Top 20 San Diego attractions

USS Midway Museum

USS Midway Museum

The USS Midway Museum is a post WWII aircraft carrier on San Diego's waterfront, open for tours.

Visitors should allow 2 to 4 hours for a self guided audio tour of the four level USS Midway. You can also do a 1-hour guided tour from a navy veteran.

The sheer scale of the USS Midway is incredible, weighting 45,000 tons with a length of 296 meters.

The USS Midway was the world’s biggest ship until 1955, and was too big to travel through the Panama Canal. It served missions in Vietnam, Korea, and in 1991’s Operation Desert Storm.

The USS Midway Museum is on the San Diego waterfront at 910 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101. Check admission & hours.

5 best things to see at USS Midway Museum

1. Walk on the 4-acre flight deck, just like in the movie Top Gun!

Experience the thrill of walking on the massive 4-acre flight deck of this aircraft carrier, while learning how brave pilots landed their planes here in open ocean.  During the day 95% of these landings were successful, and at night the rate dropped to 88%.  The time between landings was 45 seconds during the day, and 60 seconds at night.  That's a lot of traffic on the flight deck!

Climb up to the ship's island and bridge, to get a bird's eye view of where the Captain oversaw flight operations. 

Just below the flight deck, check out the USS Midway's command center known as Captains and Admirals Country, where the highest ranking officials made strategic battle decisions.  History was made here!

Head back up to the flight deck to take a closer look at 26 restored aircraft, like helicopters and fighter and attack jets from WWII, the Korean and Vietnam War.  Find fan favorites on the USS Midway, like the F-14 Tomcat, F/A-18 Hornet, and F-4 Phantom II.

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2. Go below deck to see the tight living quarters sailors had to endure on the USS Midway.

Life on the USS Midway was very regimented for sailors, with a strict routine every day.  See how they survived in this floating city, with a glimpse at rooms they visited every day, like the chow-line, wardroom, chapel, laundry, engine room and sick bay. 

There's some mind blowing statistics about what it took to keep this mini city going.  For example, the sailors consumed 10 tons of food per day, amounting to 13,000 meals a day.  No wonder there were 225 cooks on board!

The average age of a sailor on the USS Midway was just 19 years old, and there were 200 to 300 pilots onboard, supported by a crew of 4,500.

3. Watch the Battle of Midway film on the Hangar Deck, to learn about the most important battle in WWII.

Go to the 80-seat theater on the Hangar Deck, to watch a fantastic 15-minute film about the Battle of Midway

The Battle of Midway occurred on June 4-7, 1942 a few months after the Pearl Harbor attack. During this battle the US successfully fended off a Japanese attack on the Midway Atoll northwest of Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean.  Many historians identify this as the major turning point in WWII.

There are also some more WWII aircraft on display on the Hangar Deck of the USS Midway, and you can step inside the super tight quarters of the sailor's bunks.

4. Check out the impressive anchor room on the Gallery Deck.

Visit the massive anchor chain room, to see the USS Midway's 1,600-foot anchor chain.  Try and figure out how the USS Midway used to drop anchor!

5. Take-off and land an F/18 from the flight deck, on a cool flight simulator.

The USS Midway has thrilling Flight Simulators, including an F/18 Flight Simulator whre you can take off and land, and participate in an air battle. An additional fee is required to use these flight simulators.

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Know before you go
  • Address:  910 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101
  • Tickets:  check here.  
  • Food:  Midway Marketplace on the Hanger Deck.
  • Parking: Paid parking is available on the Navy Pier where the USS Midway is moored.  There is also metered on-street parking nearby.
Other fun things to do near the USS Midway Museum.

Check out the Embracing Peace statue adjacent to the USS Midway Museum, or the San Diego Maritime Museum and Waterfront Park with playground and splashpad, both north of the USS Midway Museum.

The beautiful Seaport Village is a 10 minute walk south of the USS Midway Museum on the waterfront, and has a great choice of restaurants.

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