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Balboa Park

One of America’s largest urban green spaces, Balboa Park is an exciting spot packed with art, culture, and a world-renowned zoo.

Spanning a vast space of 486 hectares, the huge Balboa Park contains an incredible and eclectic wealth of attractions. Home to gardens and trails, museums and galleries, theatres and restaurants—not to mention its own world-famous zoo—the park is a popular spot, frequented by visitors and locals alike.

Start off by heading for the visitor centre right in the heart of the park. Volunteers will be on hand to tell you more about the park and what to do, as well as information on current events and exhibits. From here you can also book a place on one of the free guided tours that will take you around the key highlights throughout the park.

Close to the visitor centre your eye will be caught by the impressive Spanish Colonial-style buildings which house some of the finest museums, galleries and theatres in the entire city. Here you will find the San Diego Museum of Art, the Air and Space Museum, and the Natural History Museum.

The theatres nestled in the park are always thriving, with performances on offer all through the year. Visit the Old Globe where you’ll find more than 10 plays and musicals on show throughout its season. Visit between July and September and you’ll get the chance to enjoy Broadway classics at the Starlight Theatre. If you’re up for a little more exertion, you can play golf at the east of the park, try petanque or bocce, or play tennis in the shade of trees.

Or if you simply want to enjoy the peace of the park’s beautiful gardens, you’re spoilt for choice. The Japanese Friendship Garden, Palm Canyon and the Inez Grant Parker Rose Gardens are favourites, whilst if you head for the Californian Native Plant Garden you’ll see over 2600 varieties of native species along a 1.6 kilometre trail.

Balboa Park is open all day, every day. Although museum opening hours do vary, entrance is almost always possible between 10 am and 5 pm.

Popular Activities at Balboa Park

We know you want to make the most out of your time at Balboa Park. So, we've put together some of the most popular things you can do on your visit:

For more things to do, have a look at our San Diego things to do page.


Guide to Exploring Balboa Park


Map

Top Balboa Park Hotel Deals

See all 4,018 properties near Balboa Park
Urban Boutique Hotel SG$107
Urban Boutique Hotel

Urban Boutique Hotel

1654 Columbia Street, San Diego, CA
     
    3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Little Italy, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Waterfront Park, Balboa Park and Port of San Diego. B Street Cruise Ship Terminal and Maritime Museum of San Diego are also within 15 minutes. County Center - Little Italy Station is only a 4-minute walk and America Plaza Trolley Station is 9 minutes.

    Wyndham San Diego Bayside SG$198
    Wyndham San Diego Bayside

    Wyndham San Diego Bayside

    1355 N Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Downtown San Diego, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Maritime Museum of San Diego, Port of San Diego and B Street Cruise Ship Terminal. USS Midway Museum and Waterfront Park are also within 10 minutes. County Center - Little Italy Station is 7 minutes by foot and America Plaza Trolley Station is 10 minutes.

      Porto Vista Hotel SG$145
      Porto Vista Hotel

      Porto Vista Hotel

      1835 Columbia St, San Diego, CA
         
        3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Little Italy, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and Balboa Park. Port of San Diego and USS Midway Museum are also within 1 mi (2 km). County Center - Little Italy Station is 6 minutes by foot and America Plaza Trolley Station is 11 minutes.

        Balboa Park Luxury Bungalow With Palm Veranda
        Balboa Park Luxury Bungalow With Palm Veranda

        Balboa Park Luxury Bungalow With Palm Veranda

        3403 Herbert St, San Diego, CA
           
          0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Hillcrest, this holiday home is within a 15-minute walk of Balboa Park and San Diego Zoo. Hotel Circle and Petco Park are also within 3 miles (5 km).

          Amazing 2br/1ba Near Balboa Park & SD Zoo by Domio
          Amazing 2br/1ba Near Balboa Park & SD Zoo by Domio

          Amazing 2br/1ba Near Balboa Park & SD Zoo by Domio

          3438 Park Boulevard, San Diego, CA
             
            3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Hillcrest, this apartment building is within a 10-minute walk of Balboa Park and San Diego Zoo. San Diego Air and Space Museum and San Diego City College are also within 2 miles (3 km).

            Found Hotel San Diego SG$91
            Found Hotel San Diego

            Found Hotel San Diego

            505 West Grape Street, San Diego, CA
               
              2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Little Italy, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Balboa Park, Waterfront Park and Maritime Museum of San Diego. B Street Cruise Ship Terminal and Port of San Diego are also within 1 mile (2 km). County Center - Little Italy Station is 8 minutes by foot and America Plaza Trolley Station is 13 minutes.

              Spacious Luxury Apartment at Tropical Resort-like Oasis by Balboa Park
              Spacious Luxury Apartment at Tropical Resort-like Oasis by Balboa Park

              Spacious Luxury Apartment at Tropical Resort-like Oasis by Balboa Park

              3444 Mississippi St, San Diego, CA
                 
                0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in North Park, this historic holiday home is within 1 mile (2 km) of Desert Garden, Balboa Park and San Diego Zoo. Hotel Circle and Petco Park are also within 3 miles (5 km).

                Terrace Garden suite at Resort-like Oasis near Balboa Park
                Terrace Garden suite at Resort-like Oasis near Balboa Park

                Terrace Garden suite at Resort-like Oasis near Balboa Park

                3444 Mississippi St, San Diego, CA
                   
                  0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in North Park, this historic holiday home is within 1 mile (2 km) of Desert Garden, Balboa Park and San Diego Zoo. Hotel Circle and Petco Park are also within 3 miles (5 km).