Capture the Best Views of Downtown San Diego

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San Diego Skyline from CoronadoSan Diego has one of the most beautiful skylines in the world. I would not say it is on the scale of New York City or Sydney, Australia just due to the sheer size those cities offer. However, the reflecting waters of San Diego Bay in the foreground and the recent construction of several new buildings, make our skyline one to enjoy.

Great views of the city can be found from Point Loma, Harbor Island, and Coronado. I love all of them since each offers a different vantage point. Point Loma, especially Cabrillo National Monument, is great because it overlooks the city and San Diego Bay from 400 feet above sea level. Harbor Island is relatively quiet and provides a sidewalk the full length of the island so you can get exercise while enjoying the view. It is also a great place to wait for someone arriving at Lindbergh Field. I’ll talk more about these places in later posts. Today, I want to talk about my favorite view of San Diego, which comes from Coronado.

Coronado’s Centennial Park provides the closest views of the skyline. You have an unobstructed view of the tallest downtown buildings .

View of San Diego Convention Center and Petco ParkYou can see the San Diego Convention Center with it’s white sails rooftop. If the sails remind you of the Sea World Pavilion or Denver International Airport’s Rocky Mountain inspired rooftop, it is because the structural design engineer on all three was Horst Berger. Just to the right of the San Diego Convention Center, you will see Petco Park, home to the San Diego Padres.

USS Ronald Reagan Aircraft CarrierYou will also have a great view of the home port for two nuclear aircraft carriers when they are in port at the northern tip of Coronado. Of the 21 aircraft carriers in the world, the two based at Naval Air Station North Island are the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76). Few people ever get to see an aircraft carrier in person because there are so few and they generally operate well out to sea. We are lucky here in San Diego to have this rare opportunity to see aircraft carriers with our own eyes.

To enjoy these views, you can drive over the 2.1 mile Coronado Bridge or take the Coronado Ferry from the Broadway Pier in downtown San Diego to the Coronado Ferry Landing Marketplace, which is adjacent to Centennial Park. The Ferry Landing Marketplace offers numerous shops and food choices ranging from Burger King to Il Fornaio (great Italian) and Peohe’s (great seafood). Il Fornaio and Peohe’s both offer great views of the San Diego skyline from their seating areas. Across the street is Tartine, a casual, European style cafe which is open all day and a good place to get a nice breakfast.

Directions from Google Maps. Traffic: Avoid the Coronado Bridge during rush hour (7:30 AM and 3PM).

Coronado Ferry – Runs every hour from 9AM – 9PM

Tallest San Diego Buildings and related information from Emporis.com

Coronado Visitor Center – Official Site

While visiting Coronado, you may want to visit the famous Hotel Del Coronado, which is 1.5 miles south of Centennial Park. If you took the ferry over, you can reach the Hotel Del by pedicab, taxi, or city bus. You can also enjoy a nice flat walk past shops, homes and a golf course on the way to the Hotel Del. For more information, visit the Coronado Visitor Center web site.

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2 Responses to “Capture the Best Views of Downtown San Diego”

  1. Lisa says:

    I was at Coronado over the weekend and really enjoyed the views. It is a beautiful place to take a long walk. Many things to see – Hotel Del which is beautiful, planes landing at the airport, shops…

  2. My all time favorite “skyline” spot in San Diego is the Tuna Pier (next to the Fish Market). Spectacular view of the San Diego skyline through the gently bobbing rigs of tuna boats, and through stacked lobster traps, plus views to Seaport Village with kites flying and the sweeping Coronado Bridge and to Coronado’s Ferry Landing and North Island’s aircraft carriers and to the Midway Museum and up the bay to Harbor Island, with sailboats everywhere, occasional passing Dole banana ships and enormous car carrier ships and naval vessels, and if you’re lucky Navy personnel training dolphins or sea lions in the bay, and great blue herons, egrets, night herons and pelicans perched on the live bait boats docked beside you, lesser terns dive bombing for fish, cormorants swimming like torpedoes underwater, sea lions frolicking among the tuna boats or lying on the docks below, fisherman on the pier repairing enormous nets… The Tuna Pier is in the middle of it all! And nobody seems to know what a great spot this is…just a few bicyclists who venture on down from the more popular areas, or a few locals fishing from the pier. Just writing this makes me want to go now!

What do you think about this unique aspect of life in San Diego?

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