Last weekend, the family and I drove down to San Diego to meet my oldest son for breakfast at Hash House a Go Go before work and afterwards we walked around the magnificent Balboa Park. It was a celebration of the my son and niece’s 25th birthdays and a remembrance of my dear grandmother who would have been 95 on November 4th.
If you live in southern California, Balboa Park is a must visit. It’s hard to fit in all in one day, several days is better, but here is a rundown of my recommendations.
Things To Do:
First off, the San Diego Zoo is here- this deserves it’s own post so I’ll skip past it here and focus on the park itself. If you’re visiting with kids, you need to hit the Fleet Science Center and the Natural History Museum. The dinos and the stealth fighter will be enough to entrance them, but there are plenty of vendors set up with giant bubble makers and frozen lemonades if they need a little extra excitement.
No kids? Hit up the Japanese Tea House for some caffeine (and maybe a bite?) then their friendship garden. The botanical building is my favorite structure to gawk at, made entirely of a wicker like material and the engineering of it marvels me every time. Next, walk just pass the beautiful koi pond to the Timken Museum of Art (always free entry) to see their amazing collection. They have a great selection of Dutch and Flemish masters (my fave) and a gorgeous Rembrandt (swoon). Did I mention it’s FREE???
I could honestly just sit and stare at the architecture of the Spanish Revival buildings here all day. They were built to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal as the Port of San Diego would be a ship’s first port of call after sailing the canal. Most of these buildings were built between 1911 and 1914 and they are spectacular!
If you visit on a Sunday, plan to watch the organ play at 2pm at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Hit the Automotive Museum if you have a car enthusiast in tow or the Museum of Man is always showing something interesting. Hungry? The Prado serves a delicious menu in a beautiful patio setting that makes you feel like you’ve died and gone to European heaven. Just need a cocktail? Hit Panama 66 in the sculpture garden for one of the best bar menus in the county.
If you’re a theater buff, don’t forget to check out what’s playing at the Old Globe Theatre. There’s always something new and exciting happening at Balboa Park, it’s one of the best parks in the country and we Southern Californians have a tendency to forget it’s there- so if you have a free weekend coming up… go hit up the park and thank me later.