The Birthplace of California
Before there was San Diego, there was Old Town, now a state-designated historic park showcasing the city’s Mexican heritage. Old adobe houses surround courtyards overflowing with bougainvilleas, weathered fountains, and crowds dressed in striking colors. Old Town is a neighborhood that spans 230 acres which contains both residential and commercial areas, as well as the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and Presidio Park. Both parks are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. An area that is rich in history, with its origins going all the way back to 1769, the neighborhood is also home to at least 27 historic buildings and sites.
Old Town San Diego marks the site of the first Spanish settlement on the U.S. West Coast and features 12 acres of Mexican lore and historical sites. Considered the "birthplace" of California, visitors can witness the living legacy of California's birthplace in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park as history come alive in the many preserved historic buildings and museums allowing you to "go back in time" and visit California's history firsthand.
Once inhabited by a Native American people known as the Kumeyaay, Old Town is now a bustling neighborhood with a flourishing economy. The area also offers shopping and dining options, as numerous restaurants of various cuisines can be found alongside a plethora of quaint specialty shops where one can find unique items all year round. Old Town is also home to a number of theaters as well as museums where one can get a taste of the history that surrounds this colorful neighborhood.
Among the many attractions that Old Town has to offer, are a number of historic homes, the Old Adobe Chapel which was the first parochial church in the first parish of California, The Mormon Battalion Historic Site, and the Whaley House which is has been named as one of the most haunted houses in the United States by the Travel Channel.
For a thrilling twist, visit some of the community’s famous haunted places, such as the Whaley House and the Villa Montezuma. The area also offers countless cultural attractions, from trolley tours to historical sites, like the Victorian-age settlement Heritage Park. Old Town is also host to some of the biggest and most colorful annual events on its side of San Diego, with its Cinco de Mayo celebrations, the Old Town Art Festival which is held every October, the Dia de los Muertos in November, and its Christmas festival, the Fiesta Navidad.