Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

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MCASD to Become Only Large Museum in San Diego with Regular Evening Hours Multiple Days a Week

Aiming to better serve a broader public, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego will host extended visitor hours every Thursday through Saturday

Three people toasting with wine glasses with a sunset as a backdrop

Photo: Stacy Keck

(May 30, 2024 – San Diego)The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego will introduce a significant change to its regular visitor hours, aimed at better serving the local community. This update makes MCASD the only large museum — a classification used by the American Alliance of Museums based on operational budget and staff size — in San Diego with regular evening hours. Mid-size museums with evening hours in San Diego include the WNDR Museum and the Whaley House Museum, with Mingei International Museum, a large museum, being partly open twice a week during the evening. Other cultural organizations, like the Birch Aquarium at Scripps and San Diego Natural History Museum host temporary evening hours during summer months. Many other local arts and culture institutions host evening hours once a week or once a month.

Starting today, Thursday, May 30, MCASD will extend its hours to accommodate evening visits from Thursday through Saturday. The new extended hours are:

  • Thursday to Saturday: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

  • Sunday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

“From a world-renowned collection to breathtaking sunset views, each visit to MCASD promises exploration filled with both fun and inspiration,” said Kathryn Kanjo, The David C. Copley Director and CEO. “I invite everyone to visit us and spend more time engaging with the art of our moment, all while enjoying the stunning views that only San Diego can offer.”

Birds-eye view of people on a terrace with ocean views

Photo: SWISH

Audiences can now spend their evenings exploring MCASD, La Jolla’s recently enhanced, oceanfront museum. Since reopening in 2022 after a renovation that quadrupled its gallery space, the museum has become a must-see San Diego destination for art, iconic sunset views, artisan shopping, and food and drink, all in one place.

In addition to breakfast and lunch, MCASD's on-site restaurant, The Kitchen, will soon offer expanded hours, too, allowing visitors to stay for drinks and dinner. Further details on The Kitchen’s new schedule will be announced in the coming weeks.

“Chef Tim Kolanko and I are excited to expand The Kitchen’s service to include a summer evening dining experience at MCASD," says Tracy Borkum, Principal of Urban Kitchen Group. “We’ve been busy working on a unique menu that continues our commitment to bridging decades of art and culture through hospitality, and we’re looking forward to welcoming guests in soon”

Previously, MCASD’s visitor hours were 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Thursday to Sunday, with two days of the month offering free admission. Only every third Thursday of the month offered special hours, with galleries closing at 8 p.m. In this new model, galleries will close at 7 p.m. during third Thursdays, and they remain free. The other free day remains the second Sunday of each month, and visitor hours will be updated to 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Second Sunday’s family-oriented program, Play Day, will transition from a start time of 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. as well.

This new schedule is designed to better serve the local workforce, making it easier for everyone to experience contemporary art without the constraints of a typical workday. The later hours allow for those who work full time or are busy on the weekends to still have time to enjoy MCASD in the evenings. It also gives more time for those commuting from other parts in San Diego County into La Jolla.

"As a modern art enthusiast with a full-time work commitment, I can't overstate the convenience of these new hours,” said Touradj Barman, software designer and CEO of Up 'n go, a contactless payments company for restaurants. “Now I can swing by MCASD after work and experience the latest exhibits. For people who work during the day, these new hours offer a rare chance to engage deeply with contemporary art.”

This update to MCASD’s new visitor hours is the museum's latest effort to make it easier for people to access and enjoy its exhibitions and programs. Earlier this year, the museum launched its free digital guide on the Bloomberg Connects smartphone application. The free digital resource strengthened the visitor experience by offering educator- and curator-guided interpretation of MCASD's collection and exhibitions. Today, visitors use it to access in-depth audio tours and multimedia content, which enhance their understanding and appreciation of contemporary art.

