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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.

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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Book online or call 1-800-350-6205 to speak with a local expert

In & Around Balboa Park

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Summer in the Park

Summer is a time to relax, explore and enjoy – and there’s no better place to experience all summer has to offer than 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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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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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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Comic-Con International: San Diego

Jul 19 - Jul 22, 2018

Comic-Con International is the largest comics and pop culture event in the United States, attracting thousands of artists, celebrities and fans of comic books, movie memorabilia and all things related to pop culture.

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US Sand Sculpting Challenge & Dimensional Art Expo

Aug 31 - Sep 3, 2018

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 2018. This will be the seventh 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 7th annual edition will be open to the public Aug. 31 - Sept. 3. The Port of San Diego is again 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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KAABOO Del Mar Festival

Sep 14 - Sep 16, 2018

KAABOO® is three days of fun, packed full with memories and it has all of the makings of a comfortable event. We have plenty of shade and seating, all restrooms are clean with flushable toilets (no porta-potties), and there is no dirt, dust or mud to fight through just to have a good time.

Enjoy the world-class music, hilarious comedy, incredible cuisine, craft libations, inspiring contemporary art, and personal indulgences. Get ready for this journey of discovery!

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Whats Hot

Summer in the Park

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

Big Bay Boom!

Jul 4, 2018
Discover

Comic-Con International: San Diego

Jul 19 - Jul 22, 2018
Discover

US Sand Sculpting Challenge & Dimensional Art Expo

Aug 31 - Sep 3, 2018
Discover

KAABOO Del Mar Festival

Sep 14 - Sep 16, 2018
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

Promotional Gifts

Receive a FREE Tote Bag With Purchase of Ticket!

San Diego Beer, Wine & Spirits Tours
Valid: Oct 20, 2017 - ongoing

Book a Chauffeured Distillery Tour and receive a FREE canvas tote bag! Book your tour today by calling 858-551-5115. We are open every day from 9am-9pm (PST).    

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.  ...

Activity

Save Up to $3 on Admission to USS Midway Museum

USS Midway Museum
Valid: Jan 1 - ongoing

Save $3 off on Adult Admission and $2 off Youth Admission at the USS Midway Museum.

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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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