Liberty Station

Break away from the crowds and visit the quieter side of San Diego in Liberty Station. Witness the astounding up-close view of the nearby Cabrillo National Monument. Or enjoy the exquisite California sunshine while shooting some hoops. Walk to several breweries, cafés, unique shopping boutiques and beautiful local parks at this former Naval Training Center.
Liberty Station
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Liberty Station
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Parks, Cafes & Sunshine in Liberty Station

Macaroons at Liberty Public MarketBar at Liberty Public Market

Point Loma is a San Diego neighborhood located on a hilly peninsula. Situated at the entrance to San Diego Bay, Point Loma is described as "where California began" because it was the site where the first expedition of European explorers landed in what eventually became the 31st state.

In 1923, the U.S. Navy established a Naval Training Center (NTC) at Point Loma. The facility was expanded during World War II and remained in service for 70 years. However, with the end of the Cold War, demand for military troops dropped off and the Training Center was no longer needed.

Decommissioned in 1997, the former Naval Training Center is now the site of Liberty Station, a mixed-use development on the waterfront featuring hotels, shopping, restaurants, war memorials, historical sites, and a thriving arts scene. The development of Liberty Station to its current form was a joint effort between the city of San Diego and the Corky McMillin Company, a master developer in the area. Since the renovations were completed earlier this decade, Liberty Station has become a popular recreation site for locals and tourists alike to enjoy good food, shopping, and entertainment.

Liberty Station is conveniently located just next to the San Diego International Airport. For those arriving by car, it is also convenient to two of the main interstates serving the area: Interstate 5, which runs from north to south, and Interstate 8, which runs from east to west.

Once you arrive at the north end of Liberty Station you enter through Gate One. This is the oldest part of the compound and consists of a steel arch flanked on either side by twin guard towers. Back when Liberty Station was still the Naval Training Center, Gate One was the only entry point available to recruits who arrived after curfew.

Bookended by walks, archways, and examples of historic architecture, the Promenade is an open area measuring 75,000 square feet in area. Religious ceremonies for recruits at the NTC were once held at the Chapel. Now restored, it is available as an event venue for weddings and other celebrations.

Liberty Station
Why you'll love Liberty Station
Bring your significant other to Liberty Station for a visit to the nearby Cabrillo National Monument. Parks, shops and cafés are all within walking distance.

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Hop-on Hop-off San Diego Trolley
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Local Tips
How much can you save by using the Go Pass?

The Go San Diego Pass is the perfect way to explore more attractions and activities that the area has to offer, all while being cost-efficient.

With the Go San Diego Pass, you can save up to 55% off admission fees at some of the area’s most popular attractions.

Things to Do

Basketball Courts
Basketball Courts
Biking
Biking
Cabrillo Nat. Monument
Cabrillo Nat. Monument
Picnic Tables
Picnic Tables

Shopping and Restaurants in Liberty Station

Liberty Station Public Market

The Liberty Station Public Market is the primary location for shopping and eating in the area. It is unique in the city of San Diego for being the first public market open seven days a week. On the south end of the Public Market there is an eclectic array of restaurants that serve everything from seafood to Mexican dishes to pasta and empanadas, as well as some offerings that defy easy categorization.

On the north end is the Mess Hall is one of the most notable areas in the Liberty Station Public Market. With a menu of locally crafted beers, as well as spirits served by some of the most talented bartenders in San Diego. There is now seating available both inside and outside to enjoy your meals or drinks. The Mess Hall is in fact located in the space of the original NTC mess hall, now converted for civilian use.

Once you have finished with your meal, it is time for shopping. Liberty Station Public Market is home to both big-name retailers and small, unique boutiques, mostly focused on clothing and jewelry.

Local Tips
Locals Love Liberty Station
This historic neighborhood is a favorite among local San Diegans. From the Public Market to the art districts to the holiday ice rink it is a favorite.

Liberty Station Public Market offers activities appealing to the whole family, and that includes dogs. The market patio is dog-friendly and makes for a lively scene, especially on Sunday afternoons when it plays host to a weekly Live Music series from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens

Stone Brewing opened its bistro in 2013 at Liberty Station. This popular brewery restaurant has not only the popular stone brewery beers on tap but small runs as well. There is also a large garden that is often used to host weddings and other events.

Corvette Diner

This 50’s themed burger restaurant is perfect for the small child in your family. Birthday celebrations are popular here where they serve platters of cotton candy. Every hour or so all the staff starts singing and dancing to 50’s music in unison. There is also a kid’s video game arcade in the back of the restaurant that your kids will love.

Art Galleries

There are also several art galleries located in and around Liberty Station serving varied tastes. Examples include the San Diego Comic Art Gallery and the San Diego Watercolor Society Gallery. You can purchase a work of art, or there are also places where you can make your own in the form of painted pottery, handmade candles, or encaustic painting.

Boutique Shops & More

There are a range of boutique shops from a small chocolatier to boutique clothing stores. There is even a movie theater and a Trader Joe’s grocery store at Liberty Station.

Popular Activities

The World Famous San Diego Zoo
The World Famous San Diego Zoo
Discounts Available
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Coronado Museum of History & Art
Coronado Museum of History & Art
Discounts Available
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Harbor Cruise & Sea Lion Adventure
Harbor Cruise & Sea Lion Adventure
$28 per person
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PETCO Park Tour
PETCO Park Tour
$22 per person
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Military Historical Sites Inside Liberty Station

The Naval Training Center (NTC) is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Many of the historic buildings in the Spanish Colonial Revival style have been restored to their former glory, and multiple militaristic features of the original base have been retained.

