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San Diego Arts Preview 2024: Art Exhibitions, Shows, & More

Highlighting the most colorful exhibitions, plays, concerts, festivals, and events coming next year
Oil painting of Del Mar San Diego by Katie Joiner, a member of the Artist Alliance Biennial show at the Oceanside Museum of Art
Courtesy of Kate Joiner

December | January | February | March | April | May


1-10: Babbit

La Jolla Playhouse

Adapted from Sinclair Lewis’ 1922 novel, this play stars Matthew Broderick as the titular George F. Babbitt, a middle- aged real estate broker searching for meaning in his materialistic middle-class life.

1-Feb 18: Listening to the Unheard | Drawing the Unseen: Meditations on Presence & Absence in Native lands

Oceanside museum of Art

Artist John Halaka layers drawings and photographs to share the stories of people who were forced out of their homelands.

Painting from Korea in Color art exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art in 2024
Courtesy of Kim Chonghak

1-March 3: Korea in Color: A Legacy of Auspicious Images

San Diego Museum of Art

See 50 colorful pieces and learn about the history of polychrome paintings (chaesaekhwa), which helped shape Korean art and culture during the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910).

1-March 10: Over/Under

Mingei International Museum

The Mingei displays baskets, garments, hats, toys, and other useful treasures from around the world, including pieces from local artists Eva Salazar and Sarah Winston.

1-March 31: Artist Alliance Biennial

Oceanside Museum of Art

Jonathan Glus, the executive director for the city of San Diego’s Commission for Arts & Culture, juried the fifth edition of this biennial exhibition, selecting 75 standout works from nearly 1,150 submissions by more than 300 artists.

Mixed media collage by Destiny Clo-Trombley for Explorations: 17th Annual Juried Art Exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art in 2024
Courtesy of Destiny Clo-Trombley

1-April 21: Explorations: 17th Annual Juried Art Exhibition

San Diego Museum of Art

Scope out this exhibition showing off work from San Diego and Tijuana students in grades K through 12. The young artists crafted playful and striking videos, photos, and collages in alignment with this year’s theme: exploration.

1-August 21: POPnology

Comic-Con Museum

This interactive exhibit explores the connection between pop culture and technology through robots, drones, driverless cars, and other cool gadgets and gizmos.

Courtesy of La Jolla Symphony & Chorus

3: By the Hearth

La Jolla Symphony & Chorus

Conductor Arian Khaefi leads this sing-along concert at UCSD’s Mandeville Auditorium. Attendees will welcome the holiday season with a rendition of George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah.”

8: The Airborne Toxic Event

San Diego Symphony

The “Sometime Around Midnight” singers team up with conductor Bruce Kiesling and the San Diego Symphony for a dynamic orchestral rock concert at The Rady Shell.

9–10: Cirque Dreams Holidaze

San Diego Civic Theatre

This family-friendly show features aerial circus acts, talented jugglers, flying acrobats, and a treasure chest’s worth of penguins, toy soldiers, and all the festive critters your heart could dream up.

16: The Nutcracker

San Diego Ballet

Tchaikovsky, tights, and timeless choreography. One-hundred dancers disguised as sugar-plum fairies and other iconic characters tell a magical holiday story through dance. Kids ages 3 and up are welcome to join the fun.

Live music performance in church for San Diego art show, Working Title 2024, at Project [Blank]
Courtesy of Project [Blank]


11–13: Working Title 2024

Project [Blank]

Binational artist and curator Diana Benavídez gathers artists from Southern California to Tijuana to adorn St. Paul’s Cathedral in sculptures, paintings, and other creations that ponder the link between the sacred and the profane.

13–14, 20–21: The Tempest

Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center

Suspected to be one of Shakespeare’s final plays, The Tempest follows a magical ex-duke’s plot to get revenge on his treacherous brother.

20: In Search of Time

UC San Diego Park & Market

Composer Stefan Cwik’s In Search of Time draws inspiration from the work of visual artist Tatiana Ortiz-Rubio. Arrive early for a pre-concert interview with both artists.

Jewelry piece from San Diego art show,  La Frontera, at the Mingei International Museum in 2024
Courtesy of Diane Falkenhagen

27–August 4: La Frontera

Mingei International Museum

Cross-border artists with roots in both Mexico and the US crafted many of the pieces in this exhibition that explores what jewelry can reveal about identity, movement, and home.

Music director emeritus and guest conductor Steven Schick holding a conducting baton at the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus in 2024
Photo Credit: Jaroslav Richters
Steven Schick, La Jolla Symphony & Chorus


3: Tango Buenos Aires

La Jolla Music Society

Dancers Carolina Jaurena and Andrés Bravo perform a passionate tango to the sound of a world-premiere composition featuring four musicians on flute, violin, piano, and double bass.

8–March 10: The Age of Innocence

The Old Globe

The glitz and glamour of the Gilded Age are alive and well in this play based on Edith Wharton’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel about the rigid social mores of upper-class 1870s New York.

10–11: A Broken Hallelujah

La Jolla Symphony & Chorus

Music director emeritus and guest conductor Steven Schick leads this concert, which closes with Igor Stravinsky’s “Le Sacre du Printemps” (“The Rite of Passage”), an avant-garde musical masterpiece that blew minds in the 20th century.

Courtesy of La Jolla Playhouse

13–March 17: Redwood

La Jolla Playhouse

Broadway’s Idina Menzel shines in the role of Jesse, a businesswoman and mom who takes an odyssey into a redwood forest with the hope of healing her broken heart.

13–18: Chicago

The Civic Theater

The Civic Theater celebrates the 25th anniversary of the record-breaking Chicago revival, staging the Tony- and Grammy-winning musical about matricide and fame.

