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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

WHAT'S UP WEDNESDAY: Is Seaport Village a Tourist Trap?

THE PLACE:  Seaport Village
THE VIBE:  I'm guessing 99% tourists based on the number of cameras

The Lost in Space robot is frantically waving his arms and screaming "Danger Will Robinson, Tourist Trap Ahead!" as you approach Seaport Village. A Disneyland-esque take on Cape Cod, cute stores filled with funny hats, hot sauces and t-shirts, this can't be any good, right?

Shunned by locals, Seaport Village has nonetheless remained one of the most popular tourist destinations since it opened in 1980, taking over a spot that was once a burial ground for those who died of scurvy on a 1782 Spanish Expedition. One could only imagine the scene if those same sailors arrived today - CAPTAIN TO SAILORS: "Those with scurvy line up here, everyone else, ice cream!!" 

Seaport Village detractors have long called it a tourist trap, a Fake Cod sea village filled with trinket and t-shirt shops. Of course, these are the same people who loved Fisherman's Wharf on their last trip to San Francisco and who have photos of themselves standing at the banyon tree in Lahaina from their trip to Maui. People who are hard on Seaport Village miss the point. Yes it's touristy, but hey, that's why tourists like it! If they would walk the village with an open mind, with a vacation mind set, they just might understand why it's so popular. And look, a real wooden authentic Merry-Go-Round with some real history.  No fiberglass plastic junk here.

So check this out - Seaport Village sits right on the bay next to the giant Marriott hotel and down the street from the USS Midway. Cobblestone pathways, the boardwalk along the bay, you pick a sun drenched San Diego day and it's pretty darn pleasant down there. There's even a Roy's of Hawaii restaurant at the Marriott with marina views, nice, nice, nice!

There's 55 shops filled with everything from t-shirts to hot sauces, but really the shops are just a backdrop for the overall experience. It's all about being outside walking around a pleasant "village" and if you find a cool shop or two along the way, nice. Vintage merry-go-round, live music, and plenty of opportunities for casual dining abound. Take a walk along the boardwalk to see the gorgeous view of the bay, the sleek sailboats and the million dollar yachts all against the background of Coronado Island.

Think about it, does this sound like a tourist trap?  Go on, join the tourists and discover a part of San Diego that you've been avoiding. I won't tell anyone.

Discover more about my hometown at Local Wally's Guide to San Diego!
Come back to the blog on Friday for my latest foodie find!

1 comment:

Marcia Sample said...

I worked in Downtown San Diego / Gaslamp area for about 5 years and have always found Seaport Village to be a pleasant place to stroll or jog and being a local was not ashamed to admit it at all. Many a times I ran into Jerry Lewis at the Ralphs across the street from the mall or on his way back to Seaport where he's got his boat docked. I've also taken friends there when they come to visit partaking in ice cream at the end of a sunny day.