San Diego’s iconic Balboa Park is just such an incredible space. A cultural hub for the city and indeed, Southern California itself, Balboa Park is home to a massive trove of history, art and the performing arts, containing something like 16 museums, 17 gardens, a theater, the world’s largest outdoor pipe organ, and of course 1 world famous zoo within its boundaries.

Initially opened in 1868 under the name of City Park, the 1,200 acres of land was slowly transformed and developed into what would become the home for 1915’s prestigious Panama-California Exposition, where the park took up the mantle of Balboa Park, chosen in honour of Spanish-born Vasco Nunez de Balboa, the first European to cross Central America and see the Pacific Ocean. This, together with the later 1935 California Pacific International Exposition, provided a major impetus for the establishment of the Balboa Park as it appears today, with many of the cultural institutions as well as the stunning Spanish-Renaissance style architecture being introduced as part of these expo setups.

Given the park’s immense footprint (so much like it is at Washington D.C.’s National Mall then), the list of available cultural attractions is of course wonderfully long, with the likes of The San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Us, San Diego Automotive Museum, San Diego Natural History Museum, Mingei International Museum, Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego Air & Space Museum, San Diego Art Institute, Timken Museum of Art, Veterans Museum, The Old Globe, Fleet Science Center, and Marston House, all calling Balboa Park home. Of course, the sculptured gardens are not to be left out of this list either, with named gardens like the Alcazar Garden, Australian Garden, Botanical Building, Casa del Rey Moro Garden, Florida Canyon Native Plant Preserve, Marston House Garden, Lily Pond, Palm Canyon, Trees for Health Garden, Veterans Memorial Garden, Zoro Garden, and the Japanese Friendship Garden all finding a home along the park’s captivating Spanish-Renaissance style walkways.

This was of course my second time visiting this culturally rich space, but this time around I had the whole day to explore, and indeed, after strolling in via the incredibly beautiful Cabrillo Bridge (I had walked all the way from my accommodation back in Hilcrest), I went into full on discovery mode visiting as many of the open spaces as what time and my legs would allow. Because of the sheer number of attractions I did of course have to choose those I wanted to spend time in, and making sure not to retread 2016’s attractions visited, this time around I had the pleasure of visiting the Botanical Building, the Japanese Friendship Garden, the San Diego Automotive Museum, and the San Diego Air and Space Museum, all of which I will of course post separate blogs about.

So these then are just some of the photos taken while moving through the many spaces of Balboa Park, a place that still holds a lot of attractions that I one day hope to get around to!

(And go again I will mind you – after all, Comic-Con Museum is on its way!)

Related Link: Balboa Park | Wikipedia | San Diego | #USA2019