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A Bike Trek through Balboa Park Neighborhoods

San Diego's "Central Park" gem

This jaunt is called the Tweed Ride and covers around 14 miles through Balboa Park, Hillcrest, University Heights, North Park and South Park.

A Bike Trek through Balboa Park Neighborhoods

Riding through Balboa Park's striking Spanish-colonial backdrop and lush gardens is a treat any time of year. Stop in and visit a museum or the free botanical building, grab a bite and a beer, or spend a few hours at the San Diego Zoo while you're there.

A ride through the park may inspire a casual, site-seeing adventure, but there's plenty of opportunity for a more rigorous workout as you exit the park and hit the city streets. Starting at the Bea Evenson Fountain at the end of El Prado in Balboa Park, the route leaves the park along the west end of El Prado and winds through neighborhoods and commercial districts, mostly on streets fit for vehicles and bicycles, then back into Balboa Park. There are no shortages of eating and drinking establishments in each of the neighborhoods, nor shortages sights and delights to discover along the way.

Didn't bring a bike? There are bike rental shops in Balboa Park and around Downtown. Search for "bike rentals" on this site or the route map to find your preference. Electric bike tours of Balboa Park and nearby areas are also available from tour companies like Where You Want to Be.

Bike Route Starting Address

  • Bea Evenson Fountain - End of El Prado, Balboa Park
    1875 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101

San Diego Regions Traversed

Where to Go

  • Balboa Park is worth spending a few hours exploring before or after your ride. Enjoy art, photography, science and natural history inside the museums, or spend your time outside taking in the numerous gardens, architecture and street performers.
  • Depending on the day of the week, you might run into one of the Uptown neighborhoods' farmers markets. Bring a reusable bag, bike basket or empty stomach to fill with locally grown vegetables, bread, chocolates or other goodies. Find more information on San Diego's farmers markets here.

What to Love

  • Bicycles - In the Uptown neighborhoods of Hillcrest, University Heights, North Park and South Park, you won't be alone as a bike commuter, in fact bikes are the preferred mode of transportation in these communities. Look out for bike corrals, which are large bike-parking locations; sharrows, which are lane-sharing markings on the streets; and many dedicated bike lanes throughout the neighborhoods.
  • Views - Architecture in Balboa Park, Downtown and Mission Valley views from above, and gorgeous gardens and landscaping make this a must for photography on your trip. Don't forget your camera!
  • Brews - Panama66, Tiger! Tiger! Tavern, Blind Lady Ale House, Hamilton's Tavern, Hillcrest Brewing Company, Mike Hess Brewing and Thorn Beer are all within close proximity of this route. Have a taste of some of San Diego's craft brew scene, but take it in responsibly.

What to Know

  • Most of this ride travels on surface streets - some in busy commercial districts, some in quiet neighborhoods. Ensure you're comfortable with riding in vehicle traffic and can handle some steep hills before venturing on this ride.
  • Although neither San Diego nor the State of California require adult bicyclists to wear helmets, it is strongly suggested that you do. California does require all bicyclists under the age of 18 to wear a helmet.
  • San Diego is a bicycle friendly city with great weather for biking year-round and community groups advocating for the rights of all people on bikes. For more information about what's happening in San Diego's biking community visit the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition website.

Directions

To Balboa Park from the North

  • Take California I-5 south, exit on B Street just past State Route 163
  • Take B Street west to Park Boulevard
  • Take Park Boulevard north to Space Theatre Way

To Balboa Park from the South

  • Take California I-5 north, exit on B Street
  • Take B Street west to Park Boulevard
  • Take Park Boulevard north to Space Theatre Way

Vehicle Parking

  • If you're transporting your bikes in or on a vehicle, parking can usually be found around the east side of Balboa Park where the route starts. Parking can be found off of Space Theatre Way, further north at the San Diego Zoo, or on Park Boulevard's street parking.

Balboa Park Bike Route Map

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