Formerly the US Navy’s longest-serving aircraft carrier of the 20th century (1945 to 1991), the USS Midway Museum comprises an entire floating city. Aboard the hulking vessel docked in San Diego, California, visitors can now explore more than 60 exhibits as well as peek inside the museum’s impressive aircraft collection.
Exhibits in the USS Midway Museum include the engine room, the ship’s brig, machine shops, and the crew’s sleeping quarters. Walk along the narrow confines of the upper decks to the bridge, admiral’s war room, and the control tower. The ship’s flight deck is home to multiple aircraft, including an F-14 Tomcat, F-4 Phantom jet fighter, and an A-7 Corsair. Three flight simulators, music videos, films, interactive exhibits, and the Ejection Seat Theater make a visit to this important part of military history a memorable and kid-friendly experience.
Admission to the museum includes a self-guided audio tour narrated by Midway sailors, available in multiple languages. Guided tours of downtown San Diego frequently include the USS Midway Museum as a stop, along with other area highlights such as Sea World, La Jolla, Balboa Park, or a San Diego Bay cruise.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Wear proper footwear, as a tour of the ship’s interior includes many stairs and narrow passageways.
- Skip-the-line tours are recommended on weekends and during busy holiday times.
- Several elevators and wheelchair access routes have been added to make the ship about 60 percent accessible.
- Children ages 5 years old and younger, active duty military (including reservists, law enforcement, and firefighters) receive free admission.
How to Get There
The USS Midway Museum is located at Navy Pier in downtown San Diego, on Harbor Drive. The Santa Fe Train Depot and MTS trolley station are each a 5-minute walk away. Limited paid parking is available in the Port of San Diego lot, and there is metered parking on neighboring streets.
When to Get There
Allow at least 90 minutes for a visit here. The USS Midway Museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm, with the last admission at 4pm. It is closed on Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day.
Special Events and Festivals at the USS Midway Museum
The USS Midway Museum holds several festivals throughout the year to honor America’s servicemen and woman, and to celebrate the country’s military history. The Fourth of July Festival enables you to watch the San Diego Bay’s fireworks display from the flight deck, and there is a family Veteran’s Day celebration held every year.