Will Someone Please Stop the Oversaturated Vendor Problem in Balboa Park?

UPDATE: Well, according to sources at the Balboa Park visitor’s center, someone put in a new rule that vendors there have to be 100 feet apart. Doesn’t mean a lot imho; street vendors have been a problem for business owners throughout the city, who have some of the same products, just without the overhead. But now the city council said they will vote on March 1 to rule on placing restrictions on vendors and prohibit them in certain parks, beaches, and places like Old Town: “The ordinance requires vendors to obtain a business license and vendor permit. It would define specific distance parameters around statues, art displays and other vendors.”

Though the park website says “The City of San Diego must issue a permit for any commercial filming for exterior areas in Balboa Park,” vendors, with hygiene requirements, don’t need a permit? I don’t see why this took so long to address.


Ah, to get back to normal life. At Balboa Park, the museums are starting to open, the Spanish Village artists are back at work, and the rose garden is in full bloom.

But now someone needs to do something about the high number of what appears to be unapproved vendors who are in Balboa Park. They seem to have little food safety and basic hygiene, and poor trash management. The U-T interviewed Alexis Villanueva, senior program manager of economic development with City Heights CDC, who maintains that “micro-enterprise” vendors contribute to the economy. Yes, but they can also contribute other, unwanted things. There has to be a balance here between rules, regulations and freedoms.


Seriously, it’s not appetizing when you see things like this, and concerning.

And there are a LOT of these vendors. My mother volunteers at the Park and gets negative comments from quite a few people, asking if it is legal.

There are over 480 active vendor permits in the city (again from the U-T) and some in Balboa Park no doubt have permits. But some do not, and like everything right now, no police are enforcing the ordinances. There was a proposed ordinance back in 2019, but the city needs to do something.



2 thoughts on “Will Someone Please Stop the Oversaturated Vendor Problem in Balboa Park?”

  1. I fully agree. Balboa Park’s main promenade in particular is wall to wall tents on either side. The tents narrow the promenade and hide the beautiful vintage architecture. You feel as though you’re at a swap meet instead of a park. I think we should either limit the number of vendors to a low number so as not to create a swap meet atmosphere or create a vendor area in the old navy hospital parking lot and require vendors set up there.

    1. Thanks, great suggestions. My mother works there at the visitors center and told me that the rules have changed, apparently making it really easy to set up. It is the atmosphere!

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