Mt Soledad National Veterans Memorial is one of the most unique veterans memorials in the United States because it honors veterans dating all the way back to the Revolutionary War through the present day. Another thing that makes it special is that it honors veterans from every single branch of the military.

It's no secret that active military personnel and veterans make up a massive part of the San Diego community. San Diego County is home to seven giant military bases including Naval Base San Diego, Naval Base Point Loma, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, and more. It is estimated that more than 100,000 service members live in the city of San Diego.

Many service members love San Diego so much that they choose to retire from the military and continue living in the community. Currently, more than 200,000 veterans live in San Diego County. Many of them go on to run beloved local businesses after their time in the military.

Mt. Soledad 2

With so many veterans and their families calling the area home and interacting with fellow military personnel from other military branches, it's no surprise that this expansive national veterans memorial has been erected in San Diego, California.

Whether you're a local visiting America's Finest City for the very first time, or a local looking to explore your home city - take a trip to Mt Soledad to check out the panoramic views and pay homage to some of our nation's heroes.

What is Mt Soledad National Veterans Memorial

Mt Soledad National Veterans Memorial is a tribute to all of the veterans who have served since the Revolutionary War. It is the only memorial that includes tributes to living veterans in the country including those who fought in the most current war in the Middle East. The memorial itself includes large black granite plaques etched with names, stories and even pictures of veterans.

There are 11 walls surrounding the central Soledad cross. Six of the walls honor the branches of the military that served in World War II including the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Air Force, and the Merchant Marines. The rest of the memorial walls feature every branch of the military from the world wars and every other conflict over the years.

There are large community events held at the memorial on Veteran's Day and Memorial Day, as well as smaller events and memorials throughout the year.

Did we mention that Mount Soledad offers incredible panoramic views? Whether you're a military history enthusiast, want to honor veterans, or simply want to check out one of the best views in La Jolla - it's worth carving out some time to make the trip!

How much does it cost to visit?

The memorial is free and open to the public. It is open daily from 7 am - 10 pm.

Where is the memorial located?

La Jolla San Diego

Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial is located on top of Mount Soledad in the town of La Jolla - a beautiful seaside community along the Pacific Ocean in San Diego County. You can reach the memorial from downtown San Diego in just about 20 minutes by car.

Address: 6905 La Jolla Scenic S Dr, La Jolla, CA 92037

Who oversees the memorial?

The Soledad Memorial Association manages and oversees the veterans memorial. They purchased the land from the Department of Defense in 2015. They are currently working on adding more panels honoring more veterans' names to the memorial, and hope to be finished with the addition sometime this year. They are a private organization that operate the memorial and uses their budget from selling plaques to keep the memorial going. They don't receive any federal funding, and you can contribute by purchasing a plaque to honor a veteran in your life.

The cross controversy

The large cross that sits atop Mt. Soledad right in the middle of the memorial has been the subject of lots of San Diego drama for more than 100 years. Originally, the cross was erected by Pacific Beach and La Jolla community members in the year 1913. It was later stolen and disposed of. Another was erected in 1934 by a private group of Christians. That cross was blown over in a storm.

The cross that still stands there today was erected in 1954 as part of the Korean War memorial and was called the Mount Soledad Easter Cross. Community members protested the cross starting around the 1980s because it was erected on government property and public land which raised issues of whether the separation of church and state laws were being violated.

The issue would have probably gone all the way to the Supreme Court, had a private organization not purchased the land from the Department of Defense. Since it's now owned and managed by the Soledad Memorial Association, the Soledad Cross remains as part of the current Korean War Memorial.

Other things to do near Mount Soledad

La Jolla Cove

Mount Soledad is located in the La Jolla area, which means there are so many amazing things to do nearby. From San Diego, it's well worth taking an entire day to explore the area. La Jolla means "the jewel" in Spanish - and the beautiful seaside village is a jewel indeed. It is surrounded by 7 miles of pristine coastline and is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the United States. As you might imagine - real estate is extremely desirable and very pricey in La Jolla - about 50,000 people call La Jolla home.

La Jolla Village offers plenty of options when times to shopping and dining. You'll find countless cafes, lunch spots, hip rooftop bars, and high-end boutiques so that you can shop until drop. The vibes are laidback but the entire area oozes with quiet coastal luxury.

Golf lovers will adore a visit to Torrey Pines Golf Course, while outdoor enthusiasts can spend the whole day hiking at Torrey Pines Natural Reserve. If you're feeling extra adventurous you can even try out paragliding at Torrey Pines Gliderport.

The biggest attraction in La Jolla is the gorgeous beaches. La Jolla Cove is one of the most popular spots - and a great place to catch sea lions and seals lounging on the rocks. Other popular beaches for swimming, surfing, kayaking, and snorkeling include Windansea.

Ellen Browning Scripps Park is a great destination for families with kids and anyone who wants to enjoy a nice picnic. There are some great firework displays around the 4th of July.

Another unique adventure to experience during your trip to La Jolla is a visit to Sunny Jim's Sea Cave. La Jolla has several beautiful sea caves in the cliffs that you can visit by boat, but Sunny Jim's allows you to visit from dry land through a coastal-themed gift shop called The Cave Store. You'll walk down a steep narrow corridor that the owner once carved out of pure stone so that visitors could experience inside the cave.

The Birch Aquarium is another popular attraction for anyone interested in marine life, and the La Jolla Playhouse has great performances year-round for those who love theater. Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art to check out a beautiful collection of paintings. There is truly something for everyone to explore in La Jolla!