Spreckels Organ Pavilion, Balboa Park
  • Spreckels Organ Pavilion, Balboa Park
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The year is going to be all about refreshing the mind, body and soul. I’m resolving to take in more free art, listen to more free live music, hike more of our climate areas. Our gorgeous city has so many opportunities, I intend to make full use of them.

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” —Picasso

Balboa Park, much of it built for the Panama-California Exposition in 1915, offers 1200 acres of beauty. Every Tuesday, certain museums are free. The Timken Museum, which opened in 1965, is free every day and offers works by European and American artists, along with Russian Icons. Come January 26, an exhibit called The Romantic Impulse In the American Landscape Tradition will offer early 19th-century through present-day American art.

“I plan to take in lots of museums in February during Museum Month,” assured Serena. “They won’t be free, but there will be half-price admission to over 40 museums in the area, and you pick up the discount passes at local libraries.”

“ArtWalk festival in Little Italy is always a fun weekend for our family,” replied Nancy. “All kinds of art to inspire the inner artist, and the street chalk drawings are fabulous. There is also live music, and food.” Running April 27 and 28, the free event is the largest fine arts festival in Southern California.

During the weekend of August 10 and 11th, Liberty Station will be hosting the ArtWalk festival, and over September 21 and 22, it will land in Carlsbad.

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.” — John Muir

The great California naturalist had it right. I took some screen-addled city kids for a Christmas hike near Cuyamaca State Park, and I was shocked at the transformation they underwent. Five minutes in the cool mountain air, and their moods and attitudes were transformed. And it’s free. “I love free,” said Mariana. “I love hiking Torrey Pines with my beach gear on, and after working up a sweat, I set up shop at the beach. I also really like Mission Trails Park — plenty to hike there. Or if you are up for a drive, Stonewall Peak close to Lake Cuyamaca is awesome. Great place to work up a sweat and then to go for pie after. Or for a day trip hike in Borrego Springs, go to the Palm Canyon Oasis.”

Lost Palms Canyon and Oasis

Lost Palms Canyon and Oasis

“My favorite free place for a nice beach walk is Coronado,” answered Kathleen. “Parking is free and usually easy to find, the sand has lovely gold sparkles, and the beach is quite long, providing a good stretch of the legs. While rather pricey, it’s nice to sit beachside for a drink at the Hotel del Coronado afterwards. Always an enjoyable day.”

“Not quite free, but still reasonable, is Cabrillo National Monument. It’s a $15 entrance fee, but one may return for the following week. A fun hike along San Diego’s rocky shores, lovely views, and some fun tide pools.”

“If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.” — Charles Darwin

“I love going to the free Spreckels Organ Concerts,” added Mariana. “Sundays at 2 pm or Mondays during summer at 7:30 pm. Or Sunday concerts in Coronado at the park. I also like to sit at the steps of the Convention Center and listen to the Symphony summer concerts at Embarcadero South. I always attend at least one concert, but I can’t afford them all, so for the others, I pack dinner, enjoy the view, and listen from the Convention Center.”

“The San Diego Central Library offers free concerts,” suggested Samantha. “On Sundays at 2:30 in their Neil Morgan Auditorium, the library offers a concert series. I’m looking forward to their January 27 Trio Celeste concert, the February 17 harp concert with Duo Gliss, and their April 28 Sacra/Profana a cappela singing concert.”

“I will be bringing my kids to watch local students compete the Poetry Out Loud Regional Finals,” offered Therese. This free event is on February 5, 6:30 pm at the San Diego Central Library.

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