Old Town San Diego

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Called the birthplace of California, Old Town San Diego was inhabited thousand of years before the United States was a country.  San Diego’s original inhabitants were called the Kumeyaay, who had inhabited the region for an estimated 9,000 years. When the Spanish settlements arrived in 1769, the Kumeyaay retreated to more sparsely populated lands.

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The Birthplace of California

Old Town San Diego is the location of the first permanent Spanish settlement in California. The first of twenty—two missions established by Father Junipero Serra, the settlement marked the first integral step in the colonization of California. The mission and presidio were built on a bluff that overlooked what is now known as Old Town San Diego. In the 1820’s, a number of Mexican adobe buildings were constructed. Nearly two decades later, the small adobe community was called el pueblo de San Diego.

Historical Preservation of Old Town San Diego

Today, Old Town San Diego is preserved and maintained by the State of California Department of Parks and Recreation. Old Town State Historic Park was established in 1968 to preserve the relics and buildings from the 1821 to 1872 era of the city’s history. Park features include a museum, exhibits, live historical reenactments and more. The Park is also filled with historical monuments like La Casa de Estudillo, Old Town Plaza, Casa de Pedrorena and the first publicly owned school building. You also won’t want to miss the Whaley House, San Diego’s officially designated haunted house.

Old Town Dining and Entertainment

With over thirty restaurants, historical hotels and a number of unique, locally owed shops and galleries, Old Town San Diego is the number one destination for visitors. Try a Pomegranate Tequila Shot at Café Coyote, located in the heart of San Diego’s Historic Walking District. Another top dining pick is LaPinata, a Mexican restaurant that has been serving authentic, south—of—the—border cuisine since the 1920s. This is also a great place to jump on an Old Town Trolley to see the rest of San Diego.