Historic Old Town
San Diego

San Diego’s Old Town district is unique, and it’s different than most because of where the city was founded. Visitors can experience Native American, early pioneer, and Latin American cultures while learning about the history of San Diego.  The roots are in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Old Town offers a memorable experience thanks to its meticulously conserved architecture. Today, more than 100 specialty shops, thirty eateries, twelve art galleries, and twenty-five historic landmarks and structures exist. For genuinely distinctive shopping experiences, pay a visit to the Bazaar del Mundo, Old Town Market, and Fiesta de Reyes.

The Whaley house, regarded as the most haunted location in the country with innumerable reported paranormal encounters, is another option for the courageous. Most people come for a few hours of entertainment, so it pleases them to be happily delighted when they stay all day enjoying everything the Old Town area has to offer.

Local History

The Kumeyaay Indians had been residing in the home region of Old Town since at least 9000 years ago by the time explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo first arrived there in 1592. Father Junipero Serra oversaw the founding of 21 Spanish Missions in the region by 1769, marking the start of California’s colonization. With the planting of an American flag in the Old Town San Diego Plaza in 1846, Old Town underwent a transformation from a small Mexican Pueblo to the founding of an American town between 1821 and 1872. A plan to relocate Downtown San Diego from Old Town to New Town, on the shores of San Diego Bay, which include Gaslamp Quarter, East Village, Marina District and Little Italy, among others.

That plan was well under way by the 1880s thanks to ambitious businessmen like Alonzo Horton. The 1800s laid the groundwork for the Old Town tourism industry that exists today. To preserve this time, the State of California designated the area as a historic park in 1968.

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