This 1200-acre urban oasis is home to 17 museums, eight gardens, astounding architecture
and a world-famous zoo. Often referred to as
the “Smithsonian of the West,” Balboa Park is an
exceptional cultural playground. Ride the hand-carved animals on the enchanting carousel built
in 1910. Take a free architectural heritage tour.
Stargaze at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.
Enjoy a free concert from one of the largest outdoor pipe organs in the world at the Spreckels
Organ Pavilion. And more.
CABRILLO NATIONAL MONUMENT
Visiting this expansive park is like a history
lesson and nature expedition rolled into one.
Learn about Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s historic
16th century landing, tour the Old Point Loma
Lighthouse and keeper’s quarters, see sweeping
harbor and city views along the Bayside Trail, and
spot sea creatures in the tide pools at low tide.
1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive, Point Loma
MARITIME MUSEUM OF SAN DIEGO
Climb aboard historical ships, ranging from an
American research submarine and the HMS
Surprise (star of Master and Commander and
Pirates of the Caribbean 4) to the iconic Star of
India, an iron sailing ship built in 1863.
1492 N. Harbor Drive, Embarcadero
Located on MCAS Miramar, this museum is
dedicated to preserving Marine Corps aviation
history. More than 30 aircraft are on display as
well as an exhibit honoring women in the
Marines from 1918 to the present.
T-4203 Anderson Ave., Miramar
OLD TOWN SAN DIEGO STATE PARK
Get a glimpse of life in the 1800s by exploring
the 17 museums and historical sites within this
compelling landmark, the first Spanish settlement
on the U.S. West Coast. The 12-acre park features
colorful shops, exciting eateries and early architecture like Casa de Estudillo, a 13-room adobe
hacienda with 16th- to 20th-century furnishings.
San Diego Avenue & Twiggs Street, Old Town
BACK IN TIME
San Diego is rich with blasts from the past, ranging from scenic parks stocked
with architectural wonders and historical buildings to museums, missions and
monuments, each with an enticing story to tell.
ARTS AND CULTURE
Grande Colonial Hotel
First built in 1913 and then
redone in 1928 to “rival
anything in the West,” this
community cornerstone of La
Jolla with its Georgian arches,
hand-stenciled ceilings and
ocean views was a Hollywood
favorite in the 1940s and 1950s
for actors performing at the
La Jolla Playhouse, founded by
910 Prospect St., La Jolla
The US Grant
This grand hotel built by
Ulysses S. Grant Jr. was completed in 1910 for $1.9 million.
The signature restaurant, The
Grant Grill, was constructed in
1952 as a “men’s only” club.
That changed in 1969, when
a group of prominent women
staged a sit-in. Today, the
stately spot is a must for creative cocktails and fine dining.
326 Broadway, downtown
Horton Grand Hotel
This photogenic Italianate
Victorian-style stunner is a
restoration of two historical
hotels—the Grand Horton and
the Brooklyn Kahle Saddlery—
built in 1887 and painstakingly
dismantled in 1970 to make
way for Horton Plaza. In 1986,
the hotels were rebuilt a few
blocks south and named the
Horton Grand Hotel.
311 Island Ave., Gaslamp Quarter
USS MIDWAY MUSEUM
Explore the longest-serving U.S. Navy aircraft carrier of the 20th
century, from the engine room to the control tower.
910 Harbor Drive, downtown