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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 cultural 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.

The Sights and Sounds of Balboa Park

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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National Geographic Channel Explores San Diego

Four-part series focuses on unique cultural offerings of Balboa Park and the city.

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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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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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Bike the Bay

Aug 25, 2019

Experience Bike the Bay, a scenic bayside ride, and also enjoy a rare opportunity to ride over the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge.

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US Sand Sculpting Challenge & Dimensional Art Expo

Aug 31 - Sep 2, 2019

One of the top 20 "Must See" seaside festivals in the world according to American Express and USA Today's 10 Best, the U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge and Dimensional Art Exposition will return to San Diego's downtown waterfront for 2019. This will be the eigth year that one of the world's most important sand-sculpting competitions will be held on this built-for-the-occasion beach, with over 300 tons of sand dumped on the pier on San Diego's Big Bay. The 8th annual edition will be open to the public Aug. 31 - Sept. 2. The Port of San Diego is again the presenting sponsor, as the event is held on its beautiful Broadway Pier and Landing. So come and celebrate Labor Day on the Bay with us.

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Nighttime Zoo at the San Diego Zoo

Jun 16 - Sep 2, 2019

Stay after dark and celebrate summer during Nighttime Zoo presented by One Medical, June 16 through September 2. Enjoy live music, fun shows, animal encounters, food, and more!

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San Diego Restaurant Week

Sep 22 - Sep 29, 2019

The 15th Annual San Diego Restaurant Week returns Sunday, September 22 through Sunday, September 29 for a delicious dining experience! With over 180 participating restaurants offering prix-fixe menu options throughout San Diego County, you’re sure to find the perfect place to satisfy any craving.

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Whats Hot

National Geographic Channel Explores San Diego

Discover

7 Hidden Gems to Explore in Balboa Park

Discover

Plan Your Visit

Discover

Don't Miss At The Park

Discover

What's On

View More Events

Bike the Bay

Aug 25, 2019
Discover

US Sand Sculpting Challenge & Dimensional Art Expo

Aug 31 - Sep 2, 2019
Discover

Nighttime Zoo at the San Diego Zoo

Jun 16 - Sep 2, 2019
Discover

San Diego Restaurant Week

Sep 22 - Sep 29, 2019
Discover
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.

More from Balboa Park & San Diego

 

Balboa Park, by You

Fill your feed with Balboa Park and hashtag #VisitSD and tag @VisitSanDiego so that we can share your images.

 

Deals just for you

Accommodation

Kimpton Summer Offer

Kimpton Solamar Hotel
Valid: May 21 - ongoing

Book direct to receive 20% off our summer best available rates or join IHG Rewards to receive 25% off at Kimpton Hotel Solamar or Kimpton Hotel Palomar.

Accommodation

Stay Cool in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter!

San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter
Valid: Jun 1 - ongoing

Book a Summer stay at the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter! Stay Cool in the heart of the city, surrounded by restaurants, nightlife & shopping.  We’re 90 steps from PETCO Park, home...

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Make it a 3-day weekend and save with Hilton

Hilton Hotels & Resorts
Valid: Jan 31 - ongoing

Are you ready for a long weekend in San Diego? Book your 3-day weekend and and save up to 50% on Sunday. Bike along the La Jolla coastline. Soak up the sun on the beach. Wander through the zoo,...

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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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