Former NTC thrives as Liberty Station
San Diego’s Naval Training Center was dedicated in 1923. Over the years, it turned nearly 2 million boys into men — sailors who made San Diego the home base for the Navy’s Pacific Fleet.
When the Navy closed the base in 1997, a master developer went to work transforming the 361-acre site into a massive mixed-use neighborhood. While the site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it remains a work in progress.
More than 50 of NTC’s original Spanish Colonial Revival buildings have been restored and transformed into performance spaces, artists’ studios, galleries, fitness salons, shops, grocery stores and restaurants. The neighborhood also includes a residential district, office space, schools, churches, two hotels (Homewood Suites and Courtyard by Marriott), and nearly 50 acres of park/open space along a boat channel that leads to San Diego Bay. The community’s parks have become a popular venue for special events and ethnic festivals. Seasonal kayak and paddleboard rentals are offered.
One of the best ways to experience Liberty Station is with a free audio tour. Stop by the visitor center (the former Command Center) to pick up a map. Then call 619-342-8021 on your cell phone, enter a number from the map and hit the # key.
Another great option: Attend Friday Night Liberty, beginning at 5 PM on the first Friday of each month. It’s an opportunity to visit galleries and performance venues for free and meet artists at work in their studios.
There’s plenty of free parking throughout the area.