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.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

USA features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Dive in: 7 unforgettable experiences in the Florida Keys

Dive in: 7 unforgettable experiences in the Florida Keys

Life in the Florida Keys is dominated by the ocean. The simplest trips become postcard-worthy adventures on the Overseas Highway, the link between its countless…

17 Feb 2017 • Georgia Stephens insert_drive_file Article
The best places to go in spring

The best places to go in spring

Springtime is beautiful, with its big blue skies and flowers in bloom, so there may be no better time to travel. If you're thinking about getting away, here are…

14 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
Standing Rock: a journey to the protests on the Great Plains

Standing Rock: a journey to the protests on the Great Plains

In January 2016, energy company Dakota Access announced plans to run an oil pipeline from North Dakota to Illinois. A few months later, members of the Standing …

14 Feb 2017 • Neil McQuillian local_activity Special feature
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month