Casa de Balboa, architectural landmark in Balboa Park, San Diego, California, USA

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Balboa Park Museums

San Diego

Balboa Park is a 1200-acre space with 17 museums and cultural institutions, including key attractions San Diego History Center, San Diego Air & Space Museum, San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Man, San Diego Natural History Museum and San Diego Zoo. All attractions are easily walkable, or jump aboard the park's tram to whizz around them all at speed.

One-day explorer tickets include admission to five museums for adult/child $46/$27, multiday explorer tickets include admission for 17 museums over seven consecutive days for adult/child $57/$30, plus zoo entry adult/child $97/$62.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby San Diego attractions

1. San Diego Museum of Art

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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…

2. Timken Museum of Art

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Don’t skip the Timken, home to a small but impressive collection of American and European paintings, including works by Rembrandt, Rubens, El Greco,…

3. Japanese Friendship Garden

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Designed using the simple principles of Japanese gardening, this well-maintained quiet garden includes flowers like the cherry blossom.

4. Casa de Balboa

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The Casa de Balboa has a fabled past. A Spanish renaissance-style structure was built in this very spot for Balboa's 1915 exposition. It burned down in…

5. San Diego Model Railroad Museum

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Your (inner) four-year-old child will love this railroad museum; one of the largest indoor railroad museums in the world, it has some 27,000 sq ft of…

6. Museum of Photographic Arts

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Tracing the history of photography, the museum offers special exhibits from crowd-pleasing animal themes to landscapes by Ansel Adams and avant-garde cell…

7. Botanical Building

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The Botanical Building looks lovely from El Prado, where you can see it reflected in the large lily pond that was used for hydrotherapy in WWII when the…

8. San Diego History Center


The San Diego Historical Society operates this center, with permanent and temporary exhibitions on city history. Previous exhibitions have included the…