In the 18th century, when Spanish settlers arrived here on San Diego’s shores, a band of Kumeyaay Native Americans already inhabited the coast. Though little remains of their settlements today, one of the best places to learn about the Kumeyaay is here at the Museum of Man. Here in San Diego’s only museum devoted entirely to anthropology, artifacts from many of the of the world’s ancient cultures are intriguingly displayed inside. Look at mummies that have been removed from their tombs in the sandy deserts of Egypt, or artwork and pottery from Mayan tribes from modern day Guatemala. Learn about the brutal history of torture and tools of the morbid trade, or peruse a collection of thousands of skulls that date to the origins of man. Some exhibits—like the history of beer—are only on temporary display, whereas collections on the Maya, Egyptians, and Kumeyaay are permanent exhibitions. When finished reading about Mayan monuments and hieroglyphic writing, climb seven stories up a hidden stairwell to the top of the California Tower. Re-opened to the public in 2015 for the first time in 80 years, the tower offers panoramic views of downtown San Diego.
The San Diego Museum of Man is open from 10am-5pm daily. Admission is $12.50 for adults, $8 for youth, $6 for children, and is located inside of Balboa Park.