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Holiday Travel Guide

Culture and nature converge in this diverse park located in the heart of the city.

This is one of the largest urban parks in the United States, and one of the most diverse in the world. You could spend a week exploring its 1,200 acres (486 hectares) of walking trails and gardens, museums and galleries, theaters, restaurants, and world-famous zoo. This wealth of year-round entertainment makes it a popular location for both locals and tourists.

A good starting point is the Visitor Center in the middle of the park. Here you’ll find helpful volunteers, information on current exhibits, and a schedule of performances and events. Free, guided tours of the park are available during the week to take you around the park’s major highlights, explaining the historical, architectural and horticultural features. Check at the Visitor Center for times.

The Spanish Colonial-style buildings located around the Visitor Center house many of the city’s largest museums, galleries and theaters, including the San Diego Museum of Art, the Air & Space Museum, the Natural History Museum and a dozen more.

Performances take place year-round in the various theaters. The Old Globe, for example, stages more than 10 plays and musicals during its season.

Balboa Park’s gorgeous gardens offer a peaceful respite, including the Japanese Friendship Garden, Palm Canyon and the Inez Grant Parker Rose Gardens. The Californian Native Plant Garden showcases more than 2,600 varieties of species native to San Diego along a peaceful mile-long (1.6-kilometer) path.

If you’re looking for some fun and physical activity, head to the eastern side of the park to practice your golf swing, try your hand at petanque or bocce, or enjoy a game of tennis under the shade trees.

The park grounds are open all year, 24 hours a day. Museum operating hours vary, but most open between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Top things to do in Balboa Park

Top Trending Hotels Near Balboa Park

Wyndham San Diego Bayside
Wyndham San Diego Bayside
4 out of 5
1355 N Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA
The price is £97 per night from 18 Apr to 19 Apr

Located in Downtown San Diego, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of USS Midway Museum and Balboa Park. San Diego Convention Center and San Diego Zoo are also ...

4/5Very Good! (3,348 reviews)

"Its close to everything!"…"

Reviewed on 11 Apr 2021

Wyndham San Diego Bayside
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
4 out of 5
1 Market Pl, San Diego, CA
The price is £161 per night from 12 Apr to 13 Apr

Located in Downtown San Diego, this romantic hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Seaport Village, San Diego Convention Center, and USS Midway Museum. Port of ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (2,786 reviews)

"Be aware they charge you a $50 per night destination charge in addition to the prepaid expedia hotel charge. Restaurants or bars in hotel are not open, due to pandemic. Beautiful, clean hotel with great view and very convenient location. Walking distance to Ocean front boardwalk and gaslamp ..."…"

Reviewed on 10 Apr 2021

Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
Embassy Suites by Hilton San Diego Bay Downtown
Embassy Suites by Hilton San Diego Bay Downtown
4 out of 5
601 Pacific Hwy, San Diego, CA
Free cancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is £117 per night from 25 Apr to 26 Apr

This family-friendly San Diego hotel is located on the waterfront, within a 10-minute walk of Seaport Village, USS Midway Museum and Navy Pier. Port of San Diego ...

4.2/5Excellent! (1,434 reviews)

"The location of the hotel is outstanding. It is right across the street from restaurants, half a block away from Seaport Village, and walking distance to USS Midway (although we didn’t go there). It is close enough to walk to Little Italy and Gaslamp, but not with little kids. The pool was closed ..."…"

Reviewed on 10 Apr 2021

Embassy Suites by Hilton San Diego Bay Downtown
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Top Balboa Park Flight + Hotel Deals

Kona Kai Resort & Spa, A Noble House Resort
Solamar San Diego
San Diego Mission Bay Resort
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Top Hotel Deals

Wyndham San Diego Bayside
Wyndham San Diego Bayside
4 out of 5
1355 N Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA
The price is £97 per night from 18 Apr to 19 Apr
Wyndham San Diego Bayside
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
4 out of 5
1 Market Pl, San Diego, CA
The price is £161 per night from 12 Apr to 13 Apr
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
Embassy Suites by Hilton San Diego Bay Downtown
Embassy Suites by Hilton San Diego Bay Downtown
4 out of 5
601 Pacific Hwy, San Diego, CA
The price is £117 per night from 25 Apr to 26 Apr
Embassy Suites by Hilton San Diego Bay Downtown
Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
4 out of 5
333 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA
The price is £157 per night from 16 Apr to 17 Apr
Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
Westgate Hotel
Westgate Hotel
4.5 out of 5
1055 Second Ave, San Diego, CA
The price is £121 per night from 12 Apr to 13 Apr
Westgate Hotel
Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Downtown
Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Downtown
3.5 out of 5
530 Broadway, San Diego, CA
The price is £94 per night from 14 Apr to 15 Apr
Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Downtown
Holiday Inn Express San Diego Downtown, an IHG Hotel
Holiday Inn Express San Diego Downtown, an IHG Hotel
2.5 out of 5
1430 7th Ave, San Diego, CA
The price is £77 per night from 15 Apr to 16 Apr
Holiday Inn Express San Diego Downtown, an IHG Hotel
Four Points by Sheraton San Diego Downtown Little Italy
Four Points by Sheraton San Diego Downtown Little Italy
3 out of 5
1617 1st Avenue, San Diego, CA
The price is £85 per night from 12 Apr to 13 Apr
Four Points by Sheraton San Diego Downtown Little Italy
Baymont by Wyndham San Diego Downtown
Baymont by Wyndham San Diego Downtown
2.5 out of 5
719 Ash St, San Diego, CA
The price is £46 per night from 18 Apr to 19 Apr
Baymont by Wyndham San Diego Downtown
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.