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“Do the Tour First - Then Go Back to Museums” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Balboa Park

Balboa Park
1549 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
619-239-0512
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Top Rated
$46*
and up
San Diego City Tour
Ranked #2 of 512 things to do in San Diego
Activities: City walk sightseeing, Viewing wildlife, Biking, Walking, Getting married
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: One of the most popular urban parks in the United States, this bucolic paradise is packed with an array of attractions, including the world-famous San Diego Zoo.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Stroller parking, Activities for older children
Wilmington, Delaware
Level Contributor
69 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Do the Tour First - Then Go Back to Museums”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2013

For $5, you can get an audio tour of the main area of the park. I would encourage you to start there - you can park at Inspiration Point Parking lot and take the from there and go to the central part of the park - since there is no parking up near the center. The audio tour explains about the buildings and setting in Balboa and why things were set up - all for the 1915 Expo - very interesting.

Visited November 2013
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English first
Green Brook, New Jersey
Level Contributor
20 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“BEAUTIFUL”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2013

I'm really glad we went to this park - it had a really nice botanical garden and statues and just a really scenic area to walk around and enjoy a peaceful walk.

Visited August 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
3 reviews
“Awesome for every age!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2013 via mobile

I took a friend and their one and a half year old kid. I also took my daughter and my husband. Their was something for everyone.

Visited October 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
81 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Interesting Buildings, Beautiful Grounds, Best Desert Garden, Many Museums”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2013

Acres upon acres of beautiful, restful parkland and gardens to hang out in. The largest and most interesting collection of desert plants I have ever seen. Interesting buildings to see.

Visited November 2013
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Cardiff
Level Contributor
361 reviews
165 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 288 helpful votes
“$5 Audio Tour Is Amazing”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 17, 2013

I've lived in the area for 20+ years and love to share the Reuben Fleet IMAX, the Zoo, and the History, Aviation and Railroad Museums with friends and visitors.

But a recent visitor who wanted to do none of that challenged me to go online and view other options. Viola. For a mere pittance, we visited areas at our own pace and learned about facts and history that I was not aware of. You'll see and hear about everything on this tour:-)

A stop at the visitor center (west of the Reuben Fleet Museum where we parked) for the map and audio device provided additional tips, maps and postcards.

If you can, pack a picnic lunch & blanket to dine under a tree in the park.
If not, Prado is the most publicized restaurant, and you should at least look-into the dining and patio areas to see the architecture and peruse the menu (which is pricy). The calamari appetizer is a favorite, and I do it with friends at happy hour for discounted prices on other items, including the drinks.

My favorite place is the Japanese Garden restaurant with huge sandwiches, gr8 curry and yummy salads. Its very reasonable and you sit outside overlooking the Organ Pavilion and gardens, where a musician is often performing for you. (year-round due to our mild weather)

The area is amazing with buildings that look like churches, but one is a museum and the other a theater. Many building have ornate carvings and the history of several of them is fascinating. Also, trivia about the Old Globe theater and other areas made the visit interesting and enjoyable to both a local and a visitor.

The tour took us about 90 minutes, not counting the stop for a Zen lunch with a violinist. We also spent more time visiting the Natural History museum and seeing "Cosmic Collisions" in the giant, domed IMAX theater.

It was a marvelous day in "America's Finest City".

Note: You are no longer able to easily access the east side of the park from Hwy 101 on W Laural. I hope a GPS does better than I did going N. to University and then S on Park Blvd. Signage is terrible from the west side and I went in circles.

Visited November 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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