Downtown’s scenic and spacious Embarcadero is an awesome place to spend some time outdoors exploring San Diego. Curling along San Diego Bay, the waterfront area boasts a rich maritime history, Instagram-worthy sights and diverse offerings that can be enjoyed throughout the year.
You can discover eye-catching public art, step aboard historic sailing vessels and dine on fresh seafood served with spectacular views. Below is a list of 7 offerings that must be experienced during your visit to San Diego’s picturesque Embarcadero.
1. Dine with Waterfront Views
Dining along the Embarcadero comes with spectacular views of San Diego Bay. Choose from a variety of fresh seafood dishes while gazing at the majestic San Diego-Coronado Bridge, charming Coronado and sailboats floating along the water at Pier Café in Seaport Village. Enjoy plenty of gorgeous views and meal options at the Portside Pier. Find delicious surf and turf entrees at the Brigantine Seafood and Oyster Bar and tasty pub fare at Ketch Grill & Taps. Sit back on spacious outdoor patios at Coasterra serving innovative Mexican cuisine and C-Level Lounge serving California Modern cuisine. Looking for something more laid-back? Check out Carnitas Snack Shack, known for pork-centric menu and specialty crafted cocktails.
2. Engage with Art
You can enjoy the Port of San Diego’s extensive collection of public art while strollingalong the Embarcadero. Discover playful sculptures and solemn memorials that commemorate San Diego’s international ties, cultural diversity and military significance. Take a selfie with a loved one beside the Unconditional Surrender/Embracing Peace statue, next to the USS Midway Museum. Commemorate the U.S. Navy’s aircraft carriers and all who served on them at the nine-foot black granite obelisk of the Aircraft Carrier Memorial.The late French-American sculpture Niki de St. Phalle adorned San Diego with many outstanding sculptures during her years spent in the area. Stop by her majestic Coming Together sculpture, set against the San Diego Convention Center.
3. Climb Aboard Historic Maritime Museums
At the popular USS Midway Museum, experience the exciting 47-year legacy of the celebrated aircraft carrier that was home to more than 200,000 servicemen. Stroll the flight deck and view an extensive collection of fighters, bombers and helicopters that took naval aviation into the jet age. Meet museum volunteers who served aboard the carrier. They bring the flight deck to life recounting stories of life on the high seas. Visit the Maritime Museum of San Diego which consists of several historic sailing vessels including the iconic Star of India, built in 1863. Step aboard the San Salvador. It’s a historically accurate reconstruction of the ship that entered San Diego harbor in 1542 under the helm of Spanish explorer Juan Rodríquez Cabrillo.
4. Set Sail for Fun
San Diego Bay is one of the world’s most beautiful natural harbors and bustles with activity throughout the year. You can enjoy unique views of active U.S. Navy ships, water wildlife and popular bayfront sights on relaxing sightseeing and dinner cruises and seasonal whale watching excursions. Hop aboard the Patriot Jet Boat Tour for a fast-paced experience. It’s a 30-minute ride that splashes and speeds through the bay’s scenic waters, carving 360-degree turns and reaching speeds upwards of 50 mph. Another thrilling option is San Diego Speed Boat Adventures. Take the wheel and become the captain of your own speedboat with this one-of-a-kind, unforgettable 1.5-hour boat tour.
5. Get some Exercise
You can take a leisurely jog or brisk walk with beautiful San Diego Bay views along the Embarcadero. Get in a good 5-mile workout starting at the San Diego Convention Center and continuing to the Maritime Museum before turning around for your return run. Afterwards, get in the spirit of Rocky Balboa running the 100-step staircase of the San Diego Convention Center. Head over to the Embarcadero Marina Park South parcourse with stations for push-ups, dips and pull-ups. The park also has nearby benches and picnic tables perfect for step-ups and box jumps.
6. Enjoy Outdoor Shopping
Enjoy some retail therapy outdoors at Seaport Village with more than 50 themed shops featuring art, toys and souvenirs plus casual eateries and fine dining restaurants. You can “fly before you buy” at Kite Flight specializing in kites, flying toys and other flying things. Check out Hot Licks for unique food souvenirs including heat-packed sauces, salsas, seasonings, and snacks. Stroll through The Headquarters of Seaport, an open-air lifestyle center featuring specialty shops and restaurants. It was the former site of the San Diego Police Station, built in 1939. Explore the fully restored eight-cell jail block which houses historic photos and police memorabilia. Don’t forget to snap a selfie at the lineup wall.
7. Play at Waterfront Parks
Enjoy San Diego’s year-round beautiful weather at Waterfront Park, located across the street from the Maritime Museum. The 12-acre green expanse for children of all ages features playgrounds, sweeping views of the bay and a spectacular 830-foot-long fountain with water jets. You can fly kites, relax on grassy lawns and picnic at the Embarcadero Marina Park North and Embarcadero Marina Park South. Lane Field Park across from the Cruise Ship Terminal is designed for visitors to discover hints of the site’s history as the former home of the San Diego Padres. Explore Lane Field Park to find home plate, the pitcher’s mound and surrounding bases.