Explore San Diego’s Seaport Village: The Perfect Day Trip

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Seaport Village is a longstanding attraction in downtown San Diego. Photo credit: Julie Bigboy

Seaport Village in San Diego offers more than 50 shops and 17 dining locations in a lively waterfront location. This downtown venue offers visitors a relaxing place for unique shopping, eateries and live entertainment in a charming outdoor setting. Discover the fun things to do in Seaport Village with kids, including the locals’ favorites!

Where is Seaport Village?

Seaport Village is in San Diego California at 849 W. Harbor Drive. This shopping and dining hub is located near other downtown San Diego attractions including San Diego Bay, USS Midway Museum and Balboa Park.

My family and I have been going to Seaport Village in San Diego since it first opened in 1980. The feel of this 14-acre venue hasn’t changed much since. Some of the same shops I remember as a child are still operating!

But Seaport Village feels fresh and vibrant despite its long history. Chic boutique shops in The Headquarters, live music and crowd-friendly entertainment along the boardwalk keep people coming back. Here’s a brief overview of the things to do in Seaport Village when visiting San Diego with kids.

Maximizing a Day at Seaport Village in San Diego

This outdoor venue is located within walking distance of the San Diego Convention Center and the San Diego Padres ballpark, Petco Park. Also close by are the Marriott Hotel & Marina and Manchester Grand Hyatt. Seaport Village is a great day trip location for guests staying in the downtown area.

Winding walkways encourage a slow flow through the plazas and courtyards. There are more than 50 different shops, many with doors wide open to encourage wandering. The Spanish style buildings, cobblestones and drought-tolerant gardens throughout give the place a true SoCal meets South-of-the-Border feel.

Reach the boardwalk and be rewarded with a view of the waterfront and the Coronado Bridge. Set aside a few hours in Seaport Village to meander through the shops, take in the view and stop for lunch.

Dine on the Waterfront

Meander in the shade throughout Seaport Village with a view of the bay. Photo credit: Julie Bigboy

With 17 dining spots, from quick casual to upscale with a bay-view, there’s sure to be a flavor for everyone. Choose Crack Tacos for delicious Mexican food, with tri-tip tacos and burritos on the menu. For seafood (and more) choose Edgewater Grill, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Craft brew fans will enjoy Mike Hess Brewing, which offers up great people-watching from the elevated patio. Stop by the San Pasqual Winery tasting room for sips from local vineyards

Even if you just stop by and visit Seaport Village for a sweet treat, there are several great options for dessert. Ben & Jerry Ice Cream and the Seaport Coffee & Fudge Factory are both popular stops at Seaport Village. My kids love the Something Sweet Shop with retro candies and saltwater taffy.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Don’t feel like going out? Have DoorDash bring food to your hotel or vacation rental.

Shopping Highlights in Seaport Village

When visitors to San Diego ask me where to buy the best souvenirs, my answer is always “At Seaport Village.” Many of the shops have been longstanding and offer a true local feel.

From apparel like tees and hats to keepsakes including sunglasses and kites, there are items for all budgets. As a military town, you’ll also find plenty of items that celebrate those in the Armed Forces. Art galleries and pop up shops encourage visitors to step inside.

Live Entertainment at Seaport Village

Open-air walkways and a bayside breeze. Photo credit: Julie Bigboy

There’s rarely a lack of entertainment on weekends in Seaport Village. Live musicians mingle with street performers throughout the plaza. On the afternoon of our visit, The Cat-illacs were entertaining guests with classic cover songs in the East Plaza Gazebo. Visitors jumped up to dance with the music as others simply relaxed under the trees, chatting or singing along. We stood in the shade under the restaurant eaves, taking in the atmosphere.

In the West Plaza, Native American flute music players serenaded guests. Shoppers mingled in the shade, sipping beer and margaritas. The Busker Fest, held during the spring months, is a popular weekend festival of live performances of unique talents.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Chairs and benches are in short supply on the weekends. Arrive early to grab a spot in the shade. Or do like many other visitors did on our visit – bring your own lawn chair!

More Things to Do at Seaport Village with Kids

A spin (or two!) is a must when visiting Seaport Village with kids. Photo credit: Julie Bigboy

While some kids may be bored at the prospect of a day shopping, there are plenty of fun things to do with kids at Seaport Village. Restaurants like the San Diego Pier Cafe and San Diego Burger Company offer up tasty kids menu options. Wander into kid-friendly toy shops like Geppetto’s and The Kids Opera.

The meandering outdoor walkways with fountains and bridges are pleasing for kids. Walk along the harbor-side for views of boats sailing past.

The highlight of Seaport Village for young children is the merry-go-round. Seaport Village’s Carousel is a must-do, in particular if you have little ones with you. This historic 1895 Looff carousel features hand-carved horses and menagerie animals.

The Headquarters at Seaport District

Located just a few minutes from the original Seaport Village is a new addition, The Headquarters. San Diego’s old Police Headquarters is now a trendy courtyard of boutiques and dining.

Enjoy boutique shopping and upscale casual dining along with live music in the courtyard. Guests can stay and enjoy the acre of urban gardens and landscaped plazas in The Headquarters.

In keeping with its roots, there is an exhibit featuring a collection of police memorabilia and original jail cells. The police exhibit shares the hallway with The Headquarters bathroom. Be sure to step all the way inside the two-story jail cell room and look at the wall of mug shots from the 1930s. Teenagers will get a kick out of reading the tawdry crimes!

Parking and Transportation

Weekend parking at Seaport Village is notoriously tricky. Arrive at opening for the best chance of grabbing an open parking spot.

Don’t want to drive? Seaport Village is one of the stops on Old Town Trolley Tours. The Santa Fe Train Station is only a few blocks away if you take Amtrak or the San Diego Metro Coaster.

Rounding Out the Day Downtown

If you’re looking for a few other downtown San Diego activities to complete your day trip, here are a few other SheBuysTravel suggestions:

  • Grab a kite and head to Embarcadero Marina Park North, just steps outside of Seaport Village. This waterfront park has bike trails and picnic spots and offers some of the best kite flying in the city.
  • The New Children’s Museum is located a few blocks away from Seaport Village. If you’re traveling with young children, this is an ideal spot to spend the afternoon.
  • Take a San Diego harbor cruise across San Diego Bay to Coronado Island. The view of the downtown skyline from Coronado can’t be beat.
  • Military buffs will enjoy a tour at the Midway Museum, aboard the former aircraft carrier. Walk farther down the San Diego waterfront to the Star of India and HMS Surprise. Both are part of the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
  • Check out the Gaslamp Quarter for dinner and lively nightlife.

Other San Diego Area Activities

For additional sightseeing when traveling to San Diego, these are a few more popular attractions to see on a weekend in San Diego:

  • Explore the free things to do in Balboa Park including community events, parks and hiking trails.
  • A visit to Southern California isn’t complete without a day at the world famous San Diego Zoo.
  • Old Town offers an eclectic mix of shops and dining combined with historical buildings and free museums.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Skip the line and purchase your attraction tickets ahead of time. You can often save a few dollars by booking it in advance with Get Your Guide.

One response

  1. The San Diego Marriott Marquis is a short walk from Seaport Village. You can also catch the SEAL tour at Seaport Village.

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