Prepare yourselves. Valentine’s Day is coming. Sure, you can do a fancy dinner in Downtown San Diego or drive to the beach to watch the sunset, but what if I told you can do both right here in Balboa Park?! From scenic spots to fun activities, Balboa Park has much to offer for you and your valentine. Ditch the traditional routine and try something new this Valentine’s Day! These are our top 4 spots to take your valentine for an amazing Valentine’s Day.

Top 4 Valentine’s Day Spots in Balboa Park

Japanese Friendship Garden

I suppose you can say it will be the Japanese Relationship Garden after you take your valentine here. Ha ha. This garden is absolutely stunning with its koi ponds, waterfalls, and lush landscape. Take a stroll through the garden and sit at one of the many benches to enjoy each other’s company. Learn more about Japanese culture by visiting their bonsai collection or their new exhibit, “Art in Bloom Floral Art of Japan“. Feeling thirsty? Grab some refreshing tea at their Tea Pavilion located at the entrance.

Koi at the Japanese Friendship Garden

Hours of Operation: 10 AM – 7PM Last Admission into garden is at 6 PM.

Explorer Annual Pass Holder – Free General Admission
Adults – $10 Seniors (65+) – Free
Students (Must show ID) – $8
Active Duty Military (must show ID) – Free

Mingei International Museum 

Mingei Museum in Balboa Park

Your valentine may look like fine art, but you can both still look at actual fine art. From folk art to textiles and quilts, The Mingei’s collection features art from all eras and cultures of the world. Take your valentine to see their current exhibits, “Art of the Americas – Pre-Columbian Art from Mingei’s Collection” and “Weaving a Path – Navajo Women and the Feminine Ethos“. Need a quick pick me up? Check out the Café Mingei for delicious iced coffee and tea. Want to spoil your special someone? The Mingei will be having a Valentine’s Day Jewelry Sale from February 10th-14th. Treat them to a beautiful necklace or classy ring!

Unique Jewelry Sale for Valentine's Day in Balboa Park

Photo Credit: Katie Gardner

Hours of Operation: 10 AM – 5 PM, Closed Mondays

Explorer Annual Pass Holder – FREE General Admission
Adults – $10
Seniors (65+) – $7
Students (Must show ID) – $7
Active Duty & Retired Military (must show ID) – Free


 California Tower

Climb the California Tower in Balboa Park

Want to wow your valentine? Show them a fantastic view of San Diego from the California Tower located at the San Diego Museum of Man. You can get a skyline view AND an ocean view all-in-one! After climbing up about seven floors, you will see spectacular 360-degree views of Downtown San Diego, the San Diego Zoo, Mexico, the Pacific Ocean, and much more. This is the perfect spot to either begin your Valentine’s Day at Balboa Park or end your day watching the gorgeous sunset. Tickets must be purchased online or at the admissions desk of the Museum of Man.

Hours of Operation: 10 AM – 5 PM First tour begins at 10:20 AM. Last tour ends at 4:20 PM.

Explorer Annual Pass Holder – FREE General Admission, Tour – Additional Fee
Adults – $23
Seniors (65+) – $20
Students (Must show ID) – $20
Active Duty & Retired Military (must show ID) – $20

The Nat (San Diego Natural History Museum)

The Nat (San Diego Natural History Museum) in Balboa Park San Diego

Are you and your date both nature lovers AND movie lovers?! If so, visit The Nat for a unique IMAX movie experience on Valentine’s Day. All films in the giant-screen theater are included when you have a Balboa Park Explorer Pass, or with general admission into the museum. You can take your valentine to see their new exhibit, “Unshelved: Cool Stuff from Storage” or travel back in time with “Fossil Mysteries“. After you’re finished viewing all the cool exhibits at The Nat, you can watch any film! The Nat is currently showing 3 films throughout the day: Titans of the Ice Age, Ocean Oasis, and Incredible Predators. You can read more about the films and check out showtimes here.

Hours of Operation: 10 AM – 5 PM

Explorer Annual Pass Holder – FREE General Admission, including films!
Adults – $19 Seniors (65+) – $17
Students (Must show ID) – $17
Active Duty & Retired Military (must show ID) – $17

Balboa Park has many romantic spots for you and your special someone to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Make sure to stop by the Japanese Friendship Garden, San Diego Museum of Art, California Tower, and the San Diego National History Museum!

What will you EXPLORE?

– Jenny Nguyen, Balboa Park Explorer Team Member