Larger than New York’s Central Park and Chicago’s Millennium Park combined, San Diego’s Balboa Park comprises 1,200 acres of urban green space with 16 museums, 65 miles of trails and, of course, the internationally renowned San Diego Zoo. Dating back to the early 19th century, Balboa is one of the oldest public parks in the nation.
Luckily for visitors, much of the early architecture has been impeccably preserved, including the iconic California Tower. The ornate structure, which was constructed in celebration of the Panama Canal, reopened in 2016, allowing anyone to climb to the top of its 125 steps and enjoy one of the best views in town.
Culture reigns supreme too: The Old Globe Theatre hosts its famed Shakespeare Festival each summer. Outdoor film screenings, plays, and concerts are hosted in the park year-round.
With a mix of native plants and carefully cultivated gardens, Balboa Park is a horticultural marvel. The Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden alone has more than 130 varieties of roses.
All this, plus one of the world’s finest zoos. Over 3,700 animals from 660 species are showcased at the San Diego Zoo.
Don’t miss the koala bears, orangutans, or the hugely popular giant panda exhibit.
Check the Balboa Park website for special events, and for ticketing deals bundling zoo and museum visits.
Courtesy of Visit California