789 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, USA
Welcome to Historic America & UCPlaces’ audio walking tour of the Embarcadero. We’re glad you could join us! I’m Rachel, Professional History Nerd, and your guide for today. I invite you to use the hashtag historicamericatours on social media while we travel together today. Our tour will include historic stops, iconic views, and plenty of flexibility to explore shops, restaurants and museums. Let's get started. Use our built in navigation system to orient yourself, and head south on Kettner Blvd, leaving Harbor Drive behind you.
Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel, 1 Market Pl, San Diego, CA 92101, USA
Continue on Kettner Blvd heading toward the water. When you come to the rotary that welcomes you to Embarcadero Marina park, stay on the path to the right, putting the circle itself on your left. You’re headed the right way!
831 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, USA
This is Marina Park–make your way to the water and let’s check out this incredible view! There, across the big bay is the island city of Coronado, connected to the city of San Diego by the majestic Coronado bridge, to your left if you’re facing the bay. Coronado island is a must-see attraction here in San Diego. The coastline boasts sandy beaches with sparkling sand, courtesy of a naturally occurring mineral, mica. A charming main street, quaint shops, elegant gardens, old-world mansions, and grand hotels draw visitors from around the world. The most famous hotel is the Hotel del Coronado, and that alone is worth the trip across the bay. Built in 1888, the Hotel del Coronado quickly became one of California’s most beloved seaside destinations, with its Queen Anne architecture, wedding cake trim and famous red roof turrets. The stories are just as fascinating and colorful as the architecture, including presidents and princes, socialites and scandals, ghosts and glamorous celebrities. It is also widely believed to have been the inspiration for the Emerald City in "Wizard of Oz" as the author spent many winters at the iconic oceanfront hotel. For now, let’s soak in the attractions on this side of the bay. Our next stop is Seaport Village. Use the navigation to make your way to our next stop, keeping the ocean on your left and the city on your right. I’ll meet you at the Seaport Village fountain.
865 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, USA
This gorgeous fountain is a centerpiece of Seaport Village. Seaport Village is a shopping, dining and entertainment hub. Opened in 1980, this 14 acre harborside complex was designed to hearken back to last century charm. It includes more than 50 one of a kind shops, as well as casual dining eateries, and fine dining waterfront restaurants. Live music, public history and art, all happen here at Seaport, which boasts a little something for everyone–there's even a hand carved 1895 carousel to add to the throwback charm. Take a moment and explore the seaport shops and restaurants, and when you are ready, rejoin this audio tour. Using the built in navigation to leave Seaport Village behind you and we’ll head towards Tuna Harbor. I’ll meet you at our next stop whenever you’re ready!
598 Harbor Ln, San Diego, CA 92101, USA
Welcome back! With Seaport Village behind you, we’ll continue our walk along the water. The Embarcadero is a testament to the region's rich maritime history, but it’s still an active fishery, too. On your left is the Tuna Harbor Market pier. The Port of San Diego has a long history of commercial fishing. The first cannery opened back in 1909 and San Diego was soon known as “The Tuna Capital of the World”. The tuna fishery’s establishment and expansion coincided with an influx of Japanese and Portuguese immigration to the area. Fishermen from both immigrant groups were instrumental in developing fishing techniques that defined an entire industry. The tuna business thrived until the First World War I in 1918, when it slowed significantly, and the many canneries shut down or merged. During the Great Depression, and certainly during World War II, many Japanese fishermen found greater economic opportunity just south of here, in Mexico. Then, mid-century modernization kicked the local tuna industry into high gear again. The switch from bait boats and hook-and-line fishing, to mechanized purse seining, led to a rapid expansion of commercial fleets. In 1969, the San Diego tuna fleet had a total fish hold capacity of roughly 32,000 tons, and by 1974 this figure had grown to almost 53,000 tons. Then in 1974, a “kill quota” implemented in 1975 substantially changed the industry again. Boats were required to limit their catch, ultimately causing brands like Bumble Bee Seafoods and Van Camp Seafood Cannery to close their doors in the early 1980s. The San Diego fleet today consists of about 130 active vessels. Legislation passed in 2015 created the “Pacific to Plate” initiative, a plan where commercial fishermen can sell their catches directly to consumers. This public policy opened the door for San Diego’s Tuna Harbor Dockside Market. The Tuna Harbor Dockside Market partners with local fishers that reel in black cod, thornyhead rockfish, sea urchin, top snail, whelk snail, big eye, yellowfin, bluefin tuna, opah, swordfish, mahi-mahi, wahoo, squid, mackerel, a variety of crabs, spiny lobsters, prawn, halibut and more! It’s a collective market, created for the fishermen, by the fishermen. Tuna Harbor Dockside Market operates every Saturday rain or shine, from 8 in the morning until 2 in the afternoon or until sold out. During the week, they are closed and the fishermen are out to sea. Let’s continue to our next stop, The USS San Diego Memorial is ahead and on your right.
