San Diego Cultural Sites

San Diego cultural sites do not immediately connect with the notion of abundant black culture for visitors. Surprise! Let your exploration of San Diego cultural sites begin downtown at the dazzling monument to Dr. Martin Luther King called “Breaking The Chains.”

Breaking of the Chains Monument
DESCRIPTION: This over-sized sculpture by Melvin Edwards gives striking testament to African Americans’ hard fought path to civil rights. As you approach the monument, read several of Dr. King’s most poignant writings emblazened in foot stones. The tall polished metal sculpture which sumbolizes breaking the chains of bigotry and discrimination in America. This must-visit attraction is located across the street from San Diego Convention Center.
DAYS & HOURS: dawn to dusk
ADDRESS: 500 Harbor Drive at Martin Luther King, Jr. Promenade, San Diego, CA MAP
PARKING: city lots
TRANSIT: Gaslamp Quarter Station

World Beat Center
DESCRIPTION: Founded in 1980, it is the only institution in Balboa Park devoted to celebrating indigenous world cultures of the African Diaspora. The venue features a constant stream of special events, music and dance classes during the year.
ADMISSION: free for standard entry, but modest fees for special events and classes
DAYS & HOURS: daily 11a-6p, open longer for special events
ADDRESS: 2100 Park Blvd in Balboa Park, San Diego, CA MAP
PARKING: on premises
PHONE: 619-230-1190

African American World History Museum
DESCRIPTION: The name out front reads, Casa Del Rey Moro. This attractions inside highlight ancient, colonial and contemporary periods of African Diaspora History. The museum places special focus on the inter-relationships defined as African-Spanish-Mexican and African American heritage in San Diego. Call ahead to schedule a group tour.
ADMISSION: $2 Adults, $1 children
DAYS & HOURS: daily 10:30a-8p
ADDRESS: 2471 Congress Street, San Diego, CA MAP
PARKING: free on premises, plus on street
TRANSIT: Old Town Transit Center
PHONE: 619-220-0022

Malcolm X Library and Performing Arts Center
DESCRIPTION: Named in honor of the slain human rights leader, Malcolm X, this tremendous public resource greets you with a statue of Brother Malcolm; Dr. Betty Shabazz attended the unvieling on the statue; browse books magazines and newspapers that are common to the African Diaspora experience; the African American Genealogy section is of particularly noteworthy; access e-mail or watch a video in the Multimedia/Computer lab; wander around displays by local artists
DAYS & HOURS: Mon & Wed 12p-8p; Tue & Thu-Sat 9:30a-5:30p; Sun 1p-5p
ADDRESS: 5148 Market Street, San Diego, CA MAP
PARKING: on premises
TRANSIT: Euclid Avenue Station
PHONE: 619-527-3405

African American Writers and Artists
DESCRIPTION: A noteworthy guild to expose local literary and artistic talent; call for calendar of artistic events at various venues in the city
ADMISSION: free to join
DAYS & HOURS: meetings every 2nd Sunday of the month at 2pm at Malcolm X Library
ADDRESS: 5148 Market Street, San Diego, CA MAP
PARKING: on premises
TRANSIT: Euclid Avenue Station
PHONE: 619-264-5015

Tubman-Chavez Center
DESCRIPTION: Named in honor of the Underground Railroad heroine, Harriet Tubman and international labor rights activist, Caesar Chavez; although the center is a focal point for many community events, it also features a small African American art collection; located across from Market Creek Plaza
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Fri 10a-7p; Sat 12p-4p
ADDRESS: 415 Euclid Avenue, San Diego, CA MAP
PARKING: on premises
TRANSIT: Euclid Avenue Trolley Station
PHONE: 619-263-4772

San Diego Black Ensemble Theater
DESCRIPTION: Home offices for a professional theater group that performs at various venues around town
ADMISSION: $15 typical
DAYS & HOURS: performances vary
ADDRESS: 4143 Cleveland Ave, Suite A, San Diego, CA MAP
PARKING: on street
PHONE: none

Harlem of the West
DESCRIPTION: Organized by Karen Huff and the Black Historical Society of San Diego, this website focuses on the early 20th century Gaslamp Quarter when it was “the” African American neighborhood of San Diego
PHONE: 619-685-7215

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4 replies
  1. professor herbert says:

    This is so useful! I am thinking about a trip to San Diego and used to rely so heavily on your site for help. I returned to it recently and am thrilled that you are still up and running and thriving. Thank you for this service; it really is invaluable.

  2. Vonne says:

    Thankful for this information. My family and I are having our family reunion for the first time on the west coast in San Diego and these would be great ideas to incorporate. Thank you so much!

  3. Angela Caradonna says:

    Thank you for listing these. I live here and have had a really difficult time connecting to culture and roots.


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