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13 SD Galleries Highlighting Local & International Artists

From quirky spots uplifting emerging artists to heavy-hitters exhibiting major 20th-century and contemporary legends, here’s where art lives in SD
Interior of Quint art gallery in la Jolla, San Diego featuring colorful paintings in a white room
Courtesy of Quint Gallery

Thought Balboa Park and the Cardiff Kook were the only examples of art in San Diego? Think again. While we may not have the near-endless gallery network of creative centers like LA, London, or New York (yet), there’s a whole scene here for those who know where to look. Plenty of artistic polestars are quietly shining away beneath San Diego’s sun-and-sand exterior, providing spaces for artists to showcase their work and collectors to find their next big score. Visit these 13 San Diego galleries to recharge your creative batteries and invest in some art.

Interior of Bread & Salt art gallery in Barrio Logan, San Diego
Courtesy of Elizabeth Rooklidge

San Diego’s Best Art Galleries

Bread & Salt Gallery

Launched in a former Logan Heights bread factory in 2013, Bread & Salt has become one of San Diego County’s most active and important cultural hubs. In addition to showcasing contemporary art across mediums, the institution supports resident artists and hosts concerts, vendors, and other independent galleries (see below). Bread & Salt is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

1955 Julian Avenue, Logan Heights

Interior of Bread & Salt's Best Practice art gallery in Barrio Logan, San Diego featuring an intricate sculpture exhibit
Courtesy of Best Practice

Best Practice Art Gallery

Founded by Joe Yorty and Allie Mundt in 2016, Best Practice is located within Bread & Salt. Funky, boundary-pushing, and often highly conceptual, the gallery’s contemporary art exhibitions highlight local and international artists tackling major social issues through paintings, film, large-scale immersive installations, and more. Visit during Bread & Salt’s regular hours (Tuesday–Sunday, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.).

1955 Julian Avenue, Logan Heights

Interior of Sparks art gallery in the Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego featuring larger artwork in the middle of a brick room
Courtesy of Sparks Gallery

Sparks Gallery

Located in the Gaslamp, Sparks Gallery has championed contemporary Southern California artists—including local luminaries like James Hubbell, Stefanie Bales, and Oriana Poindexter—working in a broad range of styles and mediums since 2013. Stop by Monday, Thursday, and Friday from 10 a.m to 6 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

530 Sixth Avenue, Gaslamp

Interior of The Studio Door art gallery in Hillcrest, San Diego featuring sculptures and paintings
Courtesy of The Studio Door

The Studio Door

Gay-owned gallery The Studio Door is a fixture of Hillcrest’s monthly neighborhood art walk. Founder Patric Stillman hosts an annual themed, juried exhibition. Throughout the year, collectors can wander through the gallery’s network of small studios to explore a diverse array of works from partner artists. Open hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

3867 4th Avenue, Hillcrest

A watercolor painting from The San Diego Watercolor Society Gallery featuring artwork of a trombone player
Courtesy of Liberty Station

The San Diego Watercolor Society Gallery

The San Diego Watercolor Society Gallery serves as a vibrant hub for watercolor enthusiasts in Point Loma, offering exhibitions, workshops, and educational programs. Major annual shows include an exhibition of work by member artists and one showcasing paintings from international watercolorists. The gallery is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

2825 Dewey Road, Suite 105, Building 202, Point Loma 

Interior of Thumbprint Gallery in La Jolla, San Diego featuring guests interacting with art exhibits
Courtesy of Thumbprint Gallery

Thumbprint Gallery

Many of the eclectic, playful works at Thumbprint Gallery draw from pop culture and digital-age aesthetics. The La Jolla space, launched in 2009 by Paul Ecdao and Johnny Tran, is a must-visit for collectors just starting out; Ecdao and Tran partner often with emerging artists to vend work at an approachable price point. Shop Saturdays and Sundays from 12 to 4 p.m. 

