If you have ever wondered what life on a battleship is like, you don’t need to look any further than the Port of Los Angeles. That’s where you’ll find the USS Iowa, one of Southern California’s newest tourist attractions.
The Iowa is the namesake of the fastest class of battleships ever built. Nicknamed the “Big Stick,” the USS Iowa has been active in every major deployment of the U.S. armed services since World War II.
You can explore this piece of floating history inside and out at your own pace on a self-guided tour. Along the way, you’ll come across veterans who served on the Iowa at wartime and are happy to share a story or two. There are also knowledgeable docents to answer your questions.
The Iowa has one feature that you will not find on any other battleship: A bath tub.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt traveled on the Iowa during World War II, so his room was modified to accommodate his wheelchair. It’s interesting to see the different levels of sleeping quarters, from presidential, to officers and crew. I was surprised at just how huge the Iowa is, and how much of the warship is open for visitors to explore.
If you visit, wear comfortable shoes because there is a lot of walking and going up and down narrow ladder-like steps, as detailed in these Yelp reviews. The USS Iowa is open everyday except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Click here for information on visiting the ship and tours.
Traffic411 Insider Tip: While you’re at the Port of LA, visit the nearby Point Fermin Lighthouse. Even if you don’t go inside the lighthouse, the surrounding park is beautiful, perched along a breathtaking rocky cliff with waves crashing below.
Distance from LAX: 22 miles
LA's Battleship: USS Iowa
Visit this floating piece of U.S. history at the Port of Los Angeles.
The USS Iowa offers breathtaking views of the Port of Los Angeles, a cruise ship is docked in the distance next to the Vincent Thomas Bridge (Photo Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411).[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/las-battleship-uss-iowa/thumbs/thumbs_uss_iowa_conning-tower_pfeiffer_traffic411.jpg]300USS Iowa, LA's Battleship
The Conning tower of the battleship USS Iowa (Photo Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411).[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/las-battleship-uss-iowa/thumbs/thumbs_the-kiss_pfeiffer_traffic411.jpg]260USS Iowa, LA's Battleship
A statue of the iconic kiss photo between a sailor and a nurse is on display outside the USS Iowa (photo Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411).[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/las-battleship-uss-iowa/thumbs/thumbs_freighter_pfeiffer_traffic411.jpg]290USS Iowa, LA's Battleship
A freighter heading into the Los Angeles Harbor passes by the USS Iowa (Photo Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411).[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/las-battleship-uss-iowa/thumbs/thumbs_from-the-bridge_pfeiffer_traffic411.jpg]210USS Iowa, LA's Battleship
The view from the bridge of the USS Iowa, Port of Los Angeles (Photo Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411).[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/las-battleship-uss-iowa/thumbs/thumbs_iowa-guns_pfeiffer_traffic411.jpg]120
The big guns on the Battleship Iowa, Los Angeles Harbor (Photo Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411).[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/las-battleship-uss-iowa/thumbs/thumbs_iowa-poop-deck_pfeiffer_traffic411.jpg]120USS Iowa, LA's Battleship
The poop deck of the USS Iowa (Photo Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411).[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/las-battleship-uss-iowa/thumbs/thumbs_roosevelt-bed_iowa_pfeiffer_traffic411.jpg]160USS Iowa, LA's Battleship
A US President slept here. President Franklin D. Roosevelt traveled on the Iowa during World War II (Photo Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411).[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/las-battleship-uss-iowa/thumbs/thumbs_roosevelt-bathtub_iowa_pfeiffer_traffic411.jpg]110USS Iowa, LA's Battleship
President Franklin D. Roosevelt's quarters, FDR traveled on the Iowa during World War II (Photo Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411).[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/las-battleship-uss-iowa/thumbs/thumbs_wwii-veteran-ernie-thompson_iowa_traffic411.jpg]130USS Iowa, LA's Battleship
WWII Navy veteran Ernie Thompson entertains visitors with stories of the time he spent on the USS Iowa (Photo/Traffic411)[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/las-battleship-uss-iowa/thumbs/thumbs_suzanne_whatley_iowa_andimarshallmemorial.jpg]120USS Iowa LA's Battleship
KPCC FM news anchor Suzanne Whatley speaks at a memorial for radio colleague Andrea "Andi" Marshall on the stern of the USS Iowa (Photo Traffic411).
This post is dedicated to Andrea “Andi” Marshall, my friend and colleague from KFWB radio. Andi’s memorial service was held on a sunny Sunday on the stern of the USS Iowa. It was an honorable setting to celebrate a life well-lived.