San Diego’s historic Santa Fe Depot is the main train station that connects San Diego to the rest of the California coast. The station is situated in the middle of one of the easiest neighborhoods to explore without a car. So board the train, enjoy the beautiful ride along the coastline, and find yourself in one of the hottest, most historic areas in all of SoCal.
San Diego has long been a vital naval base for the US military. If interesting museums and California history are what you’re looking for, walk a few short blocks towards the water. Here you will find two popular attractions that feature Maritime culture and military history.
USS Midway Museum
At Embarcadero Park you’ll find the USS Midway Museum. A well-curated museum, The USS Midway was once a fully-functional active warship and aircraft carrier. Take a tour to see how our service men and women lived aboard the impressive vessel. You can experience everything from bunking down in the Officer’s quarters, sitting in the mess hall at the canteen and kitchens, and even climbing into an aircraft or two- complete with flight simulators.
The Kiss Statue
Outside the USS Midway, don’t miss the opportunity for a fantastic photo op below the famous statue of “The Kiss”. The 25-foot sculpture depicts the famous photograph taken on V-Day in 1945 of a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square. Be sure to see this incredibly unique and larger-than-life piece of artwork honoring one of the most iconic images of American history.
Take a trip around the bay and see stunning views of the Coronado Bridge, Point Loma, and the Downton San Diego skyline. There are two harbor cruises offered a one-hour and two-hour. The two-hour cruise takes you out to the tip of Point Loma and gives you an up-close look the Navy ships docked on North Island.
San Diego Coronado Ferry
You can take the ferry from downtown San Diego near the USS Midway or from the Convention Center. The ferry welcomes pedestrians and cyclists and drops you off at the Coronado Ferry Landing Marketplace. The ferry boat takes about 15 minutes to cross the bay and runs about every 45 minutes. A round trip will cost you ten dollars.
The Maritime Museum features the fully-restored sailing ship the “Star of India”. The world’s oldest active sailing ship, the “Star of India” dates back to the 1860’s, finally coming to port as a museum in San Diego. Other ships on display include The Berkeley (1898), the first propeller-driven steam ferry. The USS Dolphin (1968) reported being the submarine with the deepest dive and the Californian (1984) a replica of a mid-century revenue cutter.
A short half mile trek along the Embarcadero takes you to Seaport Village. A beautifully built reproduction of a fishing village with wooden-shingled houses and Spanish stucco villas. Here you’ll find a large number of delicious food options, a variety of boutiques selling local crafts and goods, as well as a stunning fully-operational vintage carousel.
The SEAL tour departs from Seaport Village and the Star of India along the San Diego Bay Embarcadero. If you have kids along they will love a ride in this unique amphibious vehicle. Tour guides are knowledgeable and point out a lot of fun facts about the San Diego Bay. They also attempt to tell a few jokes to liven up the tour.
The Headquarters San Diego
Right across the street from Seaport Village is another grouping of shops and restaurants called “The Headquarters”. This is a fantastic place for those interested in history, food, and shopping. As the former police headquarters of the city, you can check out a small, free museum containing old prison cells, a brief history of the SDPD, as well as a “wall of shame” of vintage mugshots detailing prohibition-era convicts and their crimes.
Old Town San Diego
Old Town San Diego can easily be reached from the San Diego train station via the red car trolley system. The ride only takes about ten minutes and the Old Town San Diego Station is a short walk to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Old Town Trolley Tours of San Diego is a great way to get around town and see the sights without a car. Old Town Trolley has a ticket booth on the waterfront by the USS Midway. There are ten stops along the route including Old Town San Diego, Coronado, and the San Diego Zoo.
As you can see there is plenty of things to do and see within walking distance of the San Diego train Station. There are some many activities you may want to consider staying over one night.