Art After Hours

pexels-photoIf you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.

– Vincent Van Gogh

The rest of us should get some sandwiches and take a stroll through an art museum ūüėČ

– Me

Balboa Park is one of the best places in San Diego for dates. The collection¬†of historic buildings scattered amid vibrant gardens and luscious vegetation makes even the walk from the parking lot a scenic promenade. Combine that location with some fresh sandwiches and a museum experience you don’t have to skip work to enjoy, and you have the makings of a great night out!

The Food

Our camera deleted a great photo of the unwrapped subs ūüė¶

In my constant search for ways to save a buck,
I came across a Subway promotion for a free 6″ sub with the purchase of a 30 oz drink, and all I had to do was sign up for their SMS (text message) alerts. I quickly sent the promotion to my wife and soon we had each earned a free 6″ sub ūüėÄ While this deal may not be available to everyone forever, there are other options of course.

Other Options

More expensive: Grab a sandwich at Panama 66. Located right next door to the San Diego Museum of Art, they offer hot and cold subs made with local, seasonal ingredients, and live music every Friday night.

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Statue in front of Panama 66


Less expensive:¬†Craft¬†your own sandwich at home!¬†I make a mean BoLT (bologna, lettuce and tomatoes ūüėČ ), but if you don’t have your own signature sandwich, or you want to branch out, try one of these perfect-picnic sandwich recipes from Eat Serious!

The Art

Every Friday, the San Diego Museum of Art offers extended hours and $5 admission from 5:30-8:00 PM. Since many of us work during the normal operating hours of these museums, Art After Hours is a great way to experience the museum at a great price and without fighting the Saturday crowds. You can check out their current galleries here! *hint: on their website, make sure you select the date you are planning on going to get the most up to date information and see which musicians will be playing at Panama 66 near the sculpture garden.

The Date

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Enjoying the ambiance

Since we live in North Park, it’s just a short drive down Park Ave to get to Balboa. We stopped off at the Subway in Hillcrest to cash in on¬†our free sandwiches. The lady there had to check with her manager when I showed her my coupon, and came back with the reply of “we don’t take those offers here, but we’ll make an exception this time.” We were also told that the offer was usually only for the rotisserie chicken sandwich. There was nothing on the coupon that said that of course, but


Pondering the art

it did say “prices and participation may vary.” I also felt like a huge inconvenience by that point, so we agreed to the rotisserie chicken and were soon on our way.


Becoming one with the art

Parking was pretty easy to find in the lot just south of the organ pavilion, and we took our sandwiches up to the Plaza de Panama where there were plenty of open tables to choose from with umbrellas to shade them from the sun. Ana was pleasantly surprised with the rotisserie chicken sandwich (after having discovered the sweet onion sauce, I have never been worried about not liking a Subway sandwich lol).

It was about 7:40ish when we walked across the plaza to the museum, and when we got inside we learned the museum was closing at 8:00 pm (making me realize I hadn’t seen/checked the closing time when I was online). There were plenty of things we could see in 20 minutes, however, and admission was indeed $5 each, so we hurried in.IMG_2682

The galleries were surprisingly diverse, from bronze sculptures of big cats to German expressionism with a lot in between. One of our favorite exhibits was the art of East Asia, where they had everything from paintings to sculptures to pottery and jewelry.

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Sculpture Garden

After leaving the museum, we headed over to the May S. Marcy Sculpture Court and Garden, just behind Panama 66. The very abstract modern sculptures were an interesting contrast to the exhibits we saw in the museum and it was fun to take a casual stroll around the little park. I especially liked how the California Tower loomed over us, with its eerie blue glow.



Always call ahead to verify times and offers. I should have called Subway before springing


Panama 66

my offer on them, and if we had known the museum closed at 8 pm,
we would have eaten a little quicker…maybe.


The entrance to the sculpture garden looks like the entrance to the restaurant. You do NOT have to enter or eat at the restaurant in order to visit the sculpture garden.

Bring a blanket to enjoy your sandwiches in the sculpture garden and have a real picnic!

If you‚Äôre like me, you have a tendency to take hundreds of pictures of paintings or landscapes or animals (things that can easily be found online), and you are left with a hard drive full of pictures you have no real interest in looking at later. A great way to¬†avoid this at an art museum is to try and be in as many pictures as possible!*hint: try posing like one of the statues or staring ponderously at a painting. You could always take a few selfies with the subjects.¬†When in doubt, a simple smile will do ūüôā

Here’s a map¬†of Balboa Park.




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