Balboa Park
Balboa Park
4.5
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
About
This 1,200-acre nature park comprises 17 museums, gardens, musical theaters, a sports complex, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. The park’s Spanish-Moorish architecture and 19 distinct gardens (some require admission fees) attract both tourists and locals. Don’t miss the San Diego Air and Space Museum, the Spanish Village Art Center for unique handicrafts, and the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, where free concerts are hosted in the evenings. Travelers recommend putting aside the whole day to explore the park. To make the most of your time, hop on the Balboa Park trams (they’re free!) to get around. – Tripadvisor
Duration: More than 3 hours
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  • BobiTychynskiShimoda
    Oakville, Canada396 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great spot!
    So much to do. Unfortunately the botanical garden was closed (until next year?) and also the United Nations houses (open on the weekend). That said, it was nice attending the activities we chose. Great spot. We did the zoo and Japanese friendship garden and both were great!
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 1 June 2023
  • gmleven1
    Barrington, Illinois82 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful setting
    Beautiful setting with many options to see. Was disappointed one of the museum/gallery was closed on our day. Very comfortable. Plenty of docents to guide. Easy walk to our trolly pick up. Larger than expected
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 15 June 2023
  • Randall
    Colorado Springs, Colorado10 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful park.
    Beautiful park with a lot to see. We spent the first half of the day in the park, feels like better than a botanical garden just walking around. We went to the zoo, the zoo was huge. Had a great day there.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 20 June 2023
  • wemjam
    Carleton, Michigan1,540 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Excellent area to spend a day... or two... or three
    This is the MOST amazing place in San Diego. It is the size of Central Park in New York and Millennium Park in Chicago combined! There are like 15 different museums in the Park to visit along with nice gardens and green spaces, and a large fountain to enjoy for the afternoon. There is also a "village" of little houses each one representing a different nationality. The main Promenade area was beautiful. The architecture and buildings were so ornate and reminded me of something you might see in Europe. I was completely blown away while we walked around and it was so much more than I expected. There were little vendor booths selling different things around the fountain area. There is also a free little tram with a few different stops to help navigate around the park without having to walk as much. Each stop is located at different areas to make getting around much easier. You could spend DAYS here to explore all that is offered. Highly recommend a visit, but if you have limited time like we did you will want to research all the different things available and make a plan of attack. I would have loved to visit the little village with all the house, but we just didn't have the time. Note: We were staying in a downtown hotel on Broadway and just opted to take an Uber, the cost was only about $8 each way to get to Balboa Park.
    Visited July 2023
    Written 11 July 2023
  • Khalaf K
    Sharjah, United Arab Emirates278 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Magnificent Park
    Balboa Park is a magnificent place you must visit in San Diego. Many Museums can be visited in one spot to know the history of California. I have visited 3 museums: San Diego Natural Museum History, Rail road Museum and Museum of photographic arts. Good for families with kids.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 13 July 2023
  • Jo P
    Brough, United Kingdom596 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Definitely Worth Spending a Couple of Days there
    A massive park that wasn't too busy due to the size, we spent the day there and also visited the zoo but could spend a couple of days there easily. A tourist information centre with very helpful staff. The only downside was we struggled to find somewhere to eat on a Sun early evening.
    Visited March 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 16 July 2023
  • MatthewCafiero
    Flower Mound, Texas17 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing walkable collection of Museums and venues
    Invest in the day, week, or annual pass (for just about everything except the Zoo and the new (underwhelming) Comic-Con Museum. Give the Comic-Con museum time to iron out the bugs before visiting. Air & Space and the Museum of Us are both world-class, and the Japanese Friendship Garden is a beautiful place to enjoy a cup of tea and reflect on everything you've seen. I am a Museum Studies grad student and loved this amazing park.
    Visited August 2023
    Written 13 August 2023
  • osnoopy13
    Lilburn, Georgia421 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Lots of activities and fun things to do!
    Balboa Park has so many great things to do you must make sure to add it to your list of sites while visiting there. We saw it twice. Once on a brief city tour. Then we returned next day to visit a few museums. No problem parking or getting around. Has free shuttle and parking. We ate near the Japanese gardens. Spent several hours at the Air and Space Museum. Briefly shopped in the Spanish market area. If you plan on going to the Zoo that’s several hours additional. There’s some 10+ museums in the park.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 2 October 2023
  • Ceaser M
    Humble, Texas36 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Huge with Free Places to Visit
    This park has a host of tings to see and do. This is my first visit to the park but I have visited the zoo last year. Pros. Free parking Free places to visit in the park - gardens and museums. Cons Non experienced
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 17 October 2023
  • WildernessJoe
    Orlando, Florida111 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A day well spent
    Always heard of this place and I’m so glad we visited. If you love history and street performers you will be delighted in visiting and admiring the beauty. There are street performers singing, playing instruments, lectures, movies, food and gardens and more. Its a must see, especially if you love museums.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 2 December 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles13,105 reviews
Excellent
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Very good
2,775
Average
468
Poor
84
Terrible
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worktotravel14
Trenton, NJ3,207 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Friends
I forgot that I had been to Balboa park. In truth it is gateway to gorgeous museums with world class art exhibits and a promenade for gorgeous vegetation. We spent most of our time in the world of Giant trees and meandered through the cactus garden. In truth we probably would not have made it to these places if the botanical gardens were open. With that in mind, it was a real treat. The downside was that lots of the park was closed for construction and private events. I wish websites would give indications of that scenario. Still, loved my visit.
Written 27 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rachel & Andy
284 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Couples
Visited 19/06/2023

