Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where should I park?

    See the Parking page for information about self-parking and valet options.

  • What are some fun activities in the park for kids?

    Balboa Park offers exciting activities for kids of all ages. See the Kids & Families page for information about fun activities for kids and teens.

  • Are there any free things to do?

    Yes! Admittance to the park grounds is free. Once inside the Park, explore the rich gardens and trails. The Botanical Building (currently closed) and Timken Museum of Art are always free. On weekends, you can watch free Sunday lawn programs outside the international cottages at 2 pm. During the summer months, check out the Twilight in the Park summer concert series schedule at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Go to What’s Happening to find out about other free events.

  • Are there tours available?

    Tours of the cultural district start at the Visitors Center and include audio tours and scheduled tours led by volunteers and rangers. Visit the tours page for more information. Most of the cultural institutions offer tours of their own collections.

  • Are there any hotels close to the park?

    There are many hotels within a few miles of the park—some within walking distance. Stay in Banker’s Hill, Hillcrest, Downtown, or Mission Valley for maximum convenience. See the Hotels page for lodging options.

  • I’m planning a wedding. Are there any good venues in the park?

    There are dozens of beautiful wedding venues in the Park, including city-managed venues and venues inside of cultural institutions. See Weddings and Private Events for details.

  • Can I smoke in the Park?

    No, smoking is not permitted in Balboa Park. See Rules & Regulations for information about other rules.

  • What’s the history of Balboa Park?

    Balboa Park is one of the premier public parks in the world and has played host to many notable events, celebrities, gatherings, and was even used by the military during both World Wars. For more detailed information, please see the Balboa Park History page.

  • Is the Park pet friendly?

    Yes! Balboa Park is pet friendly. Service animals are welcome in most venues, however, we recommend checking with individual venues ahead of time for any non-service animals. There are also several dog parks located within Balboa Park!


  • What if I have other questions?

    Use the Contact Us form or use the LiveChat function on this website.