Balboa Park Gardens

Balboa Park Gardens

There are a variety of unique Balboa Park Gardens that are perfect for romantic dates. Stroll through these San Diego gardens arm in arm with your special someone for a memorable occasion. The only garden that charges admission is the Japanese Friendship Garden.

Learn about gardens and other things to do in Balboa Park:

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Recreational Activities

Alcazar Garden, Balboa Park

Alcazar Garden
The design of these gardens is patterned after the gardens of Alcazar Castle in Seville, Spain. They are located next to the Art Institute and Mingei Museum. A stroll through these gardens includes ornate fountains, a shady pergola, and colorful Moorish tiles. The formal garden is bursting with color thanks to the more than 7,000 annuals. Alcazar Garden is open 365 days a year with free admission.

Botanical Building, Balboa Park

Botanical Building
This building along with the Lily Pond out front is one of the most photographed locations in Balboa Park. This historical building was built for the 1915-16 Exposition. Enjoy these Balboa Park gardens featuring seasonal flower displays and gorgeous collections of cycads, ferns, orchids, palms, and other tropical plants. The Botanical Building is closed Thursdays and holidays and offers free admission.

Cactus Garden, Balboa Park

Cactus Garden
The Cactus Garden was developed for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition. It was designed by Kate Sessions and contains a large collection of cactus and succulent specimens. This garden is located on the west side of the Balboa Park Club. Admission is free.

Casa del Rey Moro Garden

Casa del Rey Moro Garden
This garden was designed for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition and is influenced by the Moorish gardens of Ronda, Spain. Located next to the House of Hospitality, the gardens are lovely and perfect for a romantic stroll. The grounds include a replica of the wishing well in the Guadalajara Museum of Gardens. Admission to these Balboa Park gardents is free but the garden is closed during private events, such as weddings.

Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden

Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden
Inez Grant Memorial Rose Garden offers a stunning display of approximately 2,500 roses on a 3 acre site that is colorful, fragrant, and beautiful. The gardens are in bloom from March through December, with the roses usually at their peak in April and May. This is another popular site for weddings. The garden is located across from the San Diego Natural History Museum. You can access these Balboa Park gardens via the Park Boulevard pedestrian bridge. Admission is free 365 days a year.

Japanese Friendship Garden

Japanese Friendship Garden
Telephone: (619) 232-2721
These Japanese gardens are located on two acres near the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. They originated as a teahouse during the 1915-16 Panama California Exposition. Enjoy a romantic stroll through the winding paths where you will find a Zen garden, koi ponds, waterfalls, a bonsai exhibit, ceremonial gate, a wisteria arbor, and other lush landscaping. Enjoy lunch at the Tea Pavilion The Japanese Friendship Garden is open from 10 AM – 4 PM everyday but Monday. Admission for adults is $3.

Marston House Garden
Address: 3525 Seventh Avenue, San Diego
This is a formal English Romantic style garden with some California influences. It was designed in 1927 and is located on the grounds of the Marston House, an early eample of the work of San Diego architects William Hebbard and Irving Gill. You will enjoy the five acres of beautifully landscaped grounds surrounding this historic house. Admission is free 365 days a year. There is a charge for tours of the mansion.

Palm Canyon Balboa Park

Palm Canyon
Enjoy a romantic stroll down the winding paths into a shady, lush canyon. Palm Canyon is a tropical oasis with more 450 palms covering its two acres. Cross the picturesque wooden footbridge leading from the Alcazar Gardens parking lot to cross the street from the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Admission to these Balboa Park gardens is free 365 days a year.

Zoro Garden, Balboa Park

Zoro Garden
This garden was originally designed as a nudist colony for the 1935 California Pacific Exposition. It is now a butterfly garden where you can see monarch, sulfur, and swallowtail butterflies among the colorful flowers. Zoro Garden is open 365 days a year with free admission.

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