Top Five Hidden Locations In Balboa Park for Creatives 

Art Is Being San Diego Museum of Man Balboa Park Photography

As a photographer and educator based in San Diego, Balboa Park has become a major hotspot for both my personal work and classes. The park's beautiful outdoor scenery and Spanish themed architecture make it one of a kind. Home to the Museum of Man, Museum of Art, and many other cultural landmarks, Balboa Park can easily be viewed as the art pulse of San Diego--adding great cultural significance, wonder, and excitement to America's Finest City. 

But beyond these mega museums, lie a few spots on the off-beaten path that often get overlooked on the regulars' trip. Below I have outlined a few of my favorite hidden spots and why they should make your next Balboa Park itinerary! 

1. San Diego Art Institute 

The San Diego Art Institute is the first stop on the list and for good reason. If you are looking for creative inspiration, you could not find a more interesting collection of work in San Diego. This museum serves as a bridge for local artists between Los Angeles and Tijuana with a focus on San Diego Artists, repositioning as the only contemporary art museum in Balboa Park. It is currently the Institute's 75th anniversary with new shows taking place on a rolling basis. Stop in to see the current show, Not Quite noting on display now until Sept 21 featuring a collection of work by Don Edler, Gordon Holden, Matt Nichols, Chantal Wnuk, and SDAI artists-in-residence Brian & Ryan or next months, The Dead Are Not Dead, featuring an open call for Halloween themed work! 

Art Is Being Balboa Park San Diego Art Institute Photography


2. The Timken Museum

Following the theme of inspiration is the Timken Museum, ranking at number 2 on our list. The Timken Museum known as San Diego's "jewel box" of fine art is home to a collection of work belonging to the Putnam's Foundation including the only Rembradnt painting in San Diego.

Affectionately known as San Diego’s “jewel box” of fine art, the Timken Museum of Art in San Diego’s historic Balboa Park is home to the Putnam Foundation’s significant collection of European old masters, 19th century American art and Russian icons. The collection also includes the only Rembrandt painting on public display in San Diego. And did I mention that the Timken is free?! All the more reason to add to your visit! 

3. Spanish Village Art Center

Art Is Being San Diego Spanish Village Art Studios San Diego Balboa Park Photography

Home to 37 artist studios, the Spanish Village Art Center houses plenty of things to see and experience featuring everything from photography to sculpture, paintings to jewelry. Beyond enjoying the work of other artists, its a great place to pull out your camera and get to photographing. The colorful tiles add a since of beauty and magic to the beautiful Spanish courtyard offering a range of textures, patterns, and smiling faces to keep your camera happy. 

Art Is Being Spanish Village Art Studios San Diego Photography Balboa Park

4. Redwood Circle

Did you know that you didn't have to travel all the way to northern California to see the Redwoods? Redwood Circle is home to a large section of redwoods right here in Balboa Park. This is a great place to expand your nature shots and gives you a reason to purchase the wide angle lens you've always wanted so you can get these giants in frame! 

5. Panama 66 

Art Is Being Photography Panama 66 Gilbert Castellanos Young Lions Series Photography

If you've made it this far down the list, chances are its getting a little later in the evening and the sun is beginning to fall. That is when Balboa Park really comes alive with music, great food, and entertainment. Head on over to Panama 66, located just outside the San Diego Museum of Art for a night you wont forget. Featuring music acts such as Gilbert Castellanos and the Young Lion series (every Wednesday) as well as a slew of other acts and an outdoor sculpture garden, Panama 66 is the best place to relax and unwind after a long day at the park!

What are your favorite locations within Balboa Park? Let me know in a comment below and send pictures to Your work could be featured here! 

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