New San Diego Airport Terminal 2 Expansion

Today debuts the opening of the Terminal 2 Expansion at San Diego Airport, also known as the Green Build Project, a $907 million project. I’ve been following the progress pretty closely, especially after they announced a new food court and additions of local San Diego favorites like Phil’s BBQ and Stone Brewery.

I was lucky enough to be invited to tour the new Terminal 2 last week prior to it being open to the public. During the tour, we got to see new artwork, the new gates, and the Sunset Cove building which contains most of the new restaurant options. We also got to try sample a lot of the food too.

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One of the biggest changes for Terminal 2 is the separation of departures and arrivals. Departures will now be in an upper level lanes complete with the San Diego view.


There’s a lot of new artwork including this ribbon of lights which is programmed to create animated images going across. It was emulating birds flying over when we viewed it.

Bathroom entrances now have tv screens. And there’s even a pet relief area. I couldn’t get a photo of the inside though because it seemed like every camera crew was trying to get a photo. It’s basically a small green area with a fake fire hydrant.

Of course, I was most excited for the food. Outside of the food court, the first place we encountered was Phil’s BBQ, which has become legendary in San Diego. Whenever I speak with people outside of San Diego, it seems like just about all of them have heard of Phil’s.

While there, we got to sample their most famous items: the fall-off-the-bone tender pork ribs and their enormous onion rings.

I think having Phil’s inside the airport is such a great idea. It gives visitors one last taste and locals easy access to a favorite.

Prices are raised a few bucks because it’s inside the airport, but I thought they were still pretty reasonable.

The next stop also outside of the cove that we sampled was Urban Crave, which serves up street food like street tacos, uptown dogs, and bloody mary mixes.

After that, we finally came upon the Sunset Cove. The glass building was one of the main additions of the Green Build Project. It’s more 300 feet wide and houses most of the new food options. You can sort of see into the building and the palm trees inside.


Once inside the Sunset Cove, we were greeted to a lot of open space, palm trees, and many many food options. The two most recognizable were Saffron and Red Mango, both which have other locations in San Diego.

Every food spot was offering samples and unfortunately my stomach did not have room for everything. Here were some of the highlights:

I first made a beeline for Saffron, where they offered shrimp and chicken spring rolls and mango sticky rice. Saffron has been around a long time in San Diego and I’ve eaten at Saffron before but don’t get to head their often because I don’t want to deal with the parking. So I was really happy to see it at the airport.  They also offer some breakfast crepes which I have not seen on their regular menu before.

At Tommy V’s I sampled some pizza and gnocchi.

Bubbles offered some shrimp cocktail with endives.

After Saffron, my second favorite inside the Sunset Cove was Stacked Shack. They served up crispy thin-cut fries tossed with rosemary and sliders. I really loved the fries, especially with the addition of the rosemary.

Qdoba Mexican Grill served out various rice bowls. I meant to go back but ran out of stomach space.

Mango, a frozen yogurt shop, offered tastes of its yogurts and smoothies which I also had to pass on due to lack of room.

Here are some other photos from inside the Sunset Cove.

Here is a view from the upstairs where the VIP lounges are.

There is also this cool looking Relativator.


Gate area are now equipped with nicer chairs and every other one has a power socket. If you’re feeling anti-social, you can also sit at one of these cluster of chairs while you wait for your plane.

It was a lot of fun getting to preview the Green Build Project. I don’t spend much time in Terminal 2 unfortunately. But next time I am there, I am eager to show Mr. K the changes and will actually be looking forward to the food options for once.

10 comments on “New San Diego Airport Terminal 2 Expansion”

  1. I was at Terminal 2 in July (leaving and coming home), and excited to see the upgrades, which were not all completed. None of the new food places were open yet, and I’m glad to see so many options. It was great to have power/USB plugs at all the seats – no more searching for wall sockets! And we got some good photos of the pet relief area. Everyone passing by got a kick out of it and took pictures.

    • It’s so San Diego to have a pet relief area! Haha. I usually fly out of Terminal 1, so I’m sad I don’t get to enjoy most of the upgrades especially since the last few times my flight out has been delayed an hour or more and I’m starving because I didn’t eat dinner before heading to the airport. But we’ll be flying out of Terminal 2 for an upcoming trip in a few weeks, so I’m excited to eat there.

  2. Wow, that looks really nice. When will they open?

  3. I always loved flying in and out of the San Diego airport:) looks even better!

  4. I didn’t even know the airport was upgrading Terminal 2! Looks amazing. Visitors to SD will have better food options now.

    • Yeah, I’m happy with the food options! I’m so used to airports having crappy food, but it’s such a great idea to have so many local favorites.

  5. Wow – great post! It’s so amazing to see SD improving their airport. I’m not a fan of flying but this makes me want to take ANY flight outta Terminal 2 now!

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