Day Trip to Balboa Park


*First timer mistake….. Definitely be sure to check out Balboa Park Explorer to purchase passes (allows access to all the museums!!) If there was one thing I didn’t like about Balboa Park, it was the admission price for each museums, but now that I know there are passes that allow you to visit all the museums, I am definitely coming back!!


On Saturday, August 5th, 2017 I decided to go take my girlfriend to Balboa Park in San Diego, CA to visit the Natural History Museum and Japanese Friendship Garden.

Balboa Park itself is a really huge park where culture, science, and nature collide, with more than 17 museums, art venues, gardens, trails, and other attractions. There is plenty of free parking available but it starts to get crowded starting around 11 so be sure to come early! We were able to stroll around most of Balboa Park and visit a couple gardens during the couple hours we were there.

Gardens / Architecture:

Expect lots of gardens and hybrid architectural styles from Spanish Colonial Revival, Mission Revival, and Pueblo Revival throughout Balboa Park.

Our first stop was the Japanese Friendship Garden ($10 admission).The garden offers a couple of educational programs and exhibits as a way to deepen the visitor’s appreciation for Japanese culture. There was also an Obon festival going on throughout the day which added a nice touch to the atmosphere. Overall a great place to visit and see koi ponds, stone arrangements, and sukiya-style buildings and landscape.


Alcazar Garden:

Botanical Building and Lily Pond:




San Diego Natural History Museum($19 admission):
The place is quite small and it took about ~2 hours to complete. I still enjoyed the museum though, because to me every museum has their own unique touch. The museum was really spacious and I felt like they could have used the space more efficiently for more exhibits. The only reason why we decided to go to this one over other museums in Balboa Park was that we wanted to compare it to the one in Los Angeles. If I had to choose between SD or LA it would definitely be the one in LA. If you enjoy Natural History Museums definitely check out American Museum of Natural History in New York if you have the opportunity! My all time favorite museum but the LA one is plenty good with SD trailing behind. It is still a nice museum to check out at least once especially if you get the pass but I’ve heard there are plenty of other great museums in Balboa Park.


Overall a beautiful park with plenty of things to do! A nice weekend getaway to de-stress yourself. AND definitely get the Pass if you plan on going to more than 2 museums!! Don’t be like me 😥

Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

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