7 Most Haunted Places in San Diego

Explore San Diego’s haunted past! Take a ghost hunting tour through the most haunted locations, hear thrilling ghost stories and surround yourself with spirits!
Todd Sarouhan
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means if you make purchases through them, I may be compensated at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
7 Most Haunted Places
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El Campo Santo Cemetery in Old Town San DiegoDia De Los Muertos Face Painting in Old Town

If you’re like most people, the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a San Diego vacation is an amazing day with family taking advantage of the area‘s year-round mild temperatures and sunny skies on one of its more than 75 pristine beaches.

Perhaps you think about spending a day at one of its most popular San Diego attractions like the world-famous San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park, Belmont Park Amusement Park in Mission Beach or even SeaWorld San Diego, located along Mission Bay.

What you may not think about is that San Diego has a dark history and a haunted past! Many of its stories have been embellished over the years, making San Diego a great place to visit for serious ghost hunters along with those just looking for a little entertainment or for something a little unique to do with friends in San Diego!

There are a number of haunted locations to visit including historical buildings, hotels, parks, cemeteries and more!

Taking a San Diego ghost tour is a great way to get the most out of your experience. Ghost tours take place all year-round in San Diego, not just around Halloween! Check out our complete article on the best haunted tours in San Diego for tours that escort visitors through various areas of the city, and most of our list of the most haunted places in San Diego.

Listen to a ghost story, take part in a paranormal investigation and learn how haunted San Diego really is from an experienced tour guide. A San Diego ghost tour also makes for a great way for tourists to check out San Diego and learn about local history.

The hotels on our list all have special places in the city’s haunted history as well! As mentioned below as one of the most haunted places in San Diego, The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Old Town San Diego is haunted - very haunted! The hotel featured just 10 very unique rooms and is open for guests to stay the night. Each room comes with free continental breakfast, Wifi and perhaps a visit from a ghost!

Haunted Ghost Tours claims that San Diego is not only "America's Finest City" but also one of America's most haunted cities! Check in to one of the haunted hotels on our list, or join one of these ghost tours…if you dare!

Step back in time with Todd on this tour of The Cosmopolitan Hotel and restaurant. The Cosmopolitan Hotel is one of the oldest buildings in San Diego and is rumored to be haunted. Originally built in 1827 as Casa de Bandini, this historic San Diego landmark has led many lives over the years and continues to be one of the most visited haunts of San Diego.

Stay at the Cosmopolitan Hotel

Our List of the Most Haunted Places in San Diego

From the numerous haunted locations in Old Town and the Gaslamp Quarter to Pioneer Park in Mission Hills and Hotel Del Coronado on Coronado Island, San Diego has a haunted past just waiting to be explored.

Here’s our list of the most haunted places in San Diego!

Creole Cafe next to the Whaley House in Old Town San Diego
Creole Cafe next to the Whaley House in Old Town San Diego

1) Old Town's Most Haunted

Neighborhood: Old Town San Diego

Old Town's Most Haunted tour is operated by a ghost hunter who has devoted the past 16 years to seeking out spirits in San Diego. As featured on the Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures Show, this walking tour enters haunted buildings and uses meters to measure the vortex, or ghostly presence.

This tour meets in the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, and lasts about two hours. A great choice for families of ghost hunters, as this is the only ghost hunting tour in town where the tour guides are not outfitted in spooky costumes.

Looking up at the Whaley House Museum
Looking up at the Whaley House Museum

2) The Whaley House

San Diego Area Museums: Whaley House Museum

The Whaley House is widely considered to be the "Most Haunted House in America". It was built in the late 1800's, directly on top of a hanging grounds for criminals. Once the Whaley family moved in, their tenure was marked by tragedy, including the deaths of their children.

Visitors to this top San Diego attraction have reported apparitions of children and animals, along with unexplained noises and chills. For out-of-town ghost hunters, we recommend checking out the Cosmopolitan Hotel for the full paranormal experience! It is conveniently located just a half mile from the Whaley House and featured just below.

Book a tour of the haunted Whaley House and see for yourself!

Moonrise at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Old Town San Diego
Moonrise at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Old Town San Diego

3) Cosmopolitan Hotel

Hotel: Cosmopolitan Hotel

The Cosmopolitan Hotel is a registered national landmark, located within Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. It was built as a home for a well-known rancher in the first part of the1800s, and served as a stagecoach stop and olive factory throughout its storied history. In 2010, the hotel was renovated, and restored to its original Victorian Era glam complete with original features.

The hotel is often visited by guests seeking to experience paranormal activity, as many of the rooms, namely four, five and eleven, are rumored to be visited by the spirit of Ysidora Bandini, the daughter of the original proprietor. Reports have included flickering lights, doors opening and items moving around, all harmless tricks by the "Lady in Red”. Keep an eye out for the resident spirit cat, who has been spotted roaming the hallways at night.

What’s great about this haunted location is you and your party can not only visit, but stay the night! The hotel offers a boutique experience you won’t soon forget but do know that with only 10 rooms available, it can book up quickly during busier seasons and the holidays.

We recommend not delaying in checking for current availability for your preferred dates so you can experience all that this hotel has to offer.

As an additional tip, consider the Josefa Bandini Room which features a veranda style balcony, offering views of Old Town State Park or the Ysidora Bandini Room, rumored to be the most haunted room on the property!

