The San Diego History Center

The History Center presents engaging, family-friendly exhibitions with participatory activities that tell the remarkable stories of our region – past, present and future. We also offer popular public programs and special events.


The San Diego History Center is located in the Casa de Balboa, at the east end of El Prado, near the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, the San Diego Natural History Museum and the Bea Evenson Fountain. Casa de Balboa also houses the Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) and the San Diego Model Railroad Museum. (Casa de Balboa Image above courtesy of Richard Benton). For a location map: Balboa Park Map 1649 El Prado, Suite #3 San Diego, CA 92101 Phone: (619) 232- 6203

SDHC Google Map 800x557


The History Center is located in the heart of historic Balboa Park, the nation’s largest urban cultural park, with 17 museums, multiple performing arts venues, stunning architecture and gardens and the San Diego Zoo. Balboa Park is the cultural center of San Diego, a city renowned for its ocean beaches, scenic natural sites, entertainment attractions and world-class amenities. Information on Balboa Park: Information on San Diego:


Daily 10 am – 5 pm Closed Thanksgiving Day & Christmas Day Please note the following special closures and film schedule:  Saturday, December 24: Museum and Store will close at 3:00 pmSunday, December 25: Museum and Store will be closed in observance of the holiday  

Please note the following special hours:  

  • Thursday, August 3rd: museum and store will close at 3:30 pm

Please note the following changes to the screening of Balboa Park: Jewel of San Diego film:

  • Thursday, August 3rd – no 3 pm, and 4 pm films
  • Wednesday, August 30th no 3 pm and 4 pm films


We invite the public of all ages to come into our museum without paying a traditional admission price. Your admission has been paid by an anonymous supporter of the San Diego History Center and we ask you to determine the value of your visit and demonstrate that with a tax-deductible donation should you choose. We offer the opportunity for visitors to Give Forward to future visitors but it is not mandatory. Give Forward FAQs Museum Store: Free and open to the public. Visitors Guide: Visitors Guide (pdf)


Children under 6 Active Duty Military (I.D. required) History Center Members Explorer Passholders


Guided and self-guided group tours are available of History Center galleries as well as walking tours of historic Balboa Park. For information: Tours & Guided Walks

RESIDENTS FREE TUESDAY: Second Tuesday/monthly

As a public service, Balboa Park organizations offer free admission on a rotating basis to the tax payers of San Diego County. On the second Tuesday of every month, the San Diego History Center’s FREE Tuesday participation will continue, although the museum will invite non-residents on those Tuesdays to Give Forward and join those who have provided a donation to cover the expense of a future visitor. All visitors must show one of the following forms of ID: CA Driver’s license, military ID, utility bill, San Diego Library Card or student ID.


The History Center participates in Macy’s Museum Month in February, Blue Star Museums from Memorial Day – Labor Day, Smithsonian Museum Day Live in September, Kids Free in October and December Nights, the first weekend in December. Check this website and local publicity for timely information.


For a map of Balboa Park: Balboa Park Map For detailed information: Parking & Transportation (pdf)

To find accommodations near San Diego History Center, visit HotelsCombined.