Postcards & Passports

‘Dine & Do’ on San Diego’s Waterfront

This post was most recently updated on February 18th, 2019

I’ve lived in San Diego nearly 30 years. When I want to go out on a date or take visitors into town, I usually head down to San Diego’s waterfront. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I’ve been, because I always see something new.

Take my most recent visit as an example.

My husband read about an event he’d never heard of before — called the FAI Swoop Freestyle Parachuting Championships (That’s International Freestyle Aeronautics). Curious, we decided to head down to San Diego’s waterfront to check it out. Here’s how our date night went…

Getting distracted just before San Diego’s waterfront

You should know this is typical of me. If I’m the one driving, and I see something that gets my attention, forget the GPS! I saw a sign pointing to Chicano Park. “Whoa!”, I thought. I’ve always wondered exactly where that park was, and I’m not going to miss it this time.

I parked on Logan Avenue, and instantly, my husband understood why we were stopping. On every single bridge support you’ll see brightly painted murals depicting scenes and messages about Hispanic culture and history. In fact, it is the largest outdoor collection of murals in the country. It’s quite a story about the peaceful protest that took place that resulted in Chicano Park. And then there’s also the Cesar Chavez Park that restored this community’s access to San Diego’s waterfront. That’s why you’ll see signs that say “All the way to the bay”. It was a kind of rallying point for the Mexican immigrants and refugees from the Mexican Revolution that were living here.

Anyway, I highly recommend reading about the history of Barrio Logan and Chicano Park, and of course, you have to go see it! It’s not just murals, but also a green belt, fountain, skatepark, and playground.

The Cesar Chavez Park includes a beautiful pier, picnic tables and gazebos, playground, art, and restrooms.

Side trip accomplished, back to San Diego’s waterfront

Our aim was to get to the Embarcadero Park South to watch practice runs for the FAI Swoop competition. Never heard of it? Either had we! We happily watched a helicopter continually deliver parachutists to airspace right in front of the Embarcadero Park South. Each parachutist positioned him or herself into the right alignment to “swoop” into the landing area at high speeds and attempt to land on a floating inflatable “runway”.

Here’s my amateur video to show you a little what it was like:

This was really a happening place, with crowds watching and cheering, music playing, and an enthuisastic announcer describing the different stunts and strategies of the parachutists. Oh, and it was also a free event. Just goes to show that you never know exactly what might be going on along San Diego’s waterfront, but there’s sure to be something!

(Click on any image to see it larger!)

We watched parachutists for over an hour, then headed towards the Convention Center and waterfront path.

Strolling San Diego’s Waterfront

This is really such a beautiful area, and it’s designed for strolling. It made for a perfect date activity for my husband and I, since we really enjoy the waterfront views and opportunities to take some gorgeous photos. There’s no shortage of things to see or photograph!

The Convention Center is quite stunning with its white sails, art, and viewing patio.

The Convention Center marina has some spectacular yachts moored there — I enjoyed seeing them and dreaming about sailing on one someday!

Seaport Village is a cobblestoned village, featuring quaint boutique shops, lots of restaurants, an antique carrousel, and a pier. There are also little footbridges, fountains, benches — it’s a rather romantic place to go on a date. And on the weekends, you may get to see someone swallow a sword or perform a juggling act, too! We did see the rock-stacking man who creates towers of rocks balancing precariously, and poses in photos for a donation.

If you continue past Seaport Village, you’ll come to Tuna Harbor Park with the ‘Kissing Sailor” statue, the Bob Hope tribute, and the USS Midway Museum right next door. We didn’t go that far on this outing, because we wanted to relax, eat, and enjoy the sunset. I’ve written another article about everything you’ll find on San Diego’s waterfront, from Seaport Village further north. You can see those sights the next time you venture downtown!

Okay, where should we eat on San Diego’s waterfront?

There are so many choices — and a choice for every budget. All of these waterfront restaurants in Seaport Village have stunning views of the harbor, the Coronado bridge, the water taxis that come and go, and the sunset.

