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This beloved museum showcases contemporary art from the 1950s to present day in a striking setting overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The airy, light-filled galleries display views of the water, site-specific installations, and rotating exhibitions such as "Photography in Mexico" and the science fiction-inspired "Approximately Infinite Universe." 


Some of the museum's highlights are outdoors: A jumble of boats blossoms exuberantly out of the back of the building, and a sculpture garden features several whimsical works. If you start to get peckish, stop by the cafe (open 8am–3pm) and enjoy a bite on the patio beneath the wisteria; the gift shop that carries all sorts of art books and modern design objects also makes a good pit stop. 

The MCASD is currently planning a dramatic expansion to the La Jolla facility in an effort to display more selections from its permanent collection of approximately 4,700 pieces. The building's bold, contemporary architecture incorporates the site's original structure, designed in 1916 by acclaimed architect Irving Gill for philanthropist Ellen Scripps Browning.