Balboa Park

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Balboa Park: Our most recommended tours and activities

  • San Diego: Harbor Cruise

    1. San Diego: Harbor Cruise

    Embark on an adventure and see San Diego's best sights. Learn about the city and enjoy a cruise on the bay. Depending on the option booked, this professionally-narrated tour takes you under the Coronado Bridge, past military ships, waterfront landmarks, and marine life for an up-close, in-depth look at San Diego's scenic beauty and fascinating history. This tour’s luxury ships offer three levels with comfortable indoor and outdoor seating, 360-degree views, and an on-board snack bar serving snacks, soda, beer, wine and cocktails (available for purchase). This is a great way to experience San Diego from the water.

    Took the 2 hour tour that we were looking too take after our last visit. It was just way at we expected and more! The narrator was so full of information that we had to ask him how he did it. He said a lot of experience and we agreed that must have been the answer. He was really impressive. Don’t miss it.

  • Skip-the-Line: USS Midway Museum Entry Ticket

    2. Skip-the-Line: USS Midway Museum Entry Ticket

    Take a self-guided audio tour onboard the world’s longest-serving aircraft carrier, the historic USS Midway. See the carrier’s 25 restored aircraft from the days of WWII to Operation Desert Storm. Visit areas throughout the Midway, from the crew's sleeping quarters to the pilots' ready rooms. Docents are available throughout the carrier and are eager to share their stories, anecdotes, and statistics, creating a picture of just how important the USS Midway was to the U.S. Navy. Most guests spend 3 to 4 hours exploring this historic aircraft carrier and learning its history. The included audio guide, available in 6 languages, will help you explore the dozens of highlighted areas across the massive ship.  There are family-oriented activities throughout the Museum. Included are 3 types of flight simulators, music videos, short films, climb-aboard aircraft and cockpits, and more. The Museu...

    It was awesome enjoyed the audio device given to hear about the ship and aircraft on it and the tour and movie about the history of how the ship got it name was amazing

  • San Diego Zoo 1-Day Ticket

    3. San Diego Zoo 1-Day Ticket

    Visit the world-famous San Diego Zoo, home to over 4,500 rare and endangered animals, and experience their worlds at the Polar Bear Plunge, Elephant Odyssey, and other areas. The 100-acre San Diego Zoo is known for its naturalistic habitats and unique animal encounters. An urban paradise for all ages, the San Diego Zoo is a must-see in Southern California. Winding paths through the tropical oasis of a botanical garden bring you to the zoo‘s rare and fascinating animals, including koalas, Galápagos tortoises, tigers, eagles, flamingos, great apes, and more.

    Other exotic animals you may encounter include Sichuan takins, Buerger’s tree-kangaroos, arctic foxes, pangolin, and Visayan warty pigs. Explore Africa Rocks to discover penguins, baboons, the mysterious fossa, weaver birds, and other unique creatures.

    The festive, lively atmosphere makes the San Diego...

    Loved every minute! The bus ride is great and the choreography ice cream treat hit the spot. Love the care you take making your enclosures large and more lifelike

  • San Diego: Whale Watching Tours

    4. San Diego: Whale Watching Tours

    Marvel at the amazing views of San Diego Bay as you look out for sightings of marine wildlife including dolphins, sea lions, gray whales, and more. Your tour will be led by ocean experts as you get a deeper understanding of the ocean ecosystem and the sea creatures that live in it. Discover the San Diego coast on a two-story whale watching yacht, featuring 360-degree views from the main level and upper sundeck, multiple restrooms, and free guest WiFi. You will follow the whale migration path to bring you up close for the best sighting spots, which change every day. Early in the season, whales swim closer to the coast, so the maximum distance is about 3-5 miles. On their return trip, northbound whales swim further out, up to 9-12 miles off the coast. Make sure to wear layers as it can get pretty cool on the bay and don't forget to wear your sunscreen and hat while on this excursion. Bri...

    It was pretty cool got a little sea sick but we got to see whales dolphins and sea lions will go back soon!

  • Old Town San Diego: Hop-on Hop-off Narrated Tour

    5. Old Town San Diego: Hop-on Hop-off Narrated Tour

    Join the Hop-on Hop-Off Tour of Old Town San Diego at any of the tour's 11 boarding points and visit more than 100 interesting points in Coronado and San Diego at your own pace. You can begin at any time of the day and listen to the entertaining narration of the on-board conductors along the way. San Diego is known as America’s Finest City, and as you explore the sights of Old Town and the scenic coastline you’ll see why. Opt to begin your tour at the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, where you’ll see original adobe homes and artifacts from the earliest Mexican settlements. At the Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum you’ll learn about the importance of the U.S. Navy presence in San Diego. Then continue on to nearby Seaport Village, where you can stop for refreshments and enjoy shopping and entertainment. In the historic Gaslamp Quarter you’ll find loads of shops and other interesting...

    One our drivers, Mark, was really great! He was very informative and even recommended some good places to eat, which we took his advice on 2 and both were fantastic!

