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California Tower, San Diego

(4.8/5 based on 35+ reviews on the web)
From the second floor of the Museum, you go up a staircase hidden to the public for decades. Then you climb seven floors, getting glimpses through narrow windows of the beauty outside. Finally, you climb a spiral metal stairway and emerge into sunlight where you will see a spectacular Southern California vista. All of the California Buildings, as the structures housing the Museum of Man are called, were completed in 1914, and officially opened in 1915 as part of the Panama-California Exposition. They were designed by Bertram Goodhue, who was inspired by the churches of Mexico and Spain. Even though the California Buildings resemble a church, they have never been a church and have been exhibition halls from the start — except when they were used as a Naval hospital during World War II. The Tower was closed to the public shortly after the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • The tour includes interesting information on the 1915 Pan American Exposition. There is a stop-rest-listen to the tour guide at each level so most should be able to enjoy the climb up the stairs. Beau...  more »
  • Climbed the California Tower and got a wonderful view of San Diego. The climb is relatively easy but make sure you bring comfortable shoes. Visits only allowed via a reservation in groups that run as ...  more »
  • This is a must do in Balboa Park! The views from the California Tower are amazing. This is a guided tour that lasts 40 minutes. You learn a little bit of history about Balboa Park and the California T...  more »
Google
  • A nice site on a path of many things to see. Just bring comfy shoes and sunblock!
  • Highly recommended! I visited for the tour to the top when this re-opened to the public and it was awesome. The easy climb is up spiral staircases with stops on each floor for a brief history talk (and probably a break). The view from the top is great and well worth the time.
  • Great tour up the tower the view is beautiful especially when you reach the top of the tower ❤
  • Beautiful monument of San Diego and it's rich history.
  • Great view from tower