As you consider a sunny San Diego run through Balboa, you must first put aside any notion of a typical city park. Fittingly named after the Spanish Voyager who discovered the Pacific Ocean, this National Historic Landmark is a place for explorers of all types.
Balboa Park is hailed as a place where history is majestic, beauty blooms, curiosity is cultivated, cultures come to celebrate and where art, science and nature collide. Our sight running tour is a true escape from the city, while still being right in the heart of it. Your trip to San Diego isn’t really complete without visiting Balboa Park, and there’s no better way to discover it than to GO! Running.
Don’t tell anyone…but this is our guides favorite run! There’s countless things to see among the 1,200 beautiful and lushly planted acres covered in trails and pathways the casual traveler might not catch. If it was just the garden fields and glorious fountains, this place would be spectacular in itself. Now add the abundant culture that includes over 16 museums and performing arts venues to explore by foot, and you have something truly unique and special. We may hear memorable lines from Macbeth being shouted by actors performing in the replica of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. There’s also the occasional growl of a Grizzly Bear or roar of a Tiger rumbling from the world-renowned San Diego Zoo providing quick inspiration to quicken our pace if we get too relaxed.
Your guide will share the origin and growth of the park over its 150-year history, as well as make recommendations on how to best enjoy all the world-class museums and attractions after your tour. No matter whether you’re into Photography, Air & Space, Railroads or even Comic-Con, there’s always intriguing exhibits in action. One of our favorites is the Museum of Man, which is currently featuring “Cannibals: Myth & Reality”, “BEERology” and “Monsters!” If you get bored here, we can’t help you. Insider Tip: Book a running tour on a Tuesday to score free access to select museums, and don’t miss the climb up California Tower for the sweeping park views.
We’ll run across the century-old Cabrillo Bridge overlooking the historic El Cortez, Petco Park, Coronado Bridge and the downtown San Diego cityscape. The jog along El Prado will take us through the Plaza de Panama filled with local musicians, mimes and magicians on our way to the blossoming nature of the park. The greenery flourishes in the Southern California climate and makes you feel alive as it surrounds us on trails not taken by the casual traveler. From the Alcazar to the Zoro Gardens, we’ll run through thriving plant species from both our backyard and from around the world. The cactus covered Desert Garden and the vast and vibrant Rose Garden are a few of our often missed favorites. The flood of flora continues in the impressive Botanical Building and Japanese Friendship Gardens, but we’ll also make sure to sneak into the equally intriguing, but less flowery, Sculpture Garden behind Panama 66 Bar.
Just like any other San Diego hot spot, there’s terrific eats and drinks at our fingertips. As always, we’ll make sure you enjoy our local fare the right way and stay away from the pricey tourist traps. Finally, after a fantastic voyage through America’s finest park we’ll jog over the vibrant and colorful stone surface of the Spanish Village Art Center. It’s hard to imagine this place exists in the park, and many travelers miss it on first glance. It’s the perfect place to pick up a handmade San Diego keepsake and see local artisans and musicians at work. Now, it’s time to kick off the running shoes and cool off those barking dogs in the refreshing 20-foot water sprays of the iconic Bea Evenson Fountain. If you’d rather take a train ride on the miniature railroad or hop on the Balboa Park Carousel to cool down, we won’t stop you and will most likely ride along!