Top Five Best Spots to Take Pictures of San Diego Architecture

San Diego’s architecture is one of the major reasons it frequently makes top lists. Whether its the Hotel del Coronado or the County Building, SanDiego has a unique essence that can’t be replicated anywhere else in the world. We have buildings that are historic as well as modern and new.  This blog is to share some of the favorite spots to get some beautiful shots of San Diego architecture.

Balboa Park

Balboa park is one of the most beautiful places in San Diego and is filled with tourist’s free to come inside. I recommend going to the Botanical Gardens during sunset and snapping as many pictures as you can. The lighting is amazing and it’s a great escape from the hustle and bustle of Downtown and other coastal city neighborhoods.

Balboa Park’s architecture are an eye candy for anyone. There are various styles of buildings from Spanish Colonial Revival to Art Deco to Edwardian. It’s no surprise that photographers find streets such as El Prado and Balboa Park Drive very photogenic. Either for a professional photographer or someone who just loves taking pictures, these are the best spots to take pictures of San Diego architecture.

With its abundance of art museums, architectural styles and cultural history, Balboa Park is the perfect place to catch your best shot of the quintessential San Diego. Utilize your natural surroundings to incorporate the architecture of Balboa Park with other elements in order to create a beautiful composition.

Best Architecture In San Diego

The Salk Institute

It’s enough to make you want to drop everything and move to San Diego. Okay, it’s probably not that extreme, but you might want to spend a few hours wandering around the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. It’s difficult not to be awed by the modern design of the building and still feel like you traveled back in time. This is especially true when one considers the history of the Institute. Created by architect Louis Kahn, every aspect of this building has been exquisitely thought out. The color choice of white is important because it acts as a blank slate that allows each individual researcher to fill with their own personality.

The Salk Institute is an independent, non-profit, scientific research institute located in La Jolla, San Diego, California. It was founded in 1960 by Jonas Salk, the developer of the polio vaccine; among the founding consultants were Jacob Bronowski and Francis Crick. The institute focuses on biological problems at the molecular level.

The architecture and history of this facility are as interesting as the work that it houses. The Salk Institute for Biological Studies is a registered National Historic Landmark and one of only a handful of buildings in San Diego that’s been honored as an American Institute of Architects’ National Twenty-Five Year Award winner.

The building holds all sorts of geometric secrets that have been hidden in plain sight – from exact mathematical proportions to unique angles and composition, the architect has left behind quite a few clues for those who know where to look.

Get over your fear of heights and visit the top of the Hyatt Hotel.

The Hyatt Hotel is a great place to catch some amazing views of San Diego’s skyline. From the top, you can see the bay and even some of the mountains in the distance. It’s one of my favorite places to take pictures.

While I don’t love heights, I do love to take pictures from above and it’s just one more reason why I love San Diego so much. If you are afraid of heights, but want to take some great photos from above, try a helicopter tour!

 The Hyatt Hotel was built in 2004 as a part of an effort to revitalize downtown San Diego. The hotel has a view that stretches from La Jolla all the way down to Coronado Island.  

San Diego is known for being an extremely friendly city, so don’t be afraid to ask the locals where they would recommend you go!

San Diego Central Library

While San Diego is mostly known for its 75 miles of pristine beaches, there is another side to the city that is often overlooked by residents and tourists alike. The architecture in this city is as diverse as its people. As a dynamic mix of old and new, the buildings here have a history all their own — some of which are a little more curious than others.

While the central library may look like just another building on your way to work, it’s actually one of San Diego’s most famous structures. Architect Rob Quigley designed the building at a massive 330,000 square feet in order to create an open, inviting space that fostered learning and education. It opened in September 2013 and since then has been recognized by various publications for its unique architectural design.

The Library is a beautiful building with architecture that makes for stunning pictures. The library is located at 330 Park Blvd. in Downtown San Diego and has an amazing view of the bay, as well as many picture spots inside the library itself.

The Central Library is an 11 story building which looks like a stack of books, with each floor being a different book in the stack. This building has many terraces, patios and balconies which are great to take pictures from because they offer unique views of the surrounding city and bay areas.

Inside there are also many photo opportunities with beautiful decorations or artistic displays. For example, there is a staircase which has strings hanging down from it that make for a pretty photo op. There are also many places around the library where you can get a good shot of The San Diego Central Library building itself, like the courtyard area just outside of it. It’s important to note that you’ll need to pay $2 for parking if you want to take pictures here on weekends or holidays (or if you stay more than 2 hours), but if you’re willing to pay that small fee then this spot is definitely worth it!

Hotel Del Coronado

Coronado, CA is a beautiful place to take photos of different architecture and landscapes. One of the most famous buildings here is the Hotel Del Coronado. The Hotel del Coronado (also known as The Del and Hotel Del) is a historic beachfront hotel in the city of Coronado, just across the San Diego Bay.

The Del is one of the few surviving examples of an American architectural genre: the wooden Victorian beach resort. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977 and has been a California Historical Landmark since 1970. The hotel has been featured in numerous movies and books.

The hotel was built in 1888 by Elisha Babcock, Jr., and Hampton L. Story, who bought the 800 acres (3 km2) of oceanfront land intending to create “the finest resort hotel in the world”. Babcock became president of Coronado Beach Company. The two men went on to form Babcock & Story Co., which bought more property and started development work.

There are so many great places in San Diego to take pictures of architecture that you never have to run out of places to go.

San Diego, California is home to many architecturally unique buildings. It is because of this unique talent that attracts many architects, designers and photographers (like me!) here. There are a variety of places where you can take pictures in San Diego when you’re searching for a unique picture to take. Getting the right shot of the right building in the right light can be challenging at times, but if you know what you’re doing and have a little luck, then you’ll come away with some great portraits of buildings.

Each of the places I’ve shared above has its own distinct feel, and it’s up to you to find what works for you. So don’t get stuck in a rut—find the spots that inspire you to take your best photos. Whether you live in San Diego or are just visiting, I’m sure you have plenty of locations to choose from. Good luck!

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