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Balboa Park - 22 Reviews - , San Diego, CA - Information & Referral Services Tourist Reviews - Phone (619) 239-0512
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Balboa Park

San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 239-0512
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This has got to be one of the most convenient places to go to if you are a museum lover of any kind. There are tons of great museums in this beautiful park and we went to almost a...


All reviews seem positive

Tons of great museums! 7/23/2010

This has got to be one of the most convenient places to go to if you are a museum lover of any kind. There are tons of great museums in this beautiful park and we went to almost all of them. I would highly recommend stopping by for a visit. more

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Beautiful Park 2/27/2006

Balboa Park is a large park with lots of different attractions to see. The San Diego Zoo is located in Balboa Park along with countless museums, a, restaurants and beautiful grounds. The Park is beautifully landscaped and is a heart warming feeling just to walk the grounds. It's very easy to find. Parking is plentiful even with the numerous activities throughout the year. Balboa Park is definitely something you need to check out at least once in your life. Many weddings take place on the grounds of the park. more

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All in one spot! 1/15/2006

San Diego has all of its museums in one convenient location downtown. You could easily spend days here and still not see all that there is to see. One of my personal favorites are the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, where you can catch the latest IMAX film and do hands on activities. I also love the Museum of Man for its fantastic mummy exhibits. The grounds of Balboa are beautiful to walk, with many gardens well tended. more

Balboa Park: THe biggest park in SD 11/11/2005

A LITTLE BACKGROUND ON BALBOA PARK Balboa Park is set on 1,200 acres near the heart of San Diego. There are avenues to stroll, lots of museums, landscaping, gardens, fountains and performances. Below is a list of attractions in Balboa Park from the web site We have visited the The San Diego Zoo and the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, which I describe below. Obviously, if you are a tourist, you can't see it all in one day. The web site has some good information about what each museum or attraction contains. Of course, the park itself, with its landscaping and architecture is quite an attraction by itself. American Indian Culture Center and Museum Centro Cultural de la Raza House of Pacific Relations Japanese Friendship Garden Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre Marston House Mingei International Museum Museum of Photographic Arts Museum of San Diego History Reuben H. Fleet Science Center San Diego Aerospace Museum San Diego Art Institute San Diego Automotive Museum San Diego Hall of Champions San Diego Junior Theatre San Diego Model Railroad Museum San Diego Museum of Art San Diego Museum of Man San Diego Natural History Museum San Diego Zoo Spanish Village Art Center Spreckels Organ Pavilion Starlight Theatre at Starlight Bowl Timken Museum of Art The Old Globe Theatre United Nations Building Veterans Museum and Memorial Center WorldBeat Center THE PARK Balboa Park is a great place to stroll around. We particularly liked the El Prado walkway. Along this pedestrian street are museums housed in buildings featuring Spanish Colonial architecture. These buildings were originally built for the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition. The Spanish Colonial architecture is very detailed. You could spend a lot of time just studing the fascade of each building with all its sculpture and carving. I really liked the elaborate designs - very different from what we have in New England. We also walked around the Botanical Building. The large wood lath structure in located on the El Prado walkway. The building itself is a striking contrast to the Spanish architecture that dominates the rest of this area. The building contains tropical plants. Even if you don't enter the building, you can enjoy the botanical gardens all around the outside. Don't miss the Lily Pond which is very beautiful. My mother, who lives in the area year-round, told us the pond is particularly nice in the summer when the water plants are blooming. The portions of the park we saw were very, very clean. We didn't see litter anywhere. There are street performers at random places in the Park. It sounds nice, but they were all pretty awful. One woman's gimmick was to blow bubbles and sell balloon animals. Another woman just stood there and sang (badly). I wish there was some screening process for the performers because I thought these acts detracted from the Park. THE REUBEN H. FLEET CENTER SCIENCE MUSEUM The Fleet Center Science Museum is located right near the El Prado walkway. It is housed in a modern building - not the Spanish Architecture buildings I admired just nearby. The Fleet Center has to be the most disappointing science museum I have ever been to. The cost without membership or discounts is just over $11 per adult and I would have been horrified if I had paid that amount. As it turned out, we visited with someone who had a membership so we paid nothing. If you don't have a connection, there are deals where you can buy a pass to all the museums at a discount. The pass was $30 per week when we visited - but of course, things change and you should check before you go. The building itself is rather small and does not house many permanent exhibits. Most of the exhibits are free-standing small booths or displays. There is a sign explaining the scientific concept. For example, one small booth had silver Christmas ornaments. The viewer was invited to look how the different Christmas balls reflected images. That's it. Another display showed videos of how earthquakes collapsed bridges. That's it. Very little was interactive or engaging. If your child is still too young to read well or appreciate complex concepts, they won't get much out of the museum at all. Many of the exhibits were at an adult's eye level. There was almost nothing to appeal to elementary school kids. There was a play area for 2-6 year olds that consisted of a couple of computer stations and a few toys in a separate area. There was no seating for parents in the tots area and no walls to contain it so it was not exactly a relaxing place for families to explore. There was a traveling exhibit for 2-8 year olds that featured the characters from Richard Scarey books. My kids really enjoyed this exhibit although it was scheduled to leave a few weeks after we visited. If it wasn't for this exhibit, we probably wouldn't have had more than 10 minutes of stuff to do in the permanent exhibits. The Fleet Center has an IMAX theater that appears to show a movie every hour. The IMAX is shown in a giant tilted dome-screen theater which is different than a lot of other IMAX theaters but didn't detract from the experience. In addition to the IMAX there is a Motion Simulator Ride that takes visitors on a trip to the Deep Sea. It sounded pretty cool but my son was ruled out on height restrictions and I was ruled out because I am pregnant so the family decided not to ride. In addition to the exhibits, the museum had a small, overpriced gift store and a small cafe with outside tables. The cafe did have reasonably priced healthy choices for lunch. OTHER STUFF We parked for free in the Fleet Center Science Musuem parking lot. It was a weekday afternoon and there were many open spaces. We ate dinner in a lovely restaurant called The Prado. This restaurant is housed in one of the old Spanish Architecture buildings and was wonderful. FINAL RECOMMENDATION I really liked Balboa Park and intend to return next time we are in San Diego. I like the mix of outdoor strolling and culture in the museums. I doubt I would return to the Science Center but there are still so many attractions to see. more

