Balboa Park Visitors Center

The best way to start your time in Balboa Park is with a stop at the Balboa Park Visitors Center. Located across from The Prado Restaurant in the House of Hospitality, the Visitors Center has the most current and comprehensive information about the Park’s activities and attractions. Open from 9:30 am-4:30 pm daily (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s day), the Visitors Center offers brochures, maps, audio tours, free guided tours of the Park, transportation information, dining advice, and more.

Architecture

Has the sight of a building ever stopped you in your tracks? Put a smile on your face? Made you wonder? Whether you're an expert or just curious, you can find many different architectural styles throughout Balboa Park. Follow the stops below for a structural safari!

Eccentric

Are you a fan of all things weird, wild, and wonderful? Follow the stops below to take a tour highlighting some of Balboa Park's fascinating oddities and obscure facts.

New and Old

Are you a history buff? Love seeing the way things were? Balboa Park recently celebrated its 100th birthday, and times have changed since the 1915 Panama-California Exposition that put the Park on the map. Follow the stops below to take a journey back in time to Balboa Park in 1915.

The Shopper

Looking for a gift that encourages a child's love of science? Something to delight your picky Aunt Rita? Or maybe you want to treat yourself? You may not think of Balboa Park as a shopping destination, but with more than 20 stores offering a wide variety of goods, you can start thinking of it as one. Get ready for some retail therapy!

The Tea Pavilion at the Japanese Friendship Garden

This lovely café at the Japanese Friendship Garden serves traditional Japanese green tea, herbal and specialty teas as well as sushi, Japanese noodles, rice bowls, miso soup, salads and snacks. Visitors can enjoy the magnificent views from the outdoor courtyard and deck. 

Café Mingei

Café Mingei is a destination for coffee, tea and treats. The café serves hot and iced espresso drinks made with coffee from local roaster West Bean, plus a selection of vibrant teas, gourmet hot chocolate and other refreshing beverages. Fresh, daily pastry selections are provided by a variety of local bakeries including Cardamom and The Cravory (cookies).

 

El Cid Statue

The Statue of El Cid, recalling a medieval hero of the eleventh century, was created by Anna Hyatt Huntington and is located at the entrance to the Plaza de Panama.

This 23-foot bronze sculpture of El Cid on his horse was dedicated on July 5th, 1930. There are many other copies of this statue throughout the world, including San Francisco, Sevilla and Castile, Spain. The original is located at the Hispanic Society of American in New York City.