it’s easy to become complacent in a relationship. furthermore, it’s just as easy to take a city you’ve lived your whole life in for granted. after fourteen months together (tomorrow!), S and i have settled into a comfortable routine that works really well for us. similarly, after thirty years of living in san diego, i know i’ve grown quite accustomed to life north of the 5/805 merge in what i lovingly refer to as the “north county bubble.”
so in an interest in keeping both the spark between S and i alive as well as the one between us and our city, we’ve tried our best to plan a date day (or night) exploring a different neighborhood in san diego whenever time permits. whether it’s as simple as trying out a new coffee shop in another part of town, or like this past weekend’s excursion, a walking tour around balboa park, i hope this tradition is something we continue to honor not only into the fall season but also for years to come. so consider this your first of what is to (hopefully) become a series entitled “S & S in the city” -a collection of documented dates with each other and with america’s finest city.
growing up in san diego, balboa park was synonymous with my childhood. from nearly weekly visits to the san diego zoo, regular trips to catch a show at the san diego junior theater, and an annual pilgrimage to one of the park’s first-class museums, the “landscape of arts and culture” has held a special place in my heart for years. now, even decades later, balboa park continues to remain a point of interest with picturesque gardens, unique architecture, and miles of walking trails. as it was S’s inaugural visit to the san diego landmark, we spent most of our time last sunday under the summer sun exploring the grounds, pausing only for a short photo shoot between the columns of the iconic spreckels organ pavilion. but at just under a forty minute drive and with an array of attractions at our disposal, it’s highly likely a return visit will make its way onto our social calendar very soon.
looking to explore balboa park for yourself? here’s a list of my favorite spots:
spanish village art center || located across the street from the natural history museum, this little square boasts over thirty artist studios and galleries displaying work in a variety of mediums. artwork aside, my favorite parts of this attraction are the vibrant hues you’ll encounter once you enter through its arched entrance. from the painted squares of concrete that line your path to the doors and window panes adorned in primary colors, it’s a feast for the eyes (and the perfect backdrop for a future photo shoot).
reuben h. fleet science center || sure this museum might be geared for kids, but what about kids at heart? truthfully i haven’t been back to the reuben h. fleet in years (maybe decades), but the memories made within its walls are enough for me to recommend it as a must-visit if you have the time. in addition to the over 100 hands-on science exhibits you’ll encounter, the center also boasts an imax theater, which takes viewing films to a whole new level.
botanical building || because who doesn’t love looking at pretty flowers? the botanical building and adjacent lily pond make up one of balboa park’s most recognizable and photographed attractions (see the last two photos above). with more than 2,000 plant species, it’s an inspiration to any budding horticulturist. oh, and most importantly, it’s FREE!
the san diego natural history museum or “theNAT” || after being required to visit them for various projects as a child, i gained a whole new appreciation for museums when i studied in spain over the summer between my sophomore and junior year of college. there is certainly no shortage of museums at balboa park. no matter your interest, there is bound to be a collection of something that appeals to you. perhaps my favorite of the bunch is the natural history museum, better known as its hipper abbreviation, “theNAT.” with traveling exhibits shown throughout the year, there is always something to be seen, explored, and learned. personal side story: a few years ago my mom and i saw the titanic exhibit at theNat. having always loved the movie (never let go, jack!), it was such a treat to view authentic artifacts from the original ship. i was still contributing for Ask Miss A at the time, so a recap of our visit can be found here.
the prado at balboa park || this last recommendation isn’t technically an attraction, but rather a restaurant. however, the prado’s festive decor, picturesque views, unique atmosphere, and of course, its menu make it “can’t-miss” spot on your next visit to the park. enjoy their tuesday date night special with two entrees and a bottle of wine for just $39.95 or better yet, skip the food and kick-off weekend happy hour with a glass of their signature sangria (shawna tested and shawna approved!).
happy exploring, love bugs!