Nestled along the bay in downtown San Diego with its picturesque views, cobblestone walkways and seaside charm, Seaport Village is the perfect place to spend the day. Despite being a favorite destination among tourists, local families flock to Seaport Village during the week and on the weekends for the food, fun and stores. With over 50 unique shops, 13 casual eateries, and four upscale restaurants (just in case your kiddo is that well-behaved!), free entertainment, and tons of beautiful green grass for picnics and kite flying, Seaport Village offers the best of San Diego.

Seaport villagePhoto Credit: Karla C. via Yelp

When To Go
Seaport Village is open every day from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. While the weekends are busier, that’s when you’ll find the most free entertainment. However, to avoid the crowds, swing by on a weekday. You’ll still find plenty to do, particularly if you pack a picnic lunch or bring a kite.

How To Get There
Located in downtown San Diego at West Harbor Drive and Pacific Highway, Seaport Village is just a five minute drive from the I-5 (coming from either direction). The boardwalk that runs along the bay (and along Seaport Village) connects to the USS Midway Museum, so if you’re already out for a day of Midway fun, consider walking down to Seaport Village, as it’s just one-half mile away. It’s a beautiful and easy walk. As far as parking goes, Seaport Village has its own parking lot. If you make any purchase over $10 and have your parking ticket validated, parking is just $3 for the first 2 hours and $2 every 30 minutes thereafter. Non-validated parking is just $8 per hour (or part thereof). You’ll also find some nearby metered parking, but remember that downtown meters are $1.25 per hour with a two hour max.

Seaport carouselPhoto Credit: Loren Javler via Creative Commons

What To Do
Do not miss the antique carousel that dates back to 1895. It runs all day and costs just $2 per ride. The line is never too long and even when you see a large group of kids waiting for a turn, don’t leave! With 54 horses (and other animals), you’ll never wait longer than a few minutes.

Young kids love to stroll along the bay and look at the boats and birds. Seaport Village features over four miles of cobblestone walkways that are dotted with water features and lots of ducks. If you come at the right time of year, you’re sure to see baby ducks and really, who doesn’t love little chicks?

DucksPhoto Credit: bcgrote via Creative Commons

The huge spans of green grass are perfect for picnics and kite flying. Pack up a quick lunch for you and the kiddos, bring a blanket and enjoy. Even if you’re not the kite-flying type, you’re almost certain to see plenty of other people flying kites, so watch the show. On the weekends, many artists work at Seaport Village, including a face painter, a balloon artist and a caricature artist. Handfuls of unscheduled street performers also set up shop to entertain. Check out mimes, musicians, dancers and more.

Seaport kitesPhoto Credit: Photofinish 2009 via Creative Commons

Kids will love browsing in some of the specialty shops, such as Apple Box, where they can find unique, one of a kind wooden toys.  Take a break from the sun and celebrate the holidays by visiting Mistletoe, then test drive a relaxing hammock at Swings & Things. And don’t miss Kite Flite, an awesome place to buy kites -they’ll even let you “fly before you buy,” right outside the door in the San Diego bay breeze.

Seaport Village keeps a monthly calendar, where you can find out what’s happening as far as special events. Several annual events take place as Seaport Village, such as the Spring Busker FestivalThanksgiving Dinner and more. The Surfin’ Santa, dressed in his board shorts and flip flops is a holiday favorite among the kiddos. While the dates vary slightly each year, these are annual activities that you can always plan to attend.

Kite shopPhoto Credit: Simon Allardice via Creative Commons

Where To Eat
If you’re not the picnicking type or don’t have time to pack a lunch, Seaport Village has plenty of places to eat that work for kids. For pizza lovers, try Assagio Pizza Pasta Plus. Or, if your kids prefer burgers, the San Diego Burger Company serves up fantastic burgers (including turkey burgers and veggie burgers) and fries. For healthier fare, the Village Cafe offers yummy sandwiches, salads, and soups  If you’re craving a snack, grab a big soft pretzel to share at Wetzel’s Pretzels. Sweet treats from Ben & Jerry’s or Seaport Village Cookie Company are sure to delight your little ones!

Seaport ice creamPhoto Credit: Alyssa S. via Yelp

What’s the Cost?
Your trip to Seaport Village can cost as little as a few bucks if you score metered street parking or as much as the cost of lunch and a few balloon animals (or a ride on the carousel). If you plan on buying lunch, expect to spend at least $8 per person for the most part.

Insider’s Tip
If you’re planning on a Ben & Jerry’s treat for the whole family, order the kids scoop. It’s almost the same size as the small but you’ll save a few bucks (and a few calories). For a low key day, come Monday through Thursday, but if you’re in it for the entertainment, stop by on a weekend.

Seaport Village
849 West Harbor Dr.
San Diego, Ca
619-235-4014
Online: seaportvillage.com

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What’s your favorite thing to do in Seaport Village?

– Marissa Mullen and Laura Willard