Need a plan to dazzle your valentine? We’ve got you covered. Balboa Park is the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable romantic excursion.
What you’ll need: walking shoes, picnic blanket, and a little nosh.
1. Tour a Garden
Balboa Park features 20 distinct public gardens. A must-see on any Valentine’s adventure is the Alcazar Garden. Recreating the gardens of Alcazar Castle in Seville, Spain, it brings a uniquely European touch of romance to the park. Boasting one of the park’s best views of the California Tower, the garden’s iconic Moorish tiled fountains and historic pergola present the best views to snap a few cute pics together before dinner.
2. Express Yourself
Woo your person with a token of love straight from the park. The Balboa Park Visitors Center and gift stores at park museums offer a wide array of one-of-a-kind jewelry, accessories, soaps and scents, and handmade arts and crafts that can capture the essence of what makes your relationship special. Easy win? Give them a Love Balboa Park gift of membership from the Balboa Park Conservancy.
3. Pitch a Sunset Picnic
There are plenty of prime picnic locations in Balboa Park. Two of the most scenic spots include the Botanical Building Lawn and Gardens and the Rose Garden lawns. The Botanical Building lawn is nestled amid the Lily Pond, historic architecture, and lush landscaping. The Rose Garden has spectacular views of the mountains, east mesa, and Florida Canyon.
4. Sip Some Spirits
Balboa Park has no shortage of fine dining and drinking either. The Prado Restaurant in the House of Hospitality includes a full bar with nighttime entertainment. Panama 66 in The San Diego Museum of Art’s sculpture court is one of the town’s hottest night spots on a Friday night, featuring craft cocktails and a diverse musical lineup.*
5. End with a Starlight Stroll
Before you head home, wander the El Prado walkway as the park’s evening lights blink to life. Stretching from the Plaza de Panama to Bea Evenson Fountain, the El Prado is lined with some of the park’s most picturesque buildings, along with plenty of benches for resting, chatting, gazing, and canoodling. It’s the perfect romantic setting for completing your Valentine’s date.
*UPDATE 2/12/2021: The Prado Restaurant is temporarily closed; Panama 66 is open but unable to present live entertainment due to state and county mandates currently in place.