If you happen to find yourself in downtown San Diego, there is definitely no shortage of activities, dining, and sightseeing opportunities. Cruising past the waterfront, you probably noticed the massive aircraft carrier that dwarfs nearby buildings and yachts. The USS Midway is pretty hard to miss!
With a longtime connection to the military, San Diego is no stranger to naval ships coming and going. In fact, the U.S. Navy has had a strong presence in the area for over one hundred years. After the USS Midway was decommissioned in 1992, a dedicated group of volunteers set about working on plans to turn it into a top-notch museum ship. In 2004 all of the hard work paid off, and the ship was finally opened to the public for tours. Now folks of all ages can experience a little bit of the so-called “Midway Magic.”
With a distinguished career spanning from the closing days of World War II all the way to the Gulf War, you can literally walk through 47 years of history as you roam the passageways and decks. There are countless exhibits, static aircraft displays, flight simulators, a cafe and gift shop, and of course, friendly and knowledgeable tour guides (many of whom served on the Midway). One highlight of our visit was being able to go on a guided tour of the bridge, learning first-hand from veterans about how planes landed on the deck, how a massive aircraft carrier navigates its way around the globe, and even how the Midway could be difficult to steer.
As you wander and explore, you are really struck by what a marvel of engineering this huge ship is. Even more impressive is that it was designed and constructed in an era far before computers and the digital age. You can just imagine the Midway as a small bustling city and airport with over 4,000 residents, complete with everything from a dentist’s office to a chapel, and even a small jail (the “brig”). Everyone on board had a job to do, and it was these hard-working sailors, officers, and pilots that truly brought the ship to life.
In short, the USS Midway is absolutely worth a visit! The ship brings visitors from around the globe, and it’s easy to see why. The museum has done an excellent job of preserving and honoring our nation’s military history, as well as the memories of those who have served, and continue to serve.
Tips for visiting the USS Midway:
- Plan for at least 3-4 hours to tour a majority of the ship.
- While portions of the ship are accessible (hangar deck and flight deck), the rest of the ship consists of stairs, passageways, and doors.
- Parking (paid) is available at the pier where the Midway is docked.
- There is an entrance fee, although tickets can be a few dollars cheaper online.
- While not related, the Maritime Museum of San Diego is about a half mile away and features others ships and submarines on display.
GPS Coordinates (WGS84 / Decimal Degrees):
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- NavSource Online – USS Midway
- Navysite.de – USS Midway
- U.S. Navy – USS Midway Brief History
- USS Midway Museum
- Wikipedia – USS Midway
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