Balboa Park, San Diego, California

Balboa Park

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Balboa Park, San Diego, CA
Balboa Park, San Diego, California
Balboa Park, San Diego

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Highlights : Getting Oriented : Museums & Culture : Dining & Entertainment | Logistics | Getting There


Balboa Park—the heart and soul of San Diego—is a verdant oasis situated minutes from downtown, the harbor, and Mission Valley. Imagine wide green lawns, tinkling fountains, Spanish architecture, lush gardens... Balboa Park’s 15 diverse museums span interests like aerospace, sports, fine art, folk art, history, and dinosaurs. Part with some cash or visit all day for free; Balboa Park’s offers a wide range of low or no-cost activities for the entire family. But be forewarned: You may just find yourself returning to Balboa Park’s 1,200 visitor-friendly acres again and again—just like a native San Diegan!

Getting Oriented
Stop at Balboa Park’s Visitor Center to familiarize yourself to get oriented, pick up an Events Guide, check out the free Tuesday museum schedule, and learn about the Passport Program (if you plan to visit several museums). You can also find out about deals that include admission to the San Diego Zoo at great savings.

Museums & Culture
Visit the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center for an unforgettable film experience and over 30 interactive exhibits. Kids love to play around the wonderful fountain adjacent to the Science Center. At the Spanish Village Art Center, watch artists work amid the ambiance of a traditional plaza complete with a flagstone patio, flowers, and fountain. There are playgrounds throughout the Park, along with trails for hikers and bikers. Explore the reflecting pool, visit the Arboretum, stroll the walkways, enjoy the Spanish Architecture or bring a picnic lunch. On weekends, the miniature train—a favorite for kids—runs all day, as does the carousel, with its brightly painted horses and animals. And don’t be surprised to hear the chatter of monkeys or the squeal of baboons—after all, you’re next door to the San Diego Zoo.

Dining & Entertainment
Balboa Park offers a range of dining options. Choose from snack carts, the full-service Prado Restaurant in the House of Hospitality, or the Tea Pavilion at the Japanese Friendship Garden. The Park is also home to the famous Globe Theatres—stop by and check the schedule of plays.


Parking is free, and Balboa Park features several big lots. Try the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center lot off Park Boulevard or the big lot at Inspiration Point on the east side of Park Boulevard. From there, you can take a convenient tram to the Balboa Park Visitor Center, which is centrally located in the House of Hospitality on the Prado (the long east-west walkway).

Getting There

Southbound from I-5, take the 10th Avenue exit, turn left on A Street, left again on Park Boulevard, and follow the signs to Balboa Park. Northbound from I-5, take the B Street / Pershing exit to Pershing and then go left on Florida Drive. Turn left on Zoo Drive, left onto Park Boulevard, and follow signs to Balboa Park. Southbound from Highway 163, take the Park Boulevard exit, turn left, and follow signs to Balboa Park.

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