A Stunning Surface Offers Something Much Deeper: Newport Beach’s Art and Culture Scene
Close your eyes and envision Newport Beach. What do you see? Perhaps you imagine its palm tree-lined avenues, sun-soaked waves and boat-filled harbors. You can almost feel the warm sand between your toes as you breathe in the crisp, ocean air.
As one of the most desirable destinations in the country, Newport Beach rightfully inspires you to conjure images of its natural beauty. Though it’s renowned for its picturesque beaches, the true beauty of this Orange County gem lies in its vibrant art and culture scene.
While this coastal city is famously home to upscale shopping and trendy restaurants, it also comprises a myriad of museums and galleries. Read on to discover museums and galleries that will appeal to all types of aesthetes.
For the History Buff
Visitors and locals who are interested in experiencing the rich culture and history of Newport Beach may appreciate museums dedicated to the city’s history. Such museums use artifacts and photographs to depict the inception of Newport through its development to the modern day. Learn all about the three man-made islands that make up the Balboa Peninsula: Balboa Island, Little Balboa Island and Collins Island. Balboa Island, the largest of the three, ranks as one of Newport’s premier and most densely populated neighbors. As one of the most visited locations in Orange County, the island is accessible by bridge, ferry and dock. Once you arrive, enhance your day trip by learning about Balboa Island’s rich history.
For the Family
From its amusement park to its concrete-paved boardwalk, Balboa is a wonderland for children of all ages. Looking for educational opportunities in between Ferris wheel rides and boardwalk strolls? Balboa Island’s local museum offers kid-friendly exhibits that are both entertaining and educational. Their interactive discovery centers provide hands-on, STEM-based learning opportunities that are fun for the entire family. After a day spent at the museum, families can enjoy lunch on Marine Avenue, followed by Balboa’s most delicious delicacies: the Balboa bar or the frozen banana. Let this chocolate-coated treat be the cherry on top of an already incredible day.
For the Art Enthusiast
Newport offers art museums that range from historical to contemporary. The range of styles and mediums will appeal to a broad audience. Ideal for date nights, a weekend excursion or a post-work activity, Newport’s art scene strives to evoke creativity and stimulate one’s senses. Take a trip to Lido Marina Village, Newport’s waterfront complex. Amidst the restaurants and shops, you’ll find an art museum that features contemporary artwork and thought-provoking social experiments. Much of the artwork is aptly celebratory of Newport’s natural beauty. Exhibits such as these offer art-goers the unique opportunity to see Newport’s beaches in a new medium and with a fresh perspective.
For the Free Spirit
Nestled amongst the pastel houses and the gem-stoned named streets of Balboa Island, you’ll find Marine Avenue. As rare and precious as the streets’ namesakes are the trendy restaurants and charming boutiques that populate the storefronts. However, Balboa’s hidden gems are its impressive galleries. Dine al fresco and indulge in an afternoon of leisurely shopping. Marine Avenue galleries display art by local artists. These artists are proud to share their photographs, paintings and sculptures, all of which were inspired by Newport’s astonishing landscape. It makes sense that a place this exquisite would inspire equally exquisite art. Those who are similarly captivated by the coastal city’s natural beauty may choose to purchase artwork to bring the outdoor aesthetics into their home.
For the Beach Goer
Newport is also home to various specialty museums. Those who choose to live and visit Newport are the same people who value countless hours spent at the beach. With this shared appreciation for the ocean, it should come as no surprise that one of Newport’s specialty museums is dedicated to oceanography. Through marine-life education, this museum promotes environmental stewardship to keep Newport’s beaches pristine. Children and adults can see marine animals, partake in interactive exhibits, watch films in the discovery theater and participate in an eco-challenge.
Is it any wonder why Newport Beach is one of the most desirable destinations in the country? Yes, it’s naturally stunning, but Newport’s community has done an incredible job curating a culturally enriching art scene. So what are you waiting for? Come for the sun and surf, stay for the museums and galleries.