San Diego is full of great places to visit to learn more about its military history. With such a strong connection to the Navy, it is one of the best towns for discovering the exploits and daring missions of the Navy.
Military history is especially strong along the Embarcadero, which stretches along the eastern waterfront, directly adjacent to the city center, alongside the San Diego Bay. This area has long been used as a military base for the US Navy, and it’s where many of the museums and educational tours that cover military history are held.
The USS Midway aircraft carrier served the US Navy from 1945 all the way to 1992, making it the longest-serving aircraft carrier of the century. During this time, it was involved in Cold War missile trial launches, combat during the Vietnam War, and key roles in the Gulf War. After its decommissioning in 1992, it was renovated in 2004 and reopened to the public as a museum.
The USS Midway Museum gives visitors the opportunity to set foot inside a real aircraft carrier and learn about the historic battles it took part in. You can also check out models of the aircraft that would have landed on the ship when it was in use, read about the Battle of Midway that gave the aircraft carrier its name, and listen to informative lectures by pilots who have landed planes on the ship.
If you’re looking for discounted admission to the USS Midway Museum, consider purchasing Go San Diego passes in advance of your trip for your entire family. Not only will you skip the line to purchase tickets but will also get the cheapest admission price available when you combine their already discounted rates with our exclusive additional discount!
Combine with other popular San Diego area attractions like the San Diego Zoo or SeaWorld in Mission Bay to save even more!
If you’re interested in military aircraft, the San Diego Air and Space Museum is another can’t-miss attraction. Here, you can check out different planes, helicopters, and jets that were used in various military missions in San Diego’s history, as well as more information about the daring exploits of each of these missions.
The San Diego Air and Space Museum also has a huge collection of historic military artifacts. There are manuscripts and logbooks from Naval commanders, Civil Air Transport posters, images and films, and much more.
The Veterans Museum and Memorial Center in Balboa Park showcases some of the greatest military achievements made possible thanks to San Diego’s contributions. Exhibits cover the beginnings of Balboa Park’s relationship with the Army and Navy with the Panama-California Exposition of 1915, the efforts made to support the troops during World War II, and the construction of the San Diego Naval Hospital in 1988.
Important battles waged in and around San Diego that are included in the museum are the Battle for Outpost Harry at the end of the Korean War, the rescue of Pearl Harbor survivors, and conflicts in the Vietnam War. There’s also an exhibit detailing women’s history in the military.
The Greatest Generation Collection
The Greatest Generation Collection is a collection of military heritage art, photography, and memorial statues along the Embarcadero in Tuna Harbor Park. The artwork on display shows military events in San Diego’s history from World War II to the modern day.
Notable art pieces include the Unconditional Surrender statue, the Aircraft Carrier Memorial, and the USS San Diego memorial.