San Diego boasts a city park that includes many of the city’s major cultural institutions. In Balboa Park architecture is as important as nature.
Already in 1868, when San Diego had barely 2,000 inhabitants, 1,400 acres (567 ha) were designated for the development of a city park.
The park is named in honor of Vasco Nunez de Balboa who was the first European to see the Pacific Ocean.
Two World’s Fairs were held in the park, and the Panama-California Exposition (1915-1916) was an important milestone for the further development of the park.
Most of the buildings constructed for this event were not built for long-term use. However, the population of San Diego embraced the Spanish Colonial architecture and many of the original buildings were renovated or reconstructed and therefore, can still be enjoyed today.
The subsequent California-Pacific International Exposition (1935-1936), held on the grounds of Balboa Park, aided San Diego’s economy during the Great Depression by providing structure-building jobs for the Exposition. Now many of these buildings house museums or other cultural organizations. There are countless attractions to visit and landscaped gardens to enjoy.