Cultural heritage sites
San Diego Cultural Heritage Alliance

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No matter what the season, San Diego offers a vibrant tapestry of events that celebrate our heritage and cultural depth and diversity.

Many of San Diego's historic communities hold home tours and garden tours with Save Our Heritage Organisation's annual historic home tour weekend always a stand out. The Festival of Sails on the San Diego Bay is one of the premier maritime events in the country; Balboa Park's December Nights shows the park by the evening light; Old Town San Diego's Día de los Muertos celebration in November includes a tour of over 50 artistic altars and a community candlelight procession to honor deceased loved ones; and in December Old Town's Las Posadas is a unique tradition that make San Diego a perfect winter destination for those seeking distinctive experiences.

Anticipation is building for a year-long centennial commemoration in 2015 of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park. The park retains most of the original or reconstructed expo buildings, the Plaza de Panama, and formal gardens and vistas accented by fountains. The cultural and science-based institutions that now occupy the historic expo buildings are all planning major exhibitions, interactive programs, performances, concerts and lectures. The San Diego Automobile Museum has commissioned Car Symphony, percussive music to be played by professional musicians on cars and assorted car parts and performed in the park and around the city.

Several institutions will focus on the architecture, design and landscaping of the 1915 expo, the designers and civic leaders who transformed the park for the expo, arts and crafts exhibited at the expo, and plein air paintings of the park by early 20th century masters and today's leading artists. Centennial plans are still evolving, so do consult to schedule your travel plans.

San Diego's birthday, July 16, is celebrated in Old Town at the Whaley House Museum with free cake and ice cream. It marks the day in 1769 when Father Junípero Serra planted a cross on Presidio Hill just above Old Town and dedicated the first mission in Alta California to San Diego de Alcalá. This was the first of a chain of 21 missions to be established along the California coast. In 2019 the whole community will celebrate the 250th birthday of the state in the city where California began, so mark your vacation calendar now for this once-in-a-lifetime event.


2476 San Diego Avenue · San Diego CA 92110 · Phone (619) 297-9327
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