Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego


Locations: Downtown San Diego (Columbia District) & La Jolla (14 Miles North of Downtown)

Open Daily: 11AM – 5PM (7PM on 3rd Thursdays of the Month); Closed Wednesdays

Cost: $10 ($5 for Seniors & Military; Free for Ages 25 and Under)

Features: World Class Contemporary Art Exhibitions, Films, Lectures, and Events.

Contemporary Art Museum of San Diego Highlights: Art lovers have the opportunity to visit exhibitions in two well-respected, contemporary art museums. One is in Downtown San Diego and the other is in La Jolla. Both locations have been renovated and expanded in recent years to attract top-notch exhibitions.

What to Expect

  • Consider setting aside at least an hour to enjoy the Museum. However, contemporary artists often provide a new perspective on issues that makes you sit back and think a while, so you could end up staying much longer.
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  • Audio tours are available to take you on a guided tour of most exhibitions. Be sure to ask for the cell phone dial-in number for the recordings or borrow the iPods available at the front desk.
  • Guided Tours are provided at 2PM on Weekends and 6PM on 3rd Thursdays of the Month.
  • The Downtown location is in two buildings, which are across the street from one another.
  • The La Jolla location offers great views of the Pacific Ocean.

Contemporary Art Exhibitions – The Museum hosts exhibitions from around the world as well as creates exhibitions using its own extensive collections. There are usually two or three exhibitions at the same time and they usually last from four to six months. As you scroll down the list of exhibitions, be sure to note whether the exhibitions you are interested in are being hosted at the Downtown San Diego or the La Jolla location.

Upcoming Exhibitions – Get a sneak peak of upcoming contemporary art exhibitions.

Events & Lectures – Watch hard-to-find films at the La Jolla location or attend evening socials at the Downtown location. You will also find lectures on exhibitions and current topics.

Visit Both Museum Locations – You can visit both museum locations within a 7-day period with one admission. For travelers staying around downtown San Diego, you can take advantage of this offer by taking a Sightseeing Tour offered by TourGuideTim, which departs daily from the Santa Fe Train station in downtown San Diego, adjacent to the Contemporary Art Museum’s downtown location, and takes you on an expert guided tour to Mt. Soledad, La Jolla Shores, Torrey Pines, and then drops guests off in La Jolla for free time, just a block away from the Contemporary Art Museum’s La Jolla location. Get more sightseeing tour details, check out the reviews from past guests, and book your tour today!

Admission Prices: (Costs are Approximate; Includes admission to both museum locations within a 7 day period)

  • Parking will range from $0 – $10 (See more parking information below.)
  • Standard Fee is $10
  • $5 for Seniors and Military
  • Free for those 25 Years Old and Younger
  • Free on the Thursday evenings of the Month from 5PM – 7PM

Information on Visiting the Contemporary Art Museum in Downtown San Diego

Directions from Google Maps to 1100 Kettner Boulevard in San Diego, CA 92101.

Parking – There is Metered Street Parking near the Museum that runs about $1.25 per hour with a limit of 2 – 3 hours. Nearby parking lots generally charge a parking rate of $10.

Traffic – Getting in and out of downtown using highways I-5, SR-163, and SR-94 is relatively easy. Downtown San Diego is not a major employment center and thus there is very little rush hour traffic. 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. The San Diego Padres games usually start at 7:05PM. 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. Kettner Boulevard is a one-way street.

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 stop at the One America Plaza Station, which is right next to the Contemporary Art Museum. The AMTRAK and Coaster Station is across the street. (See San Diego Transit Information for the downtown transit map and information for the online Transit Planner.)

contemporary-art-museum-lajollaInformation on Visiting the Contemporary Art Museum in La Jolla

Directions from Google Maps to 700 Prospect Street in La Jolla, CA 92037.

Parking – Street Parking is Free with a limit of 2 hours. You will generally find street parking available. There are also nearby parking lots that charge a nominal fee.

Traffic – The main road getting in and out of La Jolla for most visitors is Torrey Pines Road. It is a busy street but moves along quite well except when you are heading out of La Jolla between 3PM – 6PM. The delay may add up to 15 minutes to your commute. However, you will get to enjoy some spectacular views looking out towards La Jolla Shores and the Pacific Ocean.

Transit – Buses serve La Jolla. (See San Diego Transit Information for the online Transit Planner.)

Related Attractions – At the La Jolla location you can enjoy the shops and restaurants in the Village of La Jolla and the spectacular La Jolla Coastline.

Find More Attractions with Similar Themes or Location: Art Museums, Embarcadero North / Columbia, La Jolla, Watch Movies |

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