The signature colorful cobblestone. The local artists at every turn. The masterpieces across mediums. The coffee (don’t worry, we’ll share). There are so many reasons we love the Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park. Spotlight, on.
🌈 The colors
The second you enter, your eyes are met with a sea of painted, colorful tiles. It’s like walking on a rainbow — and an instant mood booster.
🎨 The working artists
This landmark is home to 30+ studios featuring works of 200+ living, diverse local artists across mediums like fiber, jewelry, clay, glass, photography, oil painting, wood + more. On any given day, you can walk into the studios, chat with artists + buy local art. Sometimes, you can even watch them as they work.
🖌️ The classes + free “drop-in” activities
From mixed media + indigo dye to watercolor and acrylic paint, art classes are offered regularly at the Village — starting around $35.
Pro tip: Most Saturdays, from 12-4 p.m., an artist will set up a canopy on the main patio where little ones + adults can enjoy a free art activity. Last month, I took my daughters to paint wood ornaments (I’m a sucker for a heartfelt keepsake). Donations are welcome — that money helps keep the free program running strong.
☕ Daniel’s Coffee Cart
Tucked on the patio, usually with a long line wrapped around it, you’ll find Daniel’s Coffee Cart. And boy, does Daniel know how to do coffee. This tiny gem offers delicious iced + hot coffee drinks, tea, and pastries. They’ll even make a “kids temp” hot chocolate for the littlest art enthusiasts.
🖼️ The history
Built in 1935 for the second California Exposition, the Spanish Village was meant to be temporary. But, you know, good art never is. In 1936, a group of local artists united to ask the city to convert the buildings into working art studios. In exchange, the artists promised to provide community outreach to fellow artists + the public. Win-win.
📍 1770 Village Place, Balboa Park
🕚 11 a.m.-4 p.m., daily