Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA)
San Diego CA 92101
- Tue: 10am-5pm
- Wed: 10am-5pm
- Thu: 10am-5pm
- Fri: 10am-5pm
- Sat: 10am-5pm
- Sun: 10am-5pm
Located in beautiful Balboa Park, The Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) is a vibrant center for visual learning. One of three independent photography museums in the country devoted to photography, film and video. MOPA exhibits from its collection of more than 7,000 images -- focused strongly in modern and contemporary work, specifically social documentary photography and photojournalism -- as well as from new artists, representing the entire history of photography, its aesthetic movements, and technological advancements. The museum is also home to a state-of-the-art movie theater.
Best and worst times to go to The Museum of Photographic Arts
The best time to visit MOPA is on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings. The museum is really quiet on those days and you won't have to share the galleries with big crowds. The worst time to visit MOPA is usually in the afternoon just due to the large crowds.
Must see/do at The Museum of Photographic Arts
- Youth Exhibition: For the kiddos, MOPA hosts an annual juried exhibition showcasing the photographic talents of San Diego youth.
- Photography Collection: The Museum's permanent collection offers a rich photographic heritage, both as an expressive medium and a documentary record.
- Eyes of a Nation: Highlights the aesthetic growth of photography as it developed into an art form, and it features photographs of artists such as Walker Evans, Berenice Abbott, Edward Steichen, Gertrude Kasebier and Stephen Shore.
Admission to The Museum of Photographic Arts
MOPA opens from Tuesdays to Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. During the summer (from Memorial Day to Labor Day), it's open until 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $6 for students with ID. San Diego residents get in for free every second Tuesday of the month with an ID. Admission to the museum is free to MOPA Members, school groups (with advanced reservation), active military & dependents with ID, and children 12 and under.
Parking and public transportation at The Museum of Photographic Arts
There are several parking lots available along Space Theater Way and street parking is available along Park Blvd. During events and busy times, parking can be difficult at MOPA, try looking throughout Balboa Park for other parking lots. Other options include using the free tram that provides access to Balboa Park's museums and attractions. It runs daily from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with extended hours during summer months. MOPA is also accessible by public transportation. Bus #7 and Rapid #215 operate on Park Boulevard, on the Park's east side and stop at either at the stop by the Rose Garden (Bus 7) or the San Diego Zoo (Rapid 215 and Route 7). From the stop, go to El Prado and MOPA.
Food at The Museum of Photographic Arts
The museum doesn't allow eating or drinking. Water bottles are allowed in the museum and theater, but must remain closed. MOPA is inside Balboa Park, which has tons of food options from nice sit-down meal places to quick cupcakes and also a cute outdoor café.
Insider tip for visitors to The Museum of Photographic Arts
MOPA hosts a diverse selection of film festivals, premieres, documentaries, retrospectives, and one-of-a-kind events almost weekly at a very budget friendly price.
Author's bio: Rose Wheeler has lived in San Diego for over nine years. She's been published in "La Jolla Patch," "Global Post" and Yahoo. Her blog regularly features great local finds and trending style tips.