Spanish Village kind of feels like a leftover movie set from some whimsical film. The rainbow pathways create such a magical pocket in Balboa Park. There are over 200 art studios housing local artists who showcase their work and passions to the public daily. They are open 7 days a week, 11am to 4pm, free of charge!
Make sure to visit each shop as there is quite a variety! Watch painters, jewelry designers, gourd artists, photographers, printmakers basket-makers, glass blowers and so much more shine their talents! The courtyard is such a lovely place for the entire family and a must-visit spot at Balboa Park.
The village was originally constructed in 1935 for the 2nd California Pacific International Exposition. They were built to resemble a charming village in Spain with restaurants, shops, cantinas and a courtyard.
The village was mostly created as a temporary exhibit and was to be demolished after the exposition. Thankfully a group of artists came forward and saved the Spanish Village from being destroyed. The group initially approached the city with a proposal to turn the village into working art studios. In exchange, the artists promised to create a community outreach and place for the general public to congregate.
The exchange was wonderful as the artists now had an affordable place to showcase their work and individual studios. This also offered the public the unique opportunity to watch the artists at work.
The artist colony was short-lived though as got turned over to the military for temporary barracks during World War II. After the war the village was reclaimed yet again by the artists and has remained ever since.
Over the next 80+ years, the artists continued adding to the charm of the village by painting the tiles the rainbow colors we see today, planting flowers and adding an all-around charm to the area.
Spanish Village is right next to the San Diego Zoo. You can see tiny hints along the outskirts: