San Diego, California is known for its scenic beauty, historic districts, cultural diversity and great climate. It also has a wealth of museums that cover history, culture, art and other subjects. This list of museums focuses on the ones that offer free admission. San Diego’s Balboa Park is the home to 15 museums and several of them have free admission.
Timken Museum of Art
Admission to the Timken Museum of Art is always free according to its website at: http://www.timkenmuseum.org. The Timken Museum of Art specializes in old masters, American art, and Russian icons. It has artworks that cover the period from the 13th century to the 19th century. The museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The museum is closed on Mondays and major holidays. The museum is located in Balboa Park at 1500 El Prado.
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego has two locations in San Diego; the La Jolla location at 700 Prospect Street and the downtown location at 1100 & 1001 Kettner Blvd. The museum states on its webpage at http://www.mcasd.org that its mission is to serve diverse audiences through the exhibition, interpretation, collection, and preservation of art created since 1950. It serves as way to introduce the public to contemporary art and artists and to function as a laboratory for artists to experiment with new forms of creative expression. Free admission is available to 25 years and under and to everyone on the third Thursday of each month from 5 pm to 7pm.
Museum of Photographic Arts
The Museum of Photographic Arts (MoPA) was founded in 1983. According to its mission statement on its website at http://www.mopa.org, MoPA aims to inspire, educate and engage the broadest possible audience through the presentation, collection, and preservation of photography, film and video. Admission to the museum is free to the public on the second Tuesday of the month and is also free to school groups with advanced reservation. MoPA is located in Balboa Park in the Casa De Balboa building, east of the main traffic circle and central fountain. The address is 1649 El Prado.
San Diego Air & Space Museum
The San Diego Air & Space Museum has a three-pronged approach according to its website at http://www.sandiegoairandspace.org. It aims to celebrate aviation and space flight history; to educate the public about social and historical significance of aerospace technology; and to inspire students to excel in math and sciences. The San Diego Air & Space Museum is free the 4th Tuesday of every month. It is also free to all active duty military all the time. Some special exhibits may have a charge. It is located 2001 Pan American Plaza in San Diego’s Balboa Park. Its hours are from
Centro Cultural de la Raza
Centro Cultural de la Raza’s mission is to create, preserve, promote and educate about Chicano, Mexicano, Latino and Indigenous art and culture as described on its website at: http://www.centroculturaldelaraza.org/. The Centro, as it is referred to, is also located in Balboa Park and offers free admission on the First Tuesday of each month. Its hours are from 12 – 4 pm.
San Diego Automotive Museum
The San Diego Automotive Museum features a world-class collection of automobiles. The museum stands as a living tribute to the automobile and what it has meant to our culture as stated on its website at http://sdautomuseum.org. The San Diego Automotive Museum is free the 4th Tuesday of every month but only to residents of San Diego County. It is another museum that is located in Balboa Park.
Museum of San Diego History
The Museum of San Diego History located in the heart of Balboa Park, is the headquarters of the San Diego Historical Society. The museum features a collection of intriguing exhibitions that chronicle San Diego’s diverse history and is home to over 45 million pieces of paper and 2.5 million images that document the people, places and events of San Diego’s past. Its website at http://www.sandiegohistory.org also states that it offers free admission on the 2nd Tuesday of every month.