San Diego is not known for it’s street art. Writerz Blok in Lincoln Park has a yard of walls and a youth program that is fun to check out. Logan Heights has been under some revitalization and several murals have gone up. Barrio Logan also has a few exceptional murals. The majority of street art in San Diego is concentrated in Chicano Park.
San Diego’s Chicano Park has a history in its own right. The parks existence has been described as ‘born of protest’ and ‘maintained with pride’. Let me explain. In 1910 Mexican immigrants came to San Diego and settled into a neighborhood later named Barrio Logan. For years the neighborhood repeatedly lost homes from rezoning. More rezoning resulted in lost beach access. Construction of the Coronado bridge divided the neighborhood in half. The city promised a park under the bridge as a means to keep the community united. When construction workers appeared with bulldozers to create a parking lot under the bridge, the community protested and occupied the land for two weeks. The city recommitted the land as a park and in 1971 Chicano Park was born.
San Diego’s Chicano Park has been called a living museum of the Mexican-American experience. The cultural murals began appearing on the pylons of the bridge in 1974. The park now has 70+ murals depicting Aztec culture, immigration and political rights. In recent years the park has been added to the National Register of Historic Places and the community has raised money to restore the murals. Chicano Park day is in late April; come to the celebration and enjoy carne asada as music drifts through streets of lowriders.
Chicano Park continues to unite the community and truly is the peoples park! The park is located south of downtown San Diego under the Coronado Bridge. Exit I-5 at Logan Ave. This is an area to be cautious of after dark and in the early morning. The park has a small playground, picnic tables and a skate park. The next time you are headed to Coronado I suggest you grab a Mexican hot chocolate and take a brief detour to explore under the bridge.