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 in Casa de Balboa 
is located in the heart of Balboa Park
1649 El Prado, Suite #3 San Diego, CA 92101

Casa de Balboa is located 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.

For a location map: Balboa Park Map
For detailed information about parking: Parking & Transportation



Give Forward is our donation-based admission policy. We don’t charge a fixed admission fee but look to your generosity to help make history accessible to all in our community, including those who otherwise may not be able to experience it. Suggested minimum donation: $5.



Monday: 10:00 am–5:00 pm
Tuesday: 10:00 am–5:00 pm
Wednesday: 10:00 am–5:00 pm
Thursday: 10:00 am–5:00 pm
Friday: 10:00 am–5:00 pm, 12:00 pm–7:00 pm (7/5-8/23 & 9/6–9/27) for History Happy Hours
Saturday: 10:00 am–5:00 pm
Sunday: 10:00 am–5:00 pm

History Happy Hour Scheduling

Open 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm during select dates of Balboa Park’s Food Truck Fridays.
History Happy Hour from 4:00-7:00 pm on those days.
See below for more details.

Early Closures

Saturday, September 21 – closing at 4PM for a private event

Scheduled Closures

Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas



  • No food or beverages.
  • No pets. Service animals are welcome.
  • Photography is permitted. Tag us! No flash, video, tripods, monopods, or photos in areas with the “no photo” symbol. 
  • You may be photographed or videotaped while inside the museum.
    Speak with a Visitor Service Associate of you prefer to opt-out.
  • No large bags, oversized items, or plants.


Balboa Park’s Food Truck Fridays Fridays 
May 31 – September 27, 2019


Food Truck Fridays gives thousands of park visitors and families a unique opportunity to sample a diverse, rotating selection of gourmet food trucks all in one convenient location. In addition to exceptional food options, Food Truck Fridays present a full slate of family-friendly fun: Different musical acts perform each night in the Plaza de Panama.  
Learn more about Food Truck Fridays


Join the San Diego History Center during Food Truck Fridays for History Happy Hour, 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm, on the following dates:
May 31June 7July 5August 2September 6
 June 14July 12August 9September 13
 June 28July 19August 16September 20
  July 26August 23September 27


Grab some food. Have a drink. Sit down and relax. Experience San Diego History!
Beer & wine available for purchase, plenty of seating, and fun activities.
All proceeds and donations will benefit our education programs.




As a public service, Balboa Park organizations offer free admission on a rotating basis to the taxpayers of San Diego County. The History Center’s Residents Free Tuesday is the second Tuesday of every month. All participants must show one of the following forms of ID: CA driver’s license, utility bill, San Diego Library Card, student ID, or active duty or dependent military ID.

Balboa Park:
The Jewel of San Diego

Join us for a 30-minute Emmy Award-winning documentary that highlights the past, present and future of Balboa Park, one of San Diego’s most recognized and beloved public landmarks.

Screening daily at 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm.

Showing Changes

Wednesday, September 11: no 11AM or 12PM showings
Friday, September 13: no 12PM or 1PM showings
Thursday, September 19: no film showings all day
Saturday, September 21: no 4PM showing
Wednesday, September 25: no 4PM showing

For More Information

Please click here for more information on the film



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

Gallery Guide

Guía de Galería

For more information: or 619-232-6203