Located right along the Navy Pier in downtown San Diego, the USS Midway Museum lends deep insights into naval aviation and one of the important chapters of American history. The museum is home to the iconic USS Midway, which has been one of the country's oldest aircraft carriers. A famed naval museum in the United States, it also shelters an arsenal of other significant carriers, most of which were crafted in Southern California. The museum is complete with simulators, myriad deck exhibits and the stirring Battle of Midway theater. The museum has also been a host to an array of private, media and sporting events.
Fun for adults and kids, this museum-on-water is the focal point of San Diego's historic Embarcadero Promenade. Comprised of several painstakingly restored historic ships, it is a tribute to the sea-faring age. One of the ships showcased at Maritime Museum of San Diego is the Star of India (1863), a stunning vision that graces the coastline as the world's oldest actively-sailed, square-rigged ship.
This museum houses the world's largest indoor model railroad, along with many other exciting exhibits. The museum's aim is to preserve the history of model railroading and to educate the public on its varied aspects. There's a toy train gallery as well while another area of the museum is dedicated to four large-scale models depicting the main railroads of the Southwest. A gift shop offers t-shirts, overalls and books. Note that the first Tuesday of the month is free for San Diego County residents.
The San Diego Natural History Museum is the second oldest scientific institution in California. A bi-national museum, its mission is to interpret the natural world through research, education and exhibits. The museum strives to promote understanding of the evolution and diversity of southern California and the peninsula of Baja California to inspire in all a respect for nature and the environment. Between exhibits on dinosaurs and the Arctic to mammoths and the Titanic, this museum is sure to interest the old, young and everything in between.
San Diego's anthropological museum is home to 70,000 artifacts, folk art and archaeological finds from all over the world. With mummies and ancient carved monuments, the treasures inside the San Diego Museum of Man are abundant but the building itself is also a San Diego treasure and city symbol. The California Building with its tile-capped tower was designed in 1915 by Bertram G. Goodhue and reflects a whimsical "California Mission" style of architecture. Exhibits inside explore the culture and lives of ancient civilizations of the Inuits, the Mapuche, and the Mayans among others.
High above Old Town, sits the Presidio. First built in 1769 by the Spanish Army as a fort, the Presidio lookout still provides a panoramic view of the city. The adjacent museum was built in 1929 revealing a fine example of Mission Revival-style architecture. Inside the museum you will find clothing, artifacts, furniture, tools and army artillery.
MCASD Downtown has a large permanent collection of paintings, sculptures, works on paper, photography, video, film, and installation. MCASD is an established patron of art has helped many mid-career artists. Over the years it has built an extensive collection of minimalist, pop, conceptual, installation, Latin American, and Californian art. MCASD's La Jolla location is also worth a visit for its collection of fine art and breathtaking ocean views.
Children and parents can explore the natural world, learn about the environment, play freely and create their own arts. The New Children’s Museum provides opportunities for free play riding on wheels, sliding and building with mattresses, or rock climbing. Creative play and exploration for children of all ages can be found in the rain house, the car paint, sculpture making, shadow world and dress up. Toddlers have their own activity room featuring bears in the woods, with soft “grass” to play on and tree hollows to hide and seek in. Each day and hour brings special activities throughout the museum where children and parents can interact, play and create.
This 1850 saltbox-style house, one of the city's original homes, now serves as the Visitor's Information Center for the historic Gaslamp District. Self-Guided Museum tours are available for a donation of $3 per person. There are also Gaslamp Guided Walking Tours every Saturday at 11a for a regular admission of $8. Detailed maps of the district are available at any time.
This small museum celebrates San Diego's Chinese community history through displays and interesting shows featuring artifacts from the thriving Chinese community that once existed in this area. You will also find exhibits focusing on different aspects of Chinese culture such as calligraphy, seal carvings and other arts. Early prejudice drove away many Chinese from the San Diego area, leaving only a few buildings with distinctive Chinese features, one of which now houses the museum.