Waterfront Park under construction for the Waterfront Park Active Recreation project.

The new development will bring recreational courts and fields, a dog park, and more activity options to the bayfront destination.

A crane digging ground at waterfront park.

We dig this new project.

Photo via Michael Beausoleil + SDtoday

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When downtown’s Waterfront Park opened nine years ago, it made a big splash with locals. Today, it’s in the mist of an update — the ongoing Waterfront Park Active Recreation project. This will introduce new recreational spaces and amenities to a 1.5-acre portion of the popular park along the Embarcadero.

What’s the plan?

Construction crews are currently working at the northeast corner along West Grape Street and Pacific Highway, so expect detours. This space previously housed decorative gardens and paths, but was used less than other park spaces.

San Diego’s Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) hosted public meetings and collected feedback to develop a plan to transform the area. Crews recently broke ground, and when the project is completed, additions will include:

  • A basketball court
  • Pickleball courts
  • A dog park with agility equipment and off-leash spaces
  • Outdoor exercise stations and a table tennis area
  • ADA-compliant paths, walkways, and shaded seating
Construction by the Serpant Tree sculpture at Waterfront Park.

Some things are changing, but this “Serpent Tree” will stay standing.

Photo by Michael Beausoleil + SDtoday

When will it reopen?

Based on the most recent information from the county, the new amenities are expected to open for public use in spring 2024. They will be free to use and follow the same hours as the rest of the park: 6 a.m.-10 p.m.

Currently, the playground equipment in the southeast portion of the park and all fountains remain open to the public, unaffected by the construction.

What will go away?

This project aims to retain as many trees as possible, but 11 will be removed — though more native plants will be added. The new construction mostly replaces grassy areas, but the 12-acre Waterfront Park still has plenty of open, green space in its northwest and southwest portions.

Existing paths will also be retained, as will the “Arbre de Serpents” sculpture by Niki de Saint Phalle.

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