Old Town, San Diego

62 Reviews

North of Downtown

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • Tortilla maker Carmen, in
    Tortilla maker Carmen, in "Old Town."
    by travelgourmet
  • Entrance to Fiesta de Reyes in the Old Town area
    Entrance to Fiesta de Reyes in the Old...
    by Jefie
  • Cosmopolitan Hotel built in 1869
    Cosmopolitan Hotel built in 1869
    by Jefie
  • csordila's Profile Photo

    Bazaar Del Mundo

    by csordila Updated Mar 7, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Bazaar del Mundo shop
    4 more images

    For some trips, the destination is the reward. If you live to shop, you will fall head over splendor of famous Bazaar del Mundo.
    Built in Spanish colonial style, the building has a large open central courtyard with vibrant collection of festive shops on all four sides offering bright and colorful but mostly useless merchandise.
    The courtyard of the bazaar is full with flowers, foliage, pennants, and umbrellas. Mariachi bands on the courtyard stage fill the air with cheerful Mexican music.

    There are 15 (or so) shops in Bazaar del Mundo that have pottery, dinnerware, fabrics, books, confections, and arts and crafts....mostly from Latin American countries. From inside each shop, you can generally access the shop next door without going outside. However, going outside in the rain is not a problem, since the walkways facing the attractive courtyard are covered.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • AVG2319's Profile Photo

    Old Town-Whaley House

    by AVG2319 Written Nov 11, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    San Diego's First Theater
    1 more image

    The Whaley House is said to be the most haunted house in the US, according to the Travel Channel. Historically the Whaley house is important to San Diego because it was the County Court house, San Diego's first commercial theater, a general store, a ballroom, a billiard hall, school, and polling place, as well as the Whaley's personal residence. It is said to be haunted because the original home site was built on the public hanging grounds and Mr. Whaley's daughter commited suicide and died in the house. We visited at night because what the heck-maybe you would have a better chance of seeing ghosts?
    The tour is completely self guided, which disappointed me I would rather have someone guide me through the house explaining the history. Instead you will be given several sheets of laminated paper with information on it. We found the docents to be very friendly and if you ask for more information they are more than happy to give you some background information-less reading for me.
    I enjoy visiting old houses whether they are haunted or not. The night tour is $10 and the day tour is $6. I would visit again, but during the day is less expensive and I don't believe ghosts care what time of day it is.

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Old Town State Historic Park

    by Dabs Updated Sep 17, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    La Casa de Estudillo
    4 more images

    Old Town San Diego was just a short walk from my hotel so I headed over there both nights I was staying there, the 1st night everything was already closed up and I just had dinner but on my 2nd visit many of the buildings were still open, most are free to visit and have displays on life in Old Town. I think the Whaley House was the only place with an admission fee.

    The Old Town State Historic Park recreates the early days of San Diego from 1821 to 1872, shortly after the Mexican War of Independence to 22 years after California became a state. You can pick up a map of the park or join a walking tour at 11am and 2 pm daily at the Robinson-Rose House, 4002 Wallace St. The park consists of 20 structures, 7 of them original, the rest are reconstructed. Some of the structures you can visit are La Casa de Estudillo, a mansion with a garden courtyard; Mason Street School, California's first public schoolhouse; the San Diego Union Printing Office, the city's oldest surviving newspaper office; and the Seeley Stables Museum, with exhibits on transportation and a collection of wagons, carriages and stagecoaches.

    Frommer's has a nice online walking guide to Old Town.

    Was this review helpful?

  • dsunlin's Profile Photo

    Gets better with age

    by dsunlin Written Jul 30, 2008

    I am told that the concessions for Old Town were bought by a German company.

    It's not a bad thing!

    I visited again recently. Most of the restaurants in the park now have a historical menu and the wait staff are all in costume. It's like a tasteful Disneyland.

