San Diego Museum Month was created in 1989 to promote awareness of the region’s museums, historical sites, educational institutions, and cultural attractions. This month-long promotion happens every February and has grown to become a much-anticipated event in San Diego County.

After all, when else can you receive half-off admission to explore San Diego museums?

How Museum Month Works

The Coast to Cactus exhibit at the San Diego Natural History Museum showcases local flora and fauna.
Coast to Cactus exhibit at theNAT

San Diego Museum Month gives patrons a chance to discover what’s new at more than 60 San Diego museums, historic sites, gardens, aquariums, and other destinations – with savings only seen once a year.

Starting February 1, participants can pick up a free San Diego Museum Month Pass that entitles them to half-off admission at all participating museums throughout the entire month of February. You don’t have to be a resident — anyone can use this pass!

Pick up your free museum month pass at a San Diego Macy’s store or any public library in San Diego county. There are over 75 local libraries, and some of the participating libraries include:

  • San Diego County Library
  • San Diego Public Library
  • Carlsbad Public Library
  • Chula Vista Public Library
  • Coronado Public Library
  • Escondido Public Library
  • National City Public Library
  • Oceanside Public Library

Guests with a Museum Month pass may bring up to four people to participating museums to receive half-off admission for the entire party.

There are a few restrictions, such as some museums may only allow you to use the pass a certain amount of times in the month. Additional fees may apply for special exhibitions at participating museums.

This Year’s Participating Museums

Your Museum Month discount pass gets you half-price admission at these fantastic San Diego county museums. From hands-on to interactive displays, museum fun can be found all month long. Simply pick one of the region’s museums or cultural attractions in the full list below, and get ready to explore!

  • Barona Cultural Center & Museum (Admission is always free and pass holders can enjoy 20% off their  store purchase – some exclusions apply – during the month of February.)
  • Birch Aquarium at Scripps (Discounted Museum Month admissions for Birch Aquarium MUST be reserved online in advance for a specific date and time. Visit and use code MuseumMonth22 at checkout.)
  • Bonita Museum & Cultural Center California Center for the Arts, Escondido Museum
  • Brain Observatory
  • CA State Parks- San Diego Coast District
  • Cabrillo National Monument
  • California Surf Museum
  • California Center for the Arts, Escondido
  • Centro Cultural de la Raza
  • Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center 
  • Comic-Con Museum
  • Coronado Historical Association
  • Fleet Science Center (IMAX not included)
  • Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House
  • Heritage of the Americas Museum
  • Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Central
  • Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) North
  • JA Cooley Museum
  • Japanese Friendship Garden
  • Junipero Serra Museum (SOHO) (open Saturday and Sunday)
  • La Jolla Historical Society
  • La Mesa Depot Museum
  • Lemon Grove Parsonage Museum
  • Living Coast Discovery Center
  • Maritime Museum of San Diego
  • Marston House Museum and Gardens (SOHO)
  • MCRD Command Museum
  • Mingei International Museum
  • Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum
  • Mission San Luis Rey (May exclude some special events.)
  • Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Downtown and La Jolla
  • Museum of Making Music
  • Museum of Photographic Arts
  • Museum of Us
  • Nautical History Gallery 
  • New Americans Museum
  • New Children’s Museum
  • Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
  • Pacific Southwest Railway Museum
  • San Diego African American Museum of Fine Arts
  • San Diego History Center
  • San Diego Air and Space Museum
  • San Diego Archaeological Center
  • San Diego Automotive Museum
  • San Diego Botanic Garden (Pass may be used for entrance to the Garden on one day only, as chosen by the passholder. Up to four people may be admitted that day, but no one may return with the pass on a separate day. Does not include special events. Tickets must be purchased in person on the day of entry by presenting the pass at admissions. Online ticket sales are not available for this discount).
  • San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum (Passes may only be used once and excludes special events. Cannot be combined with other offers.)
  • San Diego Chinese Historical MuseumSan Diego Model Railroad Museum
  • San Diego Museum of Art
  • San Diego Natural History Museum (The NAT) (Passes may only be used once and excludes special events. Cannot be combined with other offers.)
  • San Diego Police Museum
  • Santa Ysabel General Store (SOHO)
  • SOHO’s Adobe Chapel Museum
  • Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center
  • Timken Museum of Art 
  • Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
  • USS Midway Museum
  • Vanguard Culture Visions Art Museum
  • Warner-Carrillo Ranch House (SOHO)
  • Water Conservation Garden
  • Whaley House Museum
  • Women’s Museum of California (Museum without Walls – watch their website/social media for upcoming exhibits and online programming).
  • WorldBeat Cultural Center
Garibaldi orange fish swims in an exhibit at Birch Aquarium San Diego.
A garibaldi at Birch Aquarium

Learn More About Museum Month from the San Diego Museum Council

Tune into social media to learn more about the best San Diego museums, historic sites, gardens, zoos, aquariums, and cultural offerings, which will undoubtedly include information and fun activities that you might not already be familiar with.

Follow the San Diego Museum Council on these accounts and check them daily throughout February.

Or, follow the hashtag #SDMuseumMonth.

Fun Fact: In April 2015, San Diego was recognized by the National Geographic Channel documentary, “World’s Smart Cities: San Diego,” where the region gained applause for its lifestyle rich in art, cultural diversity, and natural beauty.

Explore a New-to-You Neighborhood While You’re at It

Why not visit a museum that is in a neighborhood you don’t get to very often? I have highlighted plenty of things to do in San Diego, but you can also check my neighborhood guides.

Which San Diego museums are you looking forward to learning more about during San Diego Museum Month?

*Photo credits: San Diego Air and Space Museum/Peter Carney for Balboa Park

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

Explore More in Balboa Park

Explore More Things to Do in San Diego

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