One of the Best Film, Video, and Photo Shoot Locations in California

For a tour and details, including custom pricing based on your needs, call 619-239-2001 ext. 43 or email Grant Barrett,

Landmark buildings housing a world-class museum in America’s finest city provide a magnificent setting for your next your next film, commercial, video, or photo shoot.

Conveniently located in Balboa Park, our versatile space accommodates the most dynamic of photo shoots, both inside and outside.


  • the majestic tower and ornate tiled dome of the iconic California Building
  • a cobblestone quadrangle
  • arcaded walkways
  • classic Spanish-colonial architecture


  • soaring well-lit dome
  • vivid and striking museum exhibits, including huge Mayan monuments
  • huge southern-facing windows
  • tons of nooks, corners, and open spaces to work with

We offer flexible rental hours and competitive pricing, and are eager to help you to execute your dream experience. We’ll work with your production team or location staff to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible.

The San Diego Museum of Man is steward of the soaring California Tower, a visual and cultural landmark of extraordinary historic significance.

As you ascend the winding iron staircases to the top, there are spectacular views of the city from every angle. Balboa Park below, craggy mountains to the east, the glittering skyline to the south, and the twinkling lights of the Cabrillo Bridge before the sparkling bay to the west. This unparalleled vantage point affords 360 degrees of opportunity for breathtaking, unforgettable photos that will stand apart from the rest.

Outside, our awe-inspiring building is equally impressive. Plateresque, Baroque, Churrigueresque, and Rococo details present a Spanish-Colonial façade unlike any other. Our soaring tower is iconic, with hints of Gothic influence. Its shining tiles, sparkling glass beads, and graceful proportions complement the vibrant central dome, as well as the two complementary domes behind the California Building.

The historic California Quadrangle serves as our cobblestoned “front yard.” Built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, this stately courtyard served as a grand gateway to the Expo. With the commanding California Building on the north side and Evernham Hall on the south, the open space between them is linked by authentic arcaded passageways and massive arched gateways.

For a striking backdrop you won’t find anywhere else, pass under the historic archways to the paths along the renowned Cabrillo Bridge. Shoot back toward the park and capture the unmistakable silhouette of the Tower and Dome, or for a dramatic urban backdrop shoot facing west, with the city lights of San Diego and the sparkling bay in the distance. Our outdoor balcony overlooks the Cabrillo Bridge and offers an unmistakably chic, urban ambiance, providing spectacular views of the downtown skyline and the San Diego Bay.


Inside our stunning space you’ll find expansive interior views and spectacular architectural features, including soaring domed ceilings, a multitude of archways, and two historic staircases. We welcome you to have fun and unleash your creativity among our beloved exhibits, including the ever-popular Maya: Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth, (to be linked) with its towering stelae ensconced in their dome. Depending on the lighting and details you choose, you can capture any impression from urbane to spontaneous to mysterious, and whether you’re looking for a sophisticated or relaxed atmosphere, the adaptability of our space is unparalleled.

Our onsite Spanish Colonial-style chapel, (to be linked) built in 1915, is an unexpected jewel in our iconic setting. Its dignified decor features a blend of stark mission simplicity with tile floor, heavy beam ceiling, and classic bench seating, with an altar elaborately decorated in gold leaf. This lofty site features a wooden balcony that overlooks the whole setting, providing a birds-eye view of the entire space.


  • Private parking
  • Dressing/staging areas
  • Private/flexible rental hours
  • Secure storage
  • On site restroom facilities
  • Multimedia capabilities
  • WiFi
  • electricity and charging sites

All types of shoots have been shot here or would look great here:

  • television commercials
  • film and movies
  • night-time shoots
  • wedding shoots
  • engagement shoots
  • quinceañera shoots
  • head shots
  • industry videos
  • promotional reels
  • group shots for your business, party, club, organization, etc.
  • announcement/holiday card shoots
  • event celebrations
  • product and promotional videos
  • student projects, including student films

To make arrangements for your photo shoot at the San Diego Museum of Man, including negotiating custom pricing, contact the marketing department: Marketing Manager Grant Barrett, 619-239-2001 ext. 43,