WorldBeat Cultural Center

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2100 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
|
Open:
11:00 a.m. 6:00 p.m. (Fri, Sat & Sun)
Closed on Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs
Dance, sing, play music, and more as you get a taste of and learn about the many African and indigenous cultures of the world at the WorldBeat Cultural Center.
Todd Sarouhan
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means if you make purchases through them, I may be compensated at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
WorldBeat Cultural Center
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Immerse Yourself in the African & Indigenous Cultures of the World

Art of West African Kingdoms at the Worldbeat Cultural CenterNice Place to Relax at the Worldbeat Cultural Center

Located at 2100 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA 92101 in Balboa Park, the WorldBeat Cultural Center is a Balboa Park museum you may have not heard much about. But maybe, the museum could be just the educational and cultural experience you been looking for!

In terms of museums in San Diego, I personally think it’s very underrated and worth your time to check out and explore.

Founded in 1993 by Makeda Cheatom, the WorldBeat Cultural Center, one of San Diego’s most important multicultural art and event centers, moved its location from an annex in Old Town to its current location in Balboa Park in 1996.

The facility is more than just a museum! It’s a non-profit community and performing arts center, gift shop, cafe, and outdoor classroom dedicated to promoting, presenting, and preserving the African diaspora and indigenous cultures of the world through music, art, dance, education, research, and technology.

The group currently offers year-round dance and drumming classes, concerts, lectures, workshops, and more through its outdoor classrooms, cultural immersion opportunities, student internships, children’s summer camps, outreach opportunities, and noise project research.

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Workshops & Events
These workshops cover a wide range of activities such as drumming, dance, art, and more, providing valuable insights into different cultures from around the world.

What to Expect When Visiting

More Art at the Worldbeat Cultural Center
More Art at the Worldbeat Cultural Center

The WorldBeat Cultural Center is housed inside a colorfully painted former 1-million-gallon sized water tower. To me, that alone gets me excited to visit. But wait, there’s so much more!

Inside this tower you’ll find murals by local artists commemorating important leaders and historical cultures, multiple galleries and small shops, a large ballroom, and an art and artifacts gallery.

Hanging from the ceilings you’ll find flags from all nations decorating the space. Outside you’ll find the beautiful Peace Garden full of organic herbs, fruits, and vegetables.

Hours and activities will vary day by day, so be sure to check the schedule on their website for the most up to date information on current programs and events going on.

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The Latest Things to See and Do

Relax in the Garden at the Worldbeat
Relax in the Garden at the Worldbeat

George Washington Carver EthnoBotany Peace Garden

The Peace Garden is the first sustainable, edible garden in Balboa Park. It is dedicated to teaching children and youth about the role of plants in society, as well as the relationship of plants in local and global indigenous cultures of the past.

It is a unique garden full of organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs and was created in memory of George Washington Carver. Gardening classes and workshops are available year-round to individuals, families, schools, and youth programs.

Black Lives Matter at the Worldbeat Cultural Center
Black Lives Matter at the Worldbeat Cultural Center

Africa AC

The museum is very excited to welcome its first virtual exhibit. The experience is about the black people of Mexico. It aims to give people of color a voice and platform and this through a community in Costa Chica, Oaxaca, Mexico.

I personally think this is a really interesting initiative that highlights what he museum is all about. And the coolest part about this exhibit is it’s virtual, so it can be experienced even if you aren’t able to visit the museum.

Vegas Combo Plate at the Worldbeat Cultural Center
Vegas Combo Plate at the Worldbeat Cultural Center

Don’t Miss the WorldBeat Cafe

Open every Friday through Sunday, Balboa Park’s first all-vegan cafe, WorldBeat Cafe, serves Caribbean vegan soul food and alternative health drinks.

Here you can sample its delicious ethnobotany salad and micro green salad made from freshly picked herbs and vegetables from its Peace Garden, fresh juices and smoothies made with superfoods such as turkey tail mushrooms and moringa, and other ethnic dishes such as its Jamaican red curry and Costa Chica chili.

The food and drinks are delicious and even if you aren’t able to tour the museum each time your nearby, stop in for a meal or drink. You won’t be disappointed.

Events & Programs for You & Your Kids

List of Events at the Worldbeat Cultural Center
List of Events at the Worldbeat Cultural Center

Bob Marley: One Love Biopic Film After Party

  • February 14, 2024 from 9:00 PM - 11:00 PM

To celebrate the release of the Bob Marley: One Love biopic film, two-time Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, bassist, and producer Joshua David Barnett will pay tribute to Bob Marley with a jam session backed by Dub-Roc.

