While Southern California in general is world famous for its scenery, the parks and greenery in San Diego are among the most beautiful. The pleasant weather in San Diego along with beautiful beaches, astonishing artwork, and heavenly hiking trails are what attracts people to this city. The abundance of diverse parks around the city allow for many to enjoy it.  Whether you are looking for swings overlooking the ocean’s waves or simply a space to wander, San Diego has something for everyone. Here are some parks that are sure to please the whole family.

San Diego County Waterfront Park

Photo by @advazquezgnzlz – Instagram

About 3 years ago, San Diego started a project to revamp a parking lot into a series of fountains in the ground, now known as the bayfront waterfront park. People of all ages enjoy playing in the water to cool off on a hot summer day, and there is plenty of opportunity for other activities in this unique park such as picnics and yoga – the list goes on. Just across the street from the park you’ll find the many famous boats that are part of the Maritime Museum. You don’t even have to worry about lunch; the park is walking distance from many delicious spots to grab a bite. One place I’d recommend is Carnitas Snack Shark. You can enjoy delicious food while overlooking the ocean.

Where : 1600 Pacific Hwy, San Diego, CA 92101

Balboa Park  

Of course no San Diego Park list would be complete without including Balboa Park. Balboa Park is the largest urban cultural park in America spanning 1,200 acres. It’s home to many museums, performing art venues, gardens, trails and many other cultural attractions. The park features a great playground  for kids and a fantastic place to walk where you can enjoy nature such as the rose gardens or the native succulents.  

Some other interesting places to explore include the Fleet Science Center, the San Diego Air & Space museum, the San Diego Natural History Museum, the Museum of Man, the Japanese Friendship Garden, and the Model Railroad Museum.

Photo by Thomas Hathaway Instagram @finestcityphotography

Hungry? Balboa Park has plenty of places to grab something to eat. While many parks prohibit alcohol, some places in Balboa allow it, which makes it the perfect park to have brunch. Just don’t forget the orange juice! 

Don’t forget about the largest free festival showcase. Balboa’s magnificent light show in the evening attracts more than 350,000 attendees. December Nights brings friends and families together and spreads the holiday joy by showcasing entertaining performances, featuring tasty international culinary treats to feast on, and immersive Balboa Park Museum experiences.

Where: Downtown, San Diego, CA 92101

La Jolla Shores 

La Jolla Shores is capped off by the famous Scripps Institution of Oceanographyand its pier. It’s the perfect place to simply enjoy the beautiful beach from the smooth sand or the grassy fields. 

La Jolla Shores is the perfect place for a photo shoot before sunset. One famous photo spot is underneath the pier, looking directly out to the ocean between the pylons. After sunset, you can have a bonfire right on the beach.  La Jolla Shores is definitely on my list of the best places to take photos in San Diego. 

Photo by Vish Instagram @explore.sandiego

If you are feeling adventurous, La Jolla leopard shark sightings happen between August and early December. At this time, hundreds of leopard sharks can be seen right off the coast.

Where: La Jolla Shores, San Diego, CA 92037 


On behalf of City Canvas, I would like to thank the following photographers for the amazing pictures that they allowed us to post on our blog:

Please check out these wonderful photographers’ Instagram pages to see more of their works.

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Errick Santos
Errick Santos

Errick Santos is a data science student at UCSD and project manager at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AlChe) at UCSD. He is also a volunteer lead for Mission Federal Artwalk, San Diego.

Devina Naidu
Devina Naidu

Devina Naidu is a UCSD alumni who majored in molecular bio with a lit/Writing. Her writing skills are second to none.