one of the best ways to spend a day 10/22/2005

I used to go to balboa park for the park aspect....since they had swings in one of the areas. My friend and i started to wander around, and found that there is much more than just a park with some swings. I love walking through Balboa park and wandering through the different museums.I love sitting around reading a book in the sun around the beauty of the park. Its one of the most relaxing places in San Diego. more

Beautiful place 10/11/2005

This is a beautiful park in San Diego that encompasses several museums, gardens, and the world famous San Diego zoo. This park very big and there is a lot to do. You can visit some museums, eat at various cafes that show a beautiful view of the park. Take a stroll, see the gardens. There are some beautiful fountains and statutes where you can take some pictures as memories of your visit to San Diego too. more

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take a stroll 10/7/2005

Take a stroll through Balboa Park, and you will find yourself surrounded by beautiful architecture. Many historic artifacts are also hidden in the park. The place i love is the arbitorium where they display the most beautiful collection of orchids. Most of the museums there have admission fees, but during their christmas in the park, they are all free of admission. They always veery enjoyable events there and are mostly all free. On a regular day, be sure to meet some people playing exotic cultural instruments, or people juggling, or fortune tellers wanting to foretell or advise. It's a great place to take out of towners to show off the city of SD. more

Great place to take a date 9/10/2005

Hey for anyone that is low on funds and would like to take a date to a beautiful place, go to balboa park! It is really nice and calm and has free museum entrances on tuesdays until 5:00p.m.! more

The highlight of the city 8/29/2005

HHousing the world famous San Diego zooo, its aerospace museum, the museum of art, the model railroad museum, the Natural History Museum,Japanese gardens, botaniccal gardens and much much more, if you spent a week in San Diego, you could spend the entire time here and never do the same thing twice. The older mission style architecture that aboounds is inspiring and reminiscent of days gone by. Thjis is the most beautiful place in San Diego. It ccan get hot during the summertime, so check it out in Spring/fall to have a more comfortable time. more

Balboa Park 8/19/2005

Balboa Park is just one of those places that you can't visit once. Everything in this park shows some old times gone bye, but thats a good thing! The fountains are magnificent, and the museums are superb. Some of the museums are free, but some you must pay to go into. A great place to spend the day with the family. more

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large city park with tons of museums 8/19/2005

