Among its two facilities in La Jolla and downtown San Diego, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego houses an array of works made since 1950. Head here and you can explore everything from Pop Art and minimalism of the 1960s and 1970s to conceptual pieces from the last half-century, headlined by contemporary-art luminaries such as Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei.
Major figures aside, the MCASD strives to spotlight mid-career artists still looking for their big break, as well as pieces by Latin American artists and emergent talent. Between the museum's collection and rotating exhibitions, there are galleries that accommodate paintings, photographs, films, and multimedia installations. Outside both locations, there are more site-specific installations and sculptures by artists such as Richard Serra and Marcos Ramírez ERRE, whose father created the Caps Lock on the day his son was born.
There’s more to the place than its exhibitions: the museum engages visitors with events and programs such as art-making sessions and artist lectures. Held three evenings a year, the Thursday Night Thing series includes talks, hands-on activities, live music, and cocktails, all based on the latest museum exhibitions.
In 1991, the eponymous founder of Losina Art Center, Olya Losina, moved to La Jolla from Moscow, where she was raised among a vibrant artistic community and served as the art director for the Soviet Union's largest multilingual publishing facility. Losina's fine-art methods, which she honed while obtaining her master's degree at Moscow University, focus on teaching art as a science. While helping her students at the center to work toward mastery of portraiture, the human form, landscapes, and still-life subjects, she performs exercises that aim to reach them on a subconscious level. Together with Losina, the students examine the conscious thoughts that often intrude upon creative expression. They approach the artistic consciousness as a surgeon would approach a brain when trying to dislodge catchy pop tunes from the frontal lobe. With obstructions cleared, pupils find themselves able to work freely and efficiently.
Ghostly Tours in History's passionate guides unlock a portal to the paranormal, leading visitors to haunted and eerie sites around San Diego's Old Town district and Gaslamp Quarter. Depending on the tour, stops include Victorian mansions, the Whaley House, known graveyards, and even unknown graveyards, below which lie the bodies of restless souls. Featured on both the Travel Channel and the Fodor’s Top 400, the company offers walking tours as well as bus and limousine tours for guests tired from giving their assigned ghost a piggyback ride.
In keeping with the historical nature of the tours, each guide dons a period costume and alter ego, ranging from reformed vagabonds to pioneering entrepreneur cowboys. In reality, the cast of guides is equally as diverse, encompassing trained actors, students, a Navy serviceman, and past and present members of the San Diego Historical Society.
The historic fountain at the east end of Balboa Park’s El Prado pedestrian walk is a lure for visitors, thanks to its majestic and cooling spray. But a quick turn to the right is the entrance to the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, another local draw. For the young, it’s a two story, interactive science playground. For the young at heart, there are sophisticated displays, rotating exhibits and the new, NanoSeam IMAX Dome Theater. Films splayed across the 76-foot wraparound screen plunge viewers into the depths of the sea and out into space, through jungles and between skyscrapers around the planet. Resident astronomers also create new shows monthly, using the latest SkyScan System software. The café near the entrance takes care of hungry visitors with a modest menu, a few tables indoors and patio seating in front of the fountain.
Where You Want to Be Tours was launched as a walking-tour company in 2003 and since then has offered tours of San Diego that take locals and visitors to spots such as Balboa Park and the shores of La Jolla. Most adventures last more than two hours, so tourists have plenty of time to stop and sightsee. Today, the company has formed a set of all new clues and hidden gems and has also expanded its offerings with bike tours of locations such as Pacific Beach and Mission Bay and urban challenge/scavenger hunts, which present a hands-on approach to urban exploration, turning tour routes into racecourses and throwing in physical challenges, including Frisbee-throwing contests.
Even before you climb inside, the GoCar is clearly a car with a personality. The petite, three-wheeled two-seater has a hood that slightly resembles an eager-to-please smiley face, and an open top that seems custom-made for letting the breeze ruffle your hair. Then the real fun begins: built with the company's own software and a compassion for the voiceless robots of America, a talking GPS system guides two-seater GoCars through the city streets of San Francisco, San Diego, Miami, Barcelona, Madrid, and Lisbon with cheerful, info-rich narration. Second only to having a knowledgeable local jog alongside your minivan, tours zip along at drivers' own pace and accommodate as many pit stops as time allows.