An aircraft carrier sits idle in the harbor waters in North San Diego Bay. It’s a big one, too. The USS Midway is a huge marvel of modern engineering. I’ve visited this carrier once before about 6 or 7 years ago and I remembered lots of details from the ship, namely, the aircraft on top and the incredible views off the carrier deck to San Diego and the ocean. It was awesome to go back and take photos this time – last time, if you can believe it or not, was *just* before my time as a photographer. Yeah, crazy, right?
This marvel is best seen in person and I’m honestly wondering the best way to tackle this blog! There’s so much to see and so much for me to show and tell, so I’ll do my best here. I’ll break up the ship into three giant categories: above deck, below deck, and the captain’s deck. Sound good? Great, let’s start above below deck and work our way up!
When you enter the USS Midway Museum, you enter the main deck where all the aircraft are stored. There are many aircraft sitting on this deck, with a few ride simulators you can check out as well! This deck also contains a small food court, coffee stand, gift shop, and public bathrooms. Your tour of the ship will also begin right here, with the choice to go either below deck or above deck. The option is yours! In my opinion, it’s best to start below deck, and work your way towards the top! And believe me, after being below deck with no natural sunlight or windows, the open-air deck will be a welcoming sight!
I wish I had the memory to take you on a virtual, guided tour of this beautiful ship but for the life of me, I can’t remember the order. I also didn’t take photos of every single room, but I did take photos of quite a lot of the ship! One of the coolest things about the ship was seeing how many kitchens there were and how the ship fed everyone onboard. It’s absolutely insane to think that people ate three times a day on this ship. It seems like the chefs didn’t have a single break! Once they finished one meal, they were already onto the next!
There’s dozens of things to see below deck with most of them remaining unphotgraphed by myself. From the munions room to the onboard jail, the engine room to the ships controls, there are a ton of moving pieces to make this ship sail. It’s quite impressive! Now, let’s get some fresh air above deck!
The Flight Deck
Ahh, the flight deck, arguably the best part of the whole trip! The flight deck is where the aircraft land and depart. There are a number of jets and helicopters sitting on the flight deck, all of which are able to take off via one of the departure ramps! I won’t go over all of the aircraft here since I’m definitely not qualified to discuss them, but I will show you my beautiful pictures!
The sign reads: “The F/A-18 Hornet was the first carrier aircraft that was designated from the beginning to have both fighter and bomber capabilities.” A cool tidbit for all you fans out there! The sign also discusses the unique color, saying this Hornet was painted to resemble a late-model MiG fighter for air-combat training at Top Gun. Also SUPER cool!
Moving on towards helicopters! There were a variety of helicopters on board, all of which served on the USS Midway at some point during service. Let’s kick off this next round of photos!
One of the most rewarding aspects of this whole ship tour is seeing San Diego from above. The views off the deck are some of the best in the entire city! One of the city’s most famous statues sits in the shadows of the Midway. Others just show the beautiful bay, the city behind it, and the San Diego Airport!
One of the coolest parts of the day happened after we concluded our tour and were perched at Point Loma. We saw the USS Nimitz setting out from the harbor into the Pacific Ocean. It was a total lifetime experience! You can see my video of it below:
From here, we headed to the final portion of the tour: the captain’s perch (as I’m calling it).
The Captain’s Perch
There’s probably some official name for this part of the ship that I don’t remember, but it’s the big part on the flight deck seen in the above photo! There’s quite a bit to see of this part of this ship, and it’s the only part of the ship that requires a guided tour. The guides were very informative in describing what happened in this part of the ship, and they cracked quite a few jokes as well. All these old dudes were just a joy to be around for this part of the tour!
From here, we headed into a slightly different part of the “above deck lair” and went to the war room. It’s interesting to see that it’s actually accurrately portrayed in movies. I didn’t know this existed (we missed it the first time we came here), but it was so cool to see! It’s dark, blue, and cool! And, of course, full of chairs and lots and lots of buttons. I should also mention – throughout the tour, there are “Sounds of Midway” playing in the background. For instance, this war room had some audio playing from a real war. It’s all simulated very delicately!
USS Midway Wrap-up
Whew, are we tired of reading yet!? I’m tired of writing! This may have only taken you 15-20 minutes to read in-depth, but this tour will take up the better part of 5-6 hours if you really go at it. You could probably spend a whole day on this ship and still not see everything and read everything. It’s just an incredible marvel! After a long, exhausting day here, we wrapped it up and finally departed for shore. From here, in our day, we headed over to Coronado Island, where we walked on the beach and took a small tour of the Hotel del Coronado. If you have time, I’d definitely recommend it!
It’s time to head ashore. I’ll see you next time!
Next blog: I’ll be back with one more blog from San Diego. From here, the time in California will be nearly wrapped up!
5 thoughts on “Touring the U.S.S. Midway Museum in San Diego, CA”
Ah, I was just in San Diego in June, and I completely missed visiting the USS Midway! What a lovely view of the Coronado Bridge and everything else from above. Looks like you had a lot of fun!
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Ah you’ll definitely need to head back there! It’s totally worth the visit. It’s just so darn cool. At least do it once when ya can! Plus, doing this for most of the day and ending it with a sunset beach picnic on Coronado is the best.
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This looks WONDERFUL! I hadn’t heard of this exhibit before this. I definitely want to go and check out the coffee bar. I also love the shot your brother took of you…. I am amazed because that means you didn’t have your camera on your person for a moment. Crazy!
You are awesome.
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It was awesome!! I was thinking of you the whole time when I saw that coffee bar! And yes, I actually gave my brother my camera…I can’t believe I did it either!!