Daytrip: Balboa Park & Museums


I’ve been living in San Diego for almost two years now, but due to a busy schedule, school, and other excuses I’ve seen almost none of it. During particularly rough periods, it’ll be weeks even months before I leave campus (excluding the grocery store). Recently it occurred to me that if I graduate without having seen any of San Diego that will have been a massive failure. It would be such a waste.

With this thought in mind, I headed out to visit…

  1. Timken Museum
  2. San Diego Museum of Art
  3. Spanish Village

Timken Museum


The only photo I took in the Timken was of “Saint Francis in Meditation” by Caravaggio (1604-6).

A few months ago, I took an European art history course. I find the subject dreadfully boring but it was the last in a series of GEs, so I just took to get it over with. And while the class was exactly as uninspiring and slow as I suspected, this painting caught me off guard.

It wasn’t apart of the curriculum, I discovered it during a mandatory museum assignment. I didn’t even bother with physically going to the museum, I just took a virtual tour online and picked a painting there.

The simplicity of the subject and the dramatic lighting is what captured my attention, as did the skull and the saint’s solemn downward gaze. The essay I wrote was head-to-toe bullshit, but naturally I got an A 🙂

The museum itself is small, which isn’t necessarily a drawback considering its free admission and a peaceful place to reflect. The biggest, really only, issue was that most, if not all, the work is from Europe. But again the museum is small, and it would be a bit much to expect pieces from around the globe.

San Diego Museum of Art


This museum was much larger than the few rooms of the Timken. Having two stories, a beautiful, wide staircase, and many globally representative pieces, the San Diego Art Museum was much more engaging. Some of the works were even from the previous century.

I expected everything to be extraordinarily dated, but there were some contemporary pieces. And a step further, were different forms of art: sculptures, domestic ware, etc.

Spanish Village

The last part of my afternoon was spent quickly browsing through the Spanish Village. When I went it was quiet and sparsely populated and the village was still. If you’re looking for a photo-op this is a great place; all of Balboa Park is lovely but the Spanish village is alive with rich color. I would like to go back soon.

What spots in SD have you tried that are worth the return trip?


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