• Attractions

    Cabrillo Bridge

    Walkout beyond the Museum of Us onto the Laurel Street Bridge. Turn around for a view of the museum’s iconic California Tower, which is now a symbol of San Diego.

    Here’s a group taking the same stroll and enjoying the same view of the California Tower in 1915.

    Plaza De Panama

    Head into the Plaza de Panama, a scenic and bustling gathering spot in the Park today. Grab a snack and sit at one of the tables and enjoy watching the world go by.

    The Plaza de Panama was not quite so bustling before the 1915 Exposition. In this 1914 photo, construction is still in progress.

    Spreckels Organ Pavilion

    The Spreckels Organ Pavilion is a popular spot in the Park, especially on Sundays, when the Spreckels Organ Society puts on free weekly concerts.

    The Organ Pavilion was just as popular in 1915. In this photo, a dapper crowd sits in the sun and enjoys a performance.

    Balboa Park Club

    Behind the International Cottages, you’ll find the Balboa Park Club. Today it’s a popular event venue, with a ballroom that boasts 13,000 square feet of unobstructed wood dance floor.

    During the Exposition, the Balboa Park Club was called the New Mexico Building. It housed exhibits that showed off the unique aspects of that state. In this photo, you can see how much more has been added to this area since 1915.

    A diverse crowd of people sitting in the stands at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

    Spreckels Organ Pavilion

    Home to the largest outdoor pipe organ in the world.

    A view of the Cabrillo Bridge and California Tower.

    Cabrillo Bridge

    The most famous entrance to the Park's cultural district.

  • Parks, Gardens, and Trails

    Botanical Building and Lily Pond

    Stop to take in this lovely view of Balboa Park’s Botanical Building. During the 1915 Exposition, the building displayed bamboo, banana trees, palms and more. The designers even hid bird cages in the flora, adding their chirping calls to the authentic outdoor atmosphere.

    Compare your view of the Botanical Building to this 1915 photo taken from the same spot. What’s changed? What’s stayed the same?

    Looking out from the front of the Botanical Building, you’ll find yourself facing the Lily Pond. Today, it’s a popular place for selfies!

    This was a favorite place for pictures even in 1915. Do you think this well-dressed woman would have snapped a selfie here if she could have?

    Palm Canyon

    Make your way back into the Park and down into the Palm Canyon, where shaded pathways lead you around 2 acres filled with over 450 palms that are more than a century old.

    Park planners planted them in 1912 as part of preparations for the Exposition. Do the palms look smaller in this 1915 photo?

    A view of the Balboa Park Botanical Building roof looking through the arch of a covered walkway.

    Botanical Building and Lily Pond

    One of the most photographed scenes in Balboa Park and a “must-see” destination in San Diego.

    Three people walking up a dirt pathway surrounded by palm trees in Palm Canyon.

    Palm Canyon

    A tropical oasis containing more than 450 palms, including 58 species.

  • Museums

    Museum of Us

    These casts of Maya monuments, or stelae, occupy a prominent position in the San Diego Museum of Us rotunda. The original stelae on which the casts are based were found at Quirigua, an archeological site in Guatemala.

    Believe it or not, these casts have been on display in the Museum of Us since the 1915 Exposition, with one exception: during World War II, the Museum, along with other sites in the Park, became a hospital. Here’s a 1915 photo of the biggest cast standing in its place in the Museum.

    Two people walking towards the front entrance of the Museum of Us.

    Museum of Us

    Exploring the human experience through unique, interactive exhibitions.


Plan Your Visit

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Diverse groups of people surrounding three white pop-up tents on the El Prado walkway outside of the House of Hospitality.


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