all of them are family-friendly. The good thing is there is no pre-registration so you can just come and register right away. For Sundays, the opening hours are 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm.


  • Name: San Diego Museum of Art
  • Address: Balboa Park, 1450 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92102
  • Phone: 619-232-7931
  • Opening hour: 10am-5pm
  • Website: http://www.sdmart.org/
  • Since: February 28, 1926

3. San Diego Air & Space Museum


Source: tataquax

Do you love airplane? This museum is really perfect for you, then. There are exhibits of old airplanes you can see here. Besides, you can also learn the history of airplanes. Starting from the Wright Brothers’ first simplest airplane in1901, you can find other developments of airplanes until nowadays. It’s very interesting also to see photos of the old airplane when it was very simple. Take your children to this place and they will get excited to see how the first airplane looks like.


  • Name: San Diego Air & Space Museum
  • Address: 2001 Pan American Plaza, San Diego, CA 92101
  • Phone: 619-234-8291
  • Opening hour: 10am-4:30pm
  • Website: http://sandiegoairandspace.org/
  • Since: February 15, 1963

4. San Diego Museum of Man


Source: Tim Evanson

What do you know about the cannibals? Something creepy? Something you wish you’ll never meet in your life? In this museum, you’ll meet them! Of course, they’re in a different form. This Museum of Man opens an exhibition of cannibals and their history. In fact, cannibals are actually warriors from many nations or background, such as American colonists, European kings and queen, and the survivors, and more. You can also learn why the definition of “cannibal” has been changed. Step deeper into this exhibition to understand more.


  • Name: San Diego Museum of Man
  • Address: 1350 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
  • Phone: 619-239-2001
  • Opening hour: 10am-5pm
  • Website: http://www.museumofman.org/
  • Since: 1915

5. San Diego Model Railroad Museum


Source: vxla

Train is a popular public transportation that still exists today. Many people use it as their daily transportation because it saves time and is more affordable than buying a car. In San Diego, the Model Railroad Museum is the right place to learn the history of trains. Not only looking at the models of the railroad from time to time, but you can also learn the 3D design when an engineer designs a new train. Here there’s a workshop on 3D software designs. It’s free for museum members and it costs $10 for non-members.


  • Name: San Diego Model Railroad Museum
  • Address: Balboa Park,1649 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
  • Phone: 619-696-0199
  • Opening hour: 11am-4pm
  • Since: 1928

6. San Diego Automotive Museum


Source: Joanna Poe

When you go to this place, you will feel like you go to a showroom. But it’s not. It’s a San Diego Automotive Museum. It’s a place where you can hop aboard the real motorcycle or take photos of the old cars. To make the visitors more eager to learn about the history of things there, the staff has prepared mini game. It’s like a scavenger hunt. So, you need to take the pencil and the paper from the admission staff then find answers. Every participant will get one special prize!


  • Name: San Diego Automotive Museum
  • Address: 2080 Pan American Plaza, San Diego, CA 92101
  • Phone: 619-231-2886
  • Opening hour: 10am-5pm
  • Website: http://sdautomuseum.org/

7. USS Midway Museum


Source: Jeremy Thompson

Walking around the city is a very common thing. What if walking around a floating city? It must be something new for you! San Diego USS Midway Museum is one place offering a different experience for you. It’s not on the land but above the sea as it’s established on San Diego Navy Ship. There are many exhibitions you can see related to the navy lives at sea, including the ship’s jail, crew’s quarters, post office, machine shops, and massive gallery.


  • Name: USS Midway Museum
  • Address: 910 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
  • Phone: 619-544-9600
  • Opening hour: 10am-5pm
  • Website: http://www.midway.org/
  • Since: June 7, 2004

8. Mingei International Museum


Source: Jennifer Boyer

As the U.S. has a long history with Japan, if you visit any place in the U.S., you’ll find places that have a correlation with such history. Lucky you if you visit San Diego because you can find a museum that can show you Japanese things. It’s Mingei International Museum that shows you Japanese arts. There are things you can see starting from the textile, including kimono, the belts, futon covers, indigo-dyed clothes, and other recycled materials.


  • Name: Mingei International Museum
  • Address: 1439 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
  • Phone: 619-239-0003
  • Opening hour: 10am-5pm
  • Website: http://www.mingei.org/
  • Since: 1978

9. Reuben H. Fleet Science Center


Source: Port of San Diego

Talking about science is never ending. There will be new findings each day. Wandering around a science museum is also limitless. In San Diego, spend one day at Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. You can bring your children as there are many things to see. The awesome one is the Heikoff Gian Dome Theater, IMAX movies, and incredible planetarium tour. You children can also do an experiment at The Tinkering Studio. For toddlers, there is Kid City. So they will not get bored easily in this place.


