The Embarcadero cuts a scenic swath along the harborfront and connects today's downtown San Diego to its maritime routes. The bustle of Embarcadero comes less these days from the activities of fishing folk than from the throngs of tourists, but this waterfront walkway, stretching from the Convention Center to the Maritime Museum, remains the nautical soul of the city. There are several seafood restaurants here, as well as sea vessels of every variety—cruise ships, ferries, tour boats, and Navy destroyers.

On the north end of the Embarcadero at Ash Street you'll find the Maritime Museum. South of it, the B Street Pier is used by ships from major cruise lines while tickets for harbor tours and whale-watching trips are sold at the foot of Broadway Pier. The terminal for the Coronado Ferry lies in between. Docked at the Navy Pier is the decommissioned USS Midway. At the foot of G Street, Tuna Harbor was once the hub of one of San Diego's earliest and most successful industries, commercial tuna fishing. The pleasant Tuna Harbor Park offers a great view of boating on the bay and across to any aircraft carriers docked at the North Island naval base. A few blocks south, Embarcadero Marina Park North is an 8-acre extension into the harbor from the center of Seaport Village. It's usually full of kite fliers, in-line skaters, and picnickers. Seasonal celebrations, including San Diego's Parade of Lights, the Port of San Diego Big Balloon Parade and the Big Bay July 4 Celebration, are held here and at the similar Embarcadero Marina Park South. The San Diego Convention Center, on Harbor Drive between 1st and 6th avenues, is a waterfront landmark designed by Canadian architect Arthur Erickson. The backdrop of blue sky and sea complements the building's nautical lines. The center often holds trade shows that are open to the public, and tours of the building are available.

A huge revitalization project is underway along the northern Embarcadero. The overhaul will create a wide esplanade with gardens, shaded pavilions, and public art installations along the water as well as a new information center building. In mid-2014, San Diego unveiled the new Waterfront Park located adjacent to the County Administration Building. This 12-acre expanse includes a large green space, sprawling children’s play area and a spectacular interactive fountain that’s perfect for cooling off on hot sunny days.

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