24–25: The Many Loves of Don Juan

Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center

The infamous Don Juan brings ardor and fire to the stage, where Spanish guitars and captivating choreography will sweep us all off our feet.

A band featuring a guitarist and bass player performing at the San Diego Latino Film Festival
Courtesy of San Diego Latino Film Festival


1–April 28: Ride

The Old Globe

In this musical set in the late 19th century, Annie Londonderry embarks on a mission to bike around the world (despite the fact she has only been on a bicycle twice before).

9–31: King James

The Old Globe

Two seemingly opposite men strike up a friendship based on their shared love of the Cleveland Cavaliers and basketball legend LeBron James in this play by Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph.

14–24: San Diego Latino Film Festival

See more than 160 films from Latin America, the US, and Spain; catch filmmaker Q&As; and dig in at the event’s annual food, beer, and wine fest.

Geoffrey Gonzalez’s new ballet, An American in Paris, which is produced by the City Ballet of San Diego will have shows in 2024
Photo Credit: Wes Magyar

16–17,27: An American in Paris

City Ballet Of San Diego

Geoffrey Gonzalez’s new ballet, An American in Paris, follows a young woman as she moves to Paris, determined to follow in the creative footsteps of Coco Chanel. The work was sparked by the true story of sportswear designer Claire McCardell.

23–24: All Things Equal: The Life and Trials of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Balboa Theatre

This 90-minute play gives viewers a glimpse at the challenges Ginsburg faced on the road to becoming a US Supreme Court justice. In the late ’50s, the political icon was one of only nine women studying law at Harvard.

Actor Leslie McCurdy starring
Courtesy of Spirit of Harriet Tubman

25–26: Spirit of Harriet Tubman

North Coast Repertory Theatre

Actor Leslie McCurdy stars in a one- woman, family-friendly performance, sharing tales from the Underground Railroad, drawing upon records of Tubman’s own words.

A quilted tapestry from the Forecast Form: Art in the Caribbean Diaspora art exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in 2024
Photo Credit: Wes Magyar
Forecast Form: Art in the Caribbean Diaspora, 1990s–Today


4–7: Without Walls Festival

La Jolla Playhouse

As part of this free, annual festival, immersive and interactive performances pop up all over San Diego, often in unexpected places (last year, shows ran in jail cells at Seaport Village and roamed the city in a graffiti-covered school bus).

18–July 21: Forecast Form: Art in the Caribbean Diaspora, 1990s–Today

Museum Of Contemporary Art San Diego

Weather becomes a metaphor for dispersion and change in this showcase of contemporary works by artists with ties to the Caribbean.

26, 28: Madama Butterfly

Civic Theatre

Giacomo Puccini’s tragic Italian opera follows the life and death of a young Japanese woman after she marries an unfaithful American naval officer and gives birth to his son.

27–28: Mission Fed Art Walk

Little Italy

Whether you’re a seasoned collector or a fine arts newbie, you’ll likely find something to tickle your fancy and adorn your walls at this event featuring more than 250 artists.

Actress dressed as Lady Bird Johnson in the theater production Tea for Three at the North Coast Repetory Theatre in San Diego
Photo Credit: Andrea Reese

29–30: Tea for Three: Lady Bird, Pat & Betty

North Coast Repertory Theatre

Three former first ladies walk into a bar… Emmy winner Elaine Bromka and other actors explore the politics of love and devotion through the eyes of Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon, and Betty Ford.

Performers with painted faces carry a man in a shirt and vest off stage during Carmina Burana by the City Ballet of San Diego
Photo Credit: Chelsea Penyak
Carmina Burana by the City Ballet of San Diego


1–5: San Diego Tijuana World Design Capital Design Festival

In celebration of our region’s recent designation as a World Design Capital, SD and Tijuana host a series of conferences, exhibits, summits, and shindigs highlighting the area’s cross-border artists, designers, and creative agencies.

4–5: Giselle

San Diego Ballet

Set in the pueblos of Spanish-colonial California, this haunting production features lloronas, or women who have passed on and are seeking revenge on the men who did them dirty.

4–5: Carmina Burana

City Ballet Of San Diego

Banker James J. Riordan committed suicide following the 1929 stock market crash, an occurrence that made front-page news in the The New York Times. Dancers tell that story to the tune of Carmina Burana, Carl Orff’s searing score based on a 13th-century poetry collection.

4–26: Stir

The Old Globe

In this world-premiere play, two siblings separated by distance are reunited through their mother’s favorite recipe, kicking off a heartwarming tale about the healing powers of food and family.

Photo Credit: Michael Prine Photography

16–26: San Diego International Fringe Festival

This eclectic, affordable festival welcomes unrestrained, uncensored performances at venues throughout San Diego. Local and international comedians, dancers, actors, and musicians present bold, never-boring shows with ratings that range from G to NC-17.

17–18: Swan Lake

San Diego Civic Theatre

Hand-painted sets and more than 150 detailed costumes help bring Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet to life.

25–June 23: Fat Ham

The Old Globe

In this Pulitzer-winning, comedic spin on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Juicy, a young, queer, Black man, runs into the ghost of his father at a family cookout and finds himself suddenly tasked with avenging his dad’s death.

31–June 1: The Robots

Project [Blank]

Project [Blank] closes out its sixth season with this new sci-fi opera inspired by the 1920 play that first coined the word “robot.” Depicting an automaton uprising, the production delves into themes of labor and exploitation.

By Roxana Becerril

Roxana Becerril is a Mexican-American writer living in San Diego. When she's not traveling or checking out the newest restaurant in the city, she covers art, culture, lifestyle and Latino topics.

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