Rules & Regulations

The structures, grounds and landscaping of Balboa Park are managed and maintained by the City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department.


Smoking is not permitted in Balboa Park.

Alcohol Permitted:

Alcohol is permitted from noon until to 8:00 p.m. in the following locations: Botanical Building East Lawn and West Lawn; House of Pacific Relations Lawn; International Lawn; Mall Lawn; Moreton Bay Fig Lawn; Pan American Plaza Lawn; Recital Hall Lawn.

Alcohol NOT Permitted:

Alcohol use is not permitted in all other areas of Balboa Park. Please review the  San Diego Municipal Code on Alcohol Consumption for details.


Dogs must be leashed and under control of owner at all times throughout the park, including trails and canyons.

There are two exceptions: 2 legal areas designated and posted as 24 hour dog-off-leash zones at:

  • Balboa Dr. at El Prado, Nate's Point, south side of Cabrillo Bridge
  • Morley Field, northwest of tennis courts. SDMC 63.0102(b)(2)
  • Grape St. Park is designated and posted as dog-off-leash area during the following times: Monday-Friday, 7:30--9:00 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday & Holidays, 9:00--9:00 p.m. Dogs off leash other than the posted times is a violation of SDMC 63.0102(b)(2)(c)

Owners must pick up and dispose of dog feces in all areas.


It is unlawful to destroy or remove any vegetation in the Park. Collection of plants/seeds may be arranged through the Balboa Park horticulturist by calling 235-1114. SDMC 63.0102(b)(4)


All fires must be contained within barbecues. Portable barbecues are permitted and coals must be emptied into the concrete hot coal containers or permanent barbecues.

Glass containers

It is unlawful to possess any cup, jar or container made of glass and used to carry or containing liquid. SDMC 63.0102(b)(7)

Sale of merchandise

It is unlawful to sell any goods or merchandise without written consent of the City. SDMC 63.0102(b)(13)


It is unlawful to practice, conduct or solicit any occupation or profession without the written consent of the City. SDMC 63.0102 (b)(14)

Outdoor Entertainment Permits

Balboa Park Entertainment Permits are issued by lottery (random drawing). Find more information on how to obtain an Outdoor Entertainment Permit for Balboa Park and the rules and regulations in the Balboa Park Entertainer brochure (PDF).


Bicycles are permitted in the Park except at the Spanish Village, House of Pacific Relations International Cottages, and the Rose and Desert Gardens east of Park Blvd. SDMC 63.0102 (b)(19)

Large Groups

Groups of more than 49 persons must obtain a permit to hold or participate in any celebration, parade or special event. Contact Park and Recreation Dept. at 235-1169. SDMC 63.0102 (b)(24).

Roller skates, skateboards and similar devices

The above are NOT permitted on ANY roadway or sidewalk in Balboa Park. Exceptions: Park Blvd., Richmond St. or Sixth Ave. and those areas of Balboa Park located west of the Cabrillo Bridge or east of Park Blvd. (Morley Field.) SDMC 63.0106(b)

At NO time shall skaters damage Park property (skating on benches, stairs, rails, ledges, ramps etc. is prohibited.) SDMC 63.0106(a)

At NO time shall skaters inhibit Park users access or enjoyment of the Park. SDMC 63.0103(a)


  • Stay on designated trails.
  • Hiking and biking is permitted.
  • Removal of any plants, rocks, natural resources is strictly prohibited and enforced.
  • Dogs must be leashed and under owner's control and owner must pick up and dispose of feces.
  • Garbage must be properly disposed of.

Balboa Park Trail Maps are available at the Balboa Park Visitors Center for $5.50. There are interpretive panels at the main trail heads with maps and regulations. Main trail heads are: Park Blvd./Zoo Place, Park Blvd./Morley Field Drive, Florida Drive/Pershing Drive and Morley Field west of tennis courts and southwest of velodrome.

Disturbing, Excessive, Offensive Noises — Declaration of Certain Acts Constituting

The following activities, among others, are declared to cause disturbing, excessive or offensive noises in violation of this section and are unlawful, namely: 

The operation of any sound amplifier, which is part of, or connected to, any radio, stereo receiver, compact disc player, cassette tape player, or other similar device when operated in such a manner as to be plainly audible at a distance of fifty (50) feet and when operated in such a manner as to cause a person to be aware of vibration accompanying the sound at a distance of fifty (50) feet from the source. SDMC §59.5.0502

Refer all questions/comments to the Park Ranger office at (619) 235-1122.