Balboa Park

Just minutes from downtown San Diego, Balboa Park is a great area to spend some time visiting its 15 major museums, renowned performing arts venues, lush gardens, and the San Diego Zoo. Balboa Park is the country’s largest urban cultural park and also offers year-round museum exhibitions, plays, musicals, concerts, and classes. Take a guided tour of the Park, or grab your bike or hiking shoes to tour the Park by trail. (Download a trail map from the Park’s website.) Stop for a game of tennis, golf, or lawn bowling. Stroll through the shopping areas, or check out the Spanish Village Art Center, which features daily, local art demonstrations of contemporary fine arts and crafts.

If you’re looking for a little free entertainment, visit the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park, one of world’s largest outdoor pipe organs and a San Diego landmark since 1914. Hear organists play traditional favorites, waltzes, and show tunes on enormous 32-foot pipes.

When hunger sets in, grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants or outdoor eating areas. If you want more in your dining experience, make a reservation at The Prado, an award-winning, full-service restaurant with charming indoor and outdoor dining, located in the National Historic Landmark House of Hospitality.

Take a look at the Park’s website ( before you visit, and upon entrance into the park, stop at the Visitors Center in the House of Hospitality. Admittance is free to the Park grounds, Botanical building, outdoor gardens, and some attractions. Admission fees vary at other cultural attractions. Whatever you decide to see and do, Balboa Park will not disappoint.

Balboa Park’s reflecting pool offers the tranquility of still water, and is home to water lilies, lotus, goldfish, and koi.