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#3. Check out Balboa Park
Things to Do in San Diego

Balboa Park in the Evening Sun

Courtesy of the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau
Originally built for temporary use during the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition in San Diego, Balboa Park boasts buildings beautiful enough to be considered attractions in themselves, especially if you're a photographer. They're surrounded by trees, lawns and fountains, but that's only the beginning.

America's largest urban cultural park has more than 25 museums and attractions, from the astronomical to the zoological. In Balboa Park, you can take a walk, ride a bike, see a Tony Award-winning play, ride a carousel or go to the San Diego Zoo. With 8 gardens and 15 museums to choose from, you could be busy here for days.

Balboa Park is east of downtown San Diego. You'll find plenty of parking if you drive - or check schedules for the Metropolitan Transit System, whose Route 120 and Route 7 buses go through Balboa Park. The Hop On-Hop Off Trolley stops here as well as other sights, and it's a good way to get around town without driving and parking hassles. You can order your trolley tickets from kijubi.com.

Pros and Cons

We love the buildings at Balboa Park and can't stop clicking the camera shutter every time we're there, but we also like the variety. We can always find something that suits our mood and on a recent visit, we enjoyed the more-than-charming Model Railroad Museum so much that we can't wait to go back. We also like the top-notch theatrical performances at the Old Globe.

On the downside, the place is so big that it can be intimidating and it's so spread-out that you might have to drive from one point of interest to the next - or take the park shuttle when it's running.

More About Balboa Park

If you need more information, check the Complete Guide to Visiting Balboa Park. It will tell you what's there, where you can take a free tour or get free admissions, how to get there and the best time to go.

Take a photo tour of Balboa Park to see what it's like - it's also a walking tour guide

See where it is on a map. It's the aqua-colored pin with a dot in the middle.

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