  • Name: Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
  • Address: 1875 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
  • Phone: 619-238-1233
  • Opening hour: 10am-6pm
  • Website: http://www.rhfleet.org/

10. Timken Museum of Art


Source: Osbornb

If you really enjoy artworks from all over the world, come to San Diego and explore The Timken Museum. There are classic collections of art, including the Italian Renaissance pictures, 19th century the U.S. paintings, Dutch, Flemish, French paintings, and Russian collections. There are also other important paintings you can find in this museum. For example, the Rembrandt’s Saint Bartholomew, Jacques-Louis David’s Cooper Penrose, Eastman Johnson’s The Cranberry Harvest, and more.


  • Name: Timken Museum of Art
  • Address: 1500 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
  • Phone: 619-239-5548
  • Opening hour: 10am-4:30pm
  • Website: http://www.timkenmuseum.org/
  • Since: 1965

11. Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum


Source: Jenny Gunner

Do you want to look for a rare museum in the world? It’s in San Diego. It shows collections of the U.S. Marines aviation. It’s the one and only the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum. This museum is established to respect the effort of all people struggling for the U.S. aviation. You can find history from the U.S. Marine Corps. You can also read how hard they have tried to preserve the nation. As they have contributed so much to the country, their struggle is framed in this museum.


  • Name: Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum
  • Address: 4203 Anderson Ave, San Diego, CA 92145
  • Phone: 858-693-1723
  • Opening hour: 9am-3:30pm
  • Website: https://www.flyingleathernecks.org/
  • Since: 1997

12. Creation & Earth History Museum


Source: David Berkowitz

Museum can be a medium for everyone to recharge spiritual condition. In San Diego, Creation & Earth History Museum can do such role. Why so? Because the exhibitions you can find in this place are arranged based on the Bible. You will learn visually how verses in Bible saying. Each of them teaches wisdom to human life. Thus, you need to spend your weekend or holiday with your children there. It’s also more interesting to teach religion to your children.


  • Name: Creation & Earth History Museum
  • Address: 10946 N Woodside Ave, Santee, CA 92071
  • Phone:619-599-1104
  • Opening hour: 10am-6pm
  • Website: http://creationsd.org/

13. Maritime Museum of San Diego


Source: experienceology

If San Diego has a museum from a navy ship, San Diego also has another museum about maritime history. At Maritime Museum of San Diego, you will learn many things about the sea. You’ll also find much information about the U.S. maritime heritage. There are several programs you can find there, including programs for schools, families, K-12 children, scouts, and adults. There are workshops regarding the world of maritime guided by the trusted docents.


  • Name: Maritime Museum of San Diego
  • Address: 1492 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
  • Phone: 619-234-9153
  • Opening hour: 9am-8pm
  • Website: http://sdmaritime.org/

14. Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego


Source: Luke Rosenberg

There are over 4,700 contemporary artworks you can find at Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. You can see not only paintings but also other forms of art, such as sculpture, video, installation, photography, and works on paper. This place will spoil your eyes with amazing works full of imagination. These works are collected from 1950s’ works to present. So if you have done touring in a museum with classic collections, you need to spend time for these contemporary works.


  • Name: Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Address: 700 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037
  • Phone: 858-454-3541
  • Opening hour: 11am-5pm
  • Website: http://www.mcasd.org/
  • Since: 1941

15. Museum of Photographic Arts


Source: experienceology

Many say that one picture can tell thousand words and messages. Every person might have different opinions on images they see. That is why a picture might convey more than one message. In San Diego, you can find a museum that takes care of many important photography works from many artists. There you can enjoy free exhibitions and programs ranging from children to adults. There are not only pictures you can enjoy but also films selected by the staff. For the schedule, you can open this page http://www.mopa.org/film for the upcoming films.


  • Name: Museum of Photographic Arts
  • Address: 1649 El Prado San Diego, CA 92101
  • Phone: 619-238-7559
  • Opening hour: 10am-5pm
  • Website: www.mopa.org

Museums are very exciting places to visit with families on holidays or weekends. Besides, the various programs you can find there will make you have limitless activities there not only seeing the exhibitions.

Have a good trip and travel!

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North America, San Diego County, State of California, U.S.A.