San Diego Museums – Balboa Park

Balboa Park Museums – Things to do in San Diego

When you visit San Diego, you have many San Diego Attractions to choose from. One of the most popular things to do in San Diego is visiting San Diego Museums, and there are more than 90 museums to choose from in this exciting vacation destination.

When you stay in downtown San Diego, you’ll be just moments away from some of the top San Diego Attractions – San Diego Museums! Learn about science, technology, art, history, and so much more.

About San Diego Museums

When you visit San Diego, you have many San Diego Attractions to choose from. One of the most popular things to do in San Diego is visiting San Diego Museums, and there are more than 90 museums to choose from in this exciting vacation destination.

San Diego represents a broad span of cultures, historical events, and artistic genres, and you’ll find most interests and subjects reflected in the holdings of San Diego Museums. From fine art to transportation, you’ll be able to view exciting exhibits and displays at San Diego Museums across the county, from Oceanside to downtown San Diego.

Why You Should Visit San Diego Museums

San Diego Museums house important works, from classic to contemporary. San Diego Attractions like museums delve into science and natural history, and most everything in between. You’ll surely find that Hotels in San Diego offer you a great location from which to explore all of San Diego’s outstanding museums, many of which aim to preserve the past and some of which hope to frame the present and future.

San Diego Museums allow San Diego visitors and residents a chance to take part in the cultural, natural, and historic heritage of San Diego, and to help care for it. There is sure to be a Museum in San Diego that will provide you with greater insight, inspiration, and engagement when you’re visiting sunny Southern California.

Tips for Visiting San Diego Museums

  • Balboa Park, often referred to as the “Smithsonian of the West,” houses 15 San Diego Museums in what is the largest urban park in the United States. Visit Balboa Park to view art, aviation exhibits, technology, and science, within what is one of the top San Diego Attractions in itself.
  • If you are visiting Balboa Park over the course of a few days, you can take advantage of the Passport to Balboa Park, which includes one admission to 14 San Diego Museums over the course of 7 consecutive days. San Diego visitors staying for just 1 day can purchase a Stay-for-the-Day Pass that includes admission to 5 San Diego Museums in 1 day.
  • San Diego’s Old Town, the “birthplace of California,” features many historical sites and San Diego Museums, many of which provide free admission.

Interesting Facts About San Diego Museums

  • At the center of San Diego’s Old Town, one of the top San Diego Attractions, you’ll find 5 historic buildings in the Whaley House Museum Complex. The main building in this complex, the Whaley House, is noted as the number 1 most haunted housed in the United States by the Travel Channel’s America’s Most Haunted.
  • View a rare, original stagecoach at the Wells Fargo Museum in Old Town.
  • Most San Diego Museums are child-friendly, but the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center specifically caters to children, bringing science to life in Balboa Park with hands-on experiments that are sure to make a child want to learn more.
  • The San Diego Model Railroad Museum features an interactive Lionel train layout for children.

San Diego Museum Locations and Contact Information

  • Reuben H. Fleet Science Center is located at 1875 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101 – Tel: 619.238.1233
  • San Diego Air and Space Museum is located at 2001 Pan American Plaza, San Diego, CA 92101 – Tel: 619.234.8291
  • San Diego Model Railroad Museum is located at 1649 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101 – Tel: 619.696.0199
  • Whaley House Museum is located at 2476 San Diego Avenue, San Diego CA 92110 – Tel: 619.297.9327

Maritime Museum of San Diego

Enjoys a worldwide reputation for excellence in restoring, maintaining, and operating historic vessels. The museum has one of the world’s finest collections of historic ships, including the world-famous Star of India.

The museum is known worldwide for its excellence in restoring, maintaining, and operating historic vessels. It holds one of the world’s oldest active ships, the Star of India.

Maritime history is displayed at the museum with its permanent displays and temporary exhibits of commerce and exploration.

The museum has a schooner, Californian, which takes passengers sailing on San Diego Bay and weekend adventure sales to Catalina.

