Insider’s Guide to The Battleship USS Iowa Museum
Located near Long Beach on the Los Angeles waterfront, the Battleship USS Iowa Museum is a must-visit attraction for those interested in maritime history.
This West Coast battleship, the only one open to the public, boasts a rich history and has hosted three US Presidents, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush. Visitors can walk the wood decks and explore areas such as the 16” guns, missile decks, and the famous Captain’s Cabin. The museum's newest attraction, Battleship Flight – A Naval Aviation Experience, offers guests an up-close view of a Korean War-era Piasecki HUP-2 Retriever Helicopter and a simulated ride in a Motion Flight Theater.
Tours & Exhibits
The USS Iowa Museum offers daily public tours from 10 AM to 4 PM and welcomes visitors onboard with an admission fee of $25.95.
TIP: Check for more information and order tickets on the USS Iowa Museum's website as prices for tours and exhibits are subject to change.
Bars & Restaurants
Vicky’s Doghouse Cafe
Vicky’s Doghouse Cafe is a gourmet hotdog kitchen on the fantail of the Battleship IOWA. This eatery serves up classic American fare such as hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches, and sides. Guests can dine indoors or outside on the ship's deck with scenic views of the harbor. Vicky’s Doghouse is open daily from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM and does not require admission to the museum ship.
Veterans Resource Center
The USS Iowa (BB-61) is a retired battleship that was commissioned in 1943 and has a storied history that includes serving in World War II, the Korean War, and the Cold War. The ship is known for its size, firepower, and technological advancements, including the use of radar and the ability to launch aircraft. The ship was decommissioned in 1990 and later turned into a museum that is open to the public.
During World War II, the USS Iowa played a crucial role in battles in the Pacific, including the Battle of Leyte Gulf and the Battle of Okinawa. The ship was then decommissioned in 1949 but recommissioned in 1951 for the Korean War, where it provided gunfire support for ground troops and patrolled the Korean coastline. In the 1980s, the ship was modernized and deployed in the Persian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq War.
In 2011, the USS Iowa battleship was donated to the Pacific Battleship Center, a non-profit organization in Los Angeles, by the United States Navy. The ship was relocated from the Maritime Reserve Fleet in Suisun Bay, California, to the Port of Richmond and then to the Port of Los Angeles. The Battleship IOWA Museum officially opened to the public on July 4, 2012. Since its opening, the battleship has welcomed millions of visitors and has become a top five museum in the Los Angeles area. The center's mission has evolved to serve the community, providing various education, military, veteran, and community programs.
Today, the USS Iowa battleship is a popular museum ship located at the Los Angeles Waterfront. Visitors can explore the ship's decks and compartments, learning about the ship's history through interactive exhibits and guided tours. Some notable areas of the ship that visitors can explore include the 16-inch guns, missile decks, bridge, mess areas, and the Captain's Cabin, which includes the only bathtub installed on a battleship for a president.
Fun Facts About the Battleship USS Iowa
- The USS Iowa is 887 feet and 3 inches long, about three football fields in length.
- The battleship weighs 45,000 tons and has a maximum speed of 33 knots, or approximately 38 mph.
- USS Iowa is one of the largest battleships ever built by the United States.
- At one point, the ship's crew consisted of 2,800 men, including 87 officers and 2,713 enlisted personnel.
- USS Iowa was armed with nine 16-inch guns, 20 five-inch guns, 80 40mm anti-aircraft guns, and 49 20mm anti-aircraft guns.
- USS Iowa was the first ship in her class and was followed by three other battleships: USS New Jersey, USS Missouri, and USS Wisconsin.
- The ship received nine battle stars for her service in World War II and two for her service in the Korean War.
- The USS Iowa is the only ship in its class to have a bathtub installed for the comfort of a US President. The bathtub was installed for Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II.
- The ship's 16-inch guns could fire shells that weighed as much as a small car and had a range of 24 miles.