Balboa Park
Balboa Park
4.5
09:30 - 17:00
Monday
09:30 - 17:00
Tuesday
09:30 - 17:00
Wednesday
09:30 - 17:00
Thursday
09:30 - 17:00
Friday
09:30 - 17:00
Saturday
09:30 - 17:00
Sunday
09:30 - 17:00
About
This 1,200-acre nature park comprises 17 museums, gardens, musical theaters, a sports complex, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. The park’s Spanish-Moorish architecture and 19 distinct gardens (some require admission fees) attract both tourists and locals. Don’t miss the San Diego Air and Space Museum, the Spanish Village Art Center for unique handicrafts, and the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, where free concerts are hosted in the evenings. Travelers recommend putting aside the whole day to explore the park. To make the most of your time, hop on the Balboa Park trams (they’re free!) to get around. – Tripadvisor
Duration: More than 3 hours
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  • Jeantai
    Auckland, New Zealand317 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Must visit in SD
    Made it to this landmark on 2nd visit to San Diego in March 2023. Took us a pleasant 20 to 24 mins walk from our hotel in the GasLamp district. Definitely worth a visit. As it was a Sunday , an open air market attracted a good crowd. Don't miss The Globe (theatre), Spanish Art Music, cafe and just pleasant to sit and soak up the sun.
    Visited March 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 28 April 2023
  • Steve K
    Hyde Park, New York72 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    One of the must do things in San Diego
    Balboa Park may be the biggest collection of indoor and outdoor places/attractions in the U.S.! It seems like every sport has its place there (even an archery course!), and there are several museums, and a pretty cool arboretum (maybe more than one). And where else can you hear an outdoor organ concert? Other than the zoo being over-rated, in my opinion, it's a great place to spend at least a day.
    Visited March 2023
    Written 20 May 2023
  • BobiTychynskiShimoda
    Oakville, Canada347 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great spot!
    So much to do. Unfortunately the botanical garden was closed (until next year?) and also the United Nations houses (open on the weekend). That said, it was nice attending the activities we chose. Great spot. We did the zoo and Japanese friendship garden and both were great!
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 1 June 2023
  • gmleven1
    Barrington, Illinois85 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful setting
    Beautiful setting with many options to see. Was disappointed one of the museum/gallery was closed on our day. Very comfortable. Plenty of docents to guide. Easy walk to our trolly pick up. Larger than expected
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 15 June 2023
  • Randall
    Colorado Springs, Colorado2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful park.
    Beautiful park with a lot to see. We spent the first half of the day in the park, feels like better than a botanical garden just walking around. We went to the zoo, the zoo was huge. Had a great day there.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 20 June 2023
  • wemjam
    Carleton, Michigan1,522 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Excellent area to spend a day... or two... or three
    This is the MOST amazing place in San Diego. It is the size of Central Park in New York and Millennium Park in Chicago combined! There are like 15 different museums in the Park to visit along with nice gardens and green spaces, and a large fountain to enjoy for the afternoon. There is also a "village" of little houses each one representing a different nationality. The main Promenade area was beautiful. The architecture and buildings were so ornate and reminded me of something you might see in Europe. I was completely blown away while we walked around and it was so much more than I expected. There were little vendor booths selling different things around the fountain area. There is also a free little tram with a few different stops to help navigate around the park without having to walk as much. Each stop is located at different areas to make getting around much easier. You could spend DAYS here to explore all that is offered. Highly recommend a visit, but if you have limited time like we did you will want to research all the different things available and make a plan of attack. I would have loved to visit the little village with all the house, but we just didn't have the time. Note: We were staying in a downtown hotel on Broadway and just opted to take an Uber, the cost was only about $8 each way to get to Balboa Park.
    Visited July 2023
    Written 11 July 2023
  • Khalaf K
    Sharjah, United Arab Emirates251 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Magnificent Park
    Balboa Park is a magnificent place you must visit in San Diego. Many Museums can be visited in one spot to know the history of California. I have visited 3 museums: San Diego Natural Museum History, Rail road Museum and Museum of photographic arts. Good for families with kids.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 13 July 2023
  • Jo P
    Brough, United Kingdom442 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Definitely Worth Spending a Couple of Days there
    A massive park that wasn't too busy due to the size, we spent the day there and also visited the zoo but could spend a couple of days there easily. A tourist information centre with very helpful staff. The only downside was we struggled to find somewhere to eat on a Sun early evening.
    Visited March 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 16 July 2023
  • MatthewCafiero
    Flower Mound, Texas22 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing walkable collection of Museums and venues
    Invest in the day, week, or annual pass (for just about everything except the Zoo and the new (underwhelming) Comic-Con Museum. Give the Comic-Con museum time to iron out the bugs before visiting. Air & Space and the Museum of Us are both world-class, and the Japanese Friendship Garden is a beautiful place to enjoy a cup of tea and reflect on everything you've seen. I am a Museum Studies grad student and loved this amazing park.
    Visited August 2023
    Written 13 August 2023
  • osnoopy13
    Lilburn, Georgia289 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Lots of activities and fun things to do!
    Balboa Park has so many great things to do you must make sure to add it to your list of sites while visiting there. We saw it twice. Once on a brief city tour. Then we returned next day to visit a few museums. No problem parking or getting around. Has free shuttle and parking. We ate near the Japanese gardens. Spent several hours at the Air and Space Museum. Briefly shopped in the Spanish market area. If you plan on going to the Zoo that’s several hours additional. There’s some 10+ museums in the park.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 2 October 2023
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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles13,096 reviews
Excellent
9,740
Very good
2,772
Average
468
Poor
83
Terrible
33

