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San Diego's Embarcadero

A great place to spend the day exploring

Located adjacent to Downtown San Diego along the Big Bay, San Diego's Embarcadero is a testament to the region's colorful maritime history complete with historic ships, museums and harbor tours, as well as a working fishing harbor, cruise ship terminal and plenty of hotels, restaurants and shops. 

 

 

Along the Waterfront at San Diego's Big Bay Embarcadero

Arts & Culture

One don't-miss activity is a visit to the USS Midway Museum, which invites visitors aboard America’s longest-serving aircraft carrier to enjoy 35 exhibits and tours exploring its rich 47-year history. Many of the story-telling docents are veterans who served aboard the carrier.

The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) operates a downtown expansion in the former ‘baggage building’ of the active Santa Fe Depot, a Nationally Registered Historic Landmark located across the street from the existing MCASD downtown galleries—look for the Spanish Mission-Colonial Revival-style exterior. Built for the Panama-California Exposition in 1915, the building provides more than 10,500 sq. ft. of new exhibition space for contemporary art.

The floating Maritime Museum of San Diego features one of the finest collections of historic ships in the world, including the Star of India, who at 150+ years old is the oldest active sailing ship. Located in a beautiful waterfront park on Harbor Drive at the G Street Mole in downtown San Diego is an inspiring collection of military heritage artworks dubbed the Greatest Generation Collection. Works include the “USS San Diego (CL-53) Memorial” commemorating the distinguished World War II service of San Diego’s namesake cruiser; the black obelisk and bronze sculptures of the “Aircraft Carrier Memorial” honoring all who’ve served on the Navy’s aircraft carriers; the Admiral Sprague bust that presides over the “Battle of Leyte Gulf Memorial,” a fitting remembrance of one of the most desperate and heroic naval actions in U.S. history; and the “Military Tribute to Bob Hope,” which honors the famed entertainer’s efforts.

As you walk along the water's edge enjoying the many attractions, you might notice artful sculptures that are part of the Port of San Diego Public Art Program, designed to add color, form, interest and fun to San Diego's waterfront.

Activities

Located at 1600 Pacific Highway and Harbor Drive between Grape and Ash streets, the Downtown Waterfront Park is the perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon. Picnic on the grassy lawn, let the kids burn off some steam at the modern creative playground, cool off in the interactive splash fountains and enjoy The Bay views. 

San Diego is the fastest growing cruise port on the U.S. West Coast and homeport for Carnival Cruise Lines and Holland America, as well as an embarkation and debarkation port for Celebrity and Royal Caribbean ships. Ships docking in San Diego offer exciting itineraries that include the Mexican Riviera, Hawaiian Islands, Pacific Coast, Central America, and the Panama Canal.

  • Flagship Cruises & Events features daily one- and two-hour narrated harbor tours, seasonal whale watching adventures, dinner-dance and Sunday brunch cruises with live entertainment, and excursions to Los Coronados Islands in Mexican waters. Thrill seekers will love their new Patriot Jet Boat, an open-air, turbo-charged machine that flies across the bay and can do 360-degree spins.
  • Hornblower Cruises & Events offers three-hour nightly dinner-dance cruises, Sunday champagne brunch cruises, daily one- and two-hour narrated harbor tours, and seasonal whale watching adventures.

Events

Held annually in November, the three-day San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, the region’s largest wine and culinary extravaganza, includes events held in various downtown venues and culminates with the Grand Tasting Event, held at the waterfront Embarcadero Park North. Other annual events along the Embarcadero include the Summer Pops Bayside Summer Nights concerts held by the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, the annual Day at the Docks celebration, the yearly Big Bay Boom 4th of July Celebration, the U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge and Dimensional Art Expo and many more. Check the events calendar for more upcoming events in the area. 

Shopping & Dining

Seaport Village and the Headquarters at Seaport District offer more than 50 shops featuring art, toys and souvenirs plus casual eateries and fine dining restaurants, many with views of the beautiful bay and harbor. During the summer season and on weekend, you'll also find fun, family-friendly events including live music and activities. 

Where to Stay

San Diego's Embarcadero is within walking distance of many downtown hotels. Search for Hotels & Resort located near Pacific Highway and Harbor Drive in the downtown neighborhood. 


For more sightseeing Downtown, consider also visiting nearby Little Italy and the Marina District.

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