Culture in Balboa Park | San Diego, California

April is the perfect time of year to enjoy cultural experiences in Balboa Park in downtown San Diego. Whether you love art, history, food, music or all of the above, Balboa Park is the destination for a full day adventure this Spring.

We recommend you start your day early to see the Park at its finest. Start on the west side of the park and enter like the original park visitors who came for the 1915 Panama-California World Exposition. Your cultural adventure begins with a leisurely stroll across the historic Cabrillo Bridge. Get directions to the bridge.

As you approach the bridge on Laurel Street, you will see Founder’s Plaza and the lawn bowling club. From there, you can enjoy panoramic views of the city and harbor as you continue across the bridge and enter on El Prado, the main street of the Balboa Park.

You can soak up the morning sunshine as you enjoy the walk down the Prado. Be sure to snap a few photos of the great Spanish architecture and formal gardens you see along the way. Continue through the Plaza del Panama and past the lily pond as you make you way down to The San Diego History Museum. Download a map of Balboa Park to help you get around for the day.

Visit The Discovery of King Tut exhibition at The San Diego History Museum to learn about the tomb and treasures of Tutankhamun, one of the most famous discoveries in the history of archaeology. The More than 1,000 replicas of the most important finds have been reconstructed to scale by Egyptian master craftsmen. You’ll see a realistic impression of the overwhelming opulence of the offerings meant to serve the king on his magical journey into the Underworld. The exhibition ends April 26th so be sure to book now. Check out the museum’s website for other cultural exhibitions to see while you are here.

Fun Fact | Did you know The San Diego Natural History Museum was founded by a handful of citizen-naturalists in 1874? The museum is the oldest scientific institution in Southern California.

After the exhibition, enjoy a relaxing lunch al fresco on the back patio at The Prado restaurant. You have to try the grilled fish tacos and a margarita with salt – a San Diego tradition. If you want to try something new, try the Prickly Pear margarita – a local favorite.

The afternoon part of your cultural adventure starts with a walk across the Plaza de Panama to The San Diego Museum of Art.  We recommend the Romantic Views exhibition. Explore the romantic adventures of artists Carl Nebel, William Henry Jackson, Charles B. Waite, Abel Briquet, and Hugo Brehme, who traveled to Mexico over the course of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These diverse traveler artists left behind an extraordinary body of work illustrating the romantic nature and geography of Latin America. You won’t want to miss this exhibition!

End your day where you started with a sunset walk over the Cabrillo Bridge. You can people watch, relax, and enjoy the sun as it sets over America’s Finest City.

Fun Fact | If you are a dog lover, be sure to stop by the dog park (near the Cabrillo Bridge entrance) to see San Diego’s furry friends enjoying the Spring weather with their owners.

For those of you looking for a great place to have dinner, Cucina Urbana is an excellent choice and it’s within walking distance. The dressy, casual atmosphere provides the perfect end to a day of culture. Popular favorites include the polenta board, burnt Brussels sprouts and the roasted Atlantic salmon. This is an extremely popular restaurant so reservations are recommended for table service. Cucina Urbana features a community table and martini bar so you can also enjoy happy hour with seating available on a first-come, first-serve basis.