Whenever someone comes into town and asks me for some ideas of where to go and what to see, my first suggestion is usually Balboa Park. I know what you might be thinking, “A park, really?”, but trust me, this ain’t any ol’ ordinary park. Balboa Park is the Central Park of San Diego; you could easily get lost in it, it’s that big.
Balboa Park is located smack in the middle of a ton of cool little areas and neighborhoods that are all unique in their own way. To south, the Gaslamp. To the north, Hillcrest and North Park. To the west, Embarcadero, Little Italy, and Bankers Hill. To the East, South Park and Golden Hill. These are just a few of the neighborhoods that surround the park so even when you’re finished at the park you can find thousands of fantastic bars and eateries in the area to quench your thirst after a long day of strolling.
The park itself features 1,200 acres of sprawling greenery, hiking trails, a number of museums, restaurants, a dog park, a bocce ball court, the Japanese Friendship Garden, an archery range, the San Diego Zoo, and a military hospital. Needless to say, there is something for everyone. The park often times plays host to a number of festival, concerts and various other events throughout the year; some of the most known being The Haunted Maze around Halloween and the light walk during Christmas time.
On my most recent visit there, my boyfriend and I took my dog out for a little hike on some of the paths. Sam, AKA The Goobie, my dog, was dying to get out of the house and it was a beautiful day so we decided to see what we could find…
After only minute of walking we found this amazing little wooden bridge that lead down to a dirt path and this fantastic tree. We simply had to stop and admire it.
The root system was incredible. It reminded me of the trees in Cambodia that surrounded the Angkor Wat temples. It created a pretty nice little flashback. After we snapped our pictures we carried on down the trail to find what we think was the back side of the archery range, it was actually kind of eerie. Just to the left of the gate for the archery range was a cool little wooden stair-path built into the side of the canyon that we were now in. We decided to continue following the path.
The path luckily ended up looping back around to where we started after about a mile. We had taken our time hiking and taking pictures so by the time we were done a couple hours had gone by and we were starving. Luckily for us, it was Happy Hour time at one of our favorite little restaurants, The Patio on Goldfinch. They also just happen to be incredibly dog friendly. The Patio on Goldfinch is located in the Mission Hills Neighborhood on the North West corner of the park. The restaurant has living walls so you feel like you’re eating in the jungle; a perfect continuation to our hike. Whenever we go to the Patio, we have to get the charcuterie and cheese platter and a flatbread. Cheese and carb overload washed down with fabulous craft, local beers. What a glorious day off it was.
If you’re ever in San Diego, you have to stop in and check out Balboa Park. You won’t be disappointed. Cheers bloggers & happy travels!