San Diego, California is famous for Comic-Con, Sea World, San Diego Zoo, sunny weather, and beautiful beaches. However, did you know it’s also a mecca for architecture, art galleries, and inspiration to many? As much as I would love to attend Comic-Con, I know that San Diego is home to many more exciting and geeky attractions worth visiting. Next time you visit San Diego, make sure to check out these top 10 fun and geeky things to do – I know I will!
- San Diego Comic Art Gallery
If you can’t get a ticket to Comic-Con or coming to San Diego when it’s not that time of year, get your comic fix at the San Diego Comic Art Gallery, a permanent art gallery displaying original comic book and graphic arts displays from local and reknown artists in the world of animation. Check out their website for the latest events schedule to find out when the next graphic or comic book artist is appearing at San Diego Comic Art Gallery.
- Self-Guided Wizard of Oz L. Frank Baum Tour
L. Frank Baum, creator and author of Wizard of Oz, often vacationed in the Coronado neighbourhood of San Diego. You can visit his Coronado home where he wrote 3 of his Oz books or visit the Coronado Museum of History and Art where a rare collection of his first 3 editions of Oz books are kept. Stroll through or even stay at Hotel del Coronado, which inspired Baum’s Emerald City. For all the fun Wizard of Oz inspired activities, check out San Diego Family’s listing here. You can also take a guided walking tour with Coronado Walking Tour to find out all the hidden gems and history of Coronado and L. Frank Baum’s old stomping grounds.
- Salk Institute Architecture Tour
In the 1960’s the Salk Institute was one of the world’s modern architectural treasures. Now it is open for public tours through the Salk Institute’s Architecture Tour. Designated as a historic site, the Salk Institute sits on the coastal bluffs in La Jolla 350 ft above the Pacific Ocean. The beautiful views and historical buildings are worth making a visit to. Recreational photography is allowed so this tour will be an Instagram-worthy photo experience unlike any other.
- Explore the Dr. Seuss Collection at UC San Diego
If you have the chance to visit San Diego in March, some of the Dr. Seuss Collection, selected from over 10,000 of his items of work, are on display at UC San Diego. Theodor Seuss Geisel, known as “Dr. Seuss”, originally at one time lived in La Jolla, San Diego. His work was later archived to the UC San Diego library that’s named after him, Geisel Library. Due to the fragile nature of the materials, the Seuss Collection is normally not accessible to the general public, only researchers who’ve obtained permission. However the items from the collection such as original sketches, drawings, manuscripts, audio and video clips are on display during the summer and during March when it’s Dr. Seuss’ birthday. This is the chance for all Dr. Seuss fans to come and check out the great works of this famous and popular children’s author.
- The Original Lorax tree
As Dr. Seuss was inspired by the various landscape San Diego had to offer, so was the original Lorax tree from his book, The Lorax. Located in Ellen Browning Scripps Park in La Jolla, you can see a lone Lorax tree standing in the sunny park. This tree is a rare Monterey Cypress that Dr. Seuss was able to see from where he lived and inspired him to draw and write The Lorax. Ask any local and they’ll be able to direct you to this specific park and tree.
- USS Midway Museum
As San Diego is the base of the US Navy and Navy Seal training program, it only makes sense that San Diego would be home to a naval museum made from an old aircraft carrier. The USS Midway Museum is located in downtown San Diego, docked at the pier, is home to over 60 exhibits and one of the largest museums focusing on carriers and naval aviation. Visitors will enter this floating museum and imagine they are one of the 225,000 Midway sailors who were stationed on this carrier. This museum is a great way to learn about the US Navy and the importance of the USS Midway in history.
- Mraz Family Farms
Grammy award winning singer/songwriter, Jason Mraz, began his career in San Diego playing in coffee shops. Now him and his wife own Mraz Family Farms, an avocado farm that now not only grows avocados but also coffee beans and makes their own chocolate. Located in South Morro Hills in Oceanside, San Diego, Mraz and his family run this organic farms in hopes of cultivating and developing a eat-local sustainable farm community. Follow the Mraz Family Farms Twitter account @MrazFamilyFarms to find out when they’re hosting events that allow the public to explore their farm. Perhaps you may even get to meet and chat about farming with Jason Mraz!
- Ilan-Lael Tour of James Hubbell’s Home
A world reknown architect and sculptor, James Hubbell is one of San Diego’s best and unique home builders. His own residence located in Santa Ysabel in Julian, northeast of San Diego, is on display through the Ilan-Lael Foundation Tour. His designs have been known to look like hobbit houses, something straight out of Lord of the Rings. A master in stain-glass and mosaic tile art, this tour will also take you to explore his stain-glass artwork and mosaic tile pieces used throughout his home and studio space. You can even take a stain-glass art or mosaic tile class at Hubbell Studios with one of the resident artists.
- Borrego Springs’ Galleta Meadows
Home to some of the world’s most extensive and well-preserved palaeontology sites in North America, Borrego Springs houses some fossils of the Columbian Mammoth, giant bird Aiolornis, camels, elephant-like Gomphothere, and the Sabertooth tiger. To showcase that these extinct animals at one time lived in the area, artist Ricardo Breceda has created these giant sculptures for visitors to explore. Seek out over 130 sculptures in the Borrego Valley – can you find them all? Again, another must see attraction worth Instagramming! Make sure to plan out your day as Borrego Springs is located 2 hours northeast of San Diego.
- Comic-Con Center for Popular Culture
Although not due to open until possibly 2018, San Diego Comic-Con organizers have announced that they will open the Comic-Con Center for Popular Culture – a museum that curates exhibitions on comics and movies from various collectors, museums, galleries and other sources. This museum will open in Balboa Park, using the previous home of the San Diego Hall of Champions. This will definitely be a museum worth checking out, and noted to be highly popular with comic book and pop culture enthusiasts. Stay tuned as we will update in 2018 once the museum is open!
Escape this winter and head south to San Diego for some of the above attractions or other activities. Air Canada operates direct flights from Vancouver to San Diego. Check out San Diego Tourism’s website for all travel related information: www.sandiego.org.