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Balboa Park

The Cultural Heart of San Diego

Just minutes from downtown, explore the history, legacy, and future of this ever changing, always amazing cultural park.

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Balboa Park, San Diego, California

Balboa Park is a magnificent culture oasis that includes 17 museums, tranquil gardens and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. At 1,200 acres, Balboa Park is the largest urban cultural park in North America and a must see on any visit to San Diego. Located just blocks from downtown San Diego hotels, the park has a rich history reflected through stunning architecture, art installations, and cultural events throughout the year.

Balboa Park has a storied history – one that is central to the story of San Diego. It started 150 years ago, when civic leaders took the audacious step of setting aside 1,400 acres of a scrub-filled mesa overlooking downtown San Diego to establish a park. While San Diego was home to just 2,300 residents in 1868, its leaders had the vision and desire to create an iconic park that would serve its citizens and visitors for years to come. In fact, San Diego was the second city to dedicate a large urban park behind only New York City’s Central Park. In 1870, the state legislature passed a law stating that the lands would be held in trust for a park forever. Find out more about Balboa Park’s evolution.

Exploring Balboa Park

Whether you're an art fan, nature lover, model train aficionado or science geek, Balboa Park has something for everyone. 

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In & Around Balboa Park

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7 Hidden Gems to Explore in Balboa Park

You can spend all day (or weekend) exploring Balboa Park’s 1,200 acres of museums, gardens, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. But the Jewel of San Diego also features several lesser-known attractions that are sure to pique your interest, too.

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Plan Your Visit

There is a lot to see in Balboa Park, so you need a plan. Here are some resources that will help you get the very most out of your visit.

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Family Fun

Balboa Park offers families and epic adventure - a place where learning feels more like recess. 

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Don't Miss At The Park

Balboa Park is in and of itself an icon of San Diego. And as the park developed and expanded, several venues and attractions within the park have become representative of the destinations rich and storied history.

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Art Alive

Apr 26 - Apr 29, 2018

Springtime in San Diego means Art Alive at The San Diego Museum of Art. A blaze of color, bright blossoms, and lush foliage—a garden of earthly delights—the Museum blooms again. With 100+ floral interpretations of masterworks of art and four flower-filled days of events,  Art Alive returns for its 37th year.  Created by top local and national designers, these floral interpretations can be seen April 26 – April 29, 2018. This year Art Alive honors the opening of Nancy Lorenz: Moon Gold. Natasha Lisitsa and Daniel Schultz, the wife-and-husband team behind Waterlily Pond Studio will transform the John M. and Sally B. Thornton Rotunda into a botanical masterpiece. 

Learn more at sdmart.org/artalive/

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Mission Federal ArtWalk

Apr 28 - Apr 29, 2018

One of the largest fine art festival in Southern California and San Diego’s premier arts and cultural event, Mission Federal ArtWalk is returning for its 34th year to connect the community and visitors alike to fine artists, interactive art pieces, entertainment and a peek into the city’s arts scene.

On April 28 – April 29, 2018, Mission Federal ArtWalk will transform 17 blocks of Downtown San Diego’s nationally recognized Little Italy neighborhood creating an arts and culture event visitors travel thousands of miles to experience and purchase art from over 350 local, national and international emerging and established artists at the free two-day festival.

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RHYTHM & BREWS MUSIC AND CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL

May 5, 2018

The Rhythm & Brews Music and Craft Beer festival is one unforgettable day, complete with jams from local musicians and tastes of more than 50 of the most renowned breweries from San Diego County and other vibrant craft beer regions around the country. Known as the 'Capital of Craft', San Diego is the birthplace of some of our industry's most respected brewers and home to more than 130 craft breweries. From Karl Strauss to Stone Brewing, America’s finest city has been brewing up high quality beers since the late 80s. It’s all happening on May 5, 2018. VIP kicks off at 12 PM and general admission is from 1 - 4 PM.

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Big Bay Boom!

Jul 4, 2018

The Big Bay Boom July 4th Fireworks Show is back, promising another spectacular display over San Diego Bay. Fireworks will be discharged simultaneously from barges placed strategically around the Bay off Shelter Island, Harbor Island, Embarcadero North, Seaport Village, Embarcadero South Marina Park and Coronado Ferry Landing. The impeccably choreographed display will last approximately 17 minutes.

Come down to the bay and enjoy the biggest fireworks show in San Diego!

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Whats Hot

7 Hidden Gems to Explore in Balboa Park

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Plan Your Visit

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Family Fun

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Don't Miss At The Park

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What's On

View More Events

Art Alive

Apr 26 - Apr 29, 2018
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Mission Federal ArtWalk

Apr 28 - Apr 29, 2018
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RHYTHM & BREWS MUSIC AND CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL

May 5, 2018
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Big Bay Boom!

Jul 4, 2018
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Balboa Park Explorer Pass

Save on Admission to Museums

Experience the museums of Balboa Park in an easy and affordable way with the Balboa Park Explorer Pass. For one price, the Pass provides admission into as many as 16 of Balboa Park’s museums and attractions.

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Balboa Park, by You

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Deals just for you

Restaurants

$5 Off Any Sunset Dinner Cruise

Hornblower Cruises & Events
Valid: Mar 19, 2018 - ongoing

Sunset Dinner Cruises are a deliciously different dining experience, sailing nightly on San Diego Bay. Enjoy a 3-hour cruise, with 3-course dinner, chilled glass of champagne, with entertainment and...

Accommodation

The Art-Minded Meeting Planner Special

Hilton Garden Inn San Diego Downtown/Bayside
Valid: Apr 9 - ongoing

Book your next meeting or event at the Hilton Garden Inn San Diego Bayside valued at $10,000 and receive a Complimentary One-Night Stay and Two tickets to a San Diego Museum of your choice.  ...

Tours & Sightseeing

Save 20% on an Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure

Amazing Scavenger Hunts by Urban Adventure Quest
Valid: Jan 8, 2018 - ongoing

Turn San Diego's Old Town or Balboa Park into a giant game board with this fun Scavenger Hunt Adventure. Combine the excitement of the Amazing Race with a three-hour city tour. Guided from any smart...

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Visitor planning guide

For the ultimate guide to planning your San Diego vacation, view and download the San Diego Visitor Planning Guide, packed with useful information that will help you plan the perfect San Diego getaway.

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