Balboa Park, San Diego, California

If you're going to find yourself in San Diego, you may have thought of visiting the San Diego Zoo, one of the nicest in the country. You may not realize, however, that the zoo is in the middle of a huge park. Balboa Park is the largest of its kind in the country, including within its boundaries all kinds of cultural attractions.

Balboa Park museums

  • Centro Cultural de la Raza
  • Japanese Friendship Garden
  • Marston House
  • Mingei International Museum
  • Museum of Photographic Arts
  • Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
  • San Diego Air & Space Museum
  • San Diego Art Institute (SDAI): Museum of the Living Artist
  • San Diego Automotive Museum
  • San Diego Hall of Champions Sports Museum
  • San Diego History Center
  • San Diego Model Railroad Museum
  • San Diego Museum of Man
  • San Diego Natural History Museum
  • San Diego Zoo
  • The San Diego Museum of Art
  • Timken Museum of Art
  • Veterans Museum & Memorial Center
  • WorldBeat Center

Balboa Park attractions

Balboa Park gardens

  • 1935 (Old) Cactus Garden
  • Alcazar Garden
  • Australian Garden Botanical Building
  • California Native Plant Garden
  • Casa del Rey Moro Garden
  • Desert Garden
  • Florida Canyon Native Plant Preserve
  • Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden
  • Japanese Friendship Garden
  • Marston House Garden
  • Palm Canyon
  • San Diego Botanical Garden Foundation
  • San Diego Zoo Botanical Collection
  • Trees for Health Garden
  • Veterans Memorial Garden
  • WorldBeat Center's Children's Ethnobotany Garden
  • Zoro Garden



There are fifteen museums within the park, beautiful gardens in which to stroll, and a full calendar of concerts and plays. Get on their website for a schedule. The Visitor's Center is open from 9:30 - 4:30, but the park grounds are open 24 hours a day.

The individual museums and entertainment venues have their own hours of operation and admission fees, but you can buy a pass that gives admission to more than one venue. It's well worth one day or several days exploration.

Photo by Michael Seljos on flickr

Visit the official website

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