Old Town San Diego

Visit Old Town San Diego is a top tourist activity

Within moments of downtown, you can learn about the history of San Diego and the “Birthplace of California.” San Diego Activities like visiting Old Town San Diego allow you to dine at great San Diego Restaurants, visit San Diego Museums, attend annual Events in San Diego, and more all in one fabulous destination!

About Old Town San Diego

Old Town San Diego is considered the “birthplace of California,” and visiting this historic district is one of the top San Diego Activities for tourists. Old Town is the site of the first permanent Spanish settlement in California and is where Father Junipero Serra came to establish the first mission in 1769, which would be followed by 20 other missions as the cornerstone of California’s colonization.

Why Visit Old Town San Diego

Father Serra’s mission and Presidio were built on a small hillside overlooking what is currently known as Old Town San Diego. At the base of the hill, a small Mexican village of adobe buildings was constructed, and it attained the status of El Pueblo de San Diego, in 1835.

san diego old townToday, Old Town San Diego gives San Diego visitors and residents a glimpse of what life was like in the early days of San Diego, with San Diego Museums, Restaurants in San Diego, San Diego Shopping and other gathering places available to present a near-authentic view of those times.

Tips for Visiting Old Town San Diego

  • You can take the San Diego Trolley from downtown San Diego to Old Town San Diego and arrive in minutes to a must-see, historic San Diego Attraction.
  • Within walking distance of Old Town San Diego, there are many places to shop in San Diego and dine within 30 minutes of downtown San Diego. In Old Town, you’ll find unique merchandise and a quaint atmosphere. Bazaar del Mundo, Fiesta de Reyes, the Old Town Market, and many boutique shops offer a variety of uncommon gifts.
  • Discover San Diego’s history by visiting the many historic sites in Old Town San Diego and learning about San Diego’s past culture compared to modern downtown San Diego living.


There are many Mexican Restaurants in town (Old Town) to choose from. Cafe Coyote 2461 San Diego Avenue, is always a busy one. Fred’s Mexican Cafe at 2470 San Diego Avenue, Old Town is a favorite as well.

Interesting Facts About Old Town San Diego

  • In 1968, the State of California Department of Parks and Recreation established Old Town San Diego State Historic Park to preserve the rich heritage that characterized San Diego during the 1821 to 1872 period.
  • Old Town San Diego includes the main plaza, exhibits, San Diego Activities, and annual events, museums and living history demonstrations.
  • Historic buildings in Old Town San Diego include La Casa de Estudillo, La Casa de Bandini, La Casa de Altamirano Pedrorena and the Mason Street School, San Diego’s first one-room schoolhouse.

Old Town San Diego Location and Contact Information

Old Town San Diego is located at 2802 Juan Street, San Diego, CA 92110 – Tel: 619.487.9613

Historic San Diego Attractions FAQ’s

Q: San Diego Accommodations: Are there Historic San Diego Neighborhoods located near Downtown San Diego?
A: Yes! There are a few Historic San Diego Neighborhoods located near Downtown San Diego. Not far from downtown, you will find Old Town, the Gaslamp District and Little Italy. Each of these neighborhoods is a popular San Diego Attraction and home to shops and San Diego Restaurants as well as San Diego history.

Q: San Diego Attractions: I would like to explore some of the city’s historic neighborhoods. What can I expect when visiting Old Town San Diego during my stay at a San Diego Hotel?
A: Old Town San Diego is a popular San Diego Attraction that is located a short distance from top San Diego Hotels. This Attraction in San Diego is home to several old homes and San Diego Museums including the Whaley House Museum and the Sheriff’s Museum. Visitors to this Attraction in San Diego will also see the First Brick Courthouse, a blacksmith shop and much more.

Q: San Diego Restaurants: Are there any good San Diego Restaurants located in the Historic Gaslamp Quarter? Also, is this historic neighborhood located near Downtown San Diego Hotels?
A: The Gaslamp Quarter is a San Diego Attraction that is located very close to some of the Downtown San Diego Hotels. Some of the San Diego Restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter are Barley Mash, Shout House, Searsucker, Café Sevilla, Banda, and Asti Ristorante.

Q: Attractions in San Diego: I would love to learn about San Diego history during my stay in San Diego. Can you recommend a Museum in San Diego for this purpose?
A: There are a few Museums in San Diego where you can learn about San Diego’s history during your visit to San Diego. Old Town San Diego is a popular Attraction in San Diego that is home to some of these San Diego Museums. Consider visiting the Whaley House Museum and the Sheriff’s Museum, both San Diego Museums that are located in Old Town, to get an idea of what life was like in San Diego in days gone by.

Q: San Diego Downtown: Is San Diego’s Little Italy located near downtown San Diego?
A: Little Italy is part of Downtown San Diego and is, therefore, located near some of the top Downtown San Diego Hotels. During your next stay at a hotel in San Diego stop by Little Italy to enjoy authentic Italian food and more.

Q: San Diego Tours: Are there any San Diego Tours that explore historic neighborhoods such as Little Italy, Old Town and the Gaslamp Quarter?
A: A few companies offer San Diego Tours in Historic San Diego Neighborhoods. During your stay at a San Diego Hotel consider booking a San Diego Tour through Wheel Fun, which offers Segway Tours in San Diego, the Gaslamp Museum and Another Side of San Diego both of which offer a variety of San Diego Tours. Old Town’s Most Haunted offers a spooky look at the ghosts that share the neighborhoods with the living.

Q: San Diego Activities: We would like to visit the Gaslamp Quarter during our upcoming stay in San Diego. What type of architecture can we expect to see when visiting this San Diego Attraction?
A: The Gaslamp Quarter is a historic neighborhood located downtown. Exploring the Gaslamp Quarter is a popular San Diego Activity in part because of the beautiful examples of Victorian architecture that still line the streets of this San Diego Attraction.

Q: San Diego Attractions: We would like to see the San Diego Attraction known as the San Diego Founder’s Trail. How many landmarks are included on this Attraction in San Diego?
A: This San Diego Attraction includes 9 landmarks, and it is a great way to learn about the early history of San Diego. Your San Diego Accommodations are not far from some of the San Diego Attractions included on the Founder’s Trail.