Feel like you're in Europe when you visit these gorgeous Instagrammable San Diego photo spots in Balboa Park.
Culture + sunshine = the perfect day out.
San Diego is one of those cities that never gets old or dull. With interesting sites at every turn, beaches, two amusement parks, botanical gardens, museums, a zoo, two historic districts, a port, nearby islands, and shopping galore you can easily fill your day, week or month.
The hardest part? Deciding what to do first... Balboa island is a perfect place to start.
Plan the Perfect Instgrammable San Diego Photo Day By Researching Hashtags & Social Media
Before any trip I like to go on social media and pull up recent posts. Blog posts and official sites are a great way to get the basics but social media is where you'll find the secret places to go, insider tips, and "real deal" info.
Social media is almost always up to date, and a great way to get a very real and accurate current view of a location.
Here's how I do it:
- Search for and peruse relevant hashtags on Instagram and Tiktok - look for current posts to see what's going on right now
- Follow official and expert accounts for current attraction information.
- Look at Instagram and Google location feeds to get a feel for the landscape and any current construction issues or other things I might want to know about.
It's important to note that you have to take any information gleaned from social media with a grain of salt. Since most of the posts you will encounter there are not coming from official sources, this crowdsourced information will need to be cross-checked and verified before you lay out any cash or commit yourself fully. Consider the source and play it safe if you feel any doubts.
Since we live a short drive away, we have a few favorite day trip routines for our San Diego visits. We have the luxury of exploring the city in bits and pieces over time. We can even take the train - which is an excellent option for both avoiding traffic and seeing the coastline. Both Amtrak and the Coaster commuter lines hug the coast and provide awesome views of the surf and beaches along the way. We've even seen dolphins from the train!
Balboa Park - The Perfect Instagrammable San Diego Photo Spot for Day Trips
Often overlooked by tourists, Balboa Park is an excellent destination on its own. Come for the culture, and stay for the photo ops! Best of all, it's easy to get from the train station to Balboa Park via public transportation.
Balboa Park - More Than an Instagram-Worthy San Diego Photo Spot
Balboa Park takes more than one day to enjoy properly. Many people try to cram it in before or after the zoo or some other attraction, which is a shame. Balboa park deserves center stage as a primary destination. There are museums, an interactive science center, and gardens galore all located in this one spot. Plan to spend at least one full day exploring the different sites at the park. Bring walking shoes and your good camera. And if you really want to take advantage of the gorgeous photo ops, pack a change of clothes.
Instagram Worthy San Diego Places and Activities in the Park
The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
This interactive museum is a can't-miss activity, especially if you are bringing kids with you to San Diego, with the Family Activity Day they host on the third Saturday of every month, parents have an excuse to participate without feeling silly. Cue the photo ops!
The Air & Space Museum
The Air & Space Museum is another must see and a perfect family stop. View perfectly preserved historic aircraft as you learn about aviation and space exploration. They host family days the second Saturday of every month, a perfect reason to spend more than one day at the Park. Exhibits rotate frequently. With crafts and activities, the kids and you are sure to enjoy your time here.
The San Diego Museum of Art
The San Diego Museum of Art is the oldest art museum in the area and has carried many famous exhibits throughout its years. Here you will find art by the Spanish old masters including Greco and Goya, as well as pieces by Matisse, O'Keefe, Cassat, Miro, and more. With over 20,000 pieces in their collection and frequently changing temporary exhibits, this is a museum you can return to again and again. Try taking a #museumselfie with your favorite work of art.
The Museum of Us
Formerly The Museum of Man, and recently renamed the Museum of Us, is another fascinating stop. This innovative museum seeks to inspire human connections by exploring the human experience
Outdoor San Diego Photo Spots in Balboa Park
There's more than enough to do indoors to fill your day. But as tempting as it is, don't spend your entire day inside at the museums. There are trails that wrap around the park. If you hit it at the right time, you might find a medieval group jousting and carrying on, or a group lawn bowling, maybe even a play or a wedding.
The Japanese Gardens and Botanical Building and Lily Pond are one of the most photographed places in the park, and San Diego in general. It's here that you will swear you are in Europe. Spend some extra time here to snap some selfies, if share-worthy photos are a must for your trip checklist.
Lastly, head off to the grassy tree-filled spots with views of downtown to enjoy a picnic or grab a bite to eat from Lady Carolyn's Pub located by the Old Globe Theater.
Get more info, trivia, and photos for inspiration by visiting the Balboa Park Facebook Page
Check out Balboa Park San Diego On Tiktok for More San Diego Photo Spot Ideas
Explore Balboa Park San Diego Photo Spots Virtually Via Location Tags
Ever wish there was a way to magically peer into a place before you go? Try exploring these locations virtually via Instagram location feeds and Google maps. You'll get a feel for what's there before you go, and who knows, you may discover some hidden gems in the process!