Bob Marley: One Love is a film dedicated to the life of Bob Marley and the story of how he overcame adversity and inspired generations through his message of love and unity.

Girls Enjoying the Exhibits at the Worldbeat Cultural Center
Girls Enjoying the Exhibits at the Worldbeat Cultural Center

Film Screening of Global Assignment: The Life and Times of Runoko Rashidi

  • February 16, 2024 from 7:00 PM - 9:30 PM

In celebration of Black History Month, WorldBeat Cultural Center is hosting a special screening of Global Assignment: The Life and Times of Runoko Rashidi, a documentary on the life of Runoko Rashidi, an anthropologist and historian who spent his lifetime searching for what he referred to as the Global African Presence - Africans outside of Africa before and after enslavement.

Renowned historian Anthony Browder will be attending in collaboration with the Department of Africana Studies of San Diego State University.

43rd Tribute to the Reggae Legends/Bob Day

  • February 24, 2024 from 3:00 PM - 11:30 PM

Formerly known as Bob Marley Day, this 43rd tribute festival pays homage to reggae music and will feature both local and international reggae artists. Reggae has a deep cultural influence that addresses themes such as unity, social justice, and peace.

This year’s lineup includes artists such as Johnny Clarke with the Soul Syndicate Band, Reemah, Kush and the Bloodfiyah Angels, and many more.

32nd Annual Multi-Cultural Earth Day

  • April 21, 2024 from 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM

The focus of this year’s Multi-Cultural Earth Day celebration at the WorldBeat Cultural Center is on climate resilience and food sovereignty, and will focus on finding the solutions to today’s food and health problems in the world.

This is a family-friendly event that includes music by world artists such as Sister Carol and Rob Symeonn, dancing, an annual seed swap, Middle Eastern drumming and belly dancing, birdwatching, local vendors, and more.

Virtual Events

WorldBeat Cultural Center also offers various rotating virtual events throughout the year such as an annual Martin Luther King Jr Celebration and the 7 Days of Kwanzaa. Look for upcoming events on its website for the most up to date information.

Main Stage at the Worldbeat Cultural Center
Main Stage at the Worldbeat Cultural Center

Educational Programs for Kids

Every year, WorldBeat Cultural Center and Diva Works Dance present a Performing Arts and Science Summer Campfor children ages 5-14. Activities include dance, theater, and arts workshops, STEM and gardening activities, field trips, and, of course, FUN.

In addition, WorldBeat Cultural Center offers an outreach program that serves over 6,000 children and youth annually, teaching unity and diversity through drumming, dance, organic gardening, and African history.

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Know Before You Go & Tips

Lots of Art at the Worldbeat Cultural Center
Lots of Art at the Worldbeat Cultural Center

Purchase a Go City San Diego Pass

Before you head to the museum, be sure to purchase a Go City San Diego pass for you and your family. Use discount code GVSD5OFF for an additional 5% off your next purchase.

Sidewalk to the Worldbeat Cultural Center
Sidewalk to the Worldbeat Cultural Center

Directions and Parking

WorldBeat Cultural Center is conveniently located at 2100 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA 92101, right off the 163 Freeway in Balboa Park and near the Centro Cultural de la Raza, Japanese Friendship Garden and Museum, and the San Diego Veterans Museum.

While there is no parking in the park, surrounding lots are available and street parking is also possible. San Diego has public transportation options such as Uber and Lyft which could make things easy if you’d rather not drive to the venue.

Where to Stay Nearby

If you’re looking for a hotel near the museum and Balboa Park, you’re in luck! Options in Downtown San Diego and even the Gaslamp Quarter are not far away at all. A few of my personal favorites are below.

The US Grant, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Diego

If you’re looking for a place that’s truly special, consider the The US Grant, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Diego!

This 5-star Marriott branded hotel is great for couples and has all the features you would expect from a luxury hotel from the comfortable lobby to the swanky bar to the high end finishes in the rooms!

The Bristol Hotel

The Bristol Hotel is a boutique hotel experience located in Downtown San Diego and just a short distance from the museum in Balboa Park.

A bit more casual feeling than The US Grant, the hotel is near the Gaslamp Quarter for nightlife, Little Italy for dinner and Balboa Park for museums and daytime activities! It also features renovated, clean rooms with comfortable beds and plenty of space to stretch out.

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Stay Nearby

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