AussieJulesW
Melbourne, Australia508 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Friends
Yes, this place is as good as all the reviews say. Beautiful architecture and buildings, gardens (admission fee for the Japanese version) , museums (some of them free), the Globe Theatre, walks, etc. We wandered around for hours in and between them all.

We tried the restaurant and that was good too.

We also went on the free tram around the grounds, but that largely seemed to be views of the car park (and a way for people to get from there!). The ladies in the info centre were cheerful and helpful.

We thought it was amusing the church bells were playing a Backstreet Boys song.

Bilboa Park is a true credit and ongoing legacy to the people of San Diego.
Written 23 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ross W
Selkirk, Canada232 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
We had an afternoon, but you could spend a week and not see it all. There were over 1800 acres, bigger than central park New York, and very easy to traverse. Lots of free parts and some purchase to enter parts. The rose garden, Japanese garden and desert area were breathtaking. At one free museum (donation accepted) there was a short film of how the park was started and why. Very informative and short duration.
Written 13 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Moms-The-Word
Surrey, BC110 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
Overall very special. Take several days to explore, especially if you’ve never been. However it was very disappointing that the Botanical Gardens were under construction. This wasn’t apparent in the website and was the main reason I travelled to San Diego to visit! However, the other venues and garden sections helped alleviate this to a degree.
Written 30 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

torin211
Philadelphia, PA19 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
Balboa Park is a treasure of San Diego. It has something for everyone. We spent all day, walking around, visiting museums and gardens. All the buildings are beautiful and designed very well.
We took a free tram to get around the park at the beginning of the day for the orientation.
We really enjoyed the Spanish Art Center and the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Written 16 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

addgrace
53 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Business
This is one of the place you must visit when you come to San Diego. It will take a whole day to walk especially there are 17 museums for you to choose. I enjoy the scenery and the architecture building designs are beautiful. There is also free tram that you can hop on to the different places in the park.
Written 6 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lisa P
Woodstock, GA10 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
A must do and see in San Diego. I have visited many times over the years, and it never fails to impress. The architecture alone is amazing. The fountains, gardens, museums, shops, etc., are great! Love the pool with the koi, ducks and turtles.
Written 4 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

BouncyIsis
Fairfield, CA33 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023 • Family
There are so many things to do. If you are a plant lover, the botanical gardens is a must see. There are the various museums to check out, the evening concerts, and the many retail shops. The arts and crafts shops are one of a kind art pieces. You can spend an entire day there.
Written 3 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Medha
Lisle, IL13 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Family
Pretty nice and peaceful, though I did find it kind of boring after a while... There are many options as to which gardens to go to, though for the Japanese Friendship Garden there is a admission fee of around $14, if I recall correctly.
Written 29 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Patty C
Rockledge, FL1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
There is a lot to do, and it's a beautiful park. Although it gets really crowded in the afternoon, so go early. Parking gets full
Written 19 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kevin V
Lincoln, NE145 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024
So many options of things to do and see here. Lots of museums of all kinds but fun to just walk around, too.
Written 17 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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