When we were mere tourists to San Diego, we really loved Balboa Park, as it seemingly teemed with life at the museums, Prado Restaurant, zoo, etc. The architecture is very charming (a remnant from a World's Fair-type exhibition in the early 1900s), and the space itself is enormous. We later moved to the east side of the park. I have to say that side of the park is not exactly exciting. Sure there's a public golf course, but if you don't play there's not that much going on for you. The east side also has a dog park, and some paths through the canyon. Unfortunately, we were scared off of canyon walks after hearing about the black widow and other poisonous spiders, not to mention snakes and scorpions. Eww! The portion with the museums is surprisingly unpopulated on most days of the year. Sure it does get people there on sunny, warm weekends, but not like you think it would. The museums alterate "free day" on Tuesday's which is nice. Lots of picnic areas, although it can be kind of chilly here most of the time -- I'm assuming that's because it's at the top of the hill. The cactus and rose garden are often missed by tourists and locals alike, and they are a great place to read or picnic as well. more

Great getaway from the city! 8/18/2005

I go to balboa about once a week. I love the escape from the city. There are museums (if you go on a tuesday, one of them is usually free, check out their website for more information). It is a great place for picniking, and if you are looking for a bit of culture, head over to the international houses on sunday and one nationality always puts on a show, sells food, etc. A great time for everyone! more

Countless Atractions 8/13/2005

Balboa Park is quite possibly the best place to spend an afternoon in San Diego. I've been about 5 times and still haven't seen so much the park has to offer. I would recommend visiting the Automotive and Photogrpahy Museums, as well as the International VIllage on Sundays. Great food and entertainment! Balboa Park also serves as an excellent place to have a picnic. more

Another jewel of San Diego 8/13/2005

I went to Balboa Park three years ago with my parents when I first came to San Diego from Northern California. It was simply breathtaking. There are various museums including a museum of natural history and a Japanese friendship garden. In addition, there are exhibitions, art performances, lectures, films, and concerts at Balboa Park all year round. more

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A piece of San Diego history 8/12/2005

Balboa park is located in the middle of San Diego, east of Downtown. Home to multiple museums and historic buildings, Balboa park is the perfect place for a stroll with a date, or loved one. This is a great place to bring the family also, with plenty of attractions. There is a rose and cactus garden, a Koi pond, a giant fountain, an archery field, and a the Organ Pavilion to name a few. Right next to the world famous San Diego Zoo, you can hear the sounds of wild animals while walking through Balboa Park. more

Unique Park 8/11/2005

This park is unique because of its beautiful surrounding greenery, close proximity to the downtown & the multitude activities taking place at this oldest landmark of the city. I love to play at any of the eight flood lit indoor shuttle courts. The courts are well maintained with wooden floorings which gives lots of comfort while playing. more

Just visited Last week! 8/10/2005

I just visited Balboa Park last week and it was amazing! Right in our back yard is this wonderful place full of history. The flower gardens are beautiful, historical buildings are gorgeous, and it is all free. To look around at all of the beautiful structures that has been standing for so long. I enjoyed getting out there and taking advantage of living in this beautiful city. more

The perfect park to visit on a sunny day 8/9/2005

If you're in San Diego and you can afford an entire day, make sure you plan for a day with great sunny weather. The balboa park is a great free attraction. There are a handful of museums in the park as well some of the most beautiful gardens. They have various greenhouses housing the nicest orchids and anything from cactus to palm tree gardens. Expect to do a bit of walking since the park is rather large. Helps to bring along some bottled water for the day. While some of the museums cost money there are still plenty of free exhibits to visit. Some of the architecture is amazing and the masonry/stone work is breath-taking. If you do go visit, dont forget to find the one significant landmark. There is a tower overlooking the park which is the same tower of the Xanadu mansion in Citizen Kane. I'm a movie buff so I definitely had to photograph myself in front of this landmark. more

Great Family Place 8/6/2005

Balboa Park is one of the main features that makes up San Diego. It is a beautiful stretch of land with room to play with pets, have picnics, throw a frisbee, or just lay out in the sun. The only problems I see is that hobos tend to sleep there a lot and there is some litter. more

Balboa Park 8/5/2005

Balboa park is a great place to hang out. On the weekends people watching is one of the best things to do. Street vendors are always present and you can have your palm read, watch performers juggle items, or watch mimes. There are lots of museums to see as well. There are fees for the museums but if you go on Tuesdays, one of the museums will be free (it alternates). more
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