Welcome to the “birthplace” of California! Although there are indications that the Kumeyaay people inhabited the San Diego area dating back 9000 years ago, most tend to associate the earliest inhabitants with the Spanish settlements of 1769. It was here that Father Junipero Serra established the first of 21 missions across California. Later in 1835, a Mexican adobe community was formed and called the area, El Pueblo de San Diego. Finally in 1846, San Diego flew the American flag.
Nowadays Old Town San Diego dishes out a well-preserved peek back into California’s early history with a side of lively shops, tantalizing cuisine washed down with a refreshing margarita! For those with a taste for the macabre, head straight to the haunted Whaley House which was built over the site of former gallows or visit El Campo Cemetery.where notorious boat thief, Yankee Jim Robinson was buried. It is Yankee Jim’s ghost that is said to haunt the Whaley House.
History lovers will be happy to learn that there is no shortage of historic buildings (many now museums) all within walking distance down San Diego Avenue, which is Old Town’s “Main” street. If you love churches then El Adobe Chapel and the Church of the Immaculate Conception will not disappoint. Into architecture? See Casa de Estudillo (circa 1825) which is one of the finest adobe haciendas in the state or walk through Heritage Park, 7.8 acres of fabulously preserved Victorian homes. Foodies will find plenty of choices among the more than 25 restaurants located within a mile radius.
If you don’t want to miss an ounce of what this lively area has to offer then take one or more tours to get the whole scoop! Just show up at the Visitor’s Center located in the Robinson Rose building in the plaza for a State Park Tour or make a reservation (619) 469-3174 with the Boosters of Old Town so you may see it with a knowledgeable guide dressed in period costume. Old Town also boasts a rare original stagecoach, a Sheriff’s Museum, volumes of cultural art and interesting jewelry. It’s truly a feast for the eyes and the stomach!