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.
Founded in 1769, Mission San Diego de Alcalá was the first mission founded by Father Junipero Serra in The Californias. Like many of the Spanish missions that were built along California's famous El Camino Real, the mission is actually the namesake of the major city it's near--in this case, San Diego. The mission experienced a tumultuous history since its founding, and its church building has since been rebuilt five times on the same site. Today, the mission stands as a remarkable example of early California history and is currently registered as a National Historic Landmark.
History, food and fun are all within easy walking distance of the Old Town. Father Serra established the first mission here more than 225 years ago; Kit Carson helped to raise the first American flag in 1846. Now there are 37 restaurants and entertainment is abundant with artisans, dancers, galleries, hotels, mariachis, professional theatre and shops. Most restaurants and shops accept major credit cards. You can access this area from Interstate-5 by taking the Old Town Avenue exit, driving east and turning left on San Diego Avenue.
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.
Rev up your engines and cruise on over to the San Diego Automotive Museum dedicated to the last 100 years of automotive development. From 'horseless carriages' to the 50s 'hot rods' parked in front of a simulated diner, car buffs will enjoy checking out the scores of shiny automobiles on display. Research sources are available, as are great gift ideas for any car enthusiast.
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.
House of Ukraine exhibits the culture, history, and traditions of the Ukrainian people. It was founded in 1935 and is dedicated to furthering understanding between national groups in the United States. Along with hosting the Ukrainian Festival, it also participates in many other related events. These events include the Ethnic Food Fair (Memorial Sunday), the Lawn Program, Christmas on the Prado (first Friday and Saturday evenings of December) featuring Svyatij Mykolai (St. Nicholas), and a seasonal Ukrainian Christmas display featuring Christmas music and ethnic foods.
Part of the San Diego Center for Jewish Culture, the Gotthelf Art Gallery contributes to the mission of preserving and upholding the essence of Jewish culture. Housed in the Jacobs Family Campus at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, the gallery nurtures the rich and diverse cultural exquisite of Jewish origins through its varied collections and exhibits. It regularly hosts cultural activities and art events to highlight its purpose. Docent tours and art receptions are open to the privileged few who extend their support to the gallery.
Promoting meditation, self-reflection and self-actualization, Self Realization Fellowship Hermitage & Meditation Gardens is garden and major green space which transports visitors into a state of tranquility. Founded by Paramahansa Yogananda, one can stroll through the beautiful green gardens and admire the host of colorful floral species, or simply let their worldly concerns fade away in the meditative silence of the park.
If geography interests you as well the knowledge about the continents then head to the Map and Atlas Museum of La Jolla. The featured maps at the museum include the a map of Boston Decorative and Historical, a hysterical map of the Yellowstone Park, Historic and Scenic Reaches of the Nation's Capital and many more. They are also open on the first and third Saturdays of every month at regular times.
From what in 1852 was originally a military reserve, eight acres of its original 1,000 were designated as a burial site in 1934. Row upon row of white crosses mark where 65,000 people are now interred. Many of those buried here predated California's statehood. Most impressive is the Bennington Monument, a 75 ft. obelisk commemorating the 66 crew members who died in an explosion in 1905 aboard the USS Bennington. It is a sobering experience, but one well worth the sorrow. Learn more about California's history when you pay a visit here.
Quint Gallery is a top gallery for contemporary modern art in oil, watercolor, mixed media and photography. Sculpture in various media is also shown. The gallery has a strong list of abstract and representational artists, who cover still life, landscape and inspirational themes. A different artist is featured in exhibition each month. Viewing can also be arranged by appointment.