Fans of military history will find a lot to interest them in and around Liberty Station. Just adjacent is the USS Recruit, a "landship" commissioned in 1949 to provide NTC personnel a place to train on an authentic vessel built to a two-thirds scale of the real ship. It lacked an engine because it was never meant to sail, but included standard bridge and deck gear so that new recruits could learn shipboard procedures and drills in an authentic environment.

Decommissioned with the rest of the base in 1997, the USS Recruit is listed along with the rest of Liberty Station on the National Register of Historic Places. There are hopes to eventually turn it into a museum. For now, it still stands adjacent to Liberty Station as a point of interest.

Other points of interest related to military history in the vicinity of Liberty Station include the USS Midway Museum and the 52 Boats Memorial.

Featured Activity

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Non-Military Attractions at Liberty Station

However, not all the attractions in and around Liberty Station relate to military history. There is also the Old Point Loma Lighthouse inside Cabrillo National Monument. The two-story lighthouse is located at the southern point of the peninsula and served the area from 1855 to 1891, and today, it has been refurbished to its 19th-century condition and is partially open to the public.

Museums near Liberty Station include the Women's Museum of California, which preserves and interprets items related to the contributions of women to inspire future generations; the Visions Art Museum, devoted to quilts and textiles; and the New Americans Museum, which focuses on telling the stories of people who have immigrated to this country in recent decades. Liberty Station is also conveniently located near such popular area attractions as the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park.

One of the most popular attractions at Liberty Station, for visitors as well as locals, is The Lot, an upscale dining venue and movie multiplex. Opening in 2016, The Lot is housed inside the refurbished Luce Auditorium, where naval recruits in the 1940s screened training films before shipping out to serve their country in World War II. The beauty of the old auditorium is enhanced with a bar, lounge, and restaurant area entirely enclosed by glass, which is separated from the theater by an arch-covered promenade.

There are even hotels inside Liberty Station. One of our favorites is the Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Airport/Liberty Station which is on the south end of Liberty Station and just next to the airport.

Featured Hotel
Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Airport / Liberty Station
Fire Pit at Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Airport / Liberty Station
Families
Families
Near Bay
Near Bay
Nightlife
Nightlife
3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars
Close to transportation and attractions, Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Airport / Liberty Station is ideal for tourists and business travelers.
Prices Starting at $180
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Know Before You Go & Tips

Cafes
Cafes
Parks
Parks
Shopping
Shopping
Walkable
Walkable

Events and Entertainment at Liberty Station

The Arts District at Liberty Station encompasses not only the visual arts but the performing arts as well. There are several dance companies that make their home here, including Malashock Dance and the San Diego Ballet. The National Comedy Theater offers improv comedy shows four nights a week in the style of the popular program "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"

First Friday

The Art District's First Friday is the biggest innovative arts event in San Diego. It takes place on the first Friday of every month from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public and includes live theatrical, dance, and amplified music performances, as well as the opportunity to meet local working artists.

Outdoor Art

Installations at the Station is a rotating program during which the sometimes forbidding grounds of the former Naval Training Center play host to a diverse array of site-specific outdoor art. The installations will remain in place for up to one year, after which time new temporary art projects will be chosen to go on display.

ArtWalk San Diego is an annual fine arts festival that takes place citywide. ArtWalk @ Liberty Station takes place in the Arts District during August and allows visitors to experience art al fresco, that is, outdoors under natural light. ArtWalk activities include live music, a wine-and-beer pavilion, street food options, and interactive art opportunities for all ages.

Festival of Books

The Festival of Books is another annual event that takes place at Liberty Station in the summer. This event is a celebration of the literary arts. Every year 15,000 attendees of all ages can visit Author Alley, where over 60 writers and artists showcase their work; see panel discussions featuring local and national speakers; and enjoy family-friendly activities at the Children's Pavilion where authors of children's books are present.

Salute the Season

However, not all special events at Liberty Station take place in the summer. Salute the Season is a series of seasonal activities that take place in November and December to celebrate winter holidays, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah.

Salute the Season kicks off with the opening of the Rady Children's Ice Rink in mid-November. The ice rink remains open seven days a week until the culmination of the event in December, and the proceeds go to the Thriving After Cancer program at Rady Children's Hospital.

The Nutcracker Tea Party with the San Diego Ballet is a family-friendly event that takes place as part of Salute the Season festivities. Cookies and hot drinks are served, and Santa Claus makes a visit, but the main event is an interactive performance of The Nutcracker Suite.

Another family-friendly event during Salute the Season is the lighting of the tree. In addition to the tree lighting, this hours-long event includes other activities that may include live entertainment, pictures with Santa, outdoor movies, and fire truck rides.

Salute the Season concludes with a special Hanukkah celebration to light the menorah. This family-friendly evening includes music and other holiday surprises. After the ceremony concludes, the ice rink will remain open until 10:00 p.m. that evening before closing down for another year.

Liberty Station
is Famous For:
Breweries
Breweries
Parks
Parks
Sidewalk Cafés
Sidewalk Cafés
Walkable
Walkable
Known For:
Cabrillo Nat. Monument
Cabrillo Nat. Monument
Sunshine
Sunshine
This Month's Forecast
62℉ / 76℉
Partly Cloudy in June
Jul
66℉ / 81℉
Sunny in July
Aug
68℉ / 83℉
Sunny in August
Sep
66℉ / 82℉
Sunny in September