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Balboa Park Tours

star-4.5
32 Reviews
Balboa Park
Home to world-class museums, manicured gardens, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park tops the list of San Diego city sights. Its 1,200 lush acres (486 hectares) comprise the largest urban park in the United States. Apart from its many attractions, Balboa Park also features lengthy walking and hiking trails, distinctive landscaping, Golden Age Spanish buildings, and one of the world’s largest outdoor pipe organs.

The Basics
A visit to the park is included on most San Diego city sightseeing tours, and Segway tours are another popular way to explore Balboa. The central part of the park houses the renowned San Diego Zoo and its more than 3,000 animals. At the Museum of Man, part of the California Quadrangle and its distinctive arch, you can see Native American artifacts and other cultural archaeology exhibits. The San Diego Museum of Art displays a number of European works, and nearby sites include the Timken Museum of Art, the Botanical Building, the Natural History Museum, Alcazar Gardens, the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages, and the Spanish Village Art Center. The east end of the park holds the Balboa Park Municipal Golf Course and the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. 

Things to Know Before You Go
  • Explore the area on foot or use the free Balboa Park Tram, which loops continuously around the main areas of the park daily from 9am to 6 or 8pm.
  • Balboa Park is kid-friendly, with a miniature train, playgrounds, and play areas in most museums.
  • With so many options, it’s best to prioritize your desired stops in the park. You can pick up a park map at the Balboa Park Visitors Center in the House of Hospitality.
  • Free concerts on the Spreckels Organ are held every Sunday at 2pm, and on Monday evenings at 7:30pm from late June through August.
  • Eating options abound throughout the park. Be sure to check out the Prado for diverse cuisine and museum-inspired decor.

How to Get There
Set in downtown San Diego, Balboa Park is easily reached by bus. By car, Park Boulevard provides easy access to the site’s free parking areas near most of the exhibits. The most scenic approach, however, is over the Cabrillo Bridge from the west—the steep roadsides, lush with hanging greenery, resemble a rain forest gorge.

When to Get There
Balmy San Diego is famous for its year-round sunshine and mild climate. Balboa Park is open year-round and 24 hours a day, with the Visitors Center open from 9:30am to 4:30pm. The zoo, museums, and other attractions have varying opening hours.

Things to Do Near Balboa Park
Although countless activities are available in Balboa Park, the location is an ideal base for seeing some of San Diego’s other top sights. The beaches of La Jolla, the charm of Old Town, and the bustle of the historic Gaslamp Quarter are just a short drive away.
Address: 1549 El Prado, San Diego 92101, USA
Hours: Open 24 hours a day. Visitors Center: 9:30am - 4:30pm. Museum hours vary by institution
Admission: Park and Gardens: free. Admission prices to museums vary by institution
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41 Tours and Activities to Experience Balboa Park

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Free Cancellation:Get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance on most experiences.See Details
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Private Balboa Park Segway Tour

Private Balboa Park Segway Tour

star-5
Take a tour of San Diego's most-popular park during this Segway exploration of Balboa Park. Follow your friendly local guide to all of the hot spots and learn why locals love the laid back vibe of this coastal destination.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$62.94
From
$62.94

Platinum Balboa Park and Downtown Segway Tour

Platinum Balboa Park and Downtown Segway Tour

star-4.5
Explore downtown San Diego and Balboa Park on a 2.5-hour Segway tour. Follow your guide to historic sites like the Hall of Justice and Pantoja Park, then make your way through Little Italy and the expansive grounds of Balboa Park. In the park you glide past destinations including Founder’s Plaza, the San Diego Museum of Natural History, and the Inez Parker Memorial Rose Garden. Your guide provides commentary on San Diego's history and landmarks throughout the tour. Includes guide, use of equipment, and Segway orientation—no prior experience necessary.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Taking safety measures
From
$49.00
From
$49.00
Taking safety measures

San Diego Small Group Tour: Best of Balboa Park Tour with Coffee

San Diego Small Group Tour: Best of Balboa Park Tour with Coffee

star-5
Follow a guide who knows the quickest and most convenient ways around Balboa Park to see its main highlights on this walking tour. Numbers are limited to 12 people on this small-group tour, ensuring you spend an intimate day with a small group of like-minded explorers. From Alcazar Garden to Plaza de Panama, there’s more than enough to fill your time.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$45.47
From
$45.47
Taking safety measures

