Readers Share Their Favorite Places to See Art in California

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The Haggin Museum in Stockton has an impressive art collection, particularly for a city that has seriously struggled for years.

The brick museum, tucked in a park in the Central Valley city, includes works by well-known painters like Pierre-Auguste Renoir, George Inness and William Keith, as well as a California history collection that displays Native American art and artifacts from the gold rush and the dawn of agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley.

I visited the Haggin recently and was awed by grand 19th-century oil paintings of Yosemite Valley by Albert Bierstadt. One hung in the White House under President Ronald Reagan as a nod to his California roots, according to the museum.

The Haggin is one of the museums across California that readers have highlighted as great places to enjoy art. Today I’m sharing more suggestions, sorted by region and lightly edited for clarity.

You can read previous recommendations here, here and here. And feel free to send your own recommendation to Please include your name and the city where you live.

The Museum of Northern California Art in Chico

“This is a fabulous art museum featuring artists from Northern California’s Oregon border to San Francisco. It has evolving shows and an interesting permanent collection. It is housed in a vintage veterans building in the center of Chico near other museums.” — Jean Marquardt, Chico

The Hess Art Collection in Napa

“The real prize in visiting the Hess Collection winery is the amazing multistory art collection, which is open to the public. It’s major league and is amazing contemporary art. The winery is a hillside winery, so you get amazing views from this gorgeous location. And this is a real treat: They have produced their own short introduction film that is well worth viewing in their small private theater.” — Stan Parker, Nevada City

Gallery Los Olivos in Los Olivos

“The displays are changed regularly, so one frequently encounters new art in new alcoves of the gallery, while the walls of the entrance area often are devoted to larger exhibitions featuring individual artists. What I have always found unique at this gallery in the Santa Ynez Valley is the subtle interaction of the varieties of art — sculpture in different materials, jewelry and photographs — complementing the many varieties of paintings and works on paper. In a town known for fine wines and cuisine, this gallery provides the perfect place to discover award-winning artists whose work might easily find its way into your home and life.” — Sarah Vaughan, Paris, France

Long Beach Museum of Art in Long Beach

“The location is breathtaking. The exhibits are always interesting and top-notch. They do a lot for the community, too. And Claire’s, the museum restaurant, is outstanding. There’s also a smaller downtown gallery.” — Jordan Horowitz, Long Beach

Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades

I would and will regularly spend a day out there — the museum is free, the parking $20 — and soak up the spectacular coastal location, especially the design of the whole thing, based on the ‘Papyri’ villa from the coast of Italy where the wealthy and rulers had their villas, most specifically before the volcanic eruption that did in Pompeii.

The gardens, the sculptures in the gardens, the pools, built according to its source. And the art: It holds the entire classics collection of J. Paul Getty himself and, most recently, the works still being excavated from the original Roman villa.” — Kay Martin, Aptos

After a lush winter, flowers are in bloom across California. Send us your best photos of the glorious springtime display to, and we may publish them in the newsletter. Please include your full name and the city in which you live.

The Oakland Zoo recently welcomed a new baby Himalayan baboon, Bay Area News Group reports.

The baboon, named Jasiri, a Swahili name that translates as “brave,” was born at the Northern California zoo seven weeks ago to a mother named Kodee and a father named Kusa, both of whom also live at the zoo. The baboon was bred under a program run by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums that aims to bolster the species’ population and ensure its survival.

Visitors can now view Jasiri alongside more than 12 other Himalayan baboons in the zoo’s baboon enclosure.


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