Currently on view and public programs
Most of the expanded gallery space at MCASD features works in the museum’s permanent collection. “The Inaugural Collection Installation” hightings MCASD’s diverse historical holdings and ongoing commitment to the art of our present moment. With over 5,600 works in its permanent collection that span from 1950 to the present, MCASD boasts one of the most extensive collections in the region. The museum’s inaugural collection exhibition currently highlights this rich history and displays works that have rarely been on view, including works by John Baldessari, Maren Hassinger, Larry Bell, Sam Gilliam, Yayoi Kusama, Robert Irwin, Kay Walkingstick, Helen Pashgian, Niki de Saint Phalle, and Marcos Ramírez ERRE, to name a few. More than 200 permanent collection artworks are currently on view in more than 20 permanent collection galleries.

Also on view through July 28, “Forecast Form: Art in the Caribbean Diaspora, 1990s–Today” is the first major group exhibition in the United States to envision a new approach to contemporary art in the Caribbean diaspora, revealing new modes of thinking about identity and place. Presenting more than 20 artists who live in the Caribbean or are of Caribbean heritage, “Forecast Form” anchors itself in the concept of diaspora, the dispersal of people through migration both forced and voluntary. Here, diaspora is not a longing to return home but a way of understanding that we are always in movement and that our identities are in constant states of transformation.

In their visit, guests may also explore the unique, site-specific sculptures and installations in the picturesque, seaside sculpture garden at MCASD. Artists on view include Vito Acconci, Richard Fleischner, Anselm Kiefer, Gabriel Orozco, Marcos Ramírez ERRE, Ed Ruscha, Erika Rothenberg, Nancy Rubins, and Alexis Smith.

MCASD's public programs in La Jolla have experienced overwhelming participation:

  • During Free Third Thursday, visitors enjoy complimentary admission from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with engaging public programs spanning from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., featuring enriching artist talks, captivating performances, film screenings, and other activities. Notably, public programs associated with Free Third Thursday have consistently sold out, reflecting the community's keen interest. Previous and ongoing programming partners include Pacific Arts Movement, So Say We All, Lang Books, and Future is Color Studio Sessions. Earlier this year, The Conrad Prebys Foundation announced MCASD’s Free Third Thursday program as a recipient of its Anchoring the Arts grants.

  • During Second Sundays, families enjoy fun activities in the museum’s staple multi-generation program, Play Day. Based out of Conrad Prebys Learning Center and spilling out onto terraces and throughout galleries, these days include free admission, tours especially created for young children, at-your-own-pace guides, hands-on art activities, an accessible food program, and transportation. Each month has new offerings that explore artworks on display in different and engaging ways.


  • For interviews, please contact, (619) 496-3053

  • Hours to visit MCASD are Thursday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Cost for entry is $25 for adults. Discounted tickets are available for San Diego County and Tijuana Residents, students and seniors, and military. Free admission is offered to people 25 and under, SNAP/EBT card holders, and military and their families.

The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) is the region’s foremost forum devoted to the exploration and presentation of the art of today. Open since 1941, we welcome all audiences to reflect on their lives, communities, and the ever-changing world through the powerful prism of contemporary art. MCASD’s dynamic exhibition schedule features a vast array of media in an unprecedented variety of spaces, along with a growing dedication to community experiences and public programs. As a cultural hub, MCASD seeks to catalyze conversation in our region.

The Kitchen is a full-service café offering breakfast and lunch Wednesday through Sunday, with grab-and-go retail and a coffee counter open until 4 p.m. This ocean-view indoor/outdoor dining room received nods as one of 2023’s greatest openings,

and it’s continuing to bring serious foodie appeal to one of the city’s most prominent cultural institutions with new programming in 2024. Tracy Borkum (principal of Urban Kitchen Group) revealed The Kitchen following MCASD’s $105 million renovation and then later had the opportunity to expand its footprint into one of the museum’s most coveted event spaces overlooking the ocean.The menu is helmed by the city's slow food pioneer Chef/Partner Tim Kolanko, and draws inspiration from the regions of Southern Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, including Italy, Greece, Spain, Turkey, Israel, and Morocco, while the beauty of space brings connectivity to decades of art and culture.