Old Town San Diego is the place that started it all, which is a claim very few towns throughout the United States can make.
Way back in 1769, this area of San Diego was home to California's very first Spanish settlement. Father Junípero Serra established the state's first mission, which then went on to span 21 more. These developments are considered the beginning of California’s colonization.
Entrance to Fiesta de Reyes in Old Town
Old Town a Great Destination
With its inauspicious beginnings consisting of a single mission and fort, Old Town has since evolved into a quaint little town that has much to offer residents as it does to visitors. Unlike other places in California, Old Town living happens at a much slower pace. That means it's a great vacation destination for people who are looking for low-key good times away from the typical hustle and bustle of urban living.
It's also a great place to visit with family, thanks to the many educational opportunities and historical buildings. There is the San Diego Zoo, museums, tours, and many other activities, all within a comfortable distance of this neighborhood’s many hotels.
Don’t worry parking here is not too hard as there are a few large parking lots within Old Town. If you don’t have a car, the Old Town Trolley Station, that is part of the San Diego Trolley system, is a 5-minute walk away.
Old Town Cart and Barrels
Uniqueness of Old Town
What makes Old Town unique and historic? Its perspective on the past is like no other. It's easy to forget that California wasn't always the world destination that it is today, and Old Town provides a glimpse into its beginnings through a multitude of different experiences.
You can immerse yourself in the past by visiting famous historical sites. Along with learning the history of the place, you can also marvel at the preserved architecture, which truly takes you back to a different time.
Historic Old Town is also a great place for exploring the Mexican heritage that has informed the area's culture for so many years. Whether you are Mexican-American or just interested in the culture, there's plenty of information here for you to absorb. It's also home to a dazzling Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration, which takes place every November 1st & 2nd in honor of the Mexican holiday.
What is Mole?
Mole is a melding of new and old flavors, this rich sauce has multiple types of dried Mexican chilies, raisins, spices such as cinnamon, cloves & allspice and dark chocolate. El Agave Rest. & Tequileria is one of the best mole restaurants in San Diego with seven different types of mole to choose.
Three Types of Mole Enchiladas at Tahona Bar in Old Town
Food & Drinks in Old Town
Food is a part of all cultures and the fare here is no exception. There is a mix of diverse cuisines in this area of San Diego, with an emphasis on Mexican and Mexican-influenced dishes.
However, there is no shortage of amazing restaurants of all descriptions, whether you're looking for a fine dining establishment or are in search of a casual spot offering bites and brews. A few stand out restaurants include; Cafe Coyote, Casa de Reyes, Rockin' Baja Lobster, Tahona Bar & Restaurant and El Agave Restaurant & Tequileria. Grab a drink & Try Modern Mexican Cuisine at Tahona Bar is featured in Unique Things to Do in San Diego.
This guide explains many of Old Town's highlights. When visiting, don't be afraid to stray from the beaten path to experience all that this town has to offer in terms of cultural attractions and shops. Along with the many tourist spots, there are quite a few destinations that provide a deeper perspective on California's flagship city.