embarcadero The word "Embarcadero" means "Landing Place" in Spanish. It is indeed a place where boats and ships can disembark, but it is more than just a dock.

The Embarcadero is actually a strip of boardwalk along the harbor of the San Diego Bay. It begins at the Embarcadero Marina (a grassy park area on Kettner Dr), follows along North Harbor Drive, and ends at the Maritime Museum (a collection of historic sea vessels).

Heading from south to north, you will find:
  • the Embarcadero Marina (grassy area),
  • Seaport Village (touristy shopping area),
  • the USS San Diego Memorial and other naval monuments,
  • USS Midway Museum (decommissioned US Navy aircraft carrier),
  • cruise ship terminal (Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises, etc)
  • restaurants, shops, and hotels,
  • harbor cruises,
  • ferry crossing to Coronado Island,
  • a paved walkway peppered with street art,
  • the Star of India and other ships of the Maritime Museum.

Here are some representative photos:

embarcadero The Embarcadero Marina is a green space located on the waterfront on Kettner Blvd. From here you can see the Coronado Bridge (southeast), and the iconic Marriot Hotel along with the San Diego skyline (east).

Seaport Village is a touristy shopping plaza with unique boutiques and walkways. This is not a "mall", instead merchants offer one-of-a-kind gifts such as kites, handmade tiles, wood-carved toys, and more. Wyland Galleries and a renovated Carousel are also found here. Read more.... embarcadero

The USS San Diego is a light antiaircraft cruiser which was first launched in 1941. She sailed 300,000 nautical miles, and was awarded 18 battle stars. She was decommissioned in 1946 just 5 years of service.

The USS San Diego Memorial was erected to honor the distinguished service of the ship and its crew. It is in the shape of a ship's bow with an apex that is 28 feet in height. The inner side of the memorial lists the crew members and the activities of the USS San Diego.
Other naval and marine sculptures can also be found here. These include "Homecoming" sculpture, the "Aircraft Carrier Memorial" and the "Battle of Leyte Gulf" monument.
The USS Midway is a permanently-docked aircraft carrier of the US Navy. She was first launched in 1945 and was decommissioned in 1992. She now serves as a museum and memorial.

A part of the ship's bow is open to the public for free but entry into the rest of the ship costs $18.
On board you will see the engine room, the flight control room, the crew's sleeping quarters, restored aircrafts, and other exhibits. Open from 10 am to 5 pm (closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day).

embarcadero The cruise ship terminal is where large cruise ships dock and passengers board - they are a sight to see! Cruise lines served here include Carnival Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Radisson Seven Seas Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, and Silversea Cruises.

Started in 2003, temporary "Urban Trees" line the promenade of the Embarcadero. These public art sculptures are designed and fabricated by different artists. Each year, a new grove of "tree" sculptures are added while others are sold and removed to private collectors.

[Shown: "Tree Fairy" by Deana Mando; and "Pele, Goddess of Fire" by Frank Mando]

embarcadero Servicing the San Diego area since 1915, Harbor Excursion offers harbor tours, diner & brunch cruises, ferry crossings, whale watching, and private charted boats. The 1 or 2 hour harbor cruises are much more affordable than a trip on the large cruise liners above.

The Star of India was built in 1863 as a full-rigged iron windjammer. It was retired in 1926, restored in 1963, and is now a seaworthy museum ship.

The Star of India is the world's oldest active sailing ship; it is also a National Historic Landmark. Entry into the Star of India and all the ships in the Maritime Museum is $14.

Note: in front of the Star of India is an "Urban Tree" exhibit called "Tailwalking Suncatcher" by Stephen Fairfield.



The Californian is a schooner and is a replica of the 1847 Revenue Cutter C.W. Lawrence. Designed for speed, Californian has nine sails, carries 7,000 square feet of canvas, and is armed with four six-pound deck guns. Elementary school aged students spend overnight adventures on this ship. Californian is available for charter.


On display at the Maritime Museum, the B-39 is a Soviet-era diesel-electric submarine. It was first commissioned in the 1970s and served for more than 20 years. She can carry 24 torpedoes, 78 crew members and could dive 985 feet deep. It is larger and more powerful that the U-boats of Germany.


The Embarcadero is a pleasant place to walk around and enjoy the view and street art. You can stop for lunch or go shopping at Seaport Village. You can pay your respects at the naval monuments & memorials. You can take a harbor cruise or you can see the historic museum ships that are on display.

Expect to spend one hour just walking from one end to the other. You will require more time if you visit any of the museums or stop for lunch or shopping.