If you have been stationed in San Diego or one of the surrounding locations, you will find that there is no shortage of things to do in the area. From big attractions, like Disneyland, Seaward, and Legoland, to all of the hidden gems in between, many families like to take advantage of this unique duty station to explore the attractions. One of the coolest places in all of San Diego that is known by locals as a vibrant spot any day of the week is Liberty Station.
Liberty Station is located in the Point Loma area of San Diego, just north of downtown. It is touted as an art district and foodie hub, with galleries and museums located inside the renovated military barracks turned shops. Restaurants and shops line the outer area of Liberty Station, giving way to endless exploration during a day (or evening) out.
Liberty Station is more than just unique shops and amazing restaurants. They also have seasonal events throughout the year, as well as the famous Liberty Market Place — an indoor market filled with more food options than a foodie can handle. Liberty Station is always filled with local San Diegans enjoying the perfect weather, day and night, and it is the perfect spot to take the kids for some fun.
Daily Mom Military took to exploring how to plan the perfect kid’s day at Liberty Station.
First Stop: The Hot Spot
Liberty Station is known as the area’s art district. Galleries and museums aren’t always the most fun thing to do for kids, but they can still get in on the action by creating their own pieces of art at The Hot Spot.
The Hot Spot is a pottery-painting studio for both kids and adults. Patrons can choose the piece they would like to paint, pick their colors, and then set off creating their masterpieces. They have endless options to choose from, including mugs, bowls, plates, serving dishes, figurines, and seasonal items. Kids will love painting their own mini-critters. They have animals, like horses, spiders, pigs, dogs, and cats, as well as princesses, cute monsters, and more! The staff is very kid-friendly and takes the time to explain the process, help choose colors, and help paint!
The Hot Spot is located in Barracks 14, right on the quad at Liberty Station. Its open-air feel and natural light make you want to say, “only in San Diego.” It is a great spot for kids during the day to make an art piece that speaks to their own creativity, especially since once it is glazed in the kiln, they can keep it as a souvenir of their time being stationed in San Diego.
But The Hot Spot isn’t just for kids! Adults love it, too. In addition to pottery painting, guests have the option of candle-making. It is a great place to plan a BYOB girls’ night out or a large event for charities. The Hot Spot recently held an event for The Wounded Warrior Project, and they offer a military discount.
Second Stop: Liberty Public Market
Every kid is a foodie when it comes to things like donuts, cake, and cookies. After finishing up at The Hot Spot, you can walk right out the door and let the kids run around in the Promenade. The Promenade is the center of Liberty Station. It is here that they have Liberty Station movie nights and outdoor concerts. Seasonal events and art walks are held throughout the year as well. But for a day out with the kids, it is something else — a place to run!
Once they have exhausted themselves, it’s time to grab a snack. Head into Liberty Public Market for food, drinks, and sweets. You can grab coffee for mom and dad, a quick bite for everyone, and peruse some of the sweet treats they have to offer. If anything will bring you back to Liberty Station over and over, it is Liberty Public Market. You will want to try all…the…places — it will fill your foodie soul.
After you get a quick bite, head back to the Promenade and check out some of the shops located around the Barracks area. There is a fun comic store with traditional comics for both kids and adults, a quilting store, and art galleries for window gazing. You can also walk over to NTC Park to see some old canons or walk along the water to burn off those donuts (come on, we know you got the donuts).
Third Stop: Fireside by the Patio
Energy is exhausted, and it’s time to head to dinner. Trying to find a place that is good for kids and adults can be difficult when it comes to restaurants. Fireside by the Patio is a dream come true, though. Not only is their restaurant trendy, hip, and relaxed with their lounge-style seating and several outdoor bars, but it is also kid-friendly. They have an outdoor turf area where kids can sit (read: climb) on old sailboats, build with real wooden blocks, or play cornhole. It gives the parents a time to sit back, relax, and enjoy their drinks before dinner arrives, all while giving the kids something to do.
Entertainment is great, but the food is what makes Fireside by the Patio special. Their unique and flavorful menu options make the decision on what to try difficult, but you can’t go wrong. Flatbreads, burgers, steak, seafood, and yakitori — the options seem endless which only means you’ll have to go back.
The kids’ menu has everything kids want — and huge portions at that! Cheeseburgers with amazing garlic potatoes, a huge flatbread pizza, and chicken skewers will keep them in their seats and actually eating their meals (until they are ready to play again).
Grab a drink, order some apps, and let the kids play while you wait for your entrees in the beautiful San Diego weather. Eat, drink, and relish in the fact that you don’t have to cook or clean tonight, and that maybe — just maybe — no one will fight during dinner.
Final Stop: Besties Cool Treats
Nothing says, “end of the best day ever” like some ice cream or frozen yogurt. Once you finish your dinner at Fireside by the Patio, take a stroll through Liberty Station over to Besties Cool Treats. These two venues are on opposite sides of the district, but the half-mile walk allows you to look around the whole of Liberty Station and see what you might want to do next time you visit. The Spanish-style architecture is beautiful and being right on the water is what San Diego is all about.
Besties Cool Treats will quickly become one of your kids (and your) favorite spots at Liberty Station. This 1950s diner-style ice cream shop comes complete with several ice cream flavors (imported from San Francisco) and frozen yogurt — and the flavors change daily. Add your toppings and enjoy your sweet treats while sitting on their bright pink benches and 50s-era tables.
Two kid favorites at Besties are the play camper and the old-school video games. Right inside the shop is a large, play camper complete with its own mini ice cream shop and books for kids to read. They also have sweet princess aprons for the kids to don while they “serve” ice cream out of their window. The staff is super friendly and happy to come sit and chat with you and the family. The kids will have an amazing time playing and enjoying their favorite ice cream at Besties Cool Treats.
Liberty Station is one of the places in San Diego that you don’t hear about when you are first researching things to do there. But once you visit the area, complete with things to do for the kids, amazing food, and fun treats for everyone, you find yourself going back. San Diego weather allows for evening activities, like outdoor movies and concerts all year, so you know you’ll need to plan a date night for you and your service member in the near future.
To learn more about Liberty Station and all the things you can do there, check out their information below.
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