Less than two miles northeast of downtown, sumptuous Balboa Park is one of the largest museum enclaves in the USA, as well as a delight for its landscaping, traffic-free promenades, and stately Spanish Colonial-style buildings. Near the centre, the Spreckels Organ Pavilion (concerts Sun 2–3pm; free; Wsosorgan.com) is worth a look as the home of one of the world’s largest organs, with some 4500 pipes. Most of the major museums flank El Prado, the pedestrian-oriented road that bisects the park.
Automotive Museum W). Classic motorcycles and cars, among them a 1948 Tucker Torpedo – one of only fifty left.
Museum of Man W). Huge anthropological museum containing Maya and Native American artefacts and Egyptian relics.
Natural History Museum 1788 El Prado. Fabulous collection of fossils, hands-on displays of minerals and exhibits on dinosaurs and crocodiles.
Reuben H. Fleet Science Center 1875 El Prado. Vast child-oriented museum of science-lite amusements with an IMAX theatre.
San Diego Museum of Art Containing a solid stock of European paintings, from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century; highlights includeHals and Rembrandt.
Timkin Museum of Art. Gallery containing a stirring collection of Russian icons and paintings including Rembrandt’s Saint Bartholomew, Jacques-Louis David’s portrait of Cooper Penrose and Cranberry Harvest, a masterpiece by Eastman Johnson.