Parking and Prices
Free public parking is available throughout the park in designated areas (marked P on this map). Street parking around the park is also available. If you come early (before 10 am) you will easily find parking, but as the day progresses, you will find that parking becomes scarce.
Overflow parking is available on the southeast side of the park near the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center (map location 39). From here, you can walk to the Park or take the free Balboa Tram. The Balboa Tram runs every 15 minutes or when it is full. See Tram route and stops here.
Entry into Balboa Park is free. All public walkways, gardens, the Botanical Building, and the Spanish Village Art Center are free. Exception: Japanese Friendship Garden costs $4 to enter.
Most outdoor events that are geared towards the general public are free. These include the biggies such as the Science Festival Expo, EarthFair, and December Nights.
Events organized by special interest group are usually not free and require a fee upon entry. Exception: the international members of the House of Pacific Relations organize free events on Sundays.
Most museums are not free; admission is typically between $5 and $10 though the Zoo is $35. Museums sometimes host special exhibits and these may cost extra on top of the price of admission. For $39 ($21 for children), you can buy a Passport to Balboa park which will give you unlimited access to all 13 museums for a period of one week.
As a service to the general public, select museums are free on Tuesdays. These Free Tuesdays tend to be VERY crowded thus one must consider if one can tolerate the crowded conditions despite the fact that it is free. The Free Tuesday Schedule is as follows:
- Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
- Centro Cultural de la Raza
- Model Railroad Museum
- Natural History Museum
- Museum of Photographic Arts
- Museum of San Diego History
- Veterans' Museum and Memorial Center
- San Diego Art Institute
- Mingei International Museum
- San Diego Museum of Art
- San Diego Museum of Man
- Japanese Friendship Garden
- San Diego Air & Space Museum
- San Diego Automotive Museum
- San Diego Hall of Champions
- House of Pacific Relations International Cottages
All museums operate with the usual admissions fee except for the Timken Museum of Art which is always free.
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