The MacMullen Library and Research Archives is a resource for members and scholars and researchers from all over the world. If you are interested in the historic times of the sailing vessels you will truly enjoy some time spent in the library.

The museum was founded in 1948.

The museum’s collection also includes the 1898 steam ferry Berkeley, the 1904 steam yacht Medea, the 1914 Pilot, the state’s official tall ship California a replica of a mid-19th-century revenue cutter, and the H.M.S. Surprise, a replica of an 18th century Royal Navy frigate.

Address: 1492 North Harbor Dr., San Diego, California 92101

Hours: Open every day of the year from 9 – 8 (open until 9 from Memorial Day-Labor Day)

Admission: Adults $14; Seniors (62 +) $11; Active Military (with valid ID) $11; Children (6-17) $8; Children under 6 are free.

General admission pricing includes entrance to all the museum’s historic ships and exhibits onboard. General admission rates or other discounted package rates are not valid during the Festival of Sail.

San Diego Museum of Art

To go right along with the beauty of the city of San Diego is the fabulous Sand Diego Museum of Art.  The region’s primary resource for exhibitions and collections of fine art for more than 75 years. Located in the heart of Balboa Park, our galleries offer opportunities for learning, introspection, and connection with cultures from around the world.

The museum has special exhibitions on a regular basis which brings in refreshing displays to augment the permanent displays. There are displays of European Art, Asian Art, The fabulous Sculpture Garden along with American Art and Contemporary Art. As you can see, there is something for everyone that loves, or even just enjoys, grand works of art.

The museum provides educational programs to assist those that want to learn more about art, from adults to children can gain great insight by attending one or more of the programs offered.

  • Hours: Tuesday through Sunday 10 – 6; Thursday 10 – 9 (Memorial Day – Labor Day)
  • Location: 1450 El Prado, Balboa Park, San Diego, California
  • Phone: 619-232-7931
  • Admission: Adults $10; Seniors (65 +) $8; Students with ID $7; Youths (6-17) $4 and Children 5 and under are Free

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

MCASD serves its audiences through the collection, preservation, exhibition, and interpretation of works of art created from 1950 to the present. MCASD La Jolla, 700 Prospect Street, La Jolla, CA 92037-4291 | Phone: 858 454 3541 (24-hour recorded information) | Fax: 858 454 6985 |

Museum of San Diego History & Research Library

Our central museum, located in Balboa Park, offers permanent and changing exhibitions from the Society’s collections as well as from national and international traveling shows.

Marston House

The George White and Anna Gunn Marston House is a classic 1905 Arts and Crafts period home. Designed by renowned San Diego architects William Hebbard and Irving Gill, the home sits on five acres with formal gardens on the northwest side of Balboa Park.

Museum of Photographic Arts

The mission of the Museum of Photographic Arts is to inspire, educate and engage the broadest possible audience through the presentation, collection, and preservation of photography, film, and video. 1649 El Prado, San Diego CA 92101 | Phone: (619) 238-7559 | Fax: (619) 238-8777 | E-mail: [email protected] |

San Diego Natural History Museum

The San Diego Natural History Museum traces its roots to an enthusiastic group of amateur naturalists, who formed the San Diego Society of Natural History in 1874. The San Diego Natural History Museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums, which certifies that this museum continues to demonstrate a professional level of operation in accordance with the standards of excellence prescribed by the AAM. P.O. Box 121390, San Diego, CA 92112-1390 USA
Phone General: (619) 232-3821 | Administration: (619) 255-0216 | Fax: (619) 232-0248 |

Serra Museum

Located in Presidio Park above Old Town State Historic Park, the Junipero Serra Museum showcases artifacts from the Kumeyaay Native American, Spanish and Mexican periods through 1848, including housewares, period clothing, furniture, tools, a cannon and cannonballs. Current exhibits

Villa Montezuma

An onion dome, stained-glass windows, and redwood shingles distinguish this Victorian “Palace for the Arts” built in 1887 as a home for Jesse Shepard, the celebrated musician, composer, author and spiritualist. Guided Tours Only. Located at 1925 K St. (20th and K streets). Phone: (619) 239-2211.


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