A huge and beautiful park filled with different hidden gardens with blooming flowers, buildings with detailed architecture, and magnificent fountains. We had a sunny day to enjoy it and upon arriving the views were stunning. There were lots of little paths in many directions leading to new, exciting gardens. We even found an area where musicians were playing in a tranquil space.
It is really worth a visit just to here, with multiple buildings to explore, gardens and fountains to enjoy. It's a really nice place to be away from the bustle of the city. It feels a lot bigger once you are in the Park, and there are museums to keep your occupied as well.
Just a beautiful well-kept space.
Written 26 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bonnie K
Savannah, GA172 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
We had 14 days in San diego and spent 5 of them in Balboa park. One day Japanese garden with blooming cherry trees. One day at AIr & Space museum--play the design and landing of a jet! Another at several art museums, Natural history museums, Museum of US (us not United States)was fascinating! Another in an open air organ concert in a charming venue. There appear to always be special programs happening. Little restaurants to get a snack or meal or drink. Figure out the parking the first time , then it is easy. Help desk gives helpful advice tailored to wht you want to see.
Written 19 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Young C
Grand Rapids, MI56 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Couples
Great place to hang out and chill with cool drinks. Walking through the park was nice. Beautiful rose garden and view of the city. So many different things to do: museums, gardens, organ concert pavilion, cafes, restaurants. Free parking through out park. Put it on your itinerary if you can for relaxing day.
Written 18 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Fiona G
Melbourne, Australia9 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Solo
Spent a lovely couple of hours at Balboa Park. Well worth a visit. So many museums, beautiful grounds and gardens. The Zoo and eateries. Excellent.
Written 16 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ashlee
Madison, WI229 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Couples
This park is huge, over 1200 ares of land! I checked out the cactus and rose gardens, but left wanting to view more of the park. The cactus garden was neat and the rose garden was beautiful. It was very well kept and there are signs to advise viewers of the various types.
Written 1 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

prettyvacant27
Edmonton, Canada154 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Family
Very nice park. Clean. We are here right now sitting just finished cleaning my grandson"s wound. He slid over and scraped both knees-stage 2 big wound, palms and elbows. My daughter asked if there is first aid at the guests centre, lady said "its only for employees and u should invest in your first aid next time" while ahe handed a tiny gauze and 1 bandage As a nurse i always have first aid kits at home and in our vehicles. Glad the lady who has an art exhibit -"YO design" saw us and gave us wipes and bandages.
Written 28 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jemlnlx
Bronx, NY5,331 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Family
Lovely massive park centrally located in San Diego.

No addmission or parking fees to the park itself.

Lots of free parking lots throughout the park. Be sure to look at a map and choose the one closest to your target destination. (i.e. zoo/museum/attraction) The zoo lot being the understanaby the largest lot in the park.

Lots of attractions throughout the west side of the park, including the San Diego Zoo which is located in the northwest corner of the park as well as lots of museums. Although we did enjoy the zoo...we found some of the museums to be a bit overpriced. If you are interesting in seeing a few (or all) of them...their Explorer Pass may be of interest to you. Also look out for other discounts including Resident, AAA, EBT or ASTC discounts for any attraction you decide to visit.

The east side of the park contains some recreational complexes and areas as well as a large golf course.

There are also lots of small shops and vendors throughout the park. A great way to spend a nice day...combine an attraction or two with a walk through the park.
Written 28 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

AussieJulesW
Melbourne, Australia510 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Friends
Yes, this place is as good as all the reviews say. Beautiful architecture and buildings, gardens (admission fee for the Japanese version) , museums (some of them free), the Globe Theatre, walks, etc. We wandered around for hours in and between them all.

We tried the restaurant and that was good too.

We also went on the free tram around the grounds, but that largely seemed to be views of the car park (and a way for people to get from there!). The ladies in the info centre were cheerful and helpful.

We thought it was amusing the church bells were playing a Backstreet Boys song.

Bilboa Park is a true credit and ongoing legacy to the people of San Diego.
Written 23 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ross W
Selkirk, Canada230 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
We had an afternoon, but you could spend a week and not see it all. There were over 1800 acres, bigger than central park New York, and very easy to traverse. Lots of free parts and some purchase to enter parts. The rose garden, Japanese garden and desert area were breathtaking. At one free museum (donation accepted) there was a short film of how the park was started and why. Very informative and short duration.
Written 13 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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BALBOA PARK: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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