OH! San Diego delights with architecture tours

The Urban Discovery Academy in East Village. (Courtesy photo)In the words of Dr. Seuss, “Oh! The Places You’ll Go!” This is particularly fitting for when you explore architecture during this weekend’s multiple OH! San Diego tours. Sponsored by the San Diego Architectural Foundation and Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty, more than 40 locations will open their doors to locals and tourists for tours and talks on Saturday and Sunday, March 25-26. Tours are grouped into different areas around town including Bankers Hill, downtown San Diego, Gaslamp, East Village and Barrio Logan.

Joining New York and Chicago, America’s Finest City becomes the third in the country to be honored with the designation of Open House Worldwide City. Founded in 1992, the Open House Project began in London to provide free access to the city’s architectural wonders. Its popularity spread worldwide and in 2010, Open House Worldwide was created, and now spreads over five continents with more than 1 million participants. The overarching goals of Open House are to both raise awareness and to encourage dialogue on topics including sustainability, gentrification, urbanization, and housing.

“I thought San Diego must be Heaven on earth. It seemed to me the best place to build a city I ever saw.” -Alonzo Horton

OH! San Diego, was founded two years ago in 2015 by Susanne Friestedt, a San Diego native. This engaging annual event is an open invitation to explore the city, get to know artists, architects, and designers while admiring a number of fascinating and impressive buildings.

Wondering how to navigate this weekend? Here are some tips on navigating the 47 curated sites:

Walk, bike or take public transit: Forget the hassle of parking and spend your time in the San Diego sunshine. Bike rental stations are available at multiple locations throughout the participating neighborhoods. Look on for rentals and for bike routes. For public transit, visit for schedules. Once you arrive at the desired neighborhood destination, enjoy the walk between tours.

Get your OH! San Diego passport: Available at all locations, pick up a passport and stamp them along the way for a fabulous keepsake from your art appreciation weekend.

Make reservations at the hottest spots: Several locations require reservations, including Makers Quarter, so have a look at the locations ahead of time and book those timeslots.

Attend OH! Talks: Don’t miss an incredible chance to hear from architects and designers during the weekend’s festivities. You’ll even have an opportunity to speak up about issues that concern the city, like affordable housing and transportation.

Enter the OH! San Diego Photo Competition: Here’s your chance to flex your shutterbug expertise. Snap your shots, share them on social media, and enter your best photos for goodies and prizes.

Some must-see places

Botanical Building and House of Hospitality, Balboa Park : Learn about Spanish Revival architecture and the Panama California Exposition at these icons of San Diego culture.

The Abbey, 2825 Fifth Ave., Bankers Hill: Don’t miss this beautiful example of Classical Revival architecture along with its stained glass windows, woodwork, and gold leaf statue.

Urban Discovery Academy, 840 14th St., East Village: Kids and adults alike will love the vibrant colors and shapes of this urban charter school complete with art and STEAM studios, and a rooftop playground.

Other sites to see include the Victorian Villa Montezuma Museum, The National, an innovative example of space and materials, the San Diego Public Library, and Chicano Park. Want to see more?

For a full list of locations, talks and events, go to


Feast your eyes on these architectural marvels