San Diego’s world famous Balboa Park is the nation’s largest urban cultural park. Named for the Spanish maritime explorer, Vasco Nunez de Balboa, the park was placed in reserve in 1835 and is one of the oldest in the United States dedicated to public recreational use. The park and its historic architecturally stunning Exposition buildings were declared a National Historic Landmark and National Historical Landmark District.
In addition to open space areas, natural vegetation zones, beautiful gardens, and walking paths, Balboa Park is home to 15 major museums, performing arts venues, gift shops, restaurants, and the San Diego Zoo. The Park hosts numerous events throughout the year including weekly concerts at the Spreckles Organ Pavilion, renowned musicals and plays at the famous Old Globe Theater, open houses at the International cottages, showcasing the national traditions from many lands, and Lawn Programs featuring music, dance, traditional costumes, arts, crafts, and ethnic foods.
Some of the Park’s festivals attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year such as December Nights celebrating the holiday season in early December, Earthfair, Pride, and the cherry blossom festival celebrated in the Japanese Friendship Garden.