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New Port of San Diego Festival of the Sea Offers Public Waterfront Fun, Entertainment, Art and Adventure at Maritime Museum of San Diego

March 29, 2019 Visit California No Comments Email Email

Maritime Museum of San Diego, home to one of the world’s finest collections of historic vessels, exhibits, and on-the-water adventure guest experiences, will host the region’s first annual Port of San Diego Festival of the Sea on Memorial Day weekend, Saturday through Monday, May 25-27, 2019. Festival of the Sea, produced by the Maritime Museum and sponsored by the Port of San Diego, is one of the keynote events that will take place during 2019 commemorating the 250th Anniversary of the beginning of modern-day San Diego.

On April 11, 1769, the first seaborne contingent of Spanish settlement arrived in a quiet harbor in San Diego aboard the ship San Antonio. Just a scant three months later, these Spanish soldiers and missionaries, led by a Franciscan priest named Junipero Serra, gathered amid oaks and coastal sage scrub to dedicate the founding of Mission San Diego de Alcala. The two events set into motion the first 21 missions extending northward and the evolution of that calm harbor into a working Port.

For 18 years the Maritime Museum hosted the Port of San Diego Festival of Sail, the largest regular public event on the waterfront. The new Festival of the Sea will be an opportunity for guests of all ages to return to the Maritime Museum for a weekend of waterfront celebration for our community to share a passion for the sea.

The Port of San Diego Festival of the Sea has something for everyone to enjoy. Taking place aboard several of the historic vessels of the Maritime Museum and on the adjacent scenic North Embarcadero region of downtown San Diego, Maritime Museum of San Diego will be open to the public Saturday, Sunday and Monday May 25 to 27 with special general admission hours from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. General admission ticket prices apply for the Memorial Day weekend celebration event at $18.00 for adults, students 13-17/military/seniors 62+ for $13.00, and children 3-12 $8.00. Children 2 and under are free. Group rates will not apply for Festival of the Sea Memorial Day weekend.

Visitors to Maritime Museum of San Diego May 25-27 have so much more in store and included for one low admission price.

Tickets include:

  • Freedom to tour all Museum vessels and dozens of fascinating exhibits below deck
  • 27th Annual San Diego Sea Chantey Festival sponsored by San Diego Folk Heritage staged on the main deck of Star of IndiaSaturday, May 25 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Sea Chantey Performance schedule includes:

    10:00 a.m. Jackstraws
    10:55 a.m. Sportive Tricks
    11:50 a.m. Kick Up the Dust
    12:45 p.m. Jackstraws
    1:40 p.m. John Kraus and The Goers
    2:35 p.m. Raggle Taggle
    3:30 p.m. Finale

  • Jam session Sunday and Monday May 26 and 27 noon to 4:00 p.m. with performances by local favorite Classic Rock quartet Paul Hartley & The Chiefs.
  • Fun-filled Education Zone for kids Saturday, Sunday and Monday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. located on the ’Tween deck of Star of India.
  • Regional Artist and Artisan Exhibition of paintings, photography, sculpture, jewelry and more which embrace a passion for the sea located on the upper deck of the 1898 steam ferryboat Berkeley, with work displayed and available for purchase Saturday, Sunday and Monday, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Exciting experiences, on-the-water adventures and entertainment also offered include:

The Berkeley Bar open on the upper deck amidst the lively artist exhibition serving wine and beer to guests for an additional charge noon to 5:00 p.m. Saturday through Monday.

A fun new HMS Surprise On-board Pub open 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Cover charge for adults 21+ only, Tickets are $20.00 and include entrance to the no-host bar and live music featuring Trad-Rock band John Kraus and The Goers playing 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Movies Beneath the Mast will be shown below deck in the Hold Gallery of Star of India Saturday and Sunday, May 25 and 26 at 5:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Four sea-focused film classics have been chosen for the pop-up waterfront shipboard theatre experience. Tickets are $15.00 for adults and $12.00 for children 3-12 per show. Popcorn and standard movie treats will also be available for purchase prior to the shows.

Food trucks will be on-site daily, and The Maritime Café will be serving up special meal deals throughout the weekend open 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, May 25 and 26, and 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday, May 27.

On-the-water adventures

Adventure calls for all that want to partake in an exciting Gun Battle between the state’s official tall ship schooner Californian and the 136’ two-masted, gaff-rigged schooner Bill of Rights. Tickets are $59.00 per person for all ages Saturday, Sunday and Monday, May 25, 26 and 27 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tickets include water and snacks on board. Tickets can be purchased in advance at and require advance check-in prior to boarding. Tickets include general admission.

For those longing to enjoy summer sunsets on the Bay, the Museum will also offer from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 25 and 26 an elegant pre-evening cruise aboard the galleon replica San Salvador. Tickets are $89.00 per person (which also includes general admission to Museum during the Festival of the Sea). Cruises include appetizers and 2 drinks per person and no-host bar (cash only) on board. Reservations can be made in advance at Space is limited.

Monday, May 27 for guests 5+ the Maritime Museum of San Diego presents two 90-minute performances of Boarded! A Pirate Adventure staged aboard San Salvador. Check-in for shows will be at 10:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. This hilarious interactive show puts visitors right in the middle of the pirate action. Participants will be sworn in as part of the ship crew, trained how to navigate, sword fight, bail from a sinking ship, escape from the King’s jail, swab the deck and other pirate skills. San Salvador does leave the dock for this experience. Tickets can be purchased in advance at and include general admission.

Thirty-minute Bay tours will also be available on the Museum engine-powered vintage vessel Saturday, Sunday and Monday, 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for only an additional $10 with general admission ticket purchase.

Maritime Museum of San Diego is located at 1492 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101-3309. For more information and tickets guests may visit or call 619.234.9153 ext. 102.

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