Sightseeing in National City

Select Local Merchants

Step into to a bird's house. Get eye-to-eye with a moray eel. Greet a sea turtle as he swims up to say hello. The Living Coast Discovery Center isn't a nature museum—it's a chance to hang out with Southern California's plants and animals on their own turf. The Discovery Center's "living, breathing, flapping, buzzing, and splashing home" sits on the 316-acre Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, the ideal location for exploration of the region's most memorable residents in their native habitats.

A walk-through aviary encompasses the tidal slough habitat of black-crowned night herons, red-breasted mergansers, and endangered clapper rail chicks, freshly hatched from the in-house breeding program. Bald and golden eagles await up-close encounters at the Eagle Mesa, but the rays get even closer: an interactive touch pool puts the aquatic creatures beneath your fingertips. Raptor Row hosts the Center's rescued birds of prey, all of which have injuries or other conditions that prevent them from surviving outside the refuge on their own. Visitors are also free to pursue their own wildlife adventure along the center's 1.5 miles of walking trails.

1000 Gunpowder Point Dr
Chula Vista,
CA
US

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.

1001 Kettner Blvd
San Diego,
CA
US

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.

3350 Sports Arena Blvd
San Diego,
CA
US

The Official World-wide Source of Chuck Jones Artwork For over 34 years, this family-owned and operated art business has brought the art of legendary animation director to life. The Chuck Jones gallery also represents over 30 additional artists that bring joy and smiles to life.

232 5th Ave
San Diego,
CA
US

Learn San Diego's history the same way you learned to be a doctor: on a trolley and inside a seafaring tour bus. Today's Groupon expertly chaperones you through the streets and seas of San Diego with an Old Town Trolley Tour and Seal Tour from Old Town Trolley Tours of San Diego, Inc. for $27 (a $54 value). The two fully narrated tours last about three and a half hours combined.

4010 Twiggs St
San Diego,
California
US

True connoisseurs can taste the character of a city in its beer, especially those cities constructed mostly from hops and barley. Sample the sudsy side of San Diego with today's Groupon: for $89, you get a luxury brewery tour for two from Brew Hop (a $190 value).

2400 5th Avenue
San Diego,
CA
US