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.

The Institute is closed to visitors on weekends, holidays, and for private events.

Pre-registration is required for all visitors. Groups of 8 of more must book a private docent-led tour at least 10 business days in advance.

For more information, view our Frequently Asked Questions.

2024 Tour Closure Dates

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

August 12 – August 20, 2024

New Explore the Salk Store at to find a wide variety of branded merchandise, including apparel, accessories, and gifts, perfect for showing your support and connection to the Salk Institute.

Docent-Led Campus Tours

Groups of one to seven visitors may register for a docent-led campus tour, held every week on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at 10:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. These are hour-long group tours and you will be joined by other visitors from the public.

The fee is $25 per person. If you prefer a private docent-led tour, please see below.


Private Docent-Led Group Tours*

Groups of 1-10 people: $250
Groups of 11-20 people: $500
Groups of 21-30 people: $750

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 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 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