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“The permanent collection is OK. The special shows tend to be excellent”

San Diego Museum of Art
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US$89.86*
and up
Go San Diego Card
Ranked #77 of 461 things to do in San Diego
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The San Diego Museum of Art, the region’s oldest, largest and most visited art museum, provides a rich and diverse cultural experience. Located in the heart of beautiful Balboa Park, the Museum’s nationally renowned permanent collection includes Spanish and Italian old masters, South Asian paintings, and 19th- and 20th-century American paintings and sculptures.In addition, the Museum regularly features major exhibitions from around the world, as well as an extensive year-round schedule of supporting cultural and educational programs for children and adults. Exhibition text is always in English and Spanish.
Reviewed 24 May 2013

The museum is what I would expect of a regional art museum. Pieces by the "big name" artists are lesser known works. And, there are some specialty collections that appear to be estate donations. If you have a child or grandchild with an interest in art, this is a nice local place to take them. The museum serves as good introduction to determine whether you want to drive the two and a half hours to the Getty museums in LA.

But where the museum excels are some of its special exhibitions. A few years ago, they had a traveling exhibit of Degas bronzes. That exhibit could not have been matched at any one institution. On another occasion, we were able to see the Topkapi dagger displayed so that you could see the entire dagger and scabbard - something you could not see in Istanbul, because of the way the palace display is framed. And, there were a number of other pieces from the Topkapi Palace that you would otherwise have to visit in Istanbul. Thus, look at their website to determine whether a trip is worth your time

Thank AlandDiane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"special exhibit"
in 12 reviews
"balboa park"
in 67 reviews
"permanent collection"
in 8 reviews
"nice collection"
in 6 reviews
"old masters"
in 4 reviews
"spanish masters"
in 3 reviews
"frida kahlo"
in 2 reviews
"german expressionism"
in 2 reviews
"contemporary works"
in 2 reviews
"asian collection"
in 2 reviews
"van dyck"
in 2 reviews
"explorer pass"
in 3 reviews
"on display"
in 10 reviews
"beautiful building"
in 4 reviews
"water fountain"
in 2 reviews
"enjoyable visit"
in 2 reviews
"nice gift shop"
in 2 reviews
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159 - 163 of 236 reviews

Reviewed 30 March 2013

For persons that have seen all the main museums in Europe, there is nothing to see. Even in small museums in France and Italy there is more to see. Park Balboa is nice and pleasant, skip the museum.

1  Thank AllKnowMother
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 March 2013

I visited the San Diego Museum of Art for the first time on Residents Free Tuesday, and was pleasantly surprised by the diversity of the collection and the facility itself.

The collection spans a variety of interests, from modern to European classics to its current exhibition about the art of east Asia. It also has an interactive display where kids can get involved.

The museum is divided into several separate galleries, each focusing on a specific type of art. No photography is allowed, and large bags and backpacks must be checked at the entrance. Of course, there's a small museum store near the exit.

It's a moderately sized museum (two levels) and I spent about an hour going through it. If you're a true art enthusiast, you certainly could spend considerably longer there.

It's definitely one of the museums in Balboa Park that I would return to.

1  Thank zed1958
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 March 2013

This was a pretty nice art museum. The displays were well thought out and the variety was more than adquate. The facilities in the museum area of the park was also very appealing. It is worth a visit.

Thank Debbie K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 6 March 2013

By checking the website ahead of time I found some paintings I really wanted to see so did those first (El Greco, Bonnard, Picasso, Fra Angelico, Courtan, others) and then wandered a little to see what else there is to enjoy and there's a lot! Don't forget to ask to see if you are eligible for a discount to the $12 at the door or ask for a tour by a helpful docent.

1  Thank TolerantTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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