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San Diego's Full Reopening: Everything You Need to Know About Balboa Park and Its Museums

NBC San Diego logo NBC San Diego 6/24/2021 Brenda Gregorio-Nieto
a close up of a flower garden: SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – JULY 07: General view of the atmosphere at Balboa Park outside Comic-Con Museum on July 07, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Daniel Knighton/Getty Images) © Getty Images

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – JULY 07: General view of the atmosphere at Balboa Park outside Comic-Con Museum on July 07, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Daniel Knighton/Getty Images)

Now that California and San Diego County have fully reopened, lifting many pandemic-era restrictions, where do the museums at Balboa Park stand? Here's everything you need to know about visiting the landmark these days, as summer 2021 rolls in.

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If you're planning on visiting Balboa Park, here are some things you'll want to know before you go:

Masks: Do I Need One When I Go to Balboa Park?

Balboa Park currently has 17 museums and cultural institutions. People visiting the park should be aware that although coronavirus pandemic restrictions have eased across San Diego County, you may still be required to wear a mask while visiting some of the venues at Balboa Park, regardless of your vaccination status.

Masks are encouraged when outdoors in areas frequented by others as well as frequent hand washing or sanitizing, according to the Balboa Park website.

Balboa Park Explorer Pass

Sales of the Balboa Park Explorer Pass have resumed. And all Balboa Park Explorer Annual Passes that were put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic have automatically been extended.

What is Now Open at Balboa Park?

As of June 21, 2021, here's what's open at Balboa Park:

Cultural Venues and Attractions:

  • Balboa Park Carousel, open daily
  • Balboa Park Miniature Railroad, weekends and most school holidays
  • Centro Cultural de la Raza, 3 days/week, Friday through Sunday
  • Fleet Science Center, 4 days/week, Friday through Monday
  • Japanese Friendship Garden, 7 days/week
  • Marston House Carriage Gift Shop, Saturdays and Sundays only
  • May S. Marcy Sculpture Garden, 7 days/week
  • Museum of Photographic Arts, 3 days/week, Friday through Sunday
  • Museum of Us, 5 days/week, Wednesday through Sunday
  • San Diego Air and Space Museum, 7 days/week
  • San Diego Art Institute, 3 days/week, Friday through Sunday, by online appointment only
  • San Diego Automotive Museum, 6 days/week, closed Monday
  • San Diego History Center, 3 days/week, Friday through Sunday
  • San Diego Model Railroad Museum, 3 days/week, Friday through Sunday
  • San Diego Museum of Art, 6 days/week, closed Wednesday
  • San Diego Natural History Museum, 5 days/week, Friday through Tuesday
  • San Diego Zoo, 7 days/week
  • Spanish Village Art Center, 7 days/week
  • United Nations Building and Gift Shop, 6 days/week, closed Monday
  • Veterans Museum at Balboa Park, 4 days/week, Thursday through Sunday​
  • The Old Globe, is hosting their Summer 2021 Outdoor Concert Series, click here for details.

Reopening Sunday, June 27:

  • Spreckels Organ Sunday concerts, live in the Spreckels Pavilion (were online only during the pandemic).
  •  Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez will revive the shows on June 27, and they will happen each Sunday afternoon after that.

Reopening Saturday, July 3:

  • House of Pacific Relations International Cottages, Saturdays and Sundays only
  • Marston House Tours, Saturdays and Sundays only

​Reopening Friday, Sept. 3:

  • Mingei International Museum, hours TBD

Youth Performing Arts:

  • San Diego Youth Symphony, 4-week CHiMES early childhood program, reservations required
  • San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, online instruction only
  • San Diego Junior Theatre, online instruction only

Balboa Park Restaurants:

  • Daniel's Coffee at Spanish Village Art Center, 6 days/week, closed Monday
  • Prado Perk at House of Hospitality, 7 days/week
  • Tea Pavilion at Japanese Friendship Garden, 5 days/week, Wednesday through Sunday 
  • Panama 66 restaurant, 6 days/week, closed Wednesday
  • Panama 66 grab-n-go cart, 6 days/week, closed Wednesday
  • Prado restaurant, 6 days/week, closed Monday
  • WorldBeat Café at WorldBeat Cultural Center, 3 days/week, Friday through Sunday
  • Coffee Cart at Air and Space Museum, 2 days/week, Saturday and Sunday only
  • Craveology Café at the Fleet Science Center, 4 days/week, Friday through Monday
  • Café in the Park at Casa de Balboa, 3 days/week, Friday through Sunday

Areas of Balboa Park Open to the Public 7 days a week

  • Visitors Center in the House of Hospitality
  • Balboa Park Disc Golf Course
  • Balboa Park Golf Course
  • Dog Parks
  • Playgrounds
  • Walking Trails
  • Free Gardens
  • Observation Deck at the Moreton Bay Fig Tree

Recreational Facilities Resuming Partial Operation

  • San Diego Velodrome has resumed workout rides only; riders must sign up online

​Venues Remaining Closed Until Further Notice

  • Balboa Park Activity Center
  • Balboa Park Club
  • Botanical Building
  • Bud Kearns Memorial Pool
  • Comic Con Museum
  • Timken Museum of Art
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