Literally the first thing I did, after arriving in San Diego and dropping my bags off at my hotel, was eat a burrito. And the second thing was exploring Balboa Park. It happened to be a sunny day in South Cal when I arrived on a Sunday in mid-September. Actually, that was the only truly sunny and hot day throughout my entire stay. Had I known better, I probably would have gone to the beach and swam in the ocean. But instead I decided to walk over to Balboa Park, which wasn’t too far of a hike from the Gaslamp Quarter, where I was staying throughout the following three days.
Balboa Park had been recommended by a few people and I’d definitely recommend it along to others, who are first time visitors. It’s a self-proclaimed landscape of arts and culture – and that pretty much sums up what it’s about. Not only does it host breath-taking scenery made up of cactuses, flowers, fountains and more. It’s also home to an array of museums, gift shops and great architecture. It stretches over an area of 1,200 acres and was built in 1868.
Perhaps its most prominent attraction is the San Diego Zoo. I didn’t make it to the zoo during my first visit but maybe I will be back one day and shelf out enough time (and money) to go see it. Balboa Park reminded me of a very urban botanical garden with great art. Walking around here for the better half of my first afternoon was certainly inspiring and I believe I got a good impression of the first day in this city.
Balboa Park was quite busy, but then I had to remind myself that it was a typical Sunday in California, so of course lots of families would be walking around. It also was a gorgeous day out, I’m sure people took advantage of that. In addition to vendors and street artists, there were a lot of school and tourist groups.