Visitors to downtown San Diego’s bustling bayside will find a new, more pedestrian-friendly Embarcadero thanks to enhancements recently unveiled by the Port of San Diego. Two years in the making at a cost of $31.1 million, a new esplanade located along Harbor Drive between the Navy and B Street piers welcomes visitors, including cruise ship passengers boarding and disembarking from San Diego’s two adjacent cruise ship terminals. Representing the first phase of San Diego’s Embarcadero Visionary Plan, the improvements include a two-block area of West Broadway between North Harbor Drive and Pacific Highway.
The improved Embarcadero’s centerpiece is a beautifully landscaped 105-foot wide promenade which was made possible by removing parking spaces and realigning Harbor Drive 60 feet to the east.
The following are some notable features visitors can find along San Diego’s premier waterfront destination:
Two sleek metallic shade pavilions feature colorful and inviting new glass ticket kiosks for the Old Town Trolley Tours, Flagship Cruises and Hornblower Cruises.
The pavilions also house a new visitor information center, projected to open in April 2015, gift shop and Carnitas Snack Shack, a popular local restaurant scheduled to begin operating in late May/early June 2015.
Eye-catching public art by internationally-known artist Pae White integrates seamlessly throughout the architecture of the Embarcadero’s new buildings. Inspired by the novel Jonathan Livingston Seagull, White adorned the pavilions, ticket booths, restaurant, information center and a new public restroom with large cutout letters and words that represent the aerial views of a seagull in flight.
Lush, colorful gardens, landscaped plazas and pathways feature comfortable wooden benches and seating areas, groves of 42 purple-blooming jacaranda trees—San Diego’s official tree—and an environmentally-friendly water filtration system that captures street and sidewalk runoff, filtering pollutants from the water before it enters San Diego Bay.
New York lighting designer Leni Schwendinger installed dramatic sculptural lighting fixtures in the medians along West Broadway, complementing 18 towering palm trees.
In addition to the transformation of the North Embarcadero, a new 12-acre Waterfront Park featuring a spectacular 830-foot long fountain opened in May 2014. Also neighboring the new Embarcadero, construction is underway on two new hotels—Springhill Suites and a Residence Inn—and a public park at Lane Field, located on the northeast corner of Broadway and North Harbor Drive.
Happiness is calling in San Diego. For more information on San Diego Bay, visit the San Diego Tourism Authority’s website at www.sandiego.org/cruise, the Port of San Diego’s website at www.portofsandiego.org/thebigbay or call 619-236-1212.