Complete Guide to Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park in California, including things to do, history, nearby lodging and camping, directions, and so much more.
Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park
This amazing park interprets and shares the stories of the sacrifices of American civilians and the war effort that was done in the American home front.
Park staff share information on how local residents assisted with the labor shortage during historic World War II.
Education exhibits and interactive exhibits are amazing in the park and give you the opportunity to learn more about the Ford Assembly Plant, defense industries, wartime boomtown of Richmond, California, and the work that was done at the Richmond Kaiser Shipyards.
Is Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park worth visiting?
We highly suggest a visit to the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park near San Francisco.
Our visit wasn't planned and ended up being a highlight of our trip. We were driving down the freeway and saw the signs saying the park was on the next exit. We quickly pulled off and headed out to find the park. We were not sure what we would find, but we were so glad we stopped.
The Rosie the Riveter National Historic Park has some of the best interpretive displays we have seen in any National Park. The educational center is set up, so it is excellent for all ages. You can see what it is like to use a riveter machine, watch some quick movies and read up on the history of Rosie the Riveter.
Going into the park, we honestly didn't know much about Rosie the Riveter. By the time we left, I had so much respect for the women who truly changed the face of America and our workforce.
The impact of these woman continues on to this day. They really broke down barriers and notions of what women were capable of.
This is the perfect park to take your daughters too and explain how history changed not that long ago for all of us.
History of Rosie the Riveter National Historical Park
Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historic Park is located in Richmond, California near San Francisco.
The park honors those Americans who kept the home front running during World War II. The park especially commemorates the efforts of women and African Americans working in America during the war.
This park is a partnership park which means the National Park Service does not own any of the land or buildings that encompass the park. The National Park Service established it as a Historic Park in the year 2000.
This National Historic Park is comprised of numerous different buildings that were iconic to business in America during the World War II era.
The Visitor Center to the park is located in the Historic Ford Building Complex in Richmond. This location gives information about what Richmond and the entire country endured during World War II.
16 million American men and women served during World War II. In 1942, J. Howard Miller created a now iconic image of a blue collared woman wearing a red and white polka dot bandana and flexing her arms. The phrase “We Can Do It” accompanied the illustration.
This original artwork had no connection to anyone named “Rosie.” In May of 1943, artist Norman Rockwell, seemingly taking inspiration from Miller’s “We Can Do It,” created an illustration of a muscular woman in jean bibs eating her lunch with a rivet gun across her lap. His model was a 19 year old who worked as a telephone operator, not a riveter.
Her features were evident but Rockwell created his “Rosie” considerably larger and more muscular than the model. The Saturday Evening Post published the photo on Memorial Day, 1943. It proved wildly popular and served as a symbol for all those, especially women, working on the home front, for the duration of the war.
Richmond was chosen as the focal point for the park due to its notable involvement with industrial businesses, struggle for women’s rights, the labor union, and advances in early childhood care and education.
The Richmond shipyard produced more ships than any other in America during the war. Richmond was also home to 56 war industries. Tens of thousands of people poured into Richmond to work and support the wartime industries.
The city in turn responded by expanding schooling, housing and other necessities for all the new residents. Between 1940 and 1943 Richmond’s population went from 23,000 to 93,000.
At its peak, the Richmond shipyards employed nearly 90,000 people. This time period and location represented the best opportunity in the country’s history for African Americans to secure higher paying jobs. Many of those workers came to Richmond from the southern states.
Chinese-Americans also played a pivotal role in the wartime efforts in Richmond. They played a vital part in shipbuilding and wartime defense.
A section of Richmond also contained a small number of American Indians. This group of people lived in cottages provided by the Santa Fe Railroad. This relationship between the American Indians and the railroad began as an agreement for the railroad to travel through Indian land in exchanged for jobs and transportation for the American Indians.
Sadly, many Japanese-Americans who previously served a number of roles and jobs in the Richmond community were moved to relocation camps during the duration of the war.
Richmond truly embodied its nickname of the official wartime “boomtown.” With all the added residents and immense expansion of businesses, it was absolutely necessary for Richmond to grow its public services. School populations grew exponentially, vacant housing areas were utilized, and some workers were even forced to sleep in movie theaters, parks and lobbies in the city.
Henry J. Kaiser, a defense contractor worked to create three federally-funded housing villages in Richmond to facilitate homes for workers. Kaiser’s greatest contribution, however, was the initiation of health care services.
Following the flu epidemic of 1941, Kaiser realized it was pertinent to establish health care for these loyal wartime workers. By 1944, 92% of all shipyard employees had healthcare.
The cost was paycheck deductions of 50 cents per week. Healthier workers and increased productivity followed and by the end of the war, the shipyard was able to also offer healthcare to worker’s families.
