The Best Hotels to Book Near Balboa Park, San Diego

The 'Woman of Tehuantepec Fountain' is one of many historical stop-offs to visit in Balboa Park
The 'Woman of Tehuantepec Fountain' is one of many historical stop-offs to visit in Balboa Park | © Chon Kit Leong / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Lynn Houghton
6 October 2021
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Soak up the exciting vibe of San Diego at Balboa Park, a beautiful botanic paradise, lushly planted with trees and gardens. It’s home to San Diego Zoo, several museums, multiple arts venues and glorious walking trails. Here are the best hotels nearby, all bookable on Culture Trip.

The cultural oasis of Balboa Park is just minutes from downtown San Diego. It was started 150 years ago, when civic leaders decided to convert what was wild scrubland full of rattlesnakes and coyotes into an iconic urban park. It’s a must-visit if you go to the city, where you can experience the rich and ethnically diverse history of San Diego. Staying at any one of these nearby hotels will mean you can easily factor it into your itinerary.

Horton Grand Hotel

Victorian interior of dining space featuring antique chandelier and wall painting at the Horton Grand Hotel in San Diego
Courtesy of the Horton Grand Hotel / Expedia
The Horton Grand exudes confidence with period decor, a splash of opulence and modern amenities. Its history, which dates to the 1880s, is evident as the lobby and guest rooms are adorned with handcrafted antique furniture, marble-framed fireplaces, and other delightful Victoriana details. The Salt and Whiskey bar and restaurant offers flavorful bites but also has an inventory of rare and hard-to-find scotch and whiskey. There are also cocktails, if you prefer.

Solamar San Diego

Solamar San Diego
Courtesy of Solamar San Diego / Expedia
The emerging East Village-Gaslamp Quarter is becoming one of the hippest destinations in the city. Explore it by staying at the 235-room Solamar, which has a laid-back vibe and elegant decor. The rooftop pool with its singularly exciting Upper East bar is a great place to enjoy views over the city. If you run out of things to do in the neighborhood – and it will be a while as there are a lot of great dining and shopping options – take the Coronado ferry to the Pacific-facing island for an afternoon on the beach.

Kimpton Hotel Palomar San Diego

Kimpton Hotel Palomar San Diego
Courtesy of Kimpton Hotel Palomar San Diego / Expedia
The Kimpton features 183 guest rooms with 17 skyline suites and 20 luxury flats. A half-block north of Broadway in the heart of San Diego’s emerging cultural district, the property partners with local arts and cultural organizations on events and promotions. It’s equipped with the latest amenities, including a rooftop outdoor pool and spa.

Pendry San Diego

Pendry San Diego
Courtesy of Pendry San Diego / Expedia
Just blocks from the Convention Center, the Pendry is in the midst of great dining, shopping and vibrant nightlife, as well as being near to the sea and surf. Rooms and suites are bathed in light, have ocean-themed muted colors, and warm, maple-wood furnishings. The Pendry also features six restaurants and bars, with coastal cuisine at Lionfish; light bites at the Pool House, gourmet coffee at Provisional, cocktails at Fifth & Rose, local beers at Nason’s Beer Hall; and nightlife experiences at the Oxford Social Club.

Abpópa Hillcrest

Abpópa Hillcrest
Courtesy of Abpópa Hillcrest / Expedia
In the heart of San Diego and named after an honored Russian cruise ship, these micro-loft suites have living rooms, mini-kitchens, split-level floor plans and huge windows. Northwest of Balboa Park, they’re in the progressive neighborhood of Hillcrest, known for its diversity and locally owned businesses including restaurants, cafes, bars, clubs and independent boutiques. For a short or longer-term stay, these lofts are smart, comfortable and stylish.

WorldMark San Diego - Balboa Park

WorldMark San Diego - Balboa Park
Courtesy of WorldMark San Diego - Balboa Park / Expedia
This historic building houses rental properties that are perfect if you want to be based in downtown San Diego but near to Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo and Mission Bay, as well as dining, shopping, and attractions such as Seaport Village. The rooftop, smartly shaded by pergolas, offers beautiful views of the neighboring skyline to the more distant ocean. There is also a barbecue area and a fitness center. The accommodation is exceptionally stylish, and each studio has a kitchen or kitchenette, dining area and living quarters.

Inn at the Park

Inn at the Park
Courtesy of Inn at the Park / Expedia
On the edge of Balboa Park, this all-suite accommodation is particularly suited for families and has a great location. The spacious suites are designed to a high standard and are all fitted with kitchens, many of which have balconies. There are also amenities such as a piano bar downstairs, a fitness center and rooftop lounge. But it is the proximity to Balboa Park, Hillcrest, Little Italy and the Gaslamp Quarter that makes a stay at this property special.

Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Downtown

Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Downtown
Courtesy of Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Downtown / Expedia
Housed in the former San Diego Trust and Savings Bank building, the Marriott in downtown San Diego is a historically elegant space with marble walls, soaring ceilings and many original and unique features, including an old vault that’s been converted into a meeting space. It’s worth upgrading to a scenic city- or ocean-view room at this luxury property. Downstairs, THE LOBBY offers a full-service bar with cocktails, wine and beer, but it will also satisfy your senses with handcrafted California cuisine inspired by the effortless style of San Diego.

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