A Brief but Complete History of Liberty Station in San Diego

A Brief but Complete History of Liberty Station in San Diego

Sunset Cliffs in Point Loma
Sunset Cliffs in Point Loma


Liberty Station is more than just a chic spot to hang out in San Diego. The area is rife with a rich history going back to the 1920s.


From its humble roots as a naval station to appearing in iconic movies like Top Gun, there are lots of interesting things to learn about Liberty Station.


Want to learn more about the history of the Point Loma area and how this community/cultural center came to be? Then keep reading to find out!


Navy Station


In 1923, the Naval Training Center in San Diego new recruits to the US Navy began to arrive. This was the West Coast’s first permanent training center for the Navy.


It quickly grew in size as first WWI then WWII was requiring more and more recruits. During WWII, over 33,000 people lived at the site.


San Diego is known as a military town and Liberty Station is the reason for it. At one point nearly 20% of the entire US Navy was stationed in San Diego


The End of an Era


Demand for military troops steadily dropped off after the Cold War and the Navy began shutting down some of their bases. In 1997, the Naval Training Center officially closed down as a military base. It had grown to cover 550 acres and housed 300 buildings.


Not wanting the area to be abandoned and fall into disrepair, the city of San Diego took over in 2000. They began subleasing areas of the training center to small businesses, non-profits, city departments, and even film companies.


Community and Cultural Center


Under the direction of McMillan Master, the transition from a naval base to the community, arts, and historical center that is Liberty Station today began in earnest.


Now, where young men (and eventually women) trained to go to war, children can take art and dance classes. Families can visit the museums and learn about important parts of American history.


Travelers can buy souvenirs from one of the novelty shops. The food hall offers an array of delicious types of food to chose from.


Events like weddings or other social gatherings can be held in one of the various indoor, outdoor, or experiential venues on the property. Needless to say, the area doesn’t lack for plenty of things to do.


The Future of Liberty Station


Liberty Station is already a fun historic area that locals and visitors alike can come to enjoy. San Diego plans to continue to expand the area and make it their town square of sorts.


One of the projects underway is to convert some of the old troop barracks into a unique boutique hotel.


Ready to Visit Liberty Station?


If you’re going to be visiting San Diego, be sure to set aside an afternoon to explore the historic Liberty Station.


Take in a movie, play a round of golf or simply stroll around the grounds and enjoy the beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. Whatever you enjoy doing, you can find a pleasant way to spend an afternoon in Liberty Station.


Are you thinking of coming to live in Point Loma? Liberty Station is only one of the awesome things about it, check out these other perks here!