Located just Northeast of downtown, Balboa Park is a beautiful urban park in San Diego, California, named after the Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa. Besides open areas and natural vegetation, it contains a variety of cultural attractions including museums, theaters, gardens, shops and restaurants as well as the world-renowned San Diego Zoo. Thousands of trees here were planted by the famous American gardener Kate Sessions. Balboa Park was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977. Balboa Park is one of the oldest sites in the United States dedicated to public recreational usage. Many of the park’s attractions are along El Prado, a long, wide promenade running through the center of the park. Most of the buildings lining this street are in the Spanish Revival style, a richly ornamented eclectic mixture of Spanish and Latin American architecture. The park’s museums and cultural attractions include the San Diego Museum of Man, the San Diego Museum of Art, the Museum of Photographic Arts, the San Diego Art Institute the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, the Natural History Museum, the San Diego Historical Society, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, the Reflection Pond, the latticed Botanical Building, the Bea Evenson Fountain, and Timken Museum of Art.
Located south of the promenade is the world famous San Diego Air & Space Museum. There are a number of gardens located in the park including Alcazar Garden, Botanical Building, Cactus Garden, Casa del Rey Moro Garden, Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden, Japanese Friendship Garden, Marston House Garden, Palm Canyon and Zoro Garden.
Balboa Park is home to renowned theatrical and musical venues include the Spreckels Organ Pavilion – the world’s largest outdoor pipe organ and the historic Old Globe Theatre, a replica of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the Starlight Bowl.
Balboa Park is where culture and nature meet. Lush grounds, from gardens to forests, fountains to playgrounds, and sweeping architecture from Spanish Colonial Revival to mid-century Modern span the heart of the Park. More than 17 museums filled with everything from dinosaurs to space travel, science to the study of humankind, photographs to old masters, and automobiles to orchids. Plays, musicals, orchestras, ballet, heritage dancing, song, and the World Famous San Diego Zoo, round out a vast array of things to see and do.
1549 El Prado
San Diego, CA 92101
1549 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101