The USS Iowa, docked at the Port of Los Angeles, officially opened for public tours on July 7, 2012. The battleship was famous before she ever moved to Los Angeles. Known as the “Battleship of Presidents,” the USS Iowa hosted more presidents than any other battleships, including Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
From the 405 Freeway, take exit 37 to merge onto the 110 South toward San Pedro. Take exit 1A to merge onto CA-47 toward Vincent Thomas Bridge/Terminal Island/Long Beach. Take the South Harbor Blvd exit to continue on South Harbor Blvd. Proceed to Battleship parking lot.
Built in 1940, the 45,000-ton USS Iowa at 887 feet is longer than two football fields. The battleship, nicknamed “The Big Stick,” saw action for four decades in World War II, the Korean Conflict and the Cold War. The ship was decommissioned in 1990 and then served as a training and reserve vessel until arriving in Los Angeles in 2012.
The USS Iowa Tour
250 S Harbor Blvd
San Pedro, CA 90731
With just eight months open to the public, the tour and the museum are a work in progress. Over the next several years specialized tours and educational programs will be added. Currently, the 90-minute, self-guided San Pedro Alpha Tour leads visitors throughout the ship with a short movie and museum area at the end. Of special interest is the FDR cabin where the visiting presidents and dignitaries stayed and the only bathtub in the fleet was installed for Roosevelt on his way to the Tehran conference. Depending on your interest, expect to spend one to two hours on the tour.
Don’t miss an opportunity to speak with the knowledgeable docents that are on hand to answer questions and share stories about the USS Iowa.
Hours, Admission And Parking
The USS Iowa is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The battleship is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Ages 5 and under: free
Ages 6-17: $10
Ages 18-61: $18
Ages 62 and older: $15
Promotions: Free ticket on your birthday in 2013 and free basic tour for state of Iowa residents with valid ID.
Parking: $1 per hour in adjacent lot.
As befits a battleship, there are many sets of stairs and ladders which translate into a lot of walking. Closed-toe flat shoes are highly recommended, strollers are not allowed and the tour is not wheelchair accessible although plans are in the works for improving accessibility for disabled guests.
Where to Stay
Hyatt the Pike Long Beach
285 Bay Street
Long Beach, CA 90802
The Hyatt is located about a 15-minute drive from the USS Iowa. The location of the hotel in downtown Long Beach, next to the convention center and shopping center, is walking distance to popular Long Beach attractions including the Queen Mary, Aquarium of the Pacific and Shoreline Village which is full of restaurants, shops and water activities. The rooftop pool is a relaxing way to end your day.
Where to Eat
San Pedro Brewing Company
331 West 6th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90731
Located just a five-minute drive from the USS Iowa in downtown San Pedro, the San Pedro Brewing Company has a large menu and hand-crafted beers. It’s popular with locals and can be very busy on the weekends. There is metered parking on the street and at the courthouse across from the restaurant.
Looking for more things to do near the USS Iowa? Check out our Neighborhood Guide: Port of LA and Adventures In Crafting At Crafted At The Port Of Los Angeles.
Kristi Marcelle is a travel writer and regular contributor at Ciao Bambino and CBS Los Angeles. She loves planning travel adventures with her family, a good glass of wine at the whining hour and the Green Bay Packers. Follow her on Twitter @kristimarcelle.