San Francisco Golden Gate Park VS San Diego Balboa Park

Which is the biggest, most visited park in California? If you read the claims on the Golden Gate Park official website, they will tell you their park is the third most visited park in the U.S. just under Central Park in New York and Grant Park in Chicago. With a claimed 13 million visitors each year, and 1,013 acres, San Francisco's great park could easily win as the most visited park attraction in California-if not for Balboa Park in San Diego.

Balboa Park in San Diego span 1,200 acres and hosts 14 million visitors. If the claims are true by the officials that run the parks, then Balboa Park is the most visited park in California. Does it really matter? Bragging rights are used for brochures, grants, awards and all sorts of things. Researchers and students writing book reports often have to rectify why one park claims it is more visited than another, but its numbers are lower. To the tourist, however, what's another one million people added to your visitor experience when you go?

Balboa Park is home to 15 major museums, renowned performing arts venues, 13 restaurants, gardens and the San Diego Zoo. It's really difficult to visit all the museums in a single day, so don't bother trying. You'll knock yourself out. You need time to stroll, eat, and see the gardens. Balboa Park ranks as one of the Best Parks in the World by the Project for Public Spaces, 13 out of 24 international parks. The World Federation of Rose Societies voted the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden as one of the top 12 rose gardens in the world, as well. The roses are truly spectacular!

Golden Gate Park easily earns the title as one of the most visited city parks in all of America. As San Franciscans turned their attention to the happenings of New York City's Central Park, residents began to yearn for their own scenic community dwelling. Today, although similar in shape, Golden Gate Park possesses one-of a-kind features that sets it apart from other urban settings, including several world class museums such as de Young Museum, and bison located at Buffalo Paddock.

If you had to choose one park to see in California, we'd be partial to Balboa Park in San Diego because it has more museums and a wonderful zoo. However, both parks are spectacular and offer worlds of entertainment value. When in San Francisco, do visit the Golden Gate Park (, and when in San Diego, don't miss Balboa Park ( You can't go wrong spending time at either oasis of green living and cultural exploration!


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