750 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92132, USA
Before you is a public art installation that honors the distinguished service of the cruiser USS San Diego and its crew during World War II. The 28-foot walls are composed of polished granite and terra cotta, and the floor displays a terrazzo map of the Pacific Theater. The ship’s travels are marked with inlaid brass strips, the stars mark the places of battles and engagements, from Guadalcanal to Tokyo Bay. The life-size bronze sailor is gazing out to the Pacific Ocean. Let’s continue and learn more about Tuna Harbor.
1198 W G St, San Diego, CA 92132, USA
Welcome to Tuna Harbor Park! Originally built as part of the city’s historic coal wharf, it served as an important naval fleet landing site through the mid-twentieth century, and next became a commercial hub for tuna fishing. Tuna was the city’s third-largest industry in the 1960s, but the fishery business declined in subsequent years, and most of the park’s current site was left vacant until the late 1980s. A series of concrete paths connect waterfront memorials and interpretive signage, honoring the tuna industry’s contributions, as well as the city’s significant historic and ongoing naval presence. A pathway known as the “Greatest Generation Walk” connects the memorials and art installations dedicated to World War II, and that’s where we’re headed next. Use the navigation to make your way to the Taffy 3 Memorial.
740 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, USA
The memorial before you consists of thirteen polished black granite panels, one for each ship, that stand five feet high and are arrayed in a V-shape plan. The centerpiece of the monument is a Moon Kim bronze bust of Vice Admiral Clifton A. F. Sprague mounted on a solid black granite pedestal. Historical information and data about the ships and the Battle for Leyte Gulf are inscribed on the base of the pedestal and the adjoining vertical panels. During the commemorated battle, the lightly armed and unarmored Taffy 3 escort carriers, destroyers and destroyer escorts were attacked by an overwhelmingly superior force of Japanese battleships, cruisers and destroyers. Threatened with almost certain annihilation of his force, Admiral Sprague coolly and brilliantly directed his ships and planes in maneuvers and counter-attacks that bewildered the enemy.. The incredible courage and tenacity shown by the sailors and pilots of Taffy 3 deprived the Japanese of certain victory. Four Taffy 3 ships and over 800 men were lost in the action, but their sacrifice prevented a serious disruption of the U.S. amphibious landings at Leyte Gulf and contributed to the overall victory of the U.S. Navy in the last and greatest battle between opposing fleets in World War II. This memorial is dedicated to the memory of Admiral Sprague and the 13 ships and 7,300 men of Task Unit 77.4.3, known as Taffy 3, and their heroic naval action amidst the fierce fighting off the island of Samar on October 25, 1944.