920 Kline Street, La Jolla

Interior of Quint Art Gallery in La Jolla, San Diego featuring modern art paintings and a statue
Courtesy of Quint Art Gallery

Quint Art Gallery

Founded in 1981, La Jolla’s Quint has long been one of San Diego’s foremost commercial art spaces, mounting forward-thinking works from an esteemed list of contemporary artists, such as local stars Taylor Chapin, Robert Irwin, and Einar and Jamex De La Torre. Visit Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

7722 Girard Avenue, La Jolla

Interior of the Joseph Bellows Gallery in La Jolla, San Diego featuring black-and-white film photography
Courtesy of Joseph Bellows Gallery

Joseph Bellows Gallery

Located just upstairs from Quint, Joseph Bellows Gallery focuses exclusively on photography, housing a nostalgia-inducing collection of black-and-white photographs depicting American life, as well as a robust library of photographic books. Explore the gallery on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

7661 Girard Avenue, La Jolla

Exterior of Art Produce art gallery in North Park featuring large glass windows and plant murals on the walls
Courtesy of Art Produce

Art Produce Gallery

City-supported nonprofit Art Produce moved into the renovated space that once housed North Park Produce in 1999. Part gallery and part venue for public art, the organization offers bold, often interactive showcases visible from the sidewalk through massive glass walls. The gallery is open Thursday and Friday from 2 to 5 p.m., though you may be able to visit Art Produce at additional times for performances, workshops, and other events.

3139 University Avenue, North Park

Interior of Trash Lamb Gallery in South Park, San Diego featuring its founder Melody Jean Moulton
Photo Credit: Nickie Peña

Trash Lamb Gallery

Lovers of the odd and macabre (and of affordable original art) will meet their match at Trash Lamb, a tiny, quirky gallery-slash-gift-shop in South Park. Founded in 2020, the space shows conversation-starting works from emerging and established artists, including Jason Sherry and Jon Bok. Trash Lamb is open Thursday through Saturday from 12 to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m.

2365 30th Street, South Park

Interior of Meyer Fine Art gallery in Little Italy, San Diego featuring visitors interacting with gold-framed artwork on a wall
Courtesy of Meyer Fine Art, Inc.

Meyer Fine Art

Founded in 1978, Meyer Fine Art is located in Little Italy’s Art & Design District. The gallery has shown work from artists like Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Francisco Zuniga, José Luis Cuevas, and Andy Warhol, among others. Mayer Fine Art is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 pm.

2400 Kettner Boulevard, Suite 104, Little Italy

Interior of Distinction Gallery in Escondido, San Diego featuring a painter finishing an art piece
Courtesy of Distinction Gallery

Distinction Gallery

Distinction Gallery has hosted more than 100 exhibitions since its 2004 founding. The gallery runs a free art program for teens, and while certainly not a children’s gallery in any traditional sense, kids and kids-at-heart might find themselves especially drawn to the space’s technicolor, strange, sometimes spooky tastes. Distinction is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 12 to 5 p.m.

317 East Grand Avenue, Suite A, Escondido

Interior of Oolong Gallery in Encinitas featuring a colorful modern art in a warehouse
Courtesy of Oolong Gallery

Oolong Gallery

Perched in an airy former warehouse in Encinitas and led by knowledgeable owner Eric Laine, Oolong Gallery mounts exhibitions of 2D and 3D art from around the globe, often pairing two or more artists to draw powerful thematic and visual connections between their work. Explore Oolong’s shows Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

687 Second Street, Encinitas

By Noemi Portillo

By Amelia Rodriguez

Amelia Rodriguez is San Diego Magazine’s Associate Editor. The 2023 winner of the San Diego Press Club's Rising Star Award, she’s covered music, food, arts & culture, fashion, and design for Rolling Stone, Palm Springs Life, and other national and regional publications. After work, you can find her hunting down San Diego’s best pastries and maintaining her three-year Duolingo streak.

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