Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego / La Jolla

The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) has two branches – one in downtown San Diego, located on Kettner Boulevard and one here in La Jolla on Prospect Street. The downtown branch occupies the former Santa Fe Depot baggage building. The La Jolla branch overlooks the ocean where philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps built a house designed by architect Irving Gill in 1916. She lived there until her death in 1932. Since then, her original house has been renovated twice, first in the 1950s when it became an art museum and then again in the mid-90s when it received a new façade.

Between this façade and the floor-to-ceiling ocean views in back, MCASD La Jolla now houses and exhibits one of the finest collections of contemporary art anywhere. The museum’s collection includes more than 4,000 works created after 1950 from a variety of media: painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, video, and installation. MCASD is known for collecting works by promising emerging artists, mid-career artists, and by major figures in international contemporary art, including the cross-border collaboration of the San Diego/Tijuana region.

The Edwards Sculpture Garden is also included at MCASD La Jolla, a gift shop as well as the Museum Café. The gift store includes a large selection of books for adults and children on contemporary art, photography and culture in San Diego. Also offered are many other items, such as prints, clothing, jewelry, stationery, children’s games and toys and decorative house wares. You can order museum gift items online and have them shipped throughout the United States. A percentage of the gift store proceeds benefits MCASD.

Popular with visitors and locals alike, The Museum Café is located on a patio in front of the museum and is a first-rate restaurant in its own right. The café serves breakfast and lunch daily. Inspired by the European cuisine and bistros, the Museum Café offers dishes made from the freshest organic ingredients grown by local farmers.

MCASD La Jolla hosts a wide variety of special events, if you are interested in classes, educational tours and special exhibits. Check out its website for its calendar of events or pick up a brochure the next time you are visiting the museum. There are field tours to lectures and films. You can also reserve the museum for your own special events, such as fundraisers, private parties and weddings.

The museum is open daily except on Wednesday. The gift store, the sculpture garden and the café are open every day. Admission is half price for seniors and students. Admission is free to MCASD for everyone on the third Thursday of every month from 5 to 7 p.m.

For more information on La Jolla art scene, trust our La Jolla directory which offers insider tips for the best restaurants, events, shopping, art galleries and more!

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