In 2015, Balboa Park celebrates its 100th anniversary with programs and events that recognize the importance of this cultural icon and heart of San Diego. In celebration, the park received a $1 million grant that will double the reach of the free public wireless internet system, making it one of the largest and fastest free public Wi-Fi spots on the West Coast. The grant includes building new interactive kiosks and smartphone apps to enhance the visitor experience at Balboa Park during its 100th birthday. Other new features include The San Diego Model Railroad Museum’s 2015 Centennial Railroad Garden opening in late April. This open-air model railroad will feature a miniature recreation of Balboa Park as it existed in 1915 and will showcase new technology that will enable visitors to interact with the layout directly by using a smart phone or tablet.
On Jan. 1, 2015, for the first time since 1935, Balboa Park's California Tower at the San Diego Museum of Man opened for public tours. Visitors can climb 125 steps inside the historic tower, learn its history and other facts about Balboa Park from knowledgeable tour guides, and emerge onto the viewing deck to behold spectacular 360° views of San Diego. Tickets for California Tower tours are timed similar to theater tickets, so visitors are strongly encouraged to purchase tickets in advance.
On March 14 and 15, downtown’s recently opened Waterfront Park on San Diego Bay will host the brand new CRSSD Fest, an electronic music festival featuring top acts, including Chromeo, Classixx, DJ Harvey, Empire of the Sun, Flight Facilities, Hot Natured, Odesza, Jamie Jones, Simian Mobile Disco and others. Performers will appear on three stages during this ticketed, paid-admission event for attendees 21 or older. Craft beer, mixed drinks, food and VIP area will be available.
On April 25 and 26, the Mission Federal ArtWalk will celebrate its 31st annual event in the streets of Little Italy San Diego. Featuring over 300 artists filling 17 square blocks of the iconic urban neighborhood with art, craftsmanship and beautiful goods, this year’s event will also feature a special homage to Balboa Park’s Centennial milestone, with a collaborative art event.
On March 7 and 8, Seaport Village hosts the 9th annual Spring Busker Festival with acts ranging from fire breathers to contortionists to unique musical performers. This free festival runs from 12-6 p.m. each day and brings spectacular energy and unforgettable acts to the cobblestone streets of San Diego’s waterfront. Buskers After Dark on March 7 from 7-10 p.m. is an untamed show featuring a DJ, food and drink specials, and busker acts best suited for those over 18. Adding to the Spring Busker Festival festivities, Seaport Villages’ shops, restaurants and eateries will offer special sales from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the festival. While the Spring Busker Festival is free of charge, all buskers will be accepting tips.