Architectural Tours of San Diego


Location: Downtown San Diego (Gaslamp Quarter), Balboa Park

Schedule: 10AM on Select Saturdays

Cost: $15 ($8 for Students and Military Members)

Features: Two-Hour Walking Tours Around Notable San Diego Development Areas and Architecture

San Diego Architectural Tour Highlights: Join the San Diego Architectural Foundation as they take you on a walking tour of San Diego’s most notable attractions.

The Balboa Park Tour will explain the history of how a desolate mesa was transformed into the largest urban cultural park in America. It is now home to 15 Museums, 7 Performing Arts Theatres and much more. The Spanish Colonial Architecture was designed with ornate detail since early city leaders wanted to make a memorable impression on guests when they hosted two International Expositions. (Learn more about Balboa Park from TourGuideTim Reveals San Diego.)

The Gaslamp Quarter Tour will explain the development of Downtown San Diego from the 1880’s to the present. Prior to the 1880s, the center of San Diego was located a few miles north in Old Town. You will learn how Alonzo Horton’s vision for a new city led to the creation of today’s current downtown location.  In case your timing does not work for this tour, you may be interested in a tour of Historical Buildings in the Gaslamp Quarter led by the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation. You can also try the Asian Pacific Historic District and the Harlem of the West walking tours. They point out notable buildings erected during the development of downtown San Diego during specific eras of its history.

Each architecture tour takes place on separate Saturdays and lasts two hours. Visit the San Diego Architectural Foundation web site for tour details.

*** The Saturday morning tours are temporarily unavailable. The Architectural Foundation will offer customized tours for groups.***

Information on Taking an Architectural Tour of San Diego

Advance Reservations are highly recommended because tours are limited to 15 guests and often sell out.

The following information provides details on where to find the tour start points. Please check the Architectural Tour web site to confirm that the starting points have not changed.


Gaslamp Quarter Tour Location (Meets in Front of Horton Plaza)

Directions from Google Maps to Horton Plaza at 324 Horton Plaza in San Diego, CA 92101. (Between 1st and 4th Avenues, on the west side of the Gaslamp Quarter)

Parking – The Horton Plaza Parking Garage can be entered at the intersection of 4th Avenue and F Street or at the intersection of 3rd Avenue and G Street. Parking tickets can be validated for three hours of free parking at kiosk machines in the mall or at some mall stores. (Check the parking signs at the garage entrance regarding any changes.) Nearby street parking is also available for about $1.25 an hour.

Transit – Both the Blue and Orange Trolley Lines move through Downtown San Diego and get you within four blocks of most attractions. Both lines stop at the Civic Center station, which is the closest to Horton Plaza. (The mall is two blocks south of the station.) However, other downtown trolley stops are also within manageable walking distance for most people. (See San Diego Transit Information for the downtown transit map and information for the online Transit Planner.) Walking around Downtown San Diego is easy since it is flat with the exception of the northeast corner near Cortez Hill.

Learn more about Horton Plaza and the surrounding attractions


Balboa Park Tour Location (Meets in front of the Museum of Man)

Directions from Google Maps to the Museum of Man at 1350 El Prado in San Diego, CA 92101

Parking – The Museum of Man does not have a parking lot. There is a parking lot in front of the San Diego Art Museum, which is next to the Museum of Man. You will find additional parking behind the Mingei Museum, which is across the street from the Museum of Man.

Transit – Buses serving Balboa Park drop passengers off on Park Boulevard near the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center and the San Diego Museum of Natural History. The stop is underneath a pedestrian bridge, which you can take to reach the Museum of Man, which is a little beyond the other end of the Pedestrian Mall. (See San Diego Transit Information for the downtown transit map, which includes Balboa Park, and information for the online Transit Planner.)

Learn more about Balboa Park attractions.

Find More Attractions with Similar Themes or Location: *San Diego Tours & Sightseeing*, Architecture, Balboa Park, Gaslamp Quarter |

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