Old Town San Diego

Old Town San Diego

Written By VAMONDE San Diego

Old Town San Diego

Old Town San Diego is the city’s oldest neighborhood, which began with the Presidio and Mission in 1769. Today, there are over 25 restaurants in a mile radius all offering authentic and cultural cuisines. In addition to the food and shopping, Old Town hosts many events and has nightly entertainment in many of the restaurants located here. Within Old Town, there are three Parks, all of which have historic sites operated as museums. The Old Town San Diego State Historic Park spans the decades from Californio rule to the Mexican Period and finally to the American Period.


If you are looking for unique gifts or souvenirs, a wide variety of shops line the streets of the main village. The SOHO Museum Shop offers historic reproductions, gifts, souvenirs, and books from early California to the mid-twentieth century; The Covered Wagon is a great place for Indian jewelry and art. Thinking of jewelry, Celebrity Gems & Jewelry is just off the main street. There you will find artistic custom jewelry including creations made with San Diego gemstones still mined in the area today; the Old Town Market Place is where you will discover a festive atmosphere with local artists and entertainment and where you can catch the Old Town Trolley Tours which will take you on any number of San Diego tours.


Old Town sidewalks overflow with people who come to revisit history, to shop and to savor some of the best and greatest variety of food that San Diego has to offer. While regional and Mexican specialties are not to be missed and present many cooking styles, visitors to Old Town have a wide choice of cuisines. The area has a history rich in diversity so you can also find early California fare along with Italian, Japanese, Creole, Peruvian, and some really great seafood. There is something for every appetite and every budget and every doorway leads to a delectable discovery.

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Discover Old Town State Park, a historic atmosphere where you can journey through San Diego California’s past from 1821—1872. Located within the Historic State Park is Fiesta de Reyes where you will enjoy traditional Mexican cuisine prepared by expert chefs. Fiesta de Reyes has 11 retail stores and live entertainment in a wonderful courtyard.

The original historic buildings from the interpretive period are complemented by reconstructed sites, along with early twentieth-century buildings designed in the same mode. Five original adobe buildings are part of the historic park, which includes museums, unique retail shops, and several restaurants. The Historic Plaza remains a special place for gatherings and historic activities. Visitors can also experience a working blacksmith shop, enjoy music, see or touch the park's burros, and engage in activities that represent early San Diego.

The Mormon Battalion Museum

The Mormon Battalion, a militia of Mormon settlers from the Iowa territory, arrived in San Diego in January of 1847 to support the American military garrison during the Mexican War. Five companies totaling over 500 men had been mustered in at Council Bluffs, Iowa on July 16, 1846. Along with 32 women, they made the longest march in military history consisting of 2,000 miles from Council Bluffs, Iowa, to San Diego.

Casa de Estudillo

Constructed in 1825 as the home of Don Jose Antonio de Estudillo, a Spanish aristocrat, it became a sanctuary for women and children during the American occupation in 1846. For a number of years, it was incorrectly identified as "Ramona's Marriage Place" from Helen Hunt Jackson's "Ramona". The adobe structure is considered to be one of Old Town's outstanding showplaces. La Casa de Estudillo was turned over to a caretaker in 1887 who sold its tiles, locks, doors, and windows. In 1910 architect Hazel W. Waterman supervised the restoration of the house with funds provided by the Spreckels family.

McCoy House

The McCoy House was originally built in 1869 and was home to California's first sheriff. It has been reconstructed. Prior to 1851, the land belonged to Maria Eugenia Silvas - a descendant of a Spanish Colonial soldier who came to Alta California in the 1770s.

Colorado House / Wells Fargo Museum

Originally a hotel, today you will find the Wells Fargo Museum. The building is a reconstruction of the 1860 original. The Wells Fargo Museum is a historically furnished Wells Fargo agent’s office, including one of the famous 30 Coaches shipped to Wells Fargo in 1867, a panoramic painting of San Diego in 1855, and a gold watch given as a reward for the care of San Diego treasure on a stagecoach.

32 Restaurants, 10 Hotels, 100 Boutique Shops, 36 Museums & Historic Sites

Text courtesy of oldtownsandiegoguide.com. Cover photo: CC0 via Pixabay,

How to spend 36 Hours in San Diego

Old Town San Diego

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