Five free, must-see San Diego public art pieces

Discover these statues, art communities, and paintings that you can visit around San Diego County at no cost.

Snake heads at Queen Califia's Magical Circle in Escondido.

These sculptures have Niki de Saint Phalle’s magic touch.

Photo via @lala_its_lisa

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Life in San Diego is a work of art. In addition to murals and museums, the county is packed with public art displays you can explore without spending a cent.

Ready for a tour? We’ve rounded up five can’t-miss displays.

“Queen Califia’s Magical Circle,” Kit Carson Park

Artist Niki de Saint Phalle installed one of her final — and largest — creations at this Escondido park. It contains nine vibrant statues inspired by mystic tales of California. You can visit on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and the second and fourth Saturdays of the month, weather permitting.

Spanish Village, Balboa Park

From its architecture to museums, Balboa Park is filled with local art, but this village within the landmark will have you feeling like you stepped into a painting — because you did. You’ll be walking across a rainbow-tiled patio, but make sure to spend time exploring inside the studios.

"Fallen Star" sitting atop the Jacob's building at UC San Diego

This is one way to add another unit to a building.

Photo via Erik Jepsen + UC San Diego.

“Fallen Star,” UC San Diego

Imagine a house that was magically pulled off its plot and landed atop a building. That was the inspiration behind Do Ho Suh’s creation, which is located on Jacob’s Hall, home of the Jacobs School of Engineering. Public visiting hours are on hiatus, but you can always spot it from afar on a campus art tour.

“The Magic Tunnel,” Civita Park

Local artists Kevin Anderson painted this 72-ft tunnel with images that showcase different regions and history in San Diego County. Like magic, you can walk through it in seconds or spend hours looking at every detail.

"Embracing Peace" statue on the Embarcadero in the San Diego Marina

“Embracing Peace” at Tuna Harbor Park.

Photo via Michael Beausoleil + SDtoday

“Embracing Peace,” Tuna Harbor Park

In 2013, Seward Johnson’s statue from the “Unconditional Surrender” series was permanently installed adjacent to the USS Midway Museum, replacing the temporary version installed in 2007. This 25-ft kiss serves as a tribute to San Diego’s military community, though there is some controversy surrounding it.

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