Old Town – Where San Diego Began

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Some believe that Old Town San Diego is considered the “birthplace” of California. In 1769, Father Junipero Serra established the first mission of many that would be the beginning of California’s colonization. Old Town offers the original and reconstructed buildings that illustrate San Diego from the 1800’s. Old Town recreates the Californian life during the years of 1821-1872.

In 1968, the State of California Department of Parks and Recreation established Old Town Historic Park to preserve the heritage of this area. A main plaza, museums, and living history demonstrations are located in the park.

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La Casa de Estudillo, La Casa de Bandini, La Casa de Altamirano Pedrorena, and the Mason Street School are some of the historic buildings in Old Town. Mason Street School is San Diego’s first one room schoolhouse. Up the hill from Old Town San Diego Historic Park, Herritage Park contains some of San Diego’s Victorian homes which have been restored to their original looks. On San Diego Avenue, there is an official haunted house, the Whaley House. The first Church in Old Town is Little Adobe Chapel on Conde Street.

Old Town allows visitors to step back into time to the early nineteenth century. There is a great variety of interesting retail shops — taffy shops, places to make-your-own candles, gourmet foods, book stores, historic reproductions, leather shops, cigars stores, and more! Old Town San Diego has something for the entire family to enjoy in a quaint setting — historic sites, authentic cuisine, and unique shopping.


State Historic Park

Heritage Park

Places to See

Historic Sites:

Whaley House Museum

Serra Museum

Old Town Trolley Tours

Tequila Museum

Robinson James McCoy House

Casa de Wrightington

San Diego house

U.S. House

Casa Machado Silvas

Racine & Larame Tobacco Store

Colorado House

First Brick Courthouse

Mason Street School

Casa Machado y Stewart

McKinstry Dentistry

San Diego Union

Casa de Pedreoena

Casa de Estudillo

Alvardo House

Johnson House

Blacksmith Shop

Casa de Bandini

Seeley Stables

Immaculate Conception Church

Derby Pendleton House

Whaley House

Sheriff’s Museum

Little Adobe Chapel

El Campo Carillo

Serra Museum

Mormon Battalion

Heritage Park


Barra Barra Saloon

Cafe Coyote y Catina

Casa de Reyes Mexican Cuisine

Casa Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant

El Agave Tequileria

Jack & Guilio’s Italian Restaurant

La Pinata Mexican Restaurant

Old Town Mexican Cafe

Finding Old Town

Exit at Old Town Avenue off the I-5, turn Left at Old Town Ave. Take 3rd left onto San Diego Ave.

A closer look into Old Town is part of our new series called Sights of San Diego, check back each week for a new local discovery!


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