California Tower, Museum Of Man, Balboa Park, San Diego, California, USA

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Balboa Park Gardens

San Diego

Balboa Park includes a number of gardens, reflecting different horticultural styles and environments, including Alcazar Garden, a formal, Spanish-style garden; Palm Canyon, with more than 50 species of palms; Japanese Friendship Garden; Australian Garden; Rose Garden; and Desert Garden (best in spring). Florida Canyon gives an idea of the San Diego landscape before Spanish settlement. Free tours depart the Balboa Park Visitors Center each week, covering various themes from botany to architecture. See for details.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby San Diego attractions

1. Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater

0.25 MILES

This theater in the Palisades Building puts on terrific hand and rod puppet and marionette shows for the little ones. There have been puppet shows here…

2. San Diego Museum of Us

0.26 MILES

Housed in the iconic 1915 California Building, this anthropological museum is packed with exhibits hopscotching from ancient Egypt to local Kumeyaay…

3. House of Pacific Relations

0.29 MILES

Here are 15 cottages from the 1915 exposition, inside which you will find furnishings and displays from various countries, plus about 15 cottages built…

4. San Diego Automotive Museum

0.29 MILES

This museum has a permanent collection of dozens of cars and motorcycles, perfectly restored and well displayed, with classics including a 1981 De Lorean,…

5. San Diego Air & Space Museum

0.32 MILES

An ode to flight, the circular museum houses an extensive display of historical aircraft and spacecraft (originals, replicas and models), including a hot…

6. San Diego Museum of Art

0.38 MILES

Pride of place in SDMA's permanent collection goes to its Spanish old masters (El Greco, Goya) and a respectable selection of works by other international…

7. Balboa Park Museums

0.38 MILES

Balboa Park is a 1200-acre space with 17 museums and cultural institutions, including key attractions San Diego History Center, San Diego Air & Space…

8. Spreckels Organ Pavilion

0.38 MILES

South of Plaza de Panama looms the tiered benches, curved colonnade and ornate pavilion housing a 5017-pipe organ, said to be the world’s largest of its…