San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley

San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley

star-4.5
Explore some of the top highlights of San Diego with your silver, gold, or platinum day pass (depending on option selected) for the city’s Hop-on, Hop-off Trolley Tour. Choose your own adventure as you get on and off the trolley at any of the 12 included stops, covering famous sights including the Gaslamp Quarter, the San Diego Zoo, USS Midway and the Cruise Ship Terminal, Little Italy, and many more. This San Diego trolley tour also features live commentary from the on-board guide during your ride.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$42.00
From
$42.00
Taking safety measures

San Diego City Tour

San Diego City Tour

star-4
Discover the sun-drenched attractions of San Diego on this 4-hour city tour covering the city’s top neighborhoods, historic sites and parks. Over the course of your trip, you’ll check out the museums of Balboa Park, admire the historic architecture of the Gaslamp Quarter and Old Town and explore the mansions and beautiful coast in La Jolla, plus much more. It’s a great chance to pack in lots of landmarks in a short period of time. This San Diego sightseeing tour also includes round-trip hotel transport, a guide and optional upgrades to include visits to the USS Midway and Seaport Village.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$48.00
From
$48.00
Taking safety measures

San Diego City Sightseeing Tour Including La Jolla

San Diego City Sightseeing Tour Including La Jolla

star-3.5
Take in San Diego’s most iconic sights with a 4-hour sightseeing tour, and get an insider’s look at the city as you explore with a local guide. Experience California’s frontier history in Old Town, snap a selfie by Petco Park, then stroll the elegant grounds of Balboa Park. Stop by a sea lion colony in La Jolla, visit Little Italy, East Village and the Embarcadero, and cross the San Diego Bay to the elegant community of Coronado, where a historic hotel gazes across the water towards the city skyline.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$46.00
From
$46.00
Taking safety measures

San Diego Scenic Tour

San Diego Scenic Tour

star-5
In just four hours, experience the scenic highlights of San Diego and its neighboring areas. Watch sea lions and pelicans on the beaches of La Jolla and capture fantastic views from the top of Mt Soledad. Soak up the Old World elegance of the mansions and Hotel Del on Coronado Island, and find peace in the urban oasis of Balboa Park. Wind through downtown and Old Town San Diego, learning about the city’s history along the way. Enjoy personalized attention on this small-group tour limited to just 14 people.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$58.67
From
$58.67
Taking safety measures

San Diego City Lights Night Tour

San Diego City Lights Night Tour

star-4.5
Explore San Diego at night under the moonlight with this 1.5-hour city lights tour. Travel from the city’s Gaslamp Quarter to Balboa Park and the Embarcadero. Catch sights of the historic San Diego County Administration Center, the USS Midway Museum, and the Star of India. Plus ride to the top of the Coronado Bridge and see sights lit up all over the city, as well as some from Tijuana.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$34.00
From
$34.00
Taking safety measures

The San Diego Highlights Tour

The San Diego Highlights Tour

star-5
Experience San Diego’s scenic highlights and historic landmarks on a full-day tour of the 'America's finest city'. Listen to the legends behind San Diego's most important sites as you skirt the bay to Coronado Island, explore the Embarcadero then follow lush roads into Balboa Park’s elegant gardens and museums. Pause to find lunch in a Gaslamp Quarter restaurant, take in La Jolla’s world-class shopping district and sweeping coastline and finish your day in the heart of downtown San Diego.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$159.00
From
$159.00
Taking safety measures

San Diego Gaslamp Segway Tour

San Diego Gaslamp Segway Tour

star-5
Explore San Diego by Segway on this comprehensive tour. Led by a local guide, learn about the city’s major landmarks and history while passing top attractions like Balboa Park, the USS 'San Diego' Memorial, Petco Park and the historic Gaslamp Quarter. Snacks and beverages are included along the way, as well as a brief safety session to ensure that you feel completely comfortable hitting the streets on your Segway.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$159.00
From
$159.00
Taking safety measures

