Beyond its perfect weather and relaxed vibe, San Diego offers a wealth of activities and attractions for just about any kind of traveler. Located along San Diego Bay close to downtown is Seaport Village, a waterfront stretch of shops, restaurants, and diverse entertainment options. Here’s what to see and do while you’re visiting.
The history of Seaport Village’s reclaimed land can be traced as far back as 1782, when sailors aboard a pair of Spanish expedition ships anchored in the bay began to fall ill from scurvy. Their remains were buried at La Punta de Los Muertos, a Spanish phrase that translates to “Point of the Dead.”
In the 1930s, train tracks were laid along Harbor Drive as the land was converted into a railroad yard supporting the shipment of goods and materials to San Diego. It wasn’t until the late 1970s that developer Morris Taubman dreamt up plans for Seaport Village. Construction on the complex broke ground in 1978 before opening to the public two years later.
Today, Seaport Village is among San Diego’s most popular attractions. The 14-acre waterfront complex offers a variety of shopping, dining, and entertainment options for locals and travelers alike. The harborside setting invites visitors to soak up the natural splendor of the surrounding area, including a waterfront promenade that provides spectacular views of the Coronado Bridge, Coronado Island, and boats sailing the bay. If you’re strolling through the village before nightfall, kick back in a beach chair and dip your toes in the sand while you take in the sunset.
Seaport Village is located in downtown San Diego on West Harbor Drive and Pacific Coast Highway, situated between the historic USS Midway aircraft carrier and the San Diego Convention Center. Just minutes away from the airport and the cruise ship terminal, Seaport Village is easily accessible from major freeways, with valet and self-parking available on-site.
The village is connected to the convention center by a bayfront boardwalk and is also a short walk from the San Diego Metro Coaster and the Santa Fe Train Depot, which is serviced by Amtrak. Across the street from the complex, you’ll find Stop D for the Old Town Trolley, famous for its hop-on hop-off tours of San Diego.
The Southern California coast is home to an eclectic shopping scene, and Seaport Village is no exception. For first-time visitors, a map of the complex is a must-have as you navigate the 50 different shops and the wide range of available merchandise. But if you’re looking for where to begin your shopping expedition, start here.
Whether you’re a surfer yourself or prefer to admire the waves from a distance, there are fun items to be found at San Diego Surf Co. This is your one-stop shop to dress for life on the coast, with a wide selection of board shorts, bikinis, sandals, shades, watches, and accessories.
If you’re a pirate at heart, set a course for Captain’s Cove. Specializing in nautical-themed merchandise, this store is a treasure trove for sea lovers. Browse clothing, decor, and paraphernalia featuring lighthouses, mermaids, and buoys.
Turn back the clock to the Old West when you step inside the Indian Trails Gallery and explore its collection of Native American jewelry, paintings, pottery, rugs, and baskets.
Order a glass or sample a flight of wines while sitting on the deck of this San Diego winery, whose production facility is located in nearby La Mesa. Bottles are also available for purchase.
Featuring 17 different eateries, the village offers appetizing options for a range of tastes and budgets.
Treat yourself to a cup of sustainably sourced coffee at Spill the Beans, where you can also enjoy a made-from-scratch bagel paired with house-made cream cheeses.
Spend your afternoon soaking up the bay views on the elevated patio at Mike Hess Brewing. Try one of 23 different craft beers, kombucha, cider, and soda before diving into a menu of tacos, burritos, and more from Quiero Tacos (which is conveniently located inside the brewery).
Overlooking the boardwalk, the family-owned Edgewater Bar & Grill is a waterfront, open-air restaurant serving fish dishes (ahi risotto, scallops, fish tacos) alongside seasonal flatbreads and hearty steak dishes.
Beyond the shopping and dining options, Seaport Village has also cultivated its fair share of time-honored traditions. If you’re planning a visit, check out the timing of these village-hosted events.
Seaport Village is host to the only Busker Festival in Southern California. Every March, street performers from across the country demonstrate their unique talents throughout the property, providing one-of-a-kind entertainment for those in attendance. Juggling, sword swallowing, unicycle riding, and pogo stick tricks are all on the docket.
Santa Claus may live in the North Pole, but in late November he makes his annual pilgrimage to San Diego and Seaport Village. Sporting board shorts, flip-flops, and a Hawaiian shirt, jolly old St. Nicholas arrives on the shores of San Diego in a watercraft, ready to take pictures with visitors and lend children his ear as they recite their Christmas wish lists.
If you’re looking for the perfect place to watch the annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights, the vantage point provided by Seaport Village is tough to beat. More than 80 boats, each decorated to fit the year’s theme, sail by the shores during the parade. The iconic holiday tradition attracts more than 100,000 spectators each year, and the waterfront setting offered at Seaport Village gives onlookers an enviable view of the lavishly decorated boats.
If you are looking for accommodations within walking distance of Seaport Village, the boardwalk that connects the complex to the San Diego Convention Center also provides easy access to two nearby hotels: the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina and the Manchester Grand Hyatt.
Overlooking a private marina in San Diego Bay, the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina hotel is within close proximity to some of the city’s top attractions, including the Gaslamp Quarter, Petco Park, and Balboa Park. Many of the spacious hotel rooms and suites feature scenic views of the waterfront. The hotel’s upscale amenities include a day spa, a 24-hour gym, and outdoor pools, as well as on-site restaurants offering American, Mexican, and Asian-fusion cuisine.
Just three miles from San Diego International Airport, the Manchester Grand Hyatt is centrally located in downtown San Diego. It features more than 1,600 rooms that provide guests with views of the Pacific Ocean and the city skyline. The waterfront hotel is close to top beaches, restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues, and also offers access to two rooftop pools, a 24-hour fitness center, and eight on-site dining options.
With a plethora of shopping, dining, and entertainment options, Seaport Village is a quintessential experience for visitors to San Diego. If you’re in the area, consider also making your way to the Headquarters, a former police station that has since been converted into one of the most unique marketplaces in California.