Cabo is internationally known as a party city. Here you can let loose from morning till night — lying by the beach, sipping on pineapple margaritas, and noshing on fresh-made guac by day, throwing back shots and getting your groove on at night. It’s a major spring break destination for a reason, but behind the nightclubs, bottle service, beers on the beach, and wild adventures, there’s a city alive with culture and history.
Hidden within this beachside town is a thriving art’s district which caters to creative locals, expats, and visitors who appreciate the more cultured side of Cabo.
The Gallery District of San Jose del Cabo lies in the middle of the historic district of the city and is flanked by Parroquia San José (the Catholic church) and the town square, making a cultural hub for artisans from around Mexico and the world. With 14 galleries within those few blocks, the district feels like its own little world, secluded from the city around it. Here tourists and locals gather to see the original paintings, sculptures, jewelry, photography, print and interactive art that makes this area such a diamond in the rough.
The following are some of our must-see’s…
Held every Thursday night from 5-9pm between November and June. The streets are shut down to motorists and the event is celebrated with live performances, new exhibitions, artist meet-and-greets, and specialty dining from restaurants within the district. Grab a glass of wine and stroll through the district to speak with artists, drink in the culture, or make a few purchases from the galleries and shops that are all open late.
Some galleries are small and dedicated to only one artist, while others are expansive, housing work from more than 50 local creatives within their walls. You’ll discover everything from culturally-significant pottery modeled after the archeological finds in the region of Paquime to modern, abstract art. From paintings of pugs dressed in Chanel to stairs that play piano notes, there’s literally something for every type of creative. Even the kids will have fun!
This artist has spent his life making interactive creations that are so fun to play with you’ll want to take them home (or at least post them on Instagram). Walk up the musical piano staircase into a gallery and you’ll immediately be pulling out your smartphone — which you’ll actually need to enjoy some of the pieces! Here everything has to be touched, switched on, or seen through your device for it to come to life. Paintings of pianos can be played, words of love light up when you and your partner hold hands in front of the canvas, and angel paintings move and fly away when viewed through your phone. It’s a whole new way of looking at art — rather than simply viewing it, it becomes a physical part of your lifestyle.
With over 20 local artists on display and a rotating list of invited and specialty artists, this traditional gallery houses a bit of everything with a touch of modernism, realism, abstract, and classic oil paintings. It’s a quiet shop that can offer a reprieve from the heat and bustle outside, creating an oasis for the culturally-minded tourists that appreciate artistry in all its forms.
So if your next trip to Mexico takes you to Cabo, think about skipping the nightclub and opt for an art gallery instead. Grab a glass of wine, a friend or two, and stroll through the city’s hidden art’s district for a little culture, history, and all the sculptures you can handle. Your Instagram followers (and your liver) will thank you for it.
Marissa Stempien is a freelance editor and writer who travels to Mexico almost exclusively for the all-you-can-eat chips and guacamole. With a degree in English Literature and a minor in Asian Studies, she has written on travel, fashion, beauty, technology, culture, and food, and enjoys writing short stories in her spare time. Find her on social media at @paperandlights.