Gravestones at El Campo Santo Cemetery in Old Town San Diego
Gravestones at El Campo Santo Cemetery in Old Town San Diego

4) El Campo Santo Cemetery

Neighborhood: Old Town San Diego

The El Campo Santo Cemetery is located in Old Town San Diego Historic Park, just around the corner from the Whaley House. It was built in 1849 and was used until 1880, originally founded as a Catholic Cemetery. The cemetery was largely abandoned after a fire destroyed the on-site chapel.

As the city expanded, a streetcar line was built through the center of the cemetery, and multiple tombs were relocated. Gravestones and markers can still be seen today on the sidewalks and streets surrounding the cemetery, acknowledging those burial sites.

The grounds are said to be haunted by a host of spirits, including the rancher Juan Mendoza, and a woman dressed in 19th century clothing. Unexplained gusts of winds, freezing spots and orbs have also been reported.

Hotel del Coronado with beachfront rooms
Hotel del Coronado with beachfront rooms

5) Hotel Del Coronado

Hotel: Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton

Hotel Del Coronado is one of the swankiest resorts in the San Diego Bay area, often visited by celebrities, politicians and other high-profile guests. It is a national landmark, and has maintained its status as a top-rated luxury resort. However, there is also a darker side!

In 1892, 24-year-old Kate Morgan checked into the hotel but unfortunately never checked out. Her death was ruled as a suicide, however there was much speculation surrounding her death, and the hotel is reputed to be haunted by this "beautiful stranger".

Kate's hotel room, now the current room 3327, is the most requested room on the property!

The gift shop, which is original to the haunted hotel, has also been the location of suspected paranormal occurrences. The movie, "Some Like it Hot" starring Marilyn Monroe, was filmed at the hotel, and movie memorabilia has been reported to fly off the shelves and move around the shop.

Make the Most of Your Stay

Ghost hunting tours are a popular way to learn about San Diego history with family and are perfect for inclusion when sightseeing around the area or just for a fun twist on a night out with friends!

We suggest making the most of your stay on Coronado Island visit, and purchasing a Go City San Diego pass for maximum savings and maximum fun! The All-inclusive pass includes access to over 35 attractions and experiences in the area. In addition, you get up to 55% off when compared to the regular price.

After spending an evening ghost hunting, take a break from the paranormal and consider renting a kayak or choosing a bike rental to tour the island. The Go City San Diego pass comes with a variety of benefits including the flexibility to choose which San Diego attraction, tour or experience you want to do that day.

Pre-purchase a Go City San Diego pass to get started planning your vacation and to book all the rental gear you will need in advance and at a steep discount!

Nighttime at the Horton Grand Hotel
Nighttime at the Horton Grand Hotel

6) Horton Grand Hotel

Hotel: Horton Grand Hotel

The Horton Grand Hotel was built in 1887 as a luxury Victorian hotel in the style of Austria. Located in the Gaslamp Quarter in the Downtown San Diego area, this hotel is one of the oldest historic hotels in San Diego. Famous guests have included past presidents, royals and even Wyatt Erp himself!

The hotel is widely known to be haunted by the ghost of Roger Whitaker. Legends says that he was killed by a family member after he was caught cheating while gambling. He attempted to hide in his armour in room 309, but was discovered and killed.

Many strange things have been reported at night, such as flickering lights, indents in the bed, and sudden changes in temperatures. Other hauntings from the 19th century have also been reported at this hotel, such as the ghost of Ida Bailey, the Madame who owned the brothel on-site before the hotel was built.

Creepy Tombstones at Calvary Cemetery Inside Pioneer Park
Creepy Tombstones at Calvary Cemetery Inside Pioneer Park

7) Pioneer Park

Neighborhood: Mission Hills

Originally known as Calvary Cemetery in Mission Hills, this was the site of one of the first cemeteries in San Diego, and the final resting place for thousands of people.

However, during the 1960s the cemetery fell into disrepair, and the gravestones were removed to clear the way for open green space for residents to enjoy. While children play games and people enjoy walks in the park, there is a general feeling of eeriness throughout the park.

The spirit of a confused woman in 19th century clothing is reputed to wander the park after dusk. Experts have surveyed the park, and report high levels from their electromagnetic field readers. There have also been reports of radios playing in the middle of the night, flashes of light and multiple ghost sightings!

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2-Day Hop-on Hop-off San Diego
Hop-on Hop-off San Diego Trolley
Using your Go Pass, grab a 2 day Hop-on Hop-off San Diego Trolley. The trolley tour takes you through all the most popular areas of San Diego. It's a great way to start your trip and you'll learn where everything around the city is located.
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Local Tips
How much can you save by using the Go City San Diego pass?

The Go City San Diego pass is the perfect way to explore more attractions and activities that the area has to offer, all while being cost-efficient.

With the Go City San Diego pass, you can save up to 55% off admission fees at some of the area’s most popular attractions.

Want to save more? Use our exclusive discount code GVSD5OFF to save an extra 5%!

Featured Hotel
Cosmopolitan Hotel
The Cosmopilitan Hotel
2 Stars2 Stars
The Cosmopolitan Hotel is a historic landmark located in downtown San Diego. Complete with vintage furniture & timely details, the hotel has a haunting charm.
Prices Starting at $99
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Tours & Adventures
Gaslamp Brothels, Bites & Booze Tour
Gaslamp Brothels, Bites & Booze Tour
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Historic Whaley House Museum
Historic Whaley House Museum
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