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.


San Diego History Center
Casa de Balboa, 1649 El Prado, Suite #3 San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 232- 6203
For a location map: Balboa Park Map

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. (Casa de Balboa Image above courtesy of Richard Benton).

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 pm.
  • Sunday, December 25: Museum and Store will be closed in observance of the holiday.

Please note the following special hours:  

  • Thursday, November 30th: Museum and Store will be close at 3 pm
  • Friday, December 1st: Museum and Store will be close from 4-5 pm, reopen from 5-9pm for December Nights
  • Saturday, December 2nd: Museum and Store will be close from 4-5 pm, reopen from 5-9pm for December Nights

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

  • Wednesday, November 29th: no 3pm and 4pm films
  • Thursday, November 30th: no 3 pm and 4 pm films
  • Friday, December 1st: no 4 pm film, film will not be shown during December Nights 5-9pm
  • Saturday, December 2nd: no 4 pm film, film will not be shown during December Nights 5-9pm
  • Monday, December 11th: no 11am, 12pm, 1pm, and 2pm films
  • Sunday, December 17: no films all day due to “Let There Be Light Family Day”
  • Sunday, December 24th: no 3 pm and 4 pm films
  • Monday, December 25th: no films due to museum closure
  • Wednesday, December 27: no 3pm and 4pm films
  • Saturday, December 30: no 11am, 12pm, 1pm, and 2pm films


We invite the public of all ages to come into our museum without paying a traditional admission price. Your admission has been donated by a generous supporter. After visiting the museum, we ask you to determine the value of your visit and invite you to GIVE FORWARD  for a future visitor. Our suggested minimum donation is $10.00.

Give Forward FAQs

Museum Store: Free and open to the public.

Visitors Guide: Visitors Guide (pdf)



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.