San Diego Must Visit: Balboa Park

So, Matt and I just went on vacation to San Diego, California and it was AWESOME! It was Matt’s first trip to California and while I’d been to San Diego before, I actually barely did any of the things I did on our recent trip. Aside from revisiting Hotel Del Coronado and driving through beautiful La Jolla, everything else I did was new and exciting! Perhaps my favorite destination and home of so many things-to-do was Balboa Park. Home to the San Diego Zoo and an assortment of museums and gardens, Balboa Park is a MUST VISIT if you are planning a trip to San Diego.

One of the most interesting parts of my trip was learning some of the history of the park–like, why was this park built and what was it used for before the current museums and exhibitions were in place?

Balboa Park began as 1400 acres of land set aside in 1868 by the city of San Diego as a “City Park”. In the late 1800’s, the first steps towards beautification of the park began with the planting 100 trees a year (thanks to donations by Kate Sessions). The Panama-California Exposition held between 1915-1917 in Balboa Park led to the construction of the beautiful Cabrillo Bridge and Spanish Colonial Revival buildings in the Plaza de California. There was then another grand event held in Balboa Park in 1935-36, The California Pacific International Exposition, which led to more buildings and gardens being added to the park including The Palisades area, Old Globe, and Zoro Gardens. These buildings reflected more of an influence of Aztec architecture, Mexican pueblo style, art deco and arte moderne.

I love learning about historical info like this! It makes me think about the Chicago World’s Fair/Columbian Exposition of 1893, of which we only have a two remaining buildings left–The Museum of Science and Industry and the Art Institute of Chicago. Am I the only person that gets excited about stuff like this?! :)

I have some more posts to come this week about Balboa Park “Points of Interest” that we visited including the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, Palm Canyon, Old Cactus Garden, Japanese Friendship Garden and San Diego Zoo.

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