Black History Museum & Tours

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Location: Downtown San Diego (East Village)

Open Daily: 10AM – 6PM

Cost: $5

Features: African American History in San Diego; See Slave Papers, Learn about Buffalo Soldiers, Take Black Historical Tours of San Diego.


*** The Black Historical Society was temporarily closed as it sought a new home but the closure seems to be lasting longer than planned. News articles noted they were in search of donors. This was a small but fabulous museum about black history. If you would like to help out, let us know and we’ll help pass that along as we’d like to see it reopen.***

african-american-museumMuseum of San Diego African American History Highlights: Get an overview of African American life in San Diego from the 1840′s to the Present. You will see a couple hallways worth of pictures and other African American relics described in great detail. Explore the history of two cavalries of Buffalo Soldiers stationed at Camp Lockett in San Diego. See slave papers and imagine what it would have been like to be the owner of those papers.

Have you ever seen the name Pio Pico throughout Southern California? If so, did you know he was of African-American descent and served as the last governor of Alta California before California became a part of the United States? Learn about Pio Pico and other prominent blacks who help make San Diego what it is today.

In addition to the permanent exhibits, the Museum occasional hosts traveling exhibitions. Sometimes there is an extra charge to view the traveling exhibits. Plan to spend a half hour visiting the Museum and more if you can incorporate one of the following activities.

Fun Activities

Tours – There are several tour options of black history throughout San Diego County. Some are by bus while others are walking tours.

There are two bus tour options to explore San Diego African American History. One is a 2-hour bus tour of Black History in Downtown San Diego. It takes place the first Saturday of every month between March and September. The other is a 4-hour bus tour of Black History throughout San Diego. It takes place the last Saturday of every month between March and September. Tour prices are approximately $20 and $30 respectively.

Walking tours are offered on a weekly basis. There is a Harlem of the West walking tour that starts at the Museum.

Events – Enrich your experience exploring African-American History and Culture by taking part in an event, including the Annual Black Film Festival.

Genealogy Research – Those with African-American Ancestors from San Diego can visit the Library to search through an extensive collection of hard-copy and digital records and photos.

Food – There are dozens of food options in the Gaslamp Quarter and East Village.

Information on Visiting the Museum of African American History

Admission Prices: (Costs are Approximate)

  • Parking will range from $0 – $5 (See more parking information below.)
  • Entrance Fee is $5

Directions from Google Maps to 740 Market Street in San Diego, CA 92101. (Between 7th and 8th Avenues.)

Parking – Metered Street Parking is available in front of the Museum for the Black Historical Society of San Diego and runs about $1.25 per hour with a limit up to 2 hours. There is also a parking lot across the street that charges about $5.

Traffic – Getting in and out of downtown using highways I-5, SR-163, and SR-94 is relatively easy. Watch for slower traffic on the I-5 where it does a tight S-curve through downtown San Diego near the SR-163 interchange. When heading southbound on SR-163, stay to the left side unless you want to get on the I-5. (You will encounter a slight delay getting on the I-5 from SR-163.) You will also encounter a slight delay on SR-163 going into downtown when there is an event at Petco Park. If the San Diego Padres plays a daytime game, it usually start at 1:05PM. Even though traffic backs up a little on SR-163, it continues to move along. When leaving downtown, remember that:

  • 1st Avenue will get you to the I-5 North,
  • 11th Avenue will get you to SR-163 and the I-5 North,
  • E & J Streets will get you to the I-5 South, and
  • G Street will get you to SR-94.

The traffic lights on these streets are synchronized and will generally move you along without delay. (Learn how to get the latest highway traffic updates.)

Once you are downtown, you will find most of the streets are one-way, on an alternating basis. (You can see them if you zoom in on Google Maps.) Broadway and Market Streets are both two-way streets running east-west. You will find that at several intersections you are not allowed to make a left turn off of Broadway or Market. Thus, if you need to make a left turn, it is often better to use a one-way street rather than Broadway and Market Streets.

All of the streets downtown move along quite well. The only exceptions are 4th and 5th Avenues through the Gaslamp Quarter in the evenings and around Petco Park before and after events. One other exception is crossing train tracks that run along Harbor Drive in front of the Convention Center. You can cross over the train tracks at Market, Front, 1st, and 5th. Sometimes, freight trains block the latter few crossover streets. If you see them sitting still, it means they are checking their brakes, so it could take a while. Don’t wait. Move farther north towards Market Street to cross over the tracks.

Transit - Both the Blue and Orange Trolley Lines move through Downtown San Diego. The Orange Line’s Gaslamp Quarter Station is 4 blocks south of the Black History Museum while the Orange and Blue Lines’ 5th Avenue Station is 5 blocks north of the Museum. See San Diego Transit Information for the downtown transit map and information for the online Transit Planner.) Walking around Downtown San Diego is easy since it is flat with the exception of the northeast corner near Cortez Hill.

Related Attraction – You may also be interested in taking guided tours in the adjacent Asian Pacific Historic District and the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Area.

Find More Attractions with Similar Themes or Location: East Village, Ethnic Culture |

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