Balboa Park is a magnificent cultural complex and the largest urban park in
North America. With 15 museums and eight gardens, not to mention astounding
architecture, performing arts, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo, there’s so
much to see and do. Here are 10 ideas to get your travel planning started.
Balboa Park is often
referred to as the
Smithsonian of the
West, as it has the
of museums outside
The park’s official
kicks off in 2015 with a
jam-packed year of
MUST-SEE MUSEUM EXHIBITS
Bottled & Kegged: San Diego’s
Craft Brew Culture
Learn about San Diego’s history of brewing beer, from early settlers to present day.
San Diego History Center
through January 20
My City, Your City:
8th Annual Youth Exhibition
This photography exhibition showcases the work of local youth.
Museum of Photography Arts,
through February 2
Please Be Seated
See examples of seating from many
time periods and cultures.
Mingei International, through
Explore interactive exhibits from San
Reuben H. Fleet Science Center,
through June 1
Instruments of Torture
This evocative exhibit challenges
visitors to debate why torture occurs
and how to stop it.
San Diego Museum of
Man, through July 14
Discover artifacts that
reveal the links between
beer and culture.
San Diego Museum of
Man, through August 24
Surround yourself with tropical foliage
and plants of all varieties in the historic
Botanical Building, and explore the many
gardens (all for free).
Join a free tour, like the ranger-led tours
or the architectural heritage tour. Drop
by the Visitors Center in the House of
Hospitality for more info.
Go for a ride on a hand-carved animal on
the circa-1910 Balboa Park Carousel.
Gaze up at the stars through a telescope
outside the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
on the first Wednesday of every month. The
free event follows the “Sky Tonight” show.
Play a quick round of golf at the
Balboa Park Municipal Golf Course.
Enjoy a free organ concert at the Spreckels
Organ Pavilion on Sundays at 2 p.m.
Charge up your holiday cheer at the
35th annual December Nights festival
(December 6–7) with music and dance
performances, international cuisine, and
free admission to select museums.
Stroll through the Spanish Village Art
Center, shop for local artwork, and watch
artists at work in their studios.
Tour the San Diego Zoo with “Zooman,”
whose jokes will have you chuckling
throughout the animal kingdom. The tour
is offered select days from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Have lunch or dinner on the patio at
The Prado, surrounded by lush gardens.