Attractions & Things to Do
The intersection of University Avenue and 30th St is at the heart of North Park. For those who drive here, there is metered street parking, but also several parking lots and structures within walking distance to many of the popular locations.
Observatory North Park
This historic North Park Theatre at University Ave and 29th St first opened in 1929. Home to symphonies, musicals films, concerts and theatrical productions, the restored theater has been transformed into a modern nightlife destination. A 40-ft stage and state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems are designed especially for the needs of the new open-floor setup.
West Coast Tavern is adjacent to the venue, serving handcrafted cocktails, craft beer and a unique selection of dinner, happy hour and late-night menu options. Stop by before heading to a concert or enjoy their amazing brunch specials, served Saturday and Sunday.
North Park Thursday Farmers Market
Located between 29th St and Ray St, the North Park Farmers Market on North Park Way is open every Thursday, rain or shine. It features locally grown organic produce, great food, flowers and handmade arts and crafts from more than 45 vendors. Live music, seasonal events and raffle prizes make this a popular location for adults and kids alike. The North Park Farmers Market is featured in our Best Things to do in San Diego article!
Balboa Park is located at the southwest edge of North Park and just east of Downtown San Diego. This parcel of land, formerly known as City Park, was set aside by civic leaders in 1868. At the time it was a scrub-filled, largely desolate mesa, overlooking what is now Downtown San Diego.
Today this expansive 1,200-acre park is the country’s largest urban cultural park. It is home to museums, gardens, performing arts venues and cultural institutions. You can reach it from Route 163 or by heading south from University Ave on Texas St, Florida St, Park Blvd or Richmond St.
Visit the Marston House Museum
Located in Balboa Park the Marston House Museum was built in 1905 and it stands as one of the best examples of the Arts and Crafts movement. Don't miss the gardens encompassing 5 acres with manicured gardens, canyon gardens and rolling lawns.
Diverse museums provide a unique insight into a variety of industries, from the history of automobiles, trains and flight to scientific discoveries and photographic arts. Each location has its own design and offers interactive exhibits, permanent displays and traveling exhibitions.
Gardens inside Balboa Park
A wide variety of plants and trees thrive in the area, thanks to San Diego’s mild climate. You can view the California Native Plant Garden and stroll the paths through the Old Cactus garden, developed for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.
The Botanical Building with the Lily Pond and Lagoon is a “must-see” San Diego destination. The historic building was built for the 1915-16 Expo and is one of the largest lath structures in the world. It features tropical plants and palms, with collections of orchids, ferns and cycads.
The Japanese Friendship Garden, Zoro Garden and Marston House Garden are some of the most popular displays. With more than a dozen different gardens, each with a unique design and setting, there are plenty of opportunities to explore or simply slow down and relax.
Morley Field Sports Complex
Get out and enjoy the weather at the Morley Field Sports Complex in Balboa Park. It encompasses a pool, two dozen tennis courts, bicycle track, disc golf course, bocce courts and a fitness course. The tiny tots play area and the senior center provides activities and room to play for every member of the family.
Balboa Park Golf Course
The golf course, located at the south end of Balboa Park and is near the Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy and the San Diego Convention Center. It contains a challenging 72 par course, driving range, putting greens and 9-hole executive course. Range balls and golf club rentals are available on-site.
Founded in 1916, the San Diego Zoo houses more than 650 endangered and rare species and subspecies. The non-profit wildlife sanctuary is also home to an extensive botanical collection that includes more than 700,000 exotic plans.
Are you looking for a discount to the San Diego Zoo? The Go San Diego Card is a great option, this card will not only get you into the San Diego Zoo but into over 50 other attractions and activities in San Diego and save you money at the same time.