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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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La Jolla Concours D'Elegance

Apr 12 - Apr 14, 2019

It is fitting that when translated into Spanish, La Jolla means "the jewel", because La Jolla truly is the diamond of the West Coast. La Jolla has become the embodiment of luxury, class and style in San Diego. The chic allure of La Jolla’s avenues has drawn the finest automobiles to this coastal town for the La Jolla Concours d'Elegance.

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Port of San Diego's Day at the Docks

Apr 14, 2019

This is the 40th year the San Diego Sportfishing Council has sponsored its special showcase of San Diego sportfishing. We hope you'll take this opportunity to join us and discover a bit more of what the Port of San Diego holds for you.

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Mission Federal ArtWalk

Apr 27 - Apr 28, 2019

On April 27-28, 2019, the Mission Federal ArtWalk will celebrate its 35th annual event in the streets of Little Italy. Featuring more than 300 artists filling 17 square blocks of the iconic urban neighborhood with art, craftsmanship and beautiful goods, this event attracts artists from across the globe. More than just an art event, the festival is a family-friendly opportunity to participate in interactive art installations and features live and features live music and dance performances.

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Gator By The Bay-Zydeco, Blues & Crawfish Festival

May 9 - May 12, 2019

Largest, authentic Louisiana-themed festival this side of the bayou. Features 4 days of live music - more than 100 performances on 7 stages, dancing, delicious Southern food - including beignets, gumbo, jambalaya & 10,000 lbs of crawfish. Family Friendly & Fun!

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Whats Hot

National Geographic Channel Explores San Diego

Discover

7 Hidden Gems to Explore in Balboa Park

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Plan Your Visit

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Don't Miss At The Park

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What's On

View More Events

La Jolla Concours D'Elegance

Apr 12 - Apr 14, 2019
Discover

Port of San Diego's Day at the Docks

Apr 14, 2019
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Mission Federal ArtWalk

Apr 27 - Apr 28, 2019
Discover

Gator By The Bay-Zydeco, Blues & Crawfish Festival

May 9 - May 12, 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.

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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

History & Heritage

Save $10 Off Balboa Park Tour + 1-Day Museum Pass

San Diego Urban Adventures
Valid: Dec 23, 2018 - ongoing

Take advantage of your new found appreciation for Balboa Park and the insider tips provided by your knowledgeable, local guide after your tour by enjoying four of sixteen cultural organizations for...

Accommodation

Cruise Ship Passenger Offer

Bristol Hotel
Valid: Aug 24, 2018 - ongoing

Experience The Bristol, a premier boutique hotel designed for both leisure and business travelers in the heart of Downtown San Diego, at the doorstep of the Gaslamp Quarter. Revel in charming, stylish...

Trains

Seniors Save 15%

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner
Valid: Jan 3 - ongoing

Take the scenic route to San Diego.  Travelers ages 62 and older can enjoy a 15% savings off the adult rail fare on Pacific Surfliner trips year-round.  Onboard amenities include a...

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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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