The Embarcadero is Home to World Class Harbor Tours, Nautical Museums & Bayfront Dining
No visit to downtown San Diego would be complete without exploring the city’s waterfront. It’s home to the oldest iron sailing ship afloat, world-class harbor tours, superb restaurants with spectacular bay views and the fascinating Maritime Museum.
A brief look at the Embarcadero map, will reveal that the must-see USS Midway Museum as well as the enchanting Seaport Village are here. It’s a-turn-of-the-century re-creation of a waterfront village filled with shops and restaurants.
The only question is where to begin, which is best answered by where you decide to park and what your mode of travel will be. For example, the flat 13⁄4-mile Embarcadero is a walker’s, jogger’s and bike rider’s paradise. And every day of the year joggers from many downtown office buildings and condo dwellers make the Embarcadero one of their favorite thoroughfares. But there is plenty of room for everyone on the wide cement boardwalk. So wherever you decide to park your car is a good place to begin your discovery of downtown San Diego’s inviting Embarcadero.
At the foot of Broadway is where passengers board the harbor cruise lines for fascinating narrated bay cruises. At the B Street Pier, which is just north of Broadway, big cruise lines depart for extended ocean cruises.
Cruise and Dine on the San Diego Bay
The oldest harbor cruise company in San Diego is Flagship Cruises &
Events (4)(619-522-6155). They have
been in operation since 1915. Being in
business for 95 years is a recommendation
that’s hard to beat. Their ticket office
is at the foot of Broadway at 990 North Harbor Drive. Tours cost ($37) on weekdays;
($42) on weekends. Senior citizens and
military receive $5 off; children 4–12 are
($18.50) on weekdays and ($21) on weekends. under 4 are free. They also offer
whale-watching adventures, dinner and
champagne brunch cruises. Use their
coupon for $5
off dinner or champagne brunch
cruises, harbor tours or seasonal
Downtown Attractions on the Embarcadero
Next door to the cruise line terminal
is the fabulous Anthony’s Fish Grotto
Restaurant (3) (619-232-5103), which
has been in business for 65 years. They
have received San Diego’s Best Seafood
Restaurant Award from the San Diego
Union-Tribune Readers’ Poll for the last
14 years. This restaurant offers a beautiful
harbor view along with the freshest
seafood available. For quick-serve patio
dining overlooking the water, dine outside
at their Anthony’s Fishette (3) (619-232-
Purchase Family Package Admission and save $5. For discounts and other perks, become a Maritime Museum member ($40-$65). Be sure to use their discount coupon and get $2 off admission!
Open daily 9 a.m.– 8 p.m. and till 9 p.m. Memorial Day through Labor Day. You can now sail aboard the historic Californian ship at the Maritime Museum. The 145-foot long ship is a replica of a 19th century warship. Adventure Package price ($31–$42) includes admission to the museum and a four-hour San Diego bay cruise.
South of the foot of Broadway Pier along Harbor Drive are more attractions galore. You’ll see eye-catching skyscrapers, high-rise hotels and luxurious condos that reflect the glimmering coastal sunsets and a whole lot more.
Whatever you do, don’t overlook the opportunity to experience the magic of the USS Midway Museum (5) (619-544- 9600). It’s the world’s largest floating naval museum. Admission includes a selfguided audio tour, where you’ll learn about the USS Midway’s fascinating history. On the flight deck are historic military aircraft like the ones that landed on this aircraft carrier. From the 4.02-acre flight deck you’ll have a stunning view of the downtown skyline and San Diego Bay! Below deck explore the city at sea, which is a fascinating re-creation of life aboard an aircraft carrier.
The museum is open 10 a.m.–5 p.m. daily. Admission is $19 for adults; $16 for seniors 62+; $15 for students age 13-17 or with college ID; $10 for retired military with valid ID; $10 for youth ages 6-12. Active-duty military and children 5 and under are free. Be sure to use their coupon for a free youth admission with one or more paying adult.
If you like the USS Midway Museum, you might also enjoy the the Flying Leatherneck Museum in Balboa Park, where there are artifacts, photos and displays that help visitors relive the stories of courage, sacrifice and achievement in World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
USS Midway Museum
Downtown Restaurants on the Embarcadero
A restaurant that comes with high
marks for its commitment to naval aviation
is Kansas City Barbeque (7),
located just two blocks from the USS
Midway Museum at 600 W. Harbor Dr.
(619-231-9680). This restaurant, which
has been in business for more than 28
years, is downtown’s only barbecue
restaurant. Besides its great-tasting food,
its claim to fame is that scenes from the
1980s hit movie Top Gun were filmed
here. This is also a great spot for happy
hour, which is daily 3:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m.
Staying in Great Hotels on the Embarcadero
The next door neighbor to the south
is Seaport Village, the immensely popular
specialty shopping center with
excellent restaurants and shops to discover.
See their walking tour at the end
of this chapter. To the south of Seaport
Village is the Manchester Grand Hyatt
Hotel (16) at 1 Market Pl. (619-232-
1234). Besides its ideal waterfront
location, it’s also home to Sally’s Seafood
on the Water Restaurant. Farther south
is the San Diego Marriott Marquis &
Marina (9) at 333 W. Harbor Dr. (619-234-1500).
Its waterfront location makes
it the perfect destination for business
and leisure accommodations.
And literally next door is the world
renowned San Diego Convention
Center (12) at 111 W. Harbor Dr. (619-
525-5000). It hosts conventions of all
sizes including trade shows, meetings
and special events. The center has 1,950
underground parking spaces and several
floors of meeting space.
Manchester Grand Hyatt
San Diego Marriott Marina
San Diego Symphony's Summer Pops
The park is also home to a wonderful
San Diego summer tradition, Ashford University Summer Pops (11).
For 10 weeks each summer, the San
Diego Symphony performs its Summer
Pops series outdoors at Embarcadero
Marina Park South on picturesque San
Diego Bay. The Summer Pops features a
wide variety of musical entertainment
including Broadway, Motown, pop, rock
and country. This summer’s headliners
include Wynonna, Dennis DeYoung,
Michael Feinstein and Burt Bacharach.
The series begins the weekend of July 1
with the Fourth of July Weekend Star-
Spangled Pops and ends with the 1812
Tchaikovsky Spectacular on Labor Day
Weekend, both concluding with fireworks.
Great Live Music
nightly Firework Shows
Seaport Village on the Embarcadero
Fifty yards south of The Fish Market
Restaurant is Seaport Village (13). Celebrating
31 years, this one-of-a-kind
attraction consists of more than 70 fascinating
little shops and charming bayside
restaurants, live entertainment and beautiful
bayfront scenery all in one place.
Take a Walking Tour