We were at the San Diego Zoo and could see the towers of Balboa Park across the hill, so we went to visit it the next day. Some of the museums cost money, but if you're on a budget you can still have a really good time! Plan on walking, parking is pretty far from anything in the park. My husband and I and two young kids spent all day there, and didn't spend any money except on food. We all loved different things about it.
The architecture and grounds were beautiful - lots of gardens and fountains and ponds, also a beautiful indoor (and cool relief from the heat) botanical gardens. There were street performers everywhere, and not just mediocre ones, but actual talent! Lots of different types of museums, a nice big playground, walking trails, etc. If you're hungry, don't miss The Prado - it was a little on the expensive side, but one of the best food experiences we had in San Diego.
However it was a little hard to navigate - we couldn't find a map anywhere in the park, so we downloaded one for our android phone to find our way around. And the bathrooms at the playground were disgusting - no doors on the stalls and absolutely filthy!! Even my 8-year-old son refused to use it, but decided to wait until we got back to the hotel.
Overall though I wouldn't have missed it for the world! We all loved it!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.