Thursday, August 15, 2013

City Walk: Balboa Park to Bankers Hill

Banker's Hill is an uptown San Diego neighborhood bordered by downtown to the south, San Diego Bay to the west and by Balboa Park to the east. I usually do this walk when I am by myself since I am not confident hiking alone in wilderness. Balboa Park is actually one my favorite places in San Diego to experience a mix of nature (there are canyons and mesas that spans through the park), wonderful art and culture, and stunning Spanish Revival architecture.
I usually start my walk at the Desert Garden along Park Avenue. The Desert Garden is home to hundreds of different cacti where some of them are over a hundred years old.
Before really starting my walk actually, I usually would enjoy first the busy life here at the Desert Garden,
and in the adjacent Rose Garden.

When I get enough fun observing the dedicated workers (the bees) enjoying the sweetest nectar of life,
I would cross the footbridge to start the real "Balboa Park walk." After crossing the footbridge, the water fountain between Fleet Science Center and Natural History Museum greets me. 
The San Diego Natural History museum (NAT) is an active research institution and is dedicated to interpreting the natural world through research and education. The NAT is my favorite museum in San Diego. 
 The Fleet Science Center is home to Southern California’s only IMAX® Dome Theater and 100+ hands-on science exhibits for all ages. Though most of the exhibits are very engaging for kids at the Science Center, but it is also a well of knowledge for adults. Instead of walking on the streets of El Prado, I usually walk westwards in the arched hallways  
 of Casa del Prado,
 and then take a detour around the Lily and Koi Pond,
and the wooden lath Botanical Building. 
 From the Botanical building, I would go back on El Prado Street and continue walking west. On the west end of El Prado St before hitting the bridge that spans through a canyon where highway 163 runs through,
is the California Building. The California Building is home to San Diego's Museum of Man.
 The San Diego Museum of Man is devoted to anthropology-as well as arts, culture and scientific achievements.  This is my second favorite museum. Adjacent to the California Building is the Old Globe Theater, one of the country’s leading regional theatre complexes, California’s oldest professional theatre, and San Diego’s largest theatre organization. I love watching theater plays here sometimes.

From the California building, I would continue walking west on El Prado St. Past the El Prado bridge, you may see dogs playing frisbee with their caretakers, and socializing with other dogs in the Dog Park. It is nice to see dogs having a good time partying with a lot other dogs. In the other side of the street were some older people playing lawn bowling, and at the farther end, were some group of teens playing volleyball. 

Surely, there is a group and activity for everyone at Balboa Park. Continuing the walk on El Prado St, it later changes to Laurel St. I make a right turn at the 6th Ave, then a left turn at Quince Street. Starting at Quince and 4th, I would basically follow Jerry Schad's direction of the Banker's Hill walk. 

One of the architectural gems from the past (1905) is at Quince and 4th.
It is a wood-trestle footbridge crossing a canyon where the San Diego Bay can be seen from afar. While walking on the streets of Banker's Hill, I was paying attention to the classic revival styles of home architectures of William Hebbard and Irving Gill since 1898. I was surprised to see that some of the designs of the houses which I perceived as new and recent were actually a hundred years old,
like the house above, at 3100 Brant. The house was designed by Hebbard in 1907, if not for the old tree and the very matured landscaping, I would think that the house is a product of more recent architectural design. Walking west on Spruce Street from Front, is another of San Diego's hidden treasure from the past, a suspension bridge (1912) which spans another canyon.
 The suspension bridge sways as you walk across it, kind of cool walking on that bridge. Below the bridge are groves of eucalyptus, pepper and palm trees. After completing the Banker's Hill loop, I would go back to Balboa Park, walking in the other side of El Prado St. I would stop at Alcazar 
 which lies adjacent to the Art Institute and Mingei Museum.
Mingei (or people) Museum is dedicated to the understanding and appreciation of art of people from all cultures of the world. Here, I am back walking on the arched hallways of the Art Institute. I would make a right turn at Pan Am Rd, walking towards the Spreckel Organ Pavillon (1914).
Spreckel Organ Pavillon is one of the world's largest outdoor pipe organs. From the Organ Pavillon, I would turn around to go back on El Prado St but taking the arched hallways of Casa de Balboa,
 where the House of Hospitality and the Balboa Park Visitor's Center is located.
The arched hallways in many of the buildings in Balboa Park can be used as a photo frame for the landscape outside.   
Even though this kind of city walk is on the manicured paths of the city streets, but nevertheless, it is one of the nicest walks I do here in San Diego once a while. It is still a very relaxing walk, a good alternative to hiking in the backroads when I feel like knowing the city where I live more.
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  1. ...enjoyed the virtual walk with you Betchai....the flower shots are so lovely with the bee....I love the bridges too! and the fountain...wish I could visit Balboa part one sweet day :)

  2. Nice giving us a tour sis, hee hee. I have never been outside the country but if I will have the chance in the future, Balboa Park will be the first on my list. :)

  3. If that's how beautiful a city is, a whole day city walk would not bore me! Thanks for sharing this to us readers... :)

  4. I definitely need to go back to San Diego and spend at least a week to enjoy the sceneries and yes, hike your famous trails... with you and Khai.

  5. the whole place looks amazing specially the architecture of those buidling photos above!! thanks for the online tour!

  6. Beautiful Balboa! Finally, a place I have been too in my previous vacation to the US. I wish I knew then the back roads so the whole family could have enjoyed a relaxing nature trip.

    Is it safe to traverse those roads on your own? I hope they are not very secluded and that there are enough security around.

  7. Oh my goodness, those are wonderful images. Please Ate Beth, take me with you next time you travel hehehe.

  8. The building's architecture is just majestic and the surroundings, gosh ang daming makikita. Envy naman ako. ;)Ay bad pala yun.

  9. This is such a great place. I have only been there once, and at the time we were in a rush.

  10. Woohoo! What beautiful city you live Sis :-) I love that water park, the hanging bridge but especially the weather you have in San Diego. Beautiful and amazing pictures as ever Sis :-)

  11. Oh Betchai, you always have the loveliest shots of nature! Thanks for the awesome tour! :)

  12. Nice-looking structures that we only often see in movies and TV. Looks like the place has a rich culture and heritage judging from the intricacies of the designs.

  13. Someday I wanna visit this place.. the place looks great :)

  14. Everything looks great. I love to walk at the footbridge and the suspension bridge. I know now that I shouldn't miss San Diego when I visit US.

  15. Great shots Ms Betchai, as always! I have heard about this place from two of my friends based in San Diego. They've been telling me they're gonna bring me here once I can visit San Diego. I hope that's soon enough as I wouldreally love to walk on that bridge you pictured! :)

  16. I love macro, especially those of your perspective.

  17. Wherever you go, it is always a pleasure seeing the pictures you took.

  18. I have some relatives in SanDiego and I'm not sure if they've been there already.. A very nice place indeed but I don;t think I can cross that hanging bridge .. hehe

  19. Wow..Betchai, your shots of this place are amazing, and what a wonderful area to see and soak in!

  20. I wouldn't dare crossing that suspension bridge. zyour photo above is so nice, Ate! Pero I'm sure nakakatakot talaga yang bridge. LOL I have a fear for heights.

  21. wow, thanks for bring us with you...lovely to see those pictures and read stories about it. :) ang ganda po talaga dyan sa always have eye for detailed beauty, galing! have a great week. :)