Marine Corps Command Museum


Location: Midway District (3 Miles / 5 Minutes North of Downtown San Diego)

Open Daily: 8AM – 4PM (Closed on Sundays)

Cost: Free

Features: History of the U.S. Marine Corps; Displays the Challenges of War and Sacrifices Made for Freedom

command-museumMarine Corps Command Museum Highlights: For those travelers flying to the San Diego Airport, take a look out the right side of the plane as you land. Chances are, you will see Marine Corps Recruits performing calisthenics or marching in formation at the Marine Corp Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego. This is one of only two Marine Corp Recruit Depots in the country, the other being in Parris Island, South Carolina.

MCRD San Diego has trained over 2 million new recruits since 1923. San Diego is home to all of the recruits west of the Mississippi River, as well as those from the states of Wisconsin and Michigan, and the areas surrounding Chicago and New Orleans.

The Marine Corps Command Museum is located at MCRD San Diego and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Learning about the grueling Marine Corps training program is just one element of this impressive Museum that takes an in-depth look at Marine Corps history as well as the trials and tribulations of war. The depth and quality of their exhibitions attracts high school and college classes and should be on the short list of must-see attractions in San Diego for any visitor .

What to Expect

  • There are nearly a dozen exhibition rooms spread over two large floors. Exhibitions include:
    • War photos taken by soldiers in the middle of combat. This might be tough to look at for some visitors but provides a glimpse at the sacrifices made by our military members.
    • History of the Marines in War. Marines are always the first ones in and the last ones out of any war. You will see displays of pictures, weapons, military equipment, human interest stories and a timeline of events for all of the major conflicts.
    • Story of Navajo Code Talkers used in World War II. This program began here at MCRD San Diego.
    • Displays of the Congressional Medal of Honor and other awards and decorations earned by members of the Marine Corps.
    • Training regiment for Boot Camp. See what new recruits have to endure during their three months of Marine Corps boot camp training.
  • A theater offers continually running films about the Marines, including a video of boot camp training.
  • Those looking to do military research will find a Reference Center with extensive collections.
  • During your visit, you may see recruits marching in formation past the Museum as they endure a grueling three months of training.
  • Plan on spending about two hours touring the exhibits and more time if you want to watch the films.
  • You will typically see a few Marine Corps veterans who serve as volunteers helping to answer visitor questions.


Gift Shop – There is a large gift shop where you can buy U.S. Marine Corps hats, shirts, books, videos, and other souvenirs. You can also buy many of the gifts online. Proceeds from Gift Shop sales helps support the MCRD San Diego Command Museum.

Food – You can find a number of restaurants along Rosecrans Street and Sports Arena Boulevard in the Midway District. You will also find many restaurants in the Old Town historic district, which is just a couple miles away on the other side of highway I-5.

Information on Visiting the Marine Corps Command Museum

Visitor Information: (Costs are Approximate)

  • Parking is Free.
  • Entrance is Free.

Directions from Google Maps to Cuba Avenue in San Diego, CA 92140. (You will need a photo I.D. to enter the Recruit Depot. Be sure to have proof of car insurance with you as well as you might need it to drive onto the base. If you enter at the gate from Witherby Street, you will see the Command Museum about 100 yards straight ahead.)

Traffic – Traffic is relatively light during the Museum’s normal hours. (Learn how to get the latest traffic updates.)

Transit – Buses do serve the Marine Corps Recruit Depot. They will drop you off right outside the gate at Witherby and Pacific Coast Highway. (See San Diego Transit Information for the bus schedules and information for the online Transit Planner. Type in MCRD for the destination using the Transit Planner.)

Related Attraction – You may also find an interest in visiting the Flying Leatherneck Museum dedicated to Marine Corps Aviation at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. It is located a 15 minute drive northeast of the Command Museum and is where the movie Top Gun was filmed.

Find More Attractions with Similar Themes or Location: *Top San Diego Museums*, Military Museums & Presence, Point Loma Area, Souvenirs |

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