Your Favorite Places to Enjoy Arka in California

Getty Center in Los Angeles.Credit…Jenna Schoenefeld for The New York Times

Summer is officially over, and the days are quickly getting shorter as we ease into the fall.

It’s a perfect time to head indoors and enjoy some art, whether as a family activity on the weekends or after a busy workday to add some joy to your day.

For several months, readers have been emailing me their favorite places to experience art in California. Today, I’m sharing another selection of those suggestions, sorted by region and edited for length and clarity. These recommendations are part of a continuing series; you can read earlier installments here, here, here and here.

Send your own suggestions to [email protected]. Please include your name and the city where you live.


Northern California

Minnesota Street Project in San Francisco

“For anyone in the Bay Area, this is one of the greatest underappreciated places to see modern art. Many of San Francisco’s best private galleries decamped there a few years ago, when downtown commercial space got priced out of their reach by all the tech start-ups flush with venture capital money. The Rappaports are saviors of the local art scene, and the complex is an anchor of the budding Dogpatch neighborhood. Always free and open to the public.” — Ted Weinstein, San Francisco

Friday Nights at the Oakland Museum of California

“Lots of locals celebrate the end of the workweek alongside out-of-towners with gallery access, live music, food trucks and love of art in all its forms. You can meander through eclectic exhibitions, relax in the gardens, or spin on the dance floor. It’s the art of togetherness.” — Karina Moreno, Oakland

The Ren Brown Collection in Bodega Bay

“I love the intimacy of the space and its thoughtful layout. The drive up there from the East Bay, where I live, is beautiful and makes an easy day trip.

The two-floor gallery specializes in Japanese prints, including the work of the artists Tanaka Ryohei and Mayumi Oda. The gallery also sells some ceramics and decorative objects by Japanese, Japanese American, and American artists.” — Mari L’Esperance, Richmond

Central California

Winfield Gallery in Carmel-by-the-Sea

“In a town where so many galleries feature the usual seascape and cypress tree paintings, this eclectic gallery stands out. Mr. Winfield has an eye for contemporary realism and often shows outstanding works by David Ligare and other notable Californian realists. It’s also a great place to see sculpture, and the wine bar that lines the gallery entrance adds to the experience. Highly recommended!” — John Seed, Cambria

Southern California

Esco Alley Art in Escondido

“A multistreet mural project in historic downtown Escondido, Esco Alley Art has upward of 70 murals of different sizes displayed over three city blocks. The colorful community project is the result of artists and property owners coming together to transform the forgotten spaces of Escondido’s working alleys into a delightful art walk and outdoor art gallery. Organized by the Esco Alley Art Committee and sponsored by city grants, the project initially favored local artists but has grown to include national and international artists. This is the third year and alley of the project, and in 2024 it is expected to hop across Grand Avenue and start a loop back to Maple Street through the north-side alleyways.” — Heather Moe, Escondido

J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles

“I have memories of my grandmother bringing me there as a child. They have stunning collections of impressionism works by Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh. Some paintings are part of the Getty’s permanent collections, such as Van Gogh’s ‘Irises,’ and it also has rotating displays and exhibitions. Besides impressionism, the Getty is also known for photography, renaissance art, still life, and beautiful rose gardens and sculptures.” — Justine Morgan, Los Angeles

Chicano Park in San Diego

“In the Barrio Logan area of San Diego, the underpass of the Coronado Bridge serves as a canvas for Mexican American artists with over 100 murals and sculpture in the span of 25 square blocks, some 50 feet high. This predominantly Hispanic neighborhood offers great food; eclectic, arty bookstores; and galleries such as Sew Loka and Libélula surrounding a park with play structures and areas for weekend music and cultural events.” — Emily Dolton, San Diego

Charley Gauxdown, left, and Sirius Bethel eat lunch in Dolores Park in San Francisco.Credit…Jim Wilson/The New York Times

If you read one story, make it this

“Are you OK?” San Francisco residents say they most certainly are.

Firefighters battling the Bond fire in Orange County in 2020.Credit…Noah Berger/Associated Press

The rest of the news

  • Union leaders for federal wild-land firefighters warn that the 15,000-member work force could face a mass exodus if Congress does not make temporary pay hikes permanent, The Los Angeles Times reports.

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation that will penalize school districts that reject textbooks for discriminatory reasons, Politico reports.

  • Significant rain levels have put the state on track to record relatively moderate amounts of wildfire damage for a second year in a row, Reuters reports.

Southern California

  • After screenwriters reached a tentative agreement, all eyes are now on the actors’ strike to bring Hollywood fully back to life. But the union and studios have not spoken in more than two months.

  • State regulators faulted two hospitals in Southern California for medication errors that put patients at risk, including a patient who suffered a brain bleed after receiving repeated doses of blood thinner, The Los Angeles Times reports.

Northern California

  • The Oakland Unified School District is being called out for a “troubling and troublingly familiar” pattern of irresponsible spending, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

A sea otter grooms in a kelp bed in Morro Bay.Credit…Mario Tama/Getty Images

Where we’re traveling

Today’s tip comes from Steven Bellenot:

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to [email protected]. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.

Tell us

Our California playlist is ever evolving, based on your recommendations of songs that best represent the Golden State.

You can email me your choices at [email protected]. Please include your full name, the city where you live and a few sentences about why your song deserves inclusion.

The Olympic Auditorium at the corner of 18th and Grand in Los Angeles.Credit…George Wilhelm/Los Angeles Times, via Getty Images

And before you go, some good news

For decades, the Olympic Auditorium, a sports and entertainment venue in downtown Los Angeles, was the scene of some of the city’s most notable boxing and wrestling matches.

The venue saw boxers and wrestlers like Julio César Chávez and Rowdy Roddy Piper ascend to fame, crowned mixed martial arts greats and was also home to Los Angeles’s roller derby team. It became something of an institution for a diverse and vibrant spectrum of fans, as well as an especially significant cultural space for the city’s Mexican American community.

A new exhibition at the LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes is honoring the history and the legacy of the Olympic Auditorium, which closed in 2005. The exhibition, called “18th & Grand: The Olympic Auditorium” and inspired by a documentary of the same name, explores the 80-year history of the punch palace and the city that defined it, through photographs, illustrations and historical artifacts.

The exhibition, free to attend, is on display until May 2024. Read more about it here.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Soumya

P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword.

Maia Coleman, Briana Scalia and Shivani Gonzalez contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at [email protected].


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