  • San Diego: Go City All-Inclusive Pass with 55+ Attractions

    6. San Diego: Go City All-Inclusive Pass with 55+ Attractions

    Activities, attractions, and tours included on the Go San Diego All-Inclusive pass: THEME PARKS & ZOOS• San Diego Zoo • SeaWorld San Diego• San Diego Zoo Safari Park• Belmont Park• Knott's Berry Farm• LEGOLAND California OUTDOORS• San Diego Speedboat Adventures• La Jolla: 90-min Tandem Kayak Rental• La Jolla: Full-Day Snorkel Adventure• La Jolla: All-Day Bike Rental• La Jolla: Surfboard Rental• La Jolla: Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) Rental• San Diego Harbor: 2-hr SUP• San Diego Harbor: 2-hr Kayak Rental• San Diego Harbor: 1-hr Pedal Boat Rental• Coronado: 90-min Tandem Kayak Rental• Coronado: SUP Board Rental• Coronado: Full-Day Bike Rental• San Diego Pier Fishing TOURS & CRUISES• 1-hr San Diego Harbor cruise by Hornblower Cruises• Whale Watching by Hornblower Cruises• Whale Watch & Dolphin Tour - Beautiful Newport Beach• San Diego Hiking Tour• San Diego Beach Tour• San Diego City Tour• Ca...

    this card allows entry into so many attractions and the trolley bus. well worth the money, we had zoo, safari, sea world, Midway and unlimited use of trolley buses. not enough time to do everything in 3 days

  • San Diego Zoo and Safari Park: 2-Day Entry Ticket

    7. San Diego Zoo and Safari Park: 2-Day Entry Ticket

    Experience the best of two worlds with a two-day admission ticket to the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Widely regarded as the best in the world, the San Diego Zoo has open-air enclosures and puts an emphasis on animal welfare and conservation. Its sister Safari Park boasts wide open spaces for its many animals to roam freely, mimicking their natural habitat as closely as possible.   Explore the San Diego Zoo, home to over 4,500 rare and endangered animals. Experience their worlds at the Polar Bear Plunge, Elephant Odyssey, and other areas. Winding paths through the tropical oasis of a botanical garden bring you to the zoo’s rare and fascinating animals, including koalas, Galápagos tortoises, tigers, eagles, flamingos, great apes, and more. The festive, lively atmosphere makes this zoo a great place for family fun and gathering friends. Discover the wonders of wildlife...

    it made it so much easier to get thru the lines and everything was it the tips of our fingers. I am so glad to have this app to help me make our trip even more special.

  • San Diego: City Lights Night Tour

    8. San Diego: City Lights Night Tour

    Your 90-minute night tour boards in Seaport Village and starts off by exploring the West Coast’s premier entertainment district, known as the Gaslamp Quarter, full of vibrant nightlife, bright lights, and Victorian architecture.   Then, make your way to Balboa Park, the largest urban cultural park in the U.S., where stunning buildings, fountains, and statues glow bright at night. From Balboa Park, drive to the top of Coronado Bridge for more spectacular sights, including the lights coming in from Tijuana, Mexico, the bay, and Downtown San Diego. Then, travel to Coronado’s Ferry Landing for a 20-minute stop to take in the stunning beauty of the San Diego city skyline, visible from across the bay and a perfect photo opportunity. From Coronado, make your way back to San Diego to take in the Embarcadero’s bay-front views. You’ll see the Historic County Administration Building, Maritime Mus...

    It was lots of fun! Tim was a great guide. The tour was informative and we saw great sights.

  • San Diego: San Diego Natural History Museum Ticket

    9. San Diego: San Diego Natural History Museum Ticket

    The San Diego Natural History Museum is a flagship institution in Balboa Park, showcasing the regional natural history and unique biodiversity of Southern California and Baja California. The museum has four floors of exhibitions, a 3D theater, and San Diego’s only Foucault pendulum. Through its permanent collection, special exhibitions, numerous educational programs, and the opportunity to see scientists at work, the Museum fosters a lifelong love of learning about nature and the environment for visitors of all ages. Current exhibits include: Hidden Gems Get to know The Nat's sparkly side with more than 100 of the best, brightest, and most spectacular selections from our gems and mineral collection. These hidden gems will be on every floor of the Museum. The Backyard Learn and explore the natural world through play. This new space invites our younges...

    I bought these tickets to celebrate my one year anniversary with my wife, we had a great time!

  • GPS Talking Tour Cars: Downtown & Balboa Park

    10. GPS Talking Tour Cars: Downtown & Balboa Park

    This is the essential San Diego tour. You will see almost all of the greatest sights San Diego has to offer, like the visually stunning Balboa park which is littered with Spanish Renaissance inspired architecture. Pass by over a dozen museums, colorful flower gardens, and world renowned outdoor organ pavilion all the way to the always happening Hillcrest, which has a great variety of shops and restaurants. Hillcrest is known to have some of the best food in the county. But best of all you will also get to see Downtown San Diego at its finest, from the Maritime Museum, to the Historic Gaslamp Quarter. Downtown San Diego is one of the best places in the world for its diversity, and visual appeal. Don’t miss the best places San Diego has to offer on this tour.

    Fun. You had to move to keep the time slot so don't think you can stop for long along the way. We went to places that we would not have seen on our own so this made it a good value. Be sure to carry the printed map as the GPS screen cannot be seen in the daylight! We are seniors and did very well, though challenged at getting out of the scooter. Best to wear a baseball hat with visor and sunglasses under the helmet. The sun is bright!

Other Sightseeing Options in Balboa Park

Want to discover all there is to do in Balboa Park? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Balboa Park

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 1,706 reviews

Took the 2 hour tour that we were looking too take after our last visit. It was just way at we expected and more! The narrator was so full of information that we had to ask him how he did it. He said a lot of experience and we agreed that must have been the answer. He was really impressive. Don’t miss it.

It was awesome enjoyed the audio device given to hear about the ship and aircraft on it and the tour and movie about the history of how the ship got it name was amazing

We originally schedule the 1 hour North Harbor tour but after the first hour decided to add the South Harbor tour as well. We really enjoyed our trip.

Get to the dock early and board early if possible. If it's comfortable, sit on the top level of the ship along the rail for the best view.

It was excellent. Truly enjoyed everything about it.