San Diego’s Waterfront Embarcadero is located in downtown San Diego and is a busy cruise ship hub with lots of seafood restaurants and souvenir shops. It is the location of the Port of San Diego and offers views of both the San Diego Bay and downtown San Diego, and has a variety of parks, historic vessels, and marinas. There is plenty to do in this area.
Maritime Museum of San Diego
This indoor and outdoor museum offers not only artifacts, art works, and a research library but also a collection of vessels available to tour and represents over 500 years of Pacific maritime history.
The “Star of India” is on display and is a three masted bark and is the oldest iron-hulled merchant ship afloat. She was built in Great Britain and launched in 1863 and has circumnavigated the earth 21 times. Other vessels located there include the HMS Surprise (frigate), Steam Ferry Berkeley, USS Dolphin (submarine), PCF-816 Swift Boat, SD Harbor pilot boat, Steam Yacht Medea, San Salvador (Galleon), and the Tall Ship California.
USS Midway – Aircraft Carrier
No trip to San Diego is complete without a visit to the USS Midway (CV-41). When you think of San Diego most people think of the Navy and the USS Midway is a great way to tour an aircraft carrier. The ship is located at the Embarcadero and is open to tour. The ship was commissioned in 1945 (8 days after the end of World War II) and decommissioned in 1992 and was named after the Battle of Midway. Midway was the largest warship in the world until 1955.
The ship offers exhibits, self-guided audio tours, docent tours, a gift shop, a restaurant, theater, talks, and plenty of space to walk around and tour the decks. It is well worth the time and can easily fill you day with exploring and enjoying.
The Flight Deck offers Landing and Take off talks by retired pilots along with a variety of aircraft on display. To me this was the most interesting part of the visit and if the weather had been a bit nicer we might have stayed up there longer than an hour. It was a bit chilly and windy and soon we were ready to go inside and warm up for a bit.
The Hangar Deck is open to tour and offers displays, restaurants, a gift shop, flight simulators, and the movie theater with a short video about the Battle of Midway. There is also Below Decks available to tour where you can see where many of the activities of daily life take place. You can tour the galley, wardroom, sick bay, dental areas, engine room, bunk rooms, etc. It kept us quite busy.
And, yes, when it is time to leave you have to ask for “Permission to Go Ashore”. Luckily they granted it to us!
Just to the south of the Midway is Tuna Harbor Park which has not only the Fish Market of San Diego but also the National Salute to Bob Hope and the Military along with the “Unconditional Surrender” 25-foot tall sculpture (Embracing Peace by Seward Johnson) reflecting an iconic moment in history of people in New York’s Times Square learning that World War II had ended.
San Diego Old Town State Historic Park
Old Town is an area in San Diego of 230 acres and is the location of the first European settlement in California. It is the oldest neighborhood in San Diego and is now home to the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park along with a variety of shops and restaurants. The Presidio Park is next to it and both areas are on the National Register of Historic Places. It is a fun place to wander around and soak up the vibes (and maybe have a margarita or 2 or 3). It is also a great place to get a free handmade tortilla which are out of this world good!
Shelter Island is in the neighborhood of Point Loma and is actually connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of land. It is a charming, quaint area with some restaurants, hotels, shops, and a mile long waterfront park. It has a public fishing pier, a boat launch, and views of downtown and San Diego Bay. The Americas Cup Harbor is located there also.
Yokohama, Japan is the sister city to Shelter Island and they gifted the city a Japanese Friendship Bell to symbolize the hope for everlasting peace. The island is only a few hundred feet wide and a little over one mile long therefore it retains its charm and its friendliness.
There are seven pieces of public artworks around the island which makes for a perfect walking tour while soaking up the views.
Mission Bay Bike Path
San Diego County has a 12-mile, mostly flat, paved bike path which goes along the interior of Mission Bay. The path is both a pedestrian and bike path and is vehicle free most of the way. It meanders along beaches, through parks, around wetlands, and along narrow roads. It makes for a fun way to see the bay and the surrounding area. We found that the signage was not as good as it could be and we continued to view the map on our phone to ensure we were going the right way. The lack of signage is only in the areas where you leave the bike path and ride on the road. But we managed to find our way around with only a few wrong turns!
As usual, too much to do and not enough time. Even though the weather wasn’t perfect, at least it wasn’t pouring rain and the recent flooding didn’t stop us from enjoying ourselves!!