Photo by Heidi Leppert

Liberty Station in Point Loma is the perfect place to spend a day for those passengers starting or ending a cruise in San Diego, California or for those with a day in port. Its proximity to the cruise port is a mere 7-10 minutes away by rideshare or cab. It is a true hidden gem among many more well known tourist attractions in a visitor-friendly city.

Liberty Station was formerly the location of the Naval Training Center that was first opened in 1923. The center continued to expand through WWII, tripling in size to become a valuable military resource in defending our nation. The grounds officially closed in 1997, and the city of San Diego gained ownership in 2000. From that time on plans were made to convert the site into a center for commerce, history and the arts.

With its Spanish Colonial-style buildings, Liberty Station is a place to enjoy a multitude of options. The center is divided into sections with each section encompassing its owns specialties. The retail and commercial district houses restaurants such as Panera Bread, Five Guys and Cold Stone Creamery, just to name a few. The retail stores are an eclectic mix of shops and studios showcasing local artists and their creations. We found Comickaze Comics, Books and More, in particular, to be a fun place to connect with the comic book characters and movie legends, both from the past and the present. Being fans of The Muppets, we found two coffee mugs with several fun characters on each that we purchased for our son and daughter-in-law.

We enjoyed a great meal at the Corvette Diner located on the northern outskirts of the center. This eatery – complete with an actual Corvette car inside – offers a large variety of American-style comfort food. The portions are quite large but are reasonably priced. After lunch, we wandered through the Liberty Public Market section with its many food booths offering Greek cuisine to beer to sweets. Once our lunch had settled a bit, we decided we had room for ice cream. I personally feel there is always room for ice cream, and so we stopped at Cold Stone for sundaes. They were very tasty!

We enjoyed eating them outside in a patio area next to a large expanse of grass situated between the buildings on either side of it. These types of grassy areas abound within Liberty Station and allowed us to relax and enjoy a beautiful, sunny San Diego day! We are big fans of watching planes take off, and since Liberty Station is directly adjacent to the north of San Diego International Airport and directly under its flight path, we were able to watch – transfixed as one plane after another soared effortlessly over our heads.

Other park and open spaces further comprise Liberty Station. These areas include a golf course and 46 acres of waterfront parkland consisting of walking and jogging trails along a scenic boat channel. Many special events take place in these open lawn spaces. When we were there, they had a lantern-decorating festival with a large area cordoned off for the attendees to enter and partake of not only decorating a large, paper lantern, but also dine on food available at several booth venues. These events will usually charge an admission fee.

We took the time to enjoy a staycation while at Liberty Station and spent the night at the Courtyard by Marriott, located in the hotel district just a short walk away from Liberty Station’s center. There are several more hotels in the area with a couple of more currently being built.

As stated on the Liberty Station website, “Liberty Station provides a portal to the past, an experience for the present, and a promise for the future.” I would have to agree, and quite honestly, Liberty Station is a place a visitor can study the history of the center, exercise, dine, shop or just relax while enjoying a day in a gorgeous city. Come by and visit this beautiful location! You’ll be glad you did!

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