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.

SDHC Google Map 800x557


The History Center is located in the heart of historic Balboa Park, the nation’s largest urban cultural park, with 16 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

  • Friday, December 7th: Museum and Store will close at 4:00pm; reopen from 5:00-9:00pm for December Nights
  • Saturday, December 8th: Museum and Store will close at 4:00pm; reopen from 5:00-9:00pm for December Nights
  • Saturday, December 15th: Museum and Store will close at 3:30pm
  • Monday, December 17th: Museum and Store will close at 3:30pm
  • Wednesday, December 19th: Museum, Store, and Research Archives open at 12:00pm
  • Monday, December 24th: Museum and Store will close at 3:00pm


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

  • Friday, November 30th: no 11:00 am, 12:00 pm, and 1:00 pm films
  • Wednesday, December 5th: no 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm films
  • Thursday, December 6th: no 2:00pm, 3:00pm, and 4:00pm film
  • Friday, December 7th: no 4:00 pm film
  • Saturday, December 8th: no 4:00 pm film
  • Tuesday, December 11th: no 1:00 pm film
  • Saturday, December 15th: no 4:00 pm film
  • Monday, December 17th: no 4:00 pm film
  • Wednesday, December 19th: no 11:00 am film
  • Monday, December 24th: no 3:00pm and 4:00pm films
  • Tuesday, December 25th: no films all day (museum closed in observance of the holiday)



We invite the public of all ages to come into our museum without paying a traditional admission fee. 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.


  • No food or beverages.
  • No pets. Service animals are welcome.
  • Photography is permitted. Tag us! No flash, video, tri-pods, mono-pods, 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.



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


As a public service, Balboa Park organizations offer free admission on a rotating basis to the tax payers 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.


The History Center participates in Museums for All, Blue Star Museums, Smithsonian Museum Day Live , Balboa Park December Nights , and San Diego Museum Council’s Kids Free in October and Macy’s Museum Month in February,


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.