Spend a Day (or More) at Balboa Park

Balboa Park is one of San Diego’s unique treasures. This 1,200-acre green space offers everything from hiking trails and gardens to performance venues, museums, and even a world-famous zoo. Located right in the middle of the City, it offers easy access for locals and visitors.

Of course, any day spent in the park means you’ll want to wear shades while you’re out and about. Sunglass and Optical Warehouse can help you find sunglasses that will protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays and keep you looking fashionable, including top brands such as ArmaniBolleCalvin Klein, Maui JimNikeOakleyOtisPersolRay-BanRudy Project, and many others.

Park Highlights

  • San Diego Zoo—Top-most on any visitor’s list to Balboa Park is most likely the 100-acre San Diego zoo, which we explored in a previous blog (Set Your Sights on the San Diego Zoo), so we’ll just mention it here briefly. This world-class zoo is home to more than 3,700 rare and endangered animals and more than 700,000 plants, and is known for its lush, lifelike habitats.
  • California Tower—Constructed for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, this iconic structure can be seen from miles around. Closed to the public for nearly 80 years, it re-opened for public tours in January 2015. Visitors can ascend its 125 steps to enjoy panoramic views of downtown San Diego, Mexico, the Pacific Ocean, San Diego Bay, mountains, and the rest of Balboa Park. The building also houses the San Diego Museum of Man.
  • Balboa Park Carousel—Built in 1910 in New York and shipped to Los Angeles, this carousel features pairs of hand-carved animals (all but two pairs are original) and hand-painted murals. It plays military band music, which is also original. In 1915, the carousel relocated to Coronado and eventually made its way to Balboa Park around 1922. In 1968, it was moved to its present-day location.
  • Moreton Bay Fig Tree—The giant Moreton Bay Fig tree in Balboa Park is is one of the three largest Moreton Bay Fig trees in the state of California. Planted as a small tree in a garden of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, it was measured in 1996 at 78 feet high with a crown width of 123 feet and a trunk girth of 40.5 feet. In December, the tree is illuminated during the popular Balboa Park December Nights celebration each year.
  • Cabrillo Bridge—Built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, the Cabrillo Bridge is the first cantilevered, multiple-arched bridge built in Southern California. It spans nearly 1,500 feet and is 125 feet high. It can be seen easily from State Route 163.
  • Alcazar Garden—Named after the gardens of Alcazar Castle in Seville, Spain, this garden features ornate fountains, colorful Moorish tiles of turquoise, yellow, and green, and a shady pergola. It is bordered by boxwood hedges and planted with 7,000 annuals for a colorful year-round display.
  • Japanese Friendship Garden—With a design is based on centuries-old Japanese techniques adapted to San Diego’s climate and native plants, this garden was built as an expression of friendship between San Diego and its sister city, Yokohama. The 12-acre garden features unique stone arrangements, koi ponds, water features, and sukiya-style buildings.

Balboa Park features many other attractions and areas worthy of exploration, from gardens and forests to playgrounds and more than 17 museums covering topics ranging from dinosaurs to space exploration. You’ll also find venues hosting plays, live music, dancing, and many other activities.

Look Good & See Your Best

For more than 30 years, Sunglass and Optical Warehouse has been helping the families of greater San Diego look and see their best. With more than 60 brands and more than 7,000 frames to choose from, our inventory of men’s and women’s prescription and non-prescription glasses and sunglasses is one of the largest in the world. When it comes to stylish shades that also protect their eyes across a wide range of outdoor and recreational activities, San Diegans have come to rely on us to help them find the eyewear that’s just right for them and/or their family members.

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