Let me show you some of them:

There are many more I haven’t pictured here, from pizza to burgers to exotic island fare. And if that’s not enough, there are even more restaurants at The Headquarters, a former police station converted to a shopping-dining-entertainment plaza. It’s still considered to be part of Seaport Village. That’s a great place to check out as well. We once went there for their “Salsa Under the Stars” — so much fun!

Marion’s Fish & Seafood

We chose the more casual Marion’s Fishmarket & Seafood for this particular outing, but still wanted a fantastic view, and this fit the criteria. My husband ordered a lobster salad sandwich, and I had a fresh grilled salmon salad. Both were delicious, and dinner came to only $30 for the two of us. (Hover over pictures to see name of each restaurant)

And check out these views!

Why should you ‘Dine & Do’ on San Diego’s waterfront?

Well, if these photos haven’t convinced you why, I’m not sure what could. It’s some of the most beautiful waterfront property you’ll find anywhere. You can people-watch, take a walk, go shopping, dine out, ride on a water taxi or take the ferry to Coronado Island. Listen to musicians performing, watch the sunset, go dancing under the stars, or catch a special event, like the parachuting championships we found. Search for street art, take a pedi-cab ride or watch the fishing boats come in. If you have children with you, it’s not far to the Children’s Museum. Cross Harbor Drive to explore the Gaslamp Quarter for more shopping and dining options. Tour Petco Park or take in a Padres’ game. Whether it’s just you and your loved one, your family, or visitors from out of town wanting to be shown around, I don’t think you can go wrong.

I hope you’ll get to experience all that San Diego’s waterfront has to offer soon…maybe I’ll see you there!

Great news! This article has been selected by GPSmyCity as a guided walking route. You can download the article free here …or for a small fee, you can upgrade to a GPS coordinates-embedded version that will guide you around the San Diego waterfront without using data or wifi. You can purchase an annual subscription with GPSmyCity that will give you access to 1000’s of city walking routes all over the world. I’ll earn a small commission and that helps to pay my blogging expenses. Thank you!

San Diego's waterfront





11 thoughts on “‘Dine & Do’ on San Diego’s Waterfront

  1. Heather

    I love that last video panorama of the waterfront!! It is a perfect depiction of what it’s like there: calm and serene, and sometimes lively with music and city sounds.

  2. Annick

    I never expected something so fun in San Diego. I get sidetracked too but that Chicano Park is so Insta-worthy! The design of the conference center fits in well with the harbor. But what a lovely area to bring guests to and see something different each time. The lobster roll looks delicious too!

  3. Kavita Favelle

    Sounds like there are always fun events on at the waterfront! Love all the street art murals that distracted on the way. And how fun does the Swoop event look to watch? The waterfront itself also looks like a really vibrant place to hang out and to eat out.

  4. Daniel

    That video panorama of the waterfront looks absolutely amazing! The atmosphere looks so serene. It looks like a great place to relax after a long day. Thank you for sharing

  5. Sandy N Vyjay

    San Diego’s waterfront looks so lovely. Must be a great place to spend the evening. But I was riveted to those colourful murals below the bridge. They are so vibrant and also reflect the Hispanic culture so wonderfully.

  6. Yukti

    I always love the waterfront as it has nice food options with a view and cheerful atmosphere. San Diego has a lovely waterfront with bright and colorful murals. Also, a romantic couple would love to go for cobbledstoned Seaport village.

  7. Navita

    I have heard that San Diego’s waterfront is really beautiful. Brightly painted murals at Chicano Park stand out! Hearing about Embarcadero Park South for the first time and what fun it would have been to watch the parachutists for over an hour! We have been spotting them, as we slow travel in Himachal Pradesh and the most popular paragliding site, Bir, is not too far. They look so colorful! Sharing this dine and do guide with my friends in that part of the world who would love to have an experience such as this one.

  8. ANITA

    The waterfront looks so relaxing, I love the sunset pictures there. I have never been there but your article makes me feel it’s a great place and worth visiting.

  9. Lisa

    I have never been to San Diago but the waterfront seems like a fun and interesting place to visit. Love the street art on the bridges and there seems to always be something going on, I can see why it’s your location of choice for meeting up with people.

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