Custom Search

Guide To Balboa Park Museums

So Many To Choose From!

This guide to Balboa Park Museums in San Diego is a quick reference to opening hours and admission fees so you can coordinate your day and your budget. 

Fountain By Prado Restaurant In Balboa Park San Diego

It also gives an overview of what each museum offers, to help you decide which ones to visit this time and which to save for later.

What an amazing array of offerings! How can anyone see them all in one day? You can't. To do them justice, you really need to limit yourself to a few and really soak them in, rather than get burned out by running around, trying to beat the clock. Save the rest for your next beach vacation in San Diego.

HOURS: Most, but not all of these Balboa Park museums, are closed Monday. See specific individual times and days below.

Please note: times may have changed since the time of this writing so please check before making your plans.

ADMISSION FEES: Admission fees vary, so check each listing below, and call the museum if you want to clarify. Some of the museums are free, others offer free or reduced rates to seniors, students, active military and their dependents. Also, some of the museums have one free Tuesday a month to San Diego city and county residents, offered on a rotating basis. And of course, there is free admission to any museum for its members.

TICKETS: Many of the museums offer online ticketing on their websites, some through Ticketmaster. Special deals can be had by buying a Passport to Balboa Park, which includes admission to all the museums, and there's even an option to add the San Diego Zoo to your passport.

Another good deal is the Go San Diego Card, in which you can combine a whole lot of attractions in 1, 2, 3, 5 or 7 days at up to 50% off.

To help you decide, these 18 museums and centers are loosely grouped into 5 categories, but please note that many of these places have overlapping interests, so keep an open mind when scanning through. The 5 arbitrary categories are: Culture, Art, Science, Transportation and History (though nearly all contain elements of all 5!)

Balboa Park museum with stylish architecture

Balboa Park Museums About Culture

Centro Cultural de la Raza
Tuesday thru Sunday 12-4
Exhibits and performances relating to hispanic and indigenous art & culture, including art, theater, dance and more.

Japanese Friendship Garden
Tuesday thru Sunday 10-3
Includes a tea pavilion, a Zen garden, a koi pond and a bonsai exhibit.

San Diego Museum Of Man

Daily 10-5 Sunday through Wednesday, 10-7:30 Thursday through Sat
Exhibits on anthropology and archaelogy, covering cultures the world over

WorldBeat Center

Has programs and events promoting music, art, dance, education and technology of indigenous and African cultures.

Balboa Park Museums About Art

The San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park

Mingei International Museum
Tuesday thru Sunday 10-5
Folk art, craft and design exhibits from around the world.

Museum of Photographic Arts
Tuesday thru Sunday 10-5, in summer Thursdays open till 9pm
Exhibits span the history of photography.

San Diego Art Institute
Tuesdays thru Saturdays 10-4, Sundays 12-4
Many juried shows and exhibitions of local emerging artists

San Diego Museum Of Art
Tuesday, Thurs through Saturday 10-5, Sunday 12-5, Wednesdays closed
Major art museum featuring everything from European old masters to South Asian works to 19th and 20th century American paintings.

Timken Museum Of Art
Tuesday thru Saturday 10-4:30, Sunday 12:00-4:30
A smaller museum, featuring Russian icons, American paintings and works of European Old Masters.

Balboa Park Museums About Science

The Air And Space Museum in Balboa Park San Diego

San Diego Air And Space Museum

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
Monday thru Thursday 10-5, Friday-Sunday 10-6
(IMAX is extra)
Interactive science exhibits plus IMAX films.

Museums About Transportation

San Diego Air & Space Museum
Daily 10-4:30
call for prices: 619-234-8291

All about the history of aviation and space travel. Also has an interactive kid zone. 

San Diego Model Railroad Museum
Tuesday thru Friday 11-4, Saturday and Sunday 11-5
Really amazing place for anyone with even a remote interest in model trains. Lots of working trains set up with elaborately detailed sets.

San Diego Automotive Museum
Daily 10-5
World class collection of automobiles and special exhibitions.

Museums About History

Marston House
summer: Thursday thru Sunday 10-5, winter: Friday thru Sunday 10-4

Historic Arts and Crafts house is 8500 square feet, surrounded by gardens. Self-guided and docent-led tours.

San Diego History Center
Tuesday thru Sunday 10-5
Exhibits allow you to immerse yourself into all aspects of the history of San Diego.  Get tickets

San Diego Natural History Museum
Daily 10-5
Admission includes the 3D large screen theater shows. Exhibits which illuminate the natural world of minerals, fossils, animals and the environment.

Veterans Museum & Memorial Center

Tuesday thru Sunday 10-4

Covers all branches of the military through displays and living history tours led by docents.

Balboa Park Museums About Sports

San Diego Hall of Champions Museum in Balboa Park San Diego

San Diego Hall Of Champions Sports Museum
Daily 10-4:30
Three levels of all kinds of sports memorabilia, a theater and an interactive media center.

For more things to do in San Diego, including tourist attractions, click here.

> > Balboa Park Museums

Recent Articles

  1. Huntington Beach California - Where Surf Meets Sun

    Dec 01, 18 10:04 PM

    Check this Huntington Beach California vacation guide to plan your stay, whether you camp or stay in the Hilton, body surf or sunbathe.

    Read More

  2. Encinitas California - Beaches, Attractions, Hotels

    Dec 01, 18 09:49 PM

    Beach town Encinitas California has several beaches, a botanical garden, an annual street fair and a lagoon for bird watching.

    Read More

  3. Dana Point Marina - Kayaks, Restaurants, Whale Watching

    Dec 01, 18 09:26 PM

    There's lots of fun at the Dana Point Marina, from shopping to dining, boating, fishing and whale watching.

    Read More

Know someone who would like this page? If so, please share with your friends or family by using one of the buttons below. And many thanks!