San Diego Shore Excursion: City and La Jolla Coast Tour

San Diego Shore Excursion: City and La Jolla Coast Tour

star-4.5
When you're in port in San Diego, see the sights of the city in a convenient way with this 4-hour shore excursion. Traveling by coach, you'll see Balboa Park, Old Town, the Embarcadero, Petco Park, and more. Stop for photo ops at select places, and visit La Jolla, the idyllic coastal suburb north of the city known for its sea caves.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$48.00
From
$48.00

San Diego Tour

San Diego Tour

star-5
With year-round perfect weather, beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and top-notch cultural attractions, San Diego embodies the best of Southern California. Discover its many delights on a morning tour that takes you through this city's most charming areas, from the leafy promenades and fountains of Balboa Park to the legendary Hotel del Coronado and historic urban streets of the Gaslamp Quarter. Skip the stress of driving and let a local guide show you around town, making several stops to soak up the sunny ambiance and do some California dreamin’ of your own.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$109.00
From
$109.00
Taking safety measures

San Diego Shore Excursion: San Diego Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley

San Diego Shore Excursion: San Diego Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley

star-4.5
Explore San Diego at your own pace with a full-day ticket to ride a hop-on, hop-off trolley through the city. Simply board the trolley at your cruise ship’s port of call and visit historic landmarks and vibrant neighborhoods at eleven centrally-located stops. Get a glimpse of California’s past in Old Town then see the magnificent ships that moor at the bustling waterfront; grab a spot on a beach to watch surfers catch breaking waves, and try to spot the famous ghost at the elegant Hotel del Coronado.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$42.00
From
$42.00
Taking safety measures

San Diego City and Tijuana Deluxe Combo Sightseeing Tour

San Diego City and Tijuana Deluxe Combo Sightseeing Tour

star-3.5
Combine a San Diego sightseeing tour with a trip down to Tijuana on this 10-hour adventure. With a guide, you'll spend the morning in the city to check out attractions such as Little Italy, the Gaslamp Quarter, Balboa Park, and the coastal suburb of La Jolla. Then enjoy a break before heading across the Mexican border to Tijuana, just 20 miles (31 km) away.
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  • 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$115.00
From
$115.00
Taking safety measures

GoCar Talking GoCar 2Hr Tour: Downtown & Old Town

GoCar Talking GoCar 2Hr Tour: Downtown & Old Town

star-4
Explore San Diego’s Downtown and Old Town sights in a fun and fast-paced way—on a GoCar tour. This sightseeing adventure takes the stress out of reading a map, as the car talks and shows you the way with its in-built GPS. Enjoy hearing stories as you explore the city’s most popular areas, including Little Italy, Mission Hills, Presidio Park, and the Gaslamp Quarter.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$66.56
Price varies by group size
From
$66.56
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

San Diego Balboa Park Scavenger Hunt Adventure

SPECIAL OFFER

San Diego Balboa Park Scavenger Hunt Adventure

star-5
Learn about San Diego while joining your friends or family for a scavenger hunt on this 2.5-hour self-guided game in Balboa Park. Combine the fun of the Amazing Race with the information of a 3-hour walking tour as your team uses your own smart phones to play the scavenger hunt. Solve the clues and complete challenges as you make your way among well-known and hidden parts of Balboa Park during the scavenger hunt—an ideal choice for families, friends, or work colleagues visiting San Diego.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$18.13
$21.34
$3.21 savings
Price varies by group size
From
$18.13
$21.34
$3.21 savings
Price varies by group size

The Private Balboa Park Tour

The Private Balboa Park Tour

star-5
Ride in a luxury vehicle to Balboa Park for a private tour of this National Historic Landmark District of San Diego. Explore the 1,200-acre (485-hectare) cultural icon with your own personal guide and customize your 2-hour itinerary with your choice of sights, including complimentary admission to the Spanish Village Art Center; Botanical Garden, Rose Garden and Cactus Garden; and Timken Art Museum. Pass by numerous museums and hear informative commentary about the park’s history and architecture. Bottled water and snacks are provided.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$159.00
From
$159.00
Taking safety measures

