Exploring The USS Midway Naval Warship Museum

Last Updated on May 21, 2021

Last updated: February 2021

We hadn’t planned to stop at USS Midway Museum when we were in San Diego, California, but when driving by this massive aircraft carrier and being able to view a peek of all of the aircrafts on board from the one side, we had to stop and get a closer look.

Before going onto the USS Midway, we really had no knowledge about what this all even was. We love to get excited about checking out things we plan to do, but it is even more exciting when we find something we didn’t intend to explore and we were able to learn so much by actually being on the USS Midway, with the several aircrafts right in front of us. We even got to sit in a “T-2 Buckeye Pilot Trainer”.

When we saw this, we knew we had to take a look.
When we saw this, we knew we had to take a look.

What Is The USS Midway?

The USS Midway is the most popular naval warship museum in the United States. The USS Midway was America’s longest-serving aircraft carrier of the 20th century, from 1945 to 1992. When entering the Midway, you’re walking in the footsteps of 225,000 Midway sailors who served the country. The Midway was known for several naval aviation breakthroughs and humanitarian missions. It was the only carrier to serve the entire length of the Cold War and beyond.

Named after the climactic Battle of Midway of June 1942, she was built in an impressive 17 months. However,  the USS Midway missed World War II by one week when after being commissioned on September 10, 1945.

Decommissioned in 1992, she is the only remaining inactive U.S. aircraft carrier that is not an Essex-class aircraft carrier.

Beautiful views of San Diego from the top deck of the USS Midway
USS Midway Museum
Ground-level view
Fun posing with a statue!

Self-guided Audio Tour

When you walk in the entrance, make sure you grab a self-guided audio tour, that is narrated by Midway sailors. It really brings everything to life as you wander from exhibit to exhibit. Each exhibit has a number for you to enter into the audio tour and hear a brief story about the exhibit, with each audio piece lasting less than two minutes. There’s also a couple of flight simulators you can take a quick adventure in.



Allow 3-4 Hours

We only had a couple of hours to looks around and we wished we had longer to spare before we had to head over to the Padres baseball game. 3-4 hours would have been the ideal amount of time. The museum was super busy, so we could have used the extra time to work our way through the crowds to see each exhibit in more detail. We would recommend arriving for opening, as parking was crazy as well, or allow extra time at the museum to be able to see the exhibits in enough detail for your liking. There are 29 restored aircraft, as well as interactive exhibits short films, and so much more.

The sheer size of the USS Midway is absolutely insane. How the sailors who served on her were able to find their way around is a feat in itself. The docents on the USS Midway absolutely want you to talk to them and pepper them with questions, so don’t hesitate to ask away. A visit is absolutely worth it!



USS Midway Museum

Admission Fees (Updated 2021)

Admission: $26 (13+), $18 (ages 62+, students and military), $18 (ages 6-12). Private vehicle parking on Navy Pier is $10 for four hours.

The USS Midway Museum is open daily 10 am – 5 pm. The last admission is at 4 pm. The USS Midway is closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Take a look at some of what we were able to check out. We’re positive the photos will make you want to visit, too!

Thumbs up from inside a T-2 Buckeye Pilot Trainer
CH-46 Sea Knight – Vertical Replenishment Helicopter
Inside the CH-46 Sea Knight – Vertical Replenishment Helicopter
USS Midway Museum
S-3 Viking – Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
USS Midway Museum
F-8 Crusader – Fighter
USS Midway Museum
H-60 Seahawk – Multi-Purpose Helicopter

USS Midway Museum

SBD Dauntless Dive Bomber
F9F-8P Cougar – Photo Reconnaissance

Know Before You Go:

  • The museum is berthed at Navy Pier which has more than 300 parking spaces. It was still a pain in the butt to find parking a few hours after opening. The museum is popular!
  • Allow at least a couple of hours for your visit to really be able to take it all in. 3-4 hours would probably be ideal.
  • Completely accessible for wheelchairs and strollers.
  • We would recommend bringing sunscreen if you hang out on the flight deck for awhile – the flight deck is where we spent most of our time.
USS Midway Museum
This statue depicts one of the most famous and iconic moments of the joy that was shared when America learned that WWII had ended. It was inspired by the spontaneous celebration in New York’s Times Square in August 1945.

We were so glad that we stopped to check out the USS Midway Museum. It was a real gem that we almost missed out on, and would have if we hadn’t driven by and saw how grand and cool it looked. It was a pleasure to explore and learn about the Midway sailors that upheld the American ideals of strength, freedom, and peace.

We found the Midway to be one of the best tourist attractions in San Diego. It’s a great museum to visit, especially since you’re in the heart of where most of the warships are designed.


Have you been to the USS Midway Museum? What is your favorite museum?