In existence for more than 100 years, Balboa Park is a public park situated on the southern side of San Francisco. Sharing its name with the surrounding neighborhood, the area is sometimes referred to as Mission Terrace or Ingleside. Multiple options in public transportation make Balboa Park an easily accessible watering hole for adults and children alike. The spacious baseball and soccer fields have always been a draw at the park, which caters to a wide range of youth leagues and adult recreation teams who come to both practice and compete. A pool and playground accommodate a large number of younger residents that visit, as Balboa Park is situated within a community boasting the highest concentration of children in San Francisco.
BALBOA PARK ATTRACTIONS
The San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department is responsible for operating and maintaining the following attractions at Balboa Park:
Boxer Stadium: With the capacity to accommodate 3,500 people, Boxer Stadium is owned and operated by the San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department. Also known as Matthew J. Boxer Stadium, this attraction serves as the only public soccer-specific stadium in San Francisco. Over the years, the natural grass stadium has hosted sporting events that include high school lacrosse, as well as adult soccer and rugby matches for the San Francisco Stompers FC of the National Premier Soccer League; the San Francisco Dogfish (Major League Ultimate); and the Golden Gate Women’s Soccer League. Boxer Stadium can also be rented for special events.
Balboa Pool: Popular amongst those who come to enjoy recreational and lap swims, Balboa Pool is one of eight public swimming pools in San Francisco. Located at 51 Havelock Street (between Arago Street and San Jose Avenue), Balboa Pool is an indoor facility offering 80-degree waters within a 100 feet long x 40 feet wide space that has six lanes that can reach up to 10 feet in depth. Adults swim for $5, while it’s $1 per children. Balboa Pool is currently closed for renovations and will re-open in the spring of 2017; look forward to new mechanical/plumbing systems, new locker rooms, new accessible pool lifts for the disabled, and a dedicated community room.
Balboa Park Playground: The Balboa Park playground underwent much-needed renovations in 2012 to provide a multitude of new and revamped elements. Young visitors are now treated to a soft sand floor underneath their feet as they explore the toddler-friendly features and enjoy the playground’s colorful climbing structures, jungle gym tunnel, and swings.
Additional features and highlights of Balboa Park include tennis courts, basketball courts, picnic areas, Ingleside Police Station, practice field, baseball/softball diamonds, restrooms, and a non-public clubhouse for office-use only.
THINGS to DO in BALBOA PARK
Have a Picnic: Bring out the sandwiches, pour the punch, and take the family to Balboa Park for a picnic or other family gathering using one of the two separate, reservable picnic areas which provide access to restrooms, tables and benches. Equipped with two 8-feet tables, choose to be near a play area or close to the pool building. Keep in mind that alcohol consumption and having a BBQ are not allowed in the picnic areas.
Catch a San Francisco Rush Match: The newly formed PRO Rugby team is the second one of its kind in California, which will lead to many future enhancements at Balboa Park’s Boxer Stadium, as well as the opportunity to serve as the host city for the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament.
Dust Off Your Skateboard: Balboa Park is the third public skateboard park to open in San Francisco, located on the south corner of the park, and facing the northern side of Balboa BART station. The bowl and ramps are made out of wood, and the park has a reputation for having an impressive pyramid. If you want to avoid the crowds at Balboa Park Skatepark, locals suggest checking it out when the kids are in school.
Take Swimming Lessons: Balboa Pool offers swim lessons for children. Before pool renovations, Balboa Park Pool also served as home to the Balboa Sharks Swim Team (a USA swimming certified Swim Team for swimmers ages 18 and younger). Tryouts for the Swim Team were held at the beginning of May and mid-August. To date, team members have relocated to another pool during renovations, and according to their coach, may return in the future.
Join or Form a Recreational Softball Team: Helping to form co-worker bonds for years and providing a place for youth leagues to master the game, the Balboa Park athletic fields have four diamonds for softball and baseball players to enjoy. However, to hold official competitions and have full use of the space, an additional permit is required.
Find a Tennis Buddy: Serve an ace, improve your game, or teach your youngsters to become the next Serena Williams at one of Balboa Park’s four public tennis courts. For additional fun, use Tennis Round’s Automatic Player Matching Service to find tennis buddies, accumulate points, and get ranked. The Balboa Park tennis courts operate on a first come, first serve basis; and are located at 59 Sergeant John V Young Lane.
Work on Your Jump Shot: Balboa Park has two basketball half-courts, available on a first come, first serve basis.
BALBOA PARK ANNUAL EVENTS
Mission Terrace 4th of July Parade and Picnic: Bring your red, white and blue pride and spirit to Balboa Park to enjoy Fourth of July festivities that include a colorful parade, free food, entertainment for the children (such as magic shows), vintage cars on display, and demonstrations from the fire department.
BALBOA PARK WEDDINGS
Balboa Park is one of the oldest parks in San Francisco, helping to create local memories that last a lifetime. Although there aren’t any designated wedding sites to book, there are picnic areas that you can reserve (each with a capacity to accommodate 50 people) that still make it possible to plan your special occasion at Balboa Park. If you are looking to book a wedding at Balboa Park, use the form below to receive a free quote.
BALBOA PARK IS LOCATED CLOSE TO…
Balboa Park is situated close to neighborhood markets and ‘mom and pop’ pizza shops, as well as City College of San Francisco, which gives way to a vibrant nightlife scene when the sun goes down. Balboa High School is also found nearby on Cayuga Avenue.
One of the most delicious nearby highlights to consider during a visit to Balboa Park is a stop at the island-themed café Pineapples, located at 296 Ocean Ave (right east of 280). Here, you can indulge in the same Dole Whip delight that you’d find at Disneyland – a creamy, non-dairy concoction made out of coconut oil and pineapple puree with optional toppings such as coconut shavings, mochi, and li hing powder. Other ideal drinks and edibles available for a Balboa Park visit include grab-and-go snacks, Kona coffee, mango tea, breakfast sandwiches, and rice plates.
The Balboa Park station complex (401 Geneva Avenue) offers transportation via the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and light rail Muni Metro systems. Passengers enjoy the station’s close proximity to Interstate 280, which is known as a major commuter route into the city of San Francisco.
Balboa Park Information
Balboa Park Location: Between Ocean & San Jose Avenues
GPS Location: Latitude: 37.724569 Longitude: -122.443357
Balboa Park Hours: 5am to midnight
Balboa Park Parking: limited availability for street parking
Public Transportation for Balboa Park: Muni J,K,M; Bart, Balboa Park Station
Balboa Park Facility Contact: (415) 337-4701