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A Walk on the Exposition Side

A Weekend of Centennial Tours

Saturday & Sunday · June 6 & 7, 2015
10am & 2pm · All 3 tours both days

We continue our yearlong centennial celebration of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition with these three 90-minute centennial tours, two walking and one by trolley include architecture, decorative arts, and intriguing, little-known facets of park history. Join us to explore unusual and often overlooked aspects of Balboa Park history.

Tours are limited in number of attendees to assure quality. So sign up fast!

Purchase Tour Tickets · Online
NOTE: Each tour meets at a different location

The Romance of the Expo: Courtyards, Tiles & Fountains - $15
10am & 2pm · Meets in the California Quadrangle (In front of the Museum of Man)

Through visionary architecture and landscape, Bertram G. Goodhue and the other designers of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition created an exuberant fantasy world of time and place inspired by San Diego's Spanish and Mexican heritage. The resulting memorable effect would lure visitors from across the country while putting San Diego on the map. One hundred years later, due to historic preservationists and concerned citizens, Balboa Park contains one of the nation's largest concentrations of eclectic, Spanish Colonial Era-inspired buildings, gardens and public spaces. The everlastingly beautiful People's Park, as it became known, continues to attract tourists from around the globe who come to marvel at its year-round splendor.

The predominantly Spanish Revival architectural theme of Balboa Park is enhanced by countless decorative and historic details, including romantic courtyards, tranquil fountains, and opulent tile. While many of these features are original to the 1915 Panama -California Exposition more were added for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition and during the following decades to commemorate people and special events important to park and city history. The Romantic Courtyards, Fountains and Tiles of the Exposition walking tour will take you to many of these intriguing and alluring sites, beginning at the centrally located Plaza de Panama and looping around to end at the Moorish-influenced Alcazar Gardens. Come learn from SOHO's experts about the unique and often surprising histories of these "sparkling little gems" that together make up San Diego's celebrated "crown jewel."


Balboa Park: Hidden in Plain Sight - $15
10am & 2pm · Meets at west side of Cabrillo Bridge in Sefton Plaza

The architectural grandeur and natural beauty of Balboa Park is enriched by countless hidden historical details including unique structures, landscape features, monuments and plaques, public art, and heritage plants and trees. See Balboa Park like you have never seen it before on SOHO's Hidden in Plain Sight walking tour, highlighting some of these fascinating but often over-looked spaces and features. Even a regular visitor to the park will be guaranteed to discover and learn many new interesting things on this casual one and a half hour trek.

A collaborative effort, Hidden in Plain Sight is based upon the countless collective hours, years and decades of intrepid exploration of Balboa Park by present and past SOHO board members. In honor of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition Centennial, our resident experts have generously agreed to share some of their intimate insider knowledge and favorite secret places. The tour, bringing attention to some lesser-known and underappreciated aspects of Balboa Park including those objects "hidden in plain sight," also aims to increase public awareness of the pressing historic preservation issues currently affecting this precious public resource.


They Slept Here: The Movers, Shakers, & Designers of Balboa Park Trolley Tour - $25
2pm · Meets at the Marston House, 3525 Seventh Avenue, 92103

This trolley tour explores the neighborhoods west of the park looking at the homes of various people involved with the Exposition, including architect Carleton M. Winslow, Sr., and director of works Frank P. Allen, as well as zoo founder Dr. Harry Wegeforth, and San Diego mayors. "These were important people," Hazard said. "These are the guys who put the first half of 20th-century San Diego on the map. Their homes range from modest workers cottages to grand, with some in need of TLC to restore them to their rightful place in San Diego history."


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2476 San Diego Avenue · San Diego CA 92110 · Phone (619) 297-9327
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