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San Diego’s Embarcadero

embarcadero: a landing place especially on an inland waterway

The area along the east side of the San Diego harbor is known as the Embarcadero. Aside from gorgeous views, visiting the Embarcadero is a glimpse into San Diego’s past, present, and future. 

One could easily spend an entire day and night exploring the Embarcadero. Here are some things you can see and do while walking the two mile stretch from north to south. For a family-friendly adventure guide, check out our free Beyond the Zoo Guide to San Diego By the Bay.

Directly across from Waterfront Park is the San Diego Maritime Museum. The museum features a collection of historic vessels – sailing ships, steam-powered boats and submarines. One of those ships, the Star of India, was launched five days before Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and holds the title of the world’s oldest active sailing ship! Built in 1863, the Star of India has sailed around the world 21 times.

Further along the Embarcadero are more modern vessels. San Diego’s two cruise ship terminals are located on B-Street Pier and Broadway Pier. If a harbor cruise is more your style, check out Flagship Cruises & Events or Hornblower Cruises & Events. Both offer a variety of services, including dining cruises, sightseeing cruises, and whale watching. The Flagship Ferry even offers ferry rides to and from Coronado if you fancy a detour.

The Embarcadero features many notable public art displays. Download the North Embarcadero Self-Guided Art Tour and the Greatest Generation Walking Art  Tour Guide from the Port of San Diego to learn about the artwork you’ll see as you walk.

The next stop is the USS Midway Museum. The USS Midway was commissioned in September 10, 1945 and decommissioned on April 11, 1992. It was the longest-serving aircraft carrier in the 20th century. Kids who visit can participate in the museum’s Junior Pilot Program to earn their own wings!

Continue past Tuna Harbor to the south end of the Embarcadero to arrive at Seaport Village for waterfront shopping and dining. Stroll, grab a bite to eat or an ice cream treat, and take a ride on a historic carousel built in 1895. 

The Headquarters at Seaport Village, now an upscale retail center next to Seaport Village, was once the San Diego Police Headquarters. Visitors can walk through a free police department exhibit and tour an eight cell, two level jail block. Don’t leave without taking a mugshot or jail photo!

The Embarcadero continues beyond Seaport Village along the backside of the San Diego Convention Center. It ends at the San Diego Hilton. The entire stretch of the Embarcadero is popular for running, biking, and scootering. Portside Pier, currently under construction, is a new dinning pier expected to open in late 2019. It will be located between the Star of India and B-Street Pier.

Our Beyond the Zoo Guides aren’t just about where to go in San Diego. Each guide also includes activities and talking points to help you create meaningful family memories. Sign up to receive a new guide each month!

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