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San Diego’s Old Police Headquarters

Stay out of jail on vacation… Unless that jail is located in San Diego’s Old Police Headquarters in downtown San Diego. 

Explore the 8 cell jail block.
Peek inside a restored cell.

The San Diego Police Headquarters which is listed on The National Register of Historic Places was originally built in 1939. The complex is now an upscale retail center called The Headquarters at Seaport Village.

“The 104,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility brought all police operations together under one roof; administration, courts, jails, law library, crime lab, exercise areas, vehicle maintenance, and even a pistol range. In later years the headquarters even had a four-lane bowling alley, utilizing jail inmates as pinsetters.” (

What you may not realize is that The Headquarters at Seaport Village houses a historic police exhibit that is free and open to the public. The Jail Cells & Police Exhibit is a brief but memorable stop as you near the end of your day adventuring along the Embarcadero. A highlight of the walk-through exhibit is a restored 8 cell jail block.  Photo Op: Take a family photo on the lineup wall!

There is another museum in San Diego dedicated to preserving the history of the San Diego Police Department. The San Diego Police Museum is located at 4710 College Ave in the College Area neighborhood of San Diego – not far from San Diego State University.

Looking for things to do in Downtown San Diego? Grab our free Beyond the Zoo Guide to San Diego By the Bay.

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