While picturesque the park's quality has gone down in recent years. There is now trash all over, especially in the lake. The amount of restroom facilities is unacceptably low for the amount of people now flocking to it and the quality of said restrooms? Disgusting! I went there only last week and had to use napkins I brought as there was no toilet paper, the room was dirty with a burnt-out light and the door didn't close all the way. It was more a prison cell than a bathroom with it's cinder block walls. What's worse is the trash. IT. IS. EVERYWHERE. I got a fishhook through my sneaker. However, it did give a nice location for a project I was shooting, it was based on pollution and littering.
I spent many days running around Balboa Park. It is a great 4.8 mile loop for runners who are looking for the longer distances. However, there are a couple of negatives. Balboa Park is in a flood zone, so when it rains, it gets muddy and flooded. Also, there is a long stretch where there are no trees, which makes for an extremely scorching route on those hot days. You won't find a better place to run in the area.
I love this park. This is a man made lake, with multiple play areas for the little ones to enjoy. We usually stroll around the lake for mommy then relax and play in the sand for the little ones. This is a great place to play, and pack a lunch and just hang out for the day. The area is monitored, clean, and fun.
CONS: weekends are usually crowded and parking tends to be difficult
Being from the Midwest, I grew up thinking all parks had to have ponds in them. In L.A., I've found a number of nice parks but none of them have quite the peaceful vibe a body of water brings. So I was so excited to discover Balboa Park...
Not only does it have a large lake, but also sweet flowered trellises to sit under, beautiful pink trees, and even a waterfall. It's big enough, and far enough away from the roads you forget you're in the middle of the city. Unlike many other parks, it attracts people from all ages, races, and economic backgrounds so anyone can feel welcome.
The only reason that I would not rate this park higher is due to the heat issue during summer months. The trees are still growing, I guess, and there really is not enough shade in most areas to make this a comfortable place to be during the summer months. Great for walking (there is a walking path) and watching ducks and birds swimming around in the large man-made lake. There is also a large childrens' playground, but again, the weather makes this attraction not useable during summer.
I have been running around Balboa Park for years, and have learned that it is quite a favorite spot among SF Valley locals for all types of recreation. The perimeter of the entire park is a perfect 5-miles, very flat and alternating between hard dirt and cement. I always feel safe running this loop as it is parallel with major streets and steady traffic.
The park itself is quite serene, with a large "lake" enjoyable for paddle-boaters and fishers. Many walkers circle the lake; I believe it is about a mile in circumference. The sidewalk surrounding the lake is well-kept, and rollerblader/bikers/skateboarders are prohibited. There is also an asphalt path friendly for recreation involving wheels.
Beware that the park becomes VERY busy on weekends and holidays, as this is a favorite site for family barbeques and parties. Unfortunately, the parking is quite insufficient.
The playgrounds are colorful and sturdy, built atop a soft sand foundation.
I love the park best in spring, when th
My childrens favourite park. We have had many picnics in their beautiful picnic areas with lots of trees and benches perfect for picnic. There is also a lake with ducks and boating too. A fun place to ride the bicycles and roller blades.They need to have a few more restrooms though.