A visit to the San Diego Harbor is not complete without a stroll through the Embarcadero Marina Park. Surrounded by the bay on three sides, the Embarcadero Marina provides an authentic San Diego experience complete with scenic views and fresh sea air. Visitors also get a chance to discover the loyalty and courage of many of our Naval Military personnel through various memorials and statues including the Aircraft Carrier Memorial, The Homecoming Statue, and the USS San Diego Memorial.
America’s Finest City is sunny, warm and filled with people year ‘round. It ebbs and flows through tourist season, but is always open for business. Visitors flock to this city at all times of the year for sun-filled afternoons at the beach, to go on hikes and to spend mornings enjoying brunch beside the sea. Whether you’re here for one hour, one day or one month, you’ll want to stay longer.
Downtown San Diego has much to offer visitors, including the Embarcadero which sits adjacent to the San Diego Bay. This waterfront boardwalk path ambles along between the blue water of the Bay and the tourist friendly attractions on land creating a perfect way to spend an afternoon. Nearby buskers, boats and burgers provide joy for the entire family along the way. Beginning at the steps of the San Diego Convention Center through the end of Waterfront Park, join us as we follow in the footsteps of history and meander the bayside to walk along the Embarcadero together.
Stop 1: Embarcadero Park
Looking for a quick workout, views of a beach side Coronado Island location or a fabulous place to fly a kite – you’ve found it. The green lawns of Embarcadero Park are often littered with visitors getting in their exercise, setting up shop for a picnic-filled afternoon or looking for a good spot to watch the sunset. In the summertime, you’ll find an outdoor stage and seating area on the waterfront housing an evening favorite, the San Diego Symphony Orchestra’s Pops Concerts. Events from car shows to food festivals constantly take place on the green lawns adjacent to the Bay. Bring your picnic blanket or put on your running shoes to spend the day amidst friendly faces in a natural environment.
Stop 2: Seaport Village
Whether you’re watching the buskers, snacking on Ben and Jerry’s® Ice Cream, having breakfast with a view or finding the best souvenirs to take home to the family, San Diego’s Seaport Village has it all. Spend the afternoon shopping for favorites at Tervis and The Best of San Diego, take in a relaxing brunch at Busters or grab fish tacos at Marions Fish Market, watch as a rock designer challenges gravity and street performers wow the crowds. Head down in daylight hours to watch the boats and people watch or come in the evening to listen to music, eat and shop for hours. Adjacent to Seaport Village, you’ll find The Headquarters. This historic complex originally held the San Diego Police Headquarters. Now a premier dining and shopping destination, this iconic area is home to restaurants like Seasons 52, The Cheesecake Factory and Eddie V’s. Check out the array of activities from outdoor movies to morning yoga and salsa dancing to chocolate tasting. Whether you’re in the mood to visit the art gallery or check out the toy shop, the Headquarters is a place to add to your San Diego travel list.
Stop 3: The Marinas
At the marinas, you might catch yourself picking out your favorite boat or the one you have been dreaming of owning your entire life. Pop by the sailing shack and sign up for a lesson on the watercraft of your choice. Perhaps you’re ready to get a sailing license or are interested in spending the day on a family kayaking adventure. Or you’re more a fan of the stand up paddleboard or are just hoping to while away the hours staring out at the serenity of the sea. Here, you’ll be able to find whatever you wish for on the water. If you head east down the footpath, past the park and the Convention Center, you’ll find the super yacht dock with views of impressive ships that will most certainly take your breath away.
Stop 4: War Memorials
Passing Seaport Village and the pier housing Saturday’s fish market, you’ll arrive at a variety of war memorials neatly named The Greatest Generation Collection. San Diego takes great pride in honoring veterans of all wars. With sculptures of the Aircraft Carrier Memorial, the city honors all those who have served on the Navy’s aircraft carriers. There’s the bust of Admiral Sprague overseeing the Battle of Leyte Gulf Memorial and the USS San Diego Memorial which commemorates the incredible World War II service of that particular cruiser. Standing tall beside the USS Midway, you’ll find the statue of Unconditional Surrender, replicating the iconic photo of the sailor and the nurse from New York’s Time Square celebrating the end of World War II. Adjacent to the statue is a memorial entitled A National Salute to Bob Hope. Bronze figures stand tall projecting signs, words and statements of the times, including “Thanks for the memories Bob.” Servicemen and women from various conflicts are represented as visitors can wander through the memorial taking photos and imprinting themselves in the presence of greatness and courage. From the serene location of the pier beside the memorial, on any evening you’ll find many visitors enjoying the sunset overlooking the San Diego Bay.
Stop 5: USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum
Visiting this floating museum is taking a walk through the history of over 200,000 sailors who have served aboard one of the longest-serving aircraft carriers in United States’ history. Explore over 60 exhibits from galleys to quarters, jails to bridges, chapels to the mess hall and the wonders of the flight deck. Chat with the volunteer museum docents, share your stories and listen to theirs.
Check out the movies, take control of the command or climb aboard one of the many aircrafts available. Take a tour or head out on your own with audio in tow – you’ll spend hours and be sure to be amazed at every turn. During February’s Museum Month, don’t forget to grab your half price coupon from Macy’s. And throughout the summer there are free outdoor movies, a Fourth of July celebration and during the fall season visitors can join in the ceremony and remembrance on Veteran’s Day.
Stop 6: Maritime Museum
Water lovers and fans of tall ships will rejoice at the Maritime Museum. It is home to over a half dozen vessels including Star of India, the world’s oldest active sailing ship, steamboats and the USS Dolphin submarine. Visitors can walk the decks, wander the docks, push the capstan, study nautical charts and see an array of below-deck exhibits and galleries to immerse themselves in 500 years of history in traveling the seas. Test out what life was like in the days of tall sailing ships or in the lives of U.S. Naval research submariners. If you have time, add a narrated sightseeing tour of San Diego Bay history or weekend Naval History Swift boat tour to your general admission. In town for the weekend? Reserve your spot for an adventure day sail treat, which includes a self-guided tour of the entire museum plus an on-the-water sailing experience aboard the 16th-century galleon replica, San Salvador, or the Californian, the official tall ship of the state of California!