6 Reasons to Visit Seaport Village

by Gray Cargill on January 4, 2012

Seaport Village

View of Seaport Village from my hotel room

Depending on the type of traveler you are, your stay in San Diego may or may not include Seaport Village. If you are the type of traveler who runs from tourist traps where you’re likely to spend money, Seaport Village is probably not the place for you. It was definitely the place for me, though. I found myself going back there over and over again during my 48 hours in San Diego–and not just because it was conveniently located outside the back door of the Manchester Grand Hyatt. Here are 6 reasons why you might consider visiting Seaport Village yourself:

Harbor view

Harbor view

The View

Located on San Diego’s waterfront, Seaport Village has a terrific view from almost any angle. Over lunch, I got to watch sailboats bobbing in the marina. During my strolls back and forth along the boardwalk, I got to watch the sun glinting off the water, seagulls swooping overhead, and kayakers paddling through the blue waves. Where I live, I’m a very long drive from the nearest ocean, so being in a place where I can gaze out at the ocean is like heaven. There were plenty of spots to stop and sit or lean against the railing and look out on the water. On a warm, sunny day, there was no place better to be–except maybe the beach.



The Restaurants

Seaport Village has a wide range of eateries, from snackbar windows to fast food (no McDonalds here, but you can get a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream) to more formal sit-down restaurants. Watch the sunset while dining on fresh seafood at the San Diego Pier Cafe or the Harbor House, or make some new friends during Happy Hour at the bar at Busters, which is a fun, casual restaurant with a beachy theme and the most moist crab cakes I’ve ever had.

Seashell wind chimes

Seashell wind chimes

The Shopping

I detest shopping, but even I found some stores here that I couldn’t resist checking out–like Hot Licks, which sells every hot sauce, salsa, and seasoning you can possibly imagine burning your tongue on, the Cerveza Store (“everything but the beer for the beer lover”), Seaport Village Shell Company (all merchandise is made from seashells), and Del Sol, where the clothing changes color when the sun hits it. The thing I loved about the stores here was that they were so unique compared to the stores I usually see in tourist destinations.

The Boardwalk

Walking along the waterfront

The People-Watching

When I got tired of walking around, I would snag a bench seat somewhere (there are a lot of them) and just enjoy the sunshine, stare at a splashing fountain, or people-watch. Or I would follow the sounds of guitar music to a pretty plaza where musicians were playing. Or I’d lean against the railing with the ocean to my back and watch people coming and going on the boardwalk. You see such a cross-section of people here–suit-wearing convention-goers, sweaty joggers, moms with their strollers, guys with their dogs, backpackers, picture-taking tourists, packs of teenagers, groups of girlfriends–and yes, even solos.

Henna Tattoos

Henna Tattoos

The Activities

From Seaport Village, you can sign up and go on a SEAL (Sea and Land) Tour. You can have your fortune told by a psychic. You can get a henna tattoo, or have your caricature drawn or your face painted. You can pose with colorful birds on your shoulders. Don’t forget to check out the hand-carved carousel from 1895; it’s beautiful.

Fake lighthouse

Totally fake lighthouse

The Cuteness Factor

Beware, all you anti-tourist trap types. You’ll HATE how cute Seaport Village is, with its fake lighthouse tower, beautiful harbor view boardwalk, pretty Spanish plazas, cobblestone walkways, and early 1900s seaside village themeing. Just hate it. The rest of you? Take lots of pictures, make sure you’re in some of them, and enjoy.

View more of my Seaport Village photos here.


Gray Cargill January 30, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Aw, you got to ride the carousel, Woody? I would’ve loved that. Yeah, it’s a bit of a haul from Washington, isn’t it?

Woody January 30, 2012 at 5:10 pm

I love the Seaport Village in San Diego! When I was a kid, I would beg my parents each year to take me there for my birthday so I could ride the old carousel, eat at the fudge shops, visit the Ship Museum next door, stroll the marina on the other side and spend hours searching for that treasure in the shops. It was and still is a very magical and special place for me, and I can’t wait until I can finally share it with my wife and kids someday, living in Washington state now has made that a bit more difficult.

Gray Cargill January 11, 2012 at 5:23 pm

You’re welcome, Rey.

Rey January 11, 2012 at 3:09 pm

I usually refrain from going to places that were built for tourists because for one, that’s where most of the people are. However, during my last trip, I found out that being in the “tourist trap” need not be that expensive! I will definitely visit Seaport Village when I am in San Diego, thanks to you!

Gray January 4, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Yup, that’s my attitude, too, Alouise. I’m a traveler AND a tourist, and I’m not ashamed of it.

Alouise January 4, 2012 at 6:53 pm

I’m not much of a shopper either, but I think I’d Seaport Village as well. Sometimes visiting the tourist attractions, even the ones made just for tourists, can be the most fun.

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