Balboa Park

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San Diego, California

Balboa Park San Diego Reviews

HuBison HuBison
417 reviews
Great spot-use your one day at Balboa wisely Jun 25, 2011
After driving from the east coast to the west coast, we had a little bit of time to chill before flying back east. We had planned one day for Balboa Park. We bought the one-day pass for $35 and that gave us access to 5 museums and we woulda made all five if we didn't stop to eat lunch. We got dropped off by our hotel shuttle at 9 and had a bit of time to wander and take pictures before the visitor's office opened up.

We bought our ticket, did the math and figured we had about an hour in each spot. You have to definitely check each museum and they have different hours and some even close early for special or private events. We went to the museum of art, the museum of natural history, the San Diego history museum, and the Museum of Man (a must for anyone interested in anthropology, science, medicine)-pending on which exhibits are permanent or traveling.

We had sushi at the Japanese Tea Pavilion and sat and listened to the Organ nearby for a little bit. The crowd went from an early morning scarcity of a few joggers and strollers and a dog parade to a massive collection of overly-stimulating performance artists around the park.

If you drive, parking is free and there are several lots to take you around to other areas of Balboa park.
The Organ Pavilion (it's like the …
The Museum of Man dome
Greatest exhibit in the Museum of …
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kagyvt kagyvt
2 reviews
Affordable day staycation Jun 17, 2011
To fully take advantage of this beautiful park, make sure you plan around their free museum days and free organ concerts. I recommend making your way from the different countries ' houses, through the organ pavillion then finally to the row of museums. The mingei is a must see for those interested in the cultureds of the world. The free orange trollies can also be utilized if you get tired or just want a scenic ride through old balboa park.
struminum struminum
3 reviews
One of the best! Jul 18, 2011
Balboa park has something for everyone. There are enough attractions and museums to keep kids and adults entertained for the whole day. Another good option is to just pick a spot on the soft grass and soak up the summer sun!
erikamcrn erikamcrn
1 reviews
Balboa Park Mar 31, 2011
By far one of my favorite places. GREAT dog park; huge & fenced. Very well kept. Good restaurants. Good shows. Overall a MUST
patriot4311 patriot4…
8 reviews
The Jewel of Paradise Feb 25, 2010
Balboa Park is one of the most amazing places that San Diego has to offer. Most people think that it is simply just an ordinary park, and they would only be half correct. This is an extraordinary park.

The park is not as vast in acreage as, say, Central Park in New York, but this seemingly-hidden-from-the-city place has much to offer in such a small area.

For starters, the Museum of Natural History and the Art Museum are within the park. As well, the Aeronautical Museum. The Botanical Gardens are amazing, even to the non-botonist lay person with flora from around the world. When in bloom, the Rose Garden offers a magical feel, with the scent of heaven from hundreds of species of roses of varying color. To contrast the luxurious beauty of the Rose Garden, the Cacti Garden is something of an alien planet with many of the various species of cacti from the American Southwest, and other parts of the world (just don't touch, and do not stray from the path).

Upon entering the park from the west (accross the bridge from University Ave), I couldn't help but feel as though I was back in Spain. The main complex of the park has a Spanish mission feel, with high walls and the iconic bell tower with tiled roofs. Even inside, with broad arched openings, fountains, various statues and carvings and lush foilage, I feel as though I was walking through the Alhambra again.

Lastly, walking the paths through the park grounds is very peaceful. The gentle hills hide the noise of the surrounding city quite well, and rustle of the ocean breeze though the many palm and eucalypt trees hide any remaining reminders.

This is usually always some type of event happening within the park. The amphetheter has amazing acoustics.

There are several restaurants and shops, some less expensive than others, and plenty of places in and out of the shade to enjoy the parks' beauty.

The park is a non-profit entity, and many of the addmissions are free; including the Botanical, Rose, and Cacti Gardens. The museums are moderately priced but affordable, with an a discounted 'all access' pass available.

Saving the best for last, the San Diego Zoo is located within the park grounds as well. The San Diego Zoo is world famous, but there are many hills thoughout the zoo; so wear comfortable shoes. The habits are excellent, but not (in my opinion) of adaquate size (they never really are, are they?). This increasing the viewing potential, and I've never been disappointed.

I feel I must point out one, possibly, negative aspect of the park. And that is the hawkers. Within the prado, there are often times various types of people selling their trinkets, offering palm readings, various performers (though, they can be quite entertaining). Park security does an excellent job to keep out the panhandlers, but every so often one will slip through. As with every adventure, use your good judgement and Balboa Park will leave you with excellent memories and wanting to return.
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Hummingbird says:
This is a truely amazing park. And you didn't mention the model railroad clubs layout! We loved it too!
Posted on: Jun 17, 2011
jethanad says:
Thks TB - sounds pretty good to me
Posted on: Mar 26, 2010
magnificent says:
I just made a review then read yours. Well put. I never been to New York or had knowledge that central park was so big compared to San Diego....perhaps I need to see more of the world....hahaha!!!
Posted on: Mar 23, 2010
magnificent magnific…
60 reviews
Taking About A Park!!! Mar 23, 2010
No visit to San Diego is complete without a day or more at Balboa Park. This is a huge park, it is so big that the "World Famous San Diego Zoo" resides on the grounds of this spectacular break away from the City.

The first stop here I suggest is a stop at the visitor center in the heart of the park. You can take public transportation (Bus # 7 from downtown) or drive to the intersection of Park Blvd & Presidents Way. To get to the center drive in the park (west) and follow the road, better yet from the corner get off the bus or park in one of the 3 large lots and take the FREE Red Trolley Bus (which is operated by Old Town Trolley Tours...that is another story). Matter of fact you may want to take the Trolley round trip just to get familiar with part of the park.

There are so many museums, botanical wonders, and things to do at Balboa Park. One of the things I really like about the parks administration is that they have many children type programs and event. The Circus and Carnivals that come into town set up here. The "Rock n'Roll" Marathon comes along the park.

Some other things you can find are all sorts of clubs with varied interest, the well-known "Old Globe" theater, Frisbee golf course, plenty of trails, and of course the Petanque club.

It is not unusual to see personal trainers working out with their clients, visitors taking pictures, lovers enjoying a picnic lunch in the gardens or groups of people practicing yoga or Tai Chi, matter of fact if you show up on a weekend morning about 9am you may be able to join in. What a great way to enjoy nature and connect with locals.

I enjoy spending time with others as well as for grounding myself and connecting to nature!
Look for the FREE red trolley bus …
Visitor Center to help you navigat…
International Houses. Some countri…
eamesker eamesker
17 reviews
Balboa Park Sep 03, 2008
Balboa Park is the nations largest urban cultural park and includes fifteen museums, the SD Zoo, gardens, and much much more. Going here is an all day event, depending on what you want to see. The fifteen major museums cost money but there are weekly and monthly free days - they are also easy to sneak into because many of the workers just don't pay much attention, especially if you go when its not busy. Also, depending on what you do it can be cheap or very expensive, especially if you go to the zoo and multiple museums - although the zoo alone can take all day long.

Very beautiful and worth a visit.
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy

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