The buildings highlighted in the National Historic Park include the shipyards, the Ford Assembly Building, The Maritime and Ruth C. Powers Child Development Center, housing villages, Rosie the Riveter memorial and the Kaiser-Permanente Field Hospital.
The childcare development centers were welcome necessities for working women who needed daycare for their children. Thousands of women who worked in the shipyards utilized these centers.
Richmond today serves as a remembrance of the incredible efforts of workers on the home front during World War II. The pride of the community from this time period still remains today.
Things to know before your visit
$0.00 - there is no entrance fee to visit the park.
Planning a National Park vacation? America the Beautiful/National Park Pass covers entrance fees for an entire year to all US National Park Sites and over 2,000 Federal Recreation Fee Sites.
The park pass covers everyone in the car for per vehicle sites and for up to 4 adults for per-person sites.
Buy on REI.com and REI will donate 10% of pass proceeds to the National Forest Foundation, National Park Foundation and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities.
Learn more about National Park Passes for parks that have an entrance fee.
Free Entrance Days -Mark your calendars with the five free entrance days the National Park Service offers annually.
Pacific Time Zone
Pets are not allowed in the Visitor Education Center unless they are Service Animals. All pets must be leashed while walking on the Bay Trail.
There is a cellular signal at the Visitor Center area.
The park is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM daily.
The park is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.
There is no public WiFi available.
Insect repellent is always a great idea when outdoors, especially if you are around any body of water.
We use Permethrin Spray on our clothes before our park trips.
Make sure to bring your own water bottle and plenty of water with you. Plastic water bottles are not sold in the park.
The Visitor Education Center is part of the Historic Ford Building complex. There is plenty of free parking in the complex parking lot. Upon passing the guard gate at the entrance of the complex, you proceed forward until you can turn right, and then proceed forward toward the smaller brick building in front of you.
Parking is all along the fence on your left as you drive toward the building. Also, there are a few parking spots right outside the building (which is on the back side), including a few that are accessible.
Do not drive past the visitor center and through the small gate on the right because vehicles are prohibited in that area.
There are no restaurants within the park.
There are no gas stations within the park.
Drones are not permitted within National Park Sites.
National Park Passport Stamps
National Park Passport stamps can be found in the visitor center.
Rosie the Riveter National Historical Park is part of the 2020 Passport Stamp Set
Electric Vehicle Charging
There are 112 publicly accessible EV charging stations in Richmond, California.
Details about Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park
Size - 145 acres
Check how the park compares to other National Parks by Size.
Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park was dedicated on October 24, 2000.
In 2021, Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front NHP had 19,038 park visitors.
In 2020, Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front NHP had 9,528 park visitors.
In 2019, Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front NHP had 50,404 park visitors.
National Park Address
1414 Harbour Way South, Suite 3000, Richmond, Ca.
National Park Map
Where is Rosie the Riveter National Historical Park?
Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park is located in Richmond, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Estimated distance from major cities nearby
Oakland, CA - 13 miles
San Francisco, CA - 20 miles
Fremont, CA - 40 miles
San Jose, CA - 60 miles
Stockton, CA - 90 miles
Sacramento, CA - 100 miles
Modesto, CA - 100 miles
Fresno, CA - 200 miles
Reno, NV - 250 miles
Bakersfield, CA - 300 miles
Estimated Distance from nearby National Park
Yosemite National Park - 165 miles
Sequoia National Park - 265 miles
Kings Canyon National Park - 240 miles
Pinnacles National Park - 180 miles
Redwood National Park - 300 miles
Where is the National Park Visitor Center?
The Visitor Education Center is part of the Historic Ford Building complex.
Getting to Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front NHP
Oakland International Airport (OAK)
San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC)
Sacramento International Airport (SMF)
I-80 West, EXIT Cutting Blvd. making a Right onto Cutting. Continue on Cutting for 2 Miles, and then make a Left onto Harbour Way South and continue for 0.8 miles. Make a left at the security gate/guard shack just before the large Ford Assembly Building. Inform the guard that you are going to the Visitor Center. Drive behind the Ford building. Visitor Center is in a smaller brick building down by the water. Parking close to the building is limited.
I-80 East, then take the I-580 West split after the Gilman St. off ramp. EXIT Harbour Way South, then turn Right onto Cutting Blvd, now make a Right at the next stop light onto Harbour Way South and Continue for 0.8 miles. Make a left at the security gate/guard shack just before the large Ford Assembly Building. Inform the guard that you are going to the Visitor Center. Drive behind the Ford building. Visitor Center is in a smaller brick building down by the water. Parking close to the building is limited.
From Oakland/South Bay:
I-580 West or I-880 North to I-80 East, then follow directions from Berkeley.
From San Francisco/Peninsula:
US 101 or I-280 North to I-80 over the Bay Bridge, then follow directions from Berkeley.
