Balboa Park in San Diego

Looking for something to do on these long, lazy San Diego summer evenings? Well, as it turns out Balboa Park—marking its centennial this year, as we wrote about earlier this year—makes a prime after-hours destination this time of year! That’s courtesy of two beloved summertime programs, Balboa Park After Dark and the Twilight in the Park concert series.

Balboa Park After Dark

Balboa Park’s famous for its diverse lineup of museums, and Balboa Park After Dark gives you the unique opportunity to appreciate them in the evening. Nine of the park’s cultural institutions are offering extended hours. The following seven are staying open until 8 PM each Friday through September 2:

  • The San Diego Art Institute
  • The Mingei International Museum
  • The Japanese Friendship Garden
  • The San Diego History Center
  • The San Diego Automotive Museum
  • The Rueben H. Fleet Science Center
  • The San Diego Museum of Art

The San Diego Museum of Man, meanwhile, stays open every day till 8:30 PM for the duration of After Dark—offering special sunset tours of the lovely, historic California Tower as well as the utterly fascinating new “Cannibals: Myth & Reality” exhibit—and the Museum of Photographic Arts is open on Thursdays (not Fridays) until 8 PM.

For the most part, standard rates apply at the After Dark institutions, but the San Diego Museum of Art has a special $5 entry to its “Art After Hours” program. (Heads up: If you’re a Balboa Park Explorer, you enjoy free general admission!)

Twilight in the Park

Besides those fine park institutions staying open late for the summer, you can also take in some live evening outdoor music through the Twilight in the Park Summer Concerts!

A tradition nearly four decades old, the concert series goes down at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays through September 1. Performers hit the stage between 6:30 and 7:30 PM, and the represented genres really run the gamut. For instance, you can take in a rousing mariachi band (Mariachi Estrellas de Chula Vista) on Thursday, August 9; the El Cajon German Band the next day; and the San Diego Marine Band on Wednesday, August 17—plus “The Legends” oldies show closing things out on Thursday, September 1.

Check out the full calendar right here, and bring a picnic down to Balboa Park for some tunes under the dusk skies!

Don’t forget: The Sofia Hotel is mere shouting distance from Balboa Park. Make us your San Diego base camp this summer, and take in some world-class entertainment (and education) at this century-old greenspace!