2Hr GPS Guided Scooter Tour: Downtown & Balboa Park

2Hr GPS Guided Scooter Tour: Downtown & Balboa Park

star-5
For a fun twist on the typical San Diego tour, first-time visitors shouldn't miss this GPS guided scooter excursion, where you can visit the city's top attractions, all while soaking up the fantastic weather. Just hop on your scooter, start cruising through the city, and feel the wind in your hair as you pass top sights. Highlights include Balboa Park, the Maritime Museum, and even the world-famous San Diego Zoo.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$86.06
From
$86.06
Taking safety measures

Downtown to Balboa Park Tour

Downtown to Balboa Park Tour

star-5
Join us for a unique, private adventure in and around downtown San Diego with a guided tour in a motorcycle sidecar! Learn about the past & present of “America’s Finest City”, the birthplace of California, cruising in style! It's safe, it's fun, & it's an unforgettable experience of a lifetime! With Pegasus Sidecar Tours, your private driver & guide will take you on a tour around the beautiful San Diego area in our top-of-the-line 3-passenger sidecar rigs. This means 2 passengers can sit in the sidecar, and a third behind your personal driver and guide. Our helmets are equipped with industry leading SENA communication system offering 4-person HD audio connectivity, so you can talk directly with one another & with the guide during the entire tour. Pets are also allowed to ride along, for what is life without our furry friends! There is even a convertible top that can enclose the sidecar in case (by some rare chance in San Diego) it rains. Tours are highly customizable. Lets ride!
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$129.00
Price varies by group size
From
$129.00
Price varies by group size

GPS Talking GoCar 2HR Tour: Downtown & Balboa

GPS Talking GoCar 2HR Tour: Downtown & Balboa

star-3.5
Zip through downtown San Diego and Balboa Park in just two hours with the use of a GPS-enabled GoCar. You and your partner will get settled, strap on your helmets, and use the provided map and GPS to get exploring. You'll cover tons more ground than you would on foot and can use the navigating devices to make your own route.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$66.56
Price varies by group size
From
$66.56
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Off the grid Christian tour.

Off the grid Christian tour.

You will get to have a personal guided tour from me a local muti cultural native San Diegan, I get to share my personal history of San Diego Off the grid.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$28.34
From
$28.34

Ultimate Private San Diego Sightseeing Tour

Ultimate Private San Diego Sightseeing Tour

star-5
Take the guesswork out of your sightseeing in San Diego and book a half-day private tour with an ultimate itinerary. Leave the driving to a personal guide who accompanies you by luxury car or SUV to the city’s major attractions. Stroll the landscaped gardens of Balboa Park, explore the historic Gaslamp Quarter, drive across the bridge to visit Coronado Island or discover the cliffside enclave of La Jolla. On this tour, set your own pace at the sights that interest you most!
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$269.00
From
$269.00
Taking safety measures

30 Minute Private Vacation Photography Session with Local Photographer in San Diego

30 Minute Private Vacation Photography Session with Local Photographer in San Diego

star-5
Flytographer 30 Minute Vacation Photoshoot Connect with a local professional photographer in San Diego and capture your most memorable moments during this private photoshoot. Get insider tips on the best things to do in San Diego, including where to eat and what to see from your vacation photographer.  Return from your trip with beautiful, high-quality, vacation photos. The best souvenir ever.
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  • 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$283.34
per group
From
$283.34
per group

Private San Diego Sightseeing Tour

Private San Diego Sightseeing Tour

star-5
Experience San Diego’s scenic highlights and hidden gems on a private, 3-hour sightseeing tour with an experienced guide. Customize the itinerary to your interests, then explore the city in the comfort of a luxurious, VW Eurovan that seats up to six people. Visit Balboa Park’s botanical garden and the historic lighthouse at Cabrillo National Monument, and enjoy a beachside stroll at Ocean Beach. Take in the bustling downtown and the Gaslamp Quarter, stop by the glamorous Del Coronado Hotel then see the birthplace of California in Old Town San Diego.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$96.00
From
$96.00

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are Balboa Park hours of operation?
A:
Balboa Park hours of operation: Open 24 hours a day. Visitors Center: 9:30am - 4:30pm. Museum hours vary by institution. Buy tickets in advance on Viator. If you book with Viator, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund.
Q:
What's the best way to experience Balboa Park?

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