USS Midway

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One of the longest-serving ships in United States history, the USS Midway is now home to the most-visited military ship in the world. Located right in the middle of San Diego Harbor’s Navy Pier, it offers visitors a full day’s worth of activity exhibits and is only steps away from some of San Diego’s finest tourist offerings.

History

The USS Midway is a CV-42 aircraft carrier, the first to be commissioned after World War II. She entered the scene on 10 September 1945 and served the U.S. Navy faithfully from then until 11 April 1992. Over the course of her career, Midway visited every ocean and saw combat twice; first playing a key role in air-to-air kills in the Vietnam War and then serving as the major Navy launch point at the beginning of the First Gulf War in Operation Desert Storm. By 1992 Midway was ready to be decommissioned at Naval Air Station, North Island in San Diego and subsequently used to film At Sea, a documentary film shown at the U.S. Naval Museum in Washington, D.C.

Spending the intervening years at the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility, Bremerton, Washington, Midway made her journey back to San Diego on 30 September 2003, now bound for a new purpose-built pier and a rebirth as a naval ship museum and memorial. The USS Midway Museum opened its doors to the public on 7 June 2004 and has had the honor of hosting millions of visitors from the world over ever since.

Main Attraction

Standing at an impressive 1,001 feet long and weighing nearly 70,000 tons, Midway is a massive and imposing ship. As a museum, her enormous girth allows for the housing of over 60 exhibits, including 25 restored aircraft, as well as flight simulators and the Ejection Seat Theatre.

USS Midway Carrier/museum on the San Diego waterfront

Visitors to Midway are treated to a self-guided tour along with their admission price which allows them to enjoy several of the ship’s unique nooks and crannies, including the jail, the galley, and the primary flight control area. In addition, exhibits include the chance to tour several aircraft including an EKA-3 Skywarrior, an A-4 Skyhawk, an F9F Panther, a C-1 Trader, an E-2 Hawkeye, an F-14 Tomcat, and many more.

Additional activities at Midway allow adults and older children the chance to ride on a two different flight simulators: the Strike Fighter 360 and the Flight Avionics Naval Combat Mission group motion simulator. Visitors can also explore aircraft cockpits, speak to retired Navy pilots who work at the museum, and talk to other veterans who routinely give demonstrations and teach classes.

The Midway is also more than a museum as it stands as a living tribute to the men and women who serve the U.S. in the Navy, Air Force, and other military branches. Sailors and airmen often reenlist on the deck of the Midway, retirement ceremonies are also often held here, and the daily “changing of the guard” allows visitors to participate in the active duties of the United States’ Armed Forces.

Why It’s a Must-See

For children and adults who love the U.S. military as well as the awesome equipment that they ride every day, a visit to the USS Midway Museum is truly a magical addition to a San Diego vacation. Located in the heart of the downtown and harbor area, a visit to Midway is easily built around other great San Diego attractions such as harbor tours, dining, shopping, and more. As a nod to those who served on Midway and other carriers like her, taking time to appreciate this amazing piece of military history is an absolute must.

Where to Buy It


There are a number of ways you can enjoy admission to this attraction.

Save up to 20% online at Smart Destinations. If you add more than one attraction to the cart, you will get an automatic savings of up to 20%. It’s called Make Your Own Pass.

Pay Full Price and purchase a ticket from USS Midway either online or in person.

Purchase a Tourist pass. USS Midway is available on the Go San Diego Card.