Marin County/North Bay
Take 101 South to I-580 East across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. EXIT Harbour Way/Cutting Blvd. Turn LEFT onto Cutting Blvd., and then RIGHT onto Harbour Way South. Continue for 0.8 miles until you see the large brick building. Make a LEFT into the gated lot passing the guard shack, and follow the parking lot all the way to the back looking for the Visitor Education center and NPS signage.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park is when the weather is warm and sunny, as this will allow you to fully enjoy the outdoor exhibits and sites.
The park is open year-round, but summer and fall tend to be the most popular seasons for visitors due to the pleasant weather conditions.
Weather and Seasons
The warmest weather is from June 5th to October 18th, with an average daily high temperature above 72 degrees.
The cool season is from December 1st to February 6th, with an average daily high temperature below 59 degrees.
January is the coldest month, with an average low of 43 degrees and high of 56 degrees.
Best Things to do in Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park
We suggest planning a couple of hours to explore the park and the historic sites. There are multiple park sites that are in different areas from the Visitor's center.
The visitor center is the heart of the park and truly one of our favorite visitor centers we have visited. You can feel what it is like to use a riveting gun and it is something you won't forget soon.
There is also a few films shown at the visitor center that give you the opportunity to learn more about not only Rosie the Riveter but what life was like during World War 2.
Pick up a Junior Ranger program at the visitor center and earn your junior ranger badge! The park offers a great Junior Ranger program that is designed for visitors five years and older. You can find out more information about the Junior Ranger program from the main desk.
On most Fridays, you can visit with real Home Front workers from WWII. For schedule, please call the Visitor Education Center at 510-232-5050.
Betty Reid has retired after years of service with the National Park Service BUT She does participate in virtual programs on most Thursdays.
These programs are generally held on Thursdays at 2pm Pacific time. Please check the website calendar for available dates. Program availability is subject to change.
SS Red Oak Victory Ship
The SS Red Oak Victory is open Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday-
Guided Ranger Tours
The park also offers great Ranger programs including a Richmond bus tour, movies that highlight life during World War 2, and so much more.
Additional sites that are related to the park include the Rosie the Riveter Memorial Park, Richmond Museum of History, and public art projects. These sites can be visited on a self-guided auto tour.
How to beat the crowds
We did not experience any crowds during our visits to the park.
Where to stay when visiting
There are no National Park Lodges within the park.
Lodging can be found in the city of Richmond, Berkeley and nearby communities.
Nearby Lodging includes:
Residence Inn by Marriott Berkeley - Free breakfast, dry cleaning/laundry services, and a fireplace in the lobby are just a few of the amenities provided at Residence Inn by Marriott Berkeley. The onsite restaurant, Study Hall Rooftop Lounge, features American cuisine. Free in-room Wi-Fi is available to all guests, along with a bar and a 24-hour gym.
HYATT house Emeryville/San Francisco Bay Area - Located close to Public Market Emeryville and Bay Street, HYATT house Emeryville/San Francisco Bay Area provides a free breakfast buffet, a firepit, and dry cleaning/laundry services. Free in-room Wi-Fi is available to all guests, along with a bar and a gym.
Claremont Club & Spa - A Fairmont Hotel - 5-star luxury hotel, Located close to University of California, Berkeley and Greek Theater, Claremont Club & Spa - A Fairmont Hotel provides a terrace, shopping on site, and a firepit. For some rest and relaxation, visit the hot tub, and indulge in a massage, reflexology, or a facial. The onsite Californian cuisine restaurant, Limewood Bar & Restaurant, features ocean views and brunch. Aerobics classes and yoga classes are offered at the health club; other things to do include hiking/biking. Free in-room Wi-Fi is available to all guests, along with a coffee shop/café and a garden.
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Berkeley Marina - Located close to McLaughlin Eastshore State Park and Berkeley Marina, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Berkeley Marina provides a marina, a terrace, and a garden. Active travelers can enjoy amenities like fishing and hiking/biking at this hotel. For some rest and relaxation, visit the hot tub. The onsite American cuisine restaurant, The Berkeley Boathouse, features ocean views and al fresco dining. Stay connected with free in-room Wi-Fi, and guests can find other amenities such as dry cleaning/laundry services and a bar.
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites San Pablo - You can look forward to free continental breakfast, a garden, and dry cleaning/laundry services at Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites San Pablo - Richmond Area, an IHG Hotel. For some rest and relaxation, visit the sauna. In addition to a gym and a business center, guests can connect to free in-room Wi-Fi.
Click on the map below to see current vacation rentals and lodges near the park.
There are no National Park Campgrounds within the park.
For a fun adventure check out Escape Campervans. These campervans have built in beds, kitchen area with refrigerators, and more. You can have them fully set up with kitchen supplies, bedding, and other fun extras. They are painted with epic designs you can't miss!
Parks Near Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site
Point Reyes National Seashore
Check out all of the National Parks near San Francisco