Location: Balboa Park (3 Miles Northeast of Downtown San Diego)
Show Times: Sundays at 2PM Year-Round; Mondays at 7:30PM from June – August; Additional Concerts Tuesdays – Thursdays from June – August
Features: Enjoy a Variety of Musical Performances at this Beautiful Outdoor Venue in Balboa Park, which is home to one of the World’s Largest Outdoor Pipe Organs played by an Internationally-Acclaimed Organist.
Spreckels Organ Pavilion Highlights: The Spreckels Organ has been entertaining crowds since 1915. It consists of 4,518 pipes and is played year-round by an organist who has performed for audiences around the world, including the late Princess Diana. The beautiful outdoor organ pavilion is also home to free concerts performed by visiting bands throughout the summer months.
What to Expect at the Balboa Park Organ Pavilion
- The Theatre seats about 2,400.
- Programs are provided at the side and back of the Organ Pavilion.
- Large Umbrellas are offered for patrons at a nominal fee to provide shade during daytime performances.
- Some guests bring picnic baskets with them for the evening performances and often show up an hour before performances begin. You can also buy light refreshments at the venue or at the nearby Japanese Friendship Garden.
- For out-of-towners, note it can get cooler than you might expect in the evenings, so consider bringing a long sleeve shirt or light jacket.
- There is a gift shop to the right side of the organ with CDs of pipe organ music, t-shirts, and more.
- In addition to the concerts noted below, you may also see students practicing on Friday afternoons.
- No Smoking is allowed in or around the Organ Pavilion.
Sunday Afternoons at Balboa Park -Year-round, you can enjoy the beautiful sounds of the world’s largest outdoor organ from 2PM-3PM. Internationally-acclaimed organist ,Carol Williams, performs solo and with visiting musicians. Pieces range from classical to contemporary.
Summer Organ Festival – From June through August, you can enjoy organ music played by visiting musicians on Monday evenings starting at 7:30PM.
Twilight in the Park Concerts – From June through August, professional performers volunteer to entertain crowds at 6:15PM. Concerts run Tuesdays through Thursdays and feature a wide variety of music. Participating bands have included the U.S. Navy Band, U.S. Marines Band, Coronado Big Band, and the San Diego Banjo Band. You will also hear Jazz, Cajun, Polka, Rock & Roll, and Mariachi Music.
Information on Attending Performances at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park
- Parking is Free
- Performances are Free thanks to the City of San Diego and the Spreckels Organ Society. However, donations are accepted.
Directions from Google Maps to 2215 Pan American Road in San Diego, CA 92101. The Spreckels Organ Pavilion is located near the center of Balboa Park, next to the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Parking – There is a large parking lot just south of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. You can access it by turning from Park Boulevard onto Presidents Way (following the signs for the museums). Once on Presidents Way, make a right into the 2nd parking lot and head to the far end of the lot. (There is also a parking lot on your left.) You will have a small uphill walk to the Organ Pavilion. Finding a parking spot can be difficult for Sunday afternoon performances during the summer.
You can also take the free Balboa Park Tram to avoid the parking hassle. To catch the Tram, head the opposite way on President’s Way (away from the museums). The Tram route starts near the end of the Presidents Way driveway in the middle of a very large parking area. Once on the Tram, get off at the Prado stop near the Balboa Park Information Center and walk back down the Tram route about 50 yards.
Traffic – Unless there is a major event at Balboa Park, which occurs a few times during the year, getting in and out of Balboa Park is relatively easy using Park Boulevard. If you approach Balboa Park using southbound SR-163, traffic occasionally backs up a little over a mile before reaching the Park Boulevard Exit, which is the same exit for the I-5 northbound. However, the delay will only take a few extra minutes. Likewise, if you are planning to get on SR-163 northbound after leaving Balboa Park, plan on a short delay during the mid and late afternoon hours as a few entrance ramps merge together before reaching the highway. (Learn how to get the latest traffic updates.)
Transit - You can get off the bus at Presidents Way to catch the Free Balboa Park Tram. The Tram starts at the end of the driveway, on the east side of Presidents Way and circulates every 10 minutes from here to the main circle at the Prado stop, near the Balboa Park Information Center. You will pass the Spreckels Organ Pavilion about 50 yards before you get off the Tram. The Tram runs from 8:30AM – 6PM daily with extended hours during the summer and special occasions. You can also walk a quarter-mile from the Bus Stop to the Organ Pavilion. (See San Diego Transit Information for the downtown transit map, which includes Balboa Park, and information for the online Transit Planner.)
Balboa Park Map – The map shows a listing of all Balboa Park Museums, attractions, bus and tram stops, and places to eat. You should also print out the Balboa Park Tram Map from the City of San Diego. It is not as detailed but is helpful because it includes names on each of the buildings. With the other map, you need to use a map key to find the name of a building.