Visiting Salk

Salk Architecture Tours

Salk Institute for Biological Studies - Visiting Salk - Salk Architecture Tours

Salk Docent-Led Architecture Tours

Visiting Salk

The Salk Institute has been described as one of the most significant architectural sites in the United States and has garnered accolades for its design and preservation. Salk’s original buildings, designed by preeminent American architect Louis Kahn in collaboration with founder Jonas Salk in the early 1960s, were declared a historical landmark in 1991.

Visitors are welcome during normal business hours, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Pre-registration is required. All self-guided and docent-led tours take place outside. The Institute is closed to visitors on weekends, holidays, and for private events.

Interested in taking photos while visiting the Salk campus? Please read our Photo and Video Guidelines »

Pre-registration is required for all visitors. Groups of 8 of more are not permitted on the self-guided tours and must book a docent-led tour at least 10 business days in advance.

For more information, view our Frequently Asked Questions.

2023-24 Tour Closure Dates

Please note that Salk Institute will be closed to all visitors on the following dates.

Monday, December 25 through Monday, January 1
Monday, January 15

On the following dates, the Salk Institute will be open for self-guided tours, but guided tours will not be available:
Monday, December 18 through Friday, December 22
Tuesday, January 2 through Friday, January 5

Option One: Self-Guided Campus Tours

Groups of one to seven visitors may register to visit the campus during business hours of 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Effective June 5th, all self-guided tour visitors are required to pay a conservation fee of $10 (discounts available for students, military, and seniors), which goes to the ongoing maintenance and repair of the buildings. If you prefer a docent-led tour, please see the options below.

Option Two: Docent-Led Campus Tours

Groups of one to seven visitors may register for a docent-led tour, held every week on Wednesdays, Thursday, and Fridays at 10:00 a.m. This is an hour-long group tour and you will be joined by other visitors from the public.

The fee is $20 per person.If you prefer a private docent-led tour, please see below.


Option Three: Private Docent-Led Group Tours*

Groups of 1-10 people: $200
Groups of 11-20 people: $400
Groups of 21-30 people: $600

For groups larger than 30 people, please email

*Special pricing is available for students and educators (K thru 14). Please submit the tour request below, and you will be contacted with additional details.

Private docent-led group tours may be requested for Monday through Friday between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. unless the Institute is closed for holidays or private events. Private docent-led group tour requests must be submitted at least 10 business days prior to the prospective tour date.  Tours are subject to availability.  We reserve the right to reschedule your tour.

Click here to register for a Private Docent-Led Group Tour


There is no public parking available for visitors and tour attendees on the Salk Institute’s campus. We encourage guests to use free parking along Torrey Pines Scenic Drive or in the Gliderport parking lot. Paid public parking is available at the Sanford Consortium lot, which is located just across the street from the Salk Institute. The current fee is $3/hour.

If you plan to drive your own vehicle, please allow an extra 15-20 minutes to park.

Click here to view the parking map»


Guidelines for photography and videography at the Salk must be adhered to by all visitors. These are not all inclusive. Salk staff/security reserve the right to ask any visitor to leave if they determine that their behavior is in violation of photo policy or is disruptive to the Institute. Click here to read more »


Built in the early 1960s, the Salk Institute is revered around the world as a modern architectural treasure. In July 2017, Salk Institute announced with the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) that conservation efforts were complete for one of the key architectural elements at the Salk Institute—its teak window walls. The project offered Salk an opportunity to be proactive in maintaining and conserving the teak for the next 50 years. Learn more about the teak project here». As part of its Keeping It Modern initiative, the Getty Foundation awarded the Salk Institute a grant to begin the necessary work to support the conservation of the concrete facades. Learn more about the concrete project here».

Please note: Concrete restoration work is in progress and visitors should expect to see some construction in the main courtyard.

The Salk Institute is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) research institute, and all proceeds from the Architecture tour program support the Institute’s conservation efforts.

For more information, please see our FAQ page or contact us at