1198 W G St, San Diego, CA 92132, USA
See the elevated plaza with the sign: "A National Salute to Bob Hope and the Military,” and what looks from a distance like a small crowd assembled around a man at an old time-y microphone? The figure with the mic is a bronze likeness of Bob Hope, the legendary movie/TV comedian and entertainer, in his prime. Before his death in 2003 at age 100, Hope had performed in hundreds of USO events since 1941, entertaining US military audiences in far-flung theaters of conflict, from World War II to the Gulf War. Like some morale-igniting secret weapon, Bob Hope was deployed for maximum laugh efficacy, and much loved by men and women in uniform. In 1997, President Clinton bestowed on Hope the rank of "Honorary Veteran." On the plaza, there are 15 life-sized bronze statues, arranged as if attending a Bob Hope show. Each figure represents a serviceman from a different conflict. The scene is completely open, allowing visitors to wander between the figures, and pose with them in reverent or irreverent pull-my-finger positions, or join the frozen crowd to cheer on Bob Hope's one-liners. Women in the service are represented, as are wounded vets, with a racial diversity that underscores Hope's broad appeal. One figure holds up a sign with stenciled, punch-through lettering: "Thanks for the Memories BOB." The "National Salute to Bob Hope and the Military" cost $1.5 million, and was a combined effort of the port of San Diego, the Hope family, and Navy vets of World War II's Battle of Leyte Gulf. The plaza and sculpture were officially dedicated in 2009, with two of Bob Hope's children on hand. Bob Hope was a funny guy, a quipster with a long career. Though his relevancy started to wane in those last few decades, no equivalent master comic of the military-industrial complex has emerged. This sculpture of a never-ending joke told to an eternally amused military is a fitting tribute.
43-99 Tuna Ln, San Diego, CA 92101, USA
"Unconditional Surrender" -- In front of you is the giant statue of a World War II sailor kissing a nurse…enjoy the impressive gaudiness and scale against the imposing backdrop of a real US Navy aircraft carrier, the USS Midway.
990 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, USA
From the pier you can see across the bay to the North Island Naval Air Station. Farther across the bay is the residential peninsula of Point Loma. To the east you have a fine view of the skyline of downtown San Diego.
N Harbor Dr & 1140, San Diego, CA 92132, USA
To the north lies the Cruise Ship Terminal. Some cruises originate here, while others are making San Diego a port of call on their itinerary. Many cruises heading from Los Angeles to Mexico make San Diego their first-night stop. Continue along the Embarcadero, you’ll see the spars of a ship from a bygone era. This ship, the Star of India, is the flagship of the group of ships that make up the San Diego Maritime Museum. Proceed to the Star of India, and I’ll meet you there.
1306 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, USA
With the big cruise lines behind you, the Maritime Museum, our final stop together on this walking tour, is just beyond the building on the left. Almost there!
1360 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, USA
Pause here for a moment while I tell you about this ship. Launched in 1863, the Star of India saw a lot of sea before she came to rest at San Diego. At first the iron, square-rigged sailing vessel carried cargo between England and India, then she carried emigrants from England to New Zealand and Australia on a route that led her to circle the globe 27 times. She next transported timber from Puget Sound to Australia, and finally, from 1902 to 1923, carried salmon from Alaska to the West Coast. Then, after many years of retirement, she was restored and opened in 1961 as a maritime museum in San Diego.
1492 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, USA
Before you is the finest example of a Victorian Era ferry boat still afloat! The Berkeley, a steamboat that ferried passengers across the San Francisco Bay from 1898 to 1958, is now a treasured California State historic landmark! Now home to the Maritime Museum offices, a research library, archival storage, special event spaces, as well as museum exhibits on both the main and lower decks, the ship is still best remembered for the days and nights that followed The Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. In the harrowing hours that followed the earthquake, the captain and crew made trip after trip to the shores, rescuing survivors as the city burned. A ticket to the museum will get you inside this steamship and the Medea, as well as aboard the decks of sailing ships Californian, HMS Surprise, San Salvador, and the Star of India, and the Submarine USS Dolphin. If you want to head back to where you started, an alternative to returning by foot is using the San Diego Trolley, which runs every 30 minutes during the day. (To confirm the schedule, or to check for holiday hours, visit www.sdmts.com.) There is a trolley station on Cedar Street. This concludes our time together today. Thanks for visiting the Embarcadero with us! This tour has been a joint production of Historic America and UCPlaces. To learn more about our trip planning services, public & private tours and digital content make sure to visit us at www.historicamerica.org and to find more audio tours, go to historicamerica.org and UCPlaces.com.