Photo Credit: Food & Wine Magazine
Since 1993 and the eventual closing of the historic Naval Training Center (NTC) off the San Diego Bay a few years later, the Point Loma land north of downtown and west of the airport have been converted into Liberty Station. It’s nicknamed “San Diego’s Town Square,” and if you haven’t checked it out yet, you must visit!
NTC was originally built in 1923. Its Spanish Colonial Revival architecture lends a charming historic feel similar to Balboa Park. Described as “the largest historical preservation project in San Diego” by Alan Ziter, the director of the nonprofit foundation that oversees the development, the number of historical buildings adapted to new use came to 15 in 2012.
The 361 acres of mixed-use development include several distinct districts. The monikers Arts District, The Quarter, NTC Park, The Neighborhood, and South Point comprise retail and commercial space. There’s also a promenade focused on nonprofit activities, an educational area, a residential zone, two hotels, an office district, and a park area along the boat channel. The retail and commercial district itself is divided into five sections: The Marketplace, Ocean Village, NTC Landing, Harbor Square, and Fitness Club.
- FOOD – More than 30 restaurants offer deliciously unique dining experiences, including an eat-in movie theater and a brewery. Open in 2016, the Liberty Public Market became San Diego’s first true food hall, soaring to popularity as a foodie experience featuring artisanal products and ethnic food. The indoor-outdoor space and large patio spans 25,000 feet and accommodates dozens of local food vendors offering everything from smoothies to lobster.
- SHOPPING – Retailers and service providers run the gamut, from Crown ACE Hardware to Trader Joe’s with art, clothing, comic books, spas, and more in between.
- ART – The largest arts and culture project in the city, there are a number of art galleries and schools, dance studios, and theaters where you can see, purchase, and make your own art.
- FITNESS – There are two fitness centers, a golf facility, cycling, Pilates, and yoga studios, as well as gymnastics for the kids. Run and bike on your own through NTC Park and along the harbor, or sign up for one of the many fun-runs and races put on at the park. Next up? Fit Foodie Festival and 5k/10k on Oct. 7.
- EVENTS – Liberty Station hosts some of the city’s most spectacular events throughout the year: culinary events such as the Best of San Diego Party; holiday events such as the new ice rink; movies, live shows, and concerts including the summer concert series and Live Music Sundays at the Public Market patio; art shows such as a monthly art walk; sport and fitness events; all kinds of workshops, classes, and camps; festivals celebrating everything from beer and bacon to books. Ten unique indoor and outdoor venues are also available for hosting your own special event.