    The two-story Cosmopolitan Hotel (Casa de Bandini) is being renovated, for what purpose is not quite clear yet. The Hazard collection of wagons has been moved indoors; I guess even in SD's mild climate they are starting to age. The erstwhile Opera House has gome back to its old duties as wagonhouse.

    Old Town is looking good, and the best is yet to come.

    Was this review helpful?

  • apbeaches's Profile Photo

    Old Town

    by apbeaches Written Jul 16, 2008
    3 more images

    In 1542 the Spanish first came to what is now San Diego, but settlement did not start until 1769. In 1821 Mexico won independence from Spain, and along with it, California. In 1848 the Mexican War saw the annexation of California to the United States.

    From about 1868, San Diego's "New Town" began to be built in what is now downtown San Diego. This led to a general decline of Old Town up until 1969 --the 200th anniversary of San Diego-- when the city's Bicentennial celebration returned Old Town to the public eye, and to the heart of San Diego.

    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo

    Verna House Soho Musuem - 1879

    by Yaqui Written Apr 20, 2008

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    The Verna House was built in 1870's in the French Mansard style. It was moved here in 1960 as a temporary fix from keeping her from being demolished. She ended up staying in this spot, but not on a permanent foundation. It started to fall apart till she was refurbished and now she serves as museum of the local area and a gift shop with books.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Family Travel
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo

    Immaculate Conception Church

    by Yaqui Updated Apr 20, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    The first stone was laid by Reverend Thaddeus Amat, C. M., Bishop of Monterey, on July 10, 1868. Yet, the town was being mostly built south of this construction so it was halted even though the walls were already built 15 to 20 feet. This poor church stood uncomplete for over 67 years because of political differences and cost. Finally in 1914 Father Mesny began work to carry out Fr. Ubach’s plan. Finally on July 22, 1917 Immaculate Conception Church was opened for worship. Dedication took place on July 16, 1919 by Reverend John C. Cantwell, D.D., Bishop of Los Angeles and San Diego. It still holds worship today.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • ranger49's Profile Photo

    Old Town

    by ranger49 Written Feb 24, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    We arrived at the entrance to Old Town on foot having walked from the Santa Fe train station and one of the first things to catch out attention as we approachd were the beautiful flowers - Bird of Paradise - growing everywhere like weeds as well as in tended gardens.

    Old Town is a "walk around the streets museum" and gives a good feel of settlements in 19th Century southern California.
    Before starting your wander stop at the Robin Rose House and learn more about the history of the town from old photographs and newspapers. There is also a large scale interactive diarama which provides a 3-D aerial view of the town with all the most important buildings highlighted.

    After a while - if time is running short -you may have to decide which buildings to enter and which to skip.
    But don't miss the School House and pay particular attention to the Rules not only those for the pupils but specially those for the Teachers!

    Was this review helpful?

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo

    Whaley House Museum

    by Yaqui Updated Oct 11, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    Established in 1856, it is one of the oldest brick structures in San Diego. Wow, pretty impressive huh? In 1869 it served as a Courthouse for the county. The walls were plaster with crushed seashells made by the Whaley families own klin. It was home of five generations of the Whaley Family and now stands as a voice of San Diegos historical past.

    Admission - Charge
    Open 10am-4:30pm daily
    Closed Tuesday
    10am-7pm Friday and Sat

    The Whaley House Historical Marker No. 65

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo

    Old Town Historic Park

    by Yaqui Updated Oct 11, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    I haven't been here since I was pregnant with my Nicholas. Boy has it changed from then. I couldn't believe how commericalized it got. The buildings use to house just artifacts and such and now it seems they all have some sort of merchandise to purchase. Then again, if it gets people to enter and enjoy the facility and appreciate the significance this site has to San Diegians or for all those who live in California. Old Town is where the history begins for San Diego where little shacks where orginally built by soliders and settlers moved in from 1821-1872. All the buildings are symbols of the historical richness San Diego has to offer. I wish buildings could talk, because I am sure these would be screeming with a world of information.

    Admission is FREE
    Open
    10AM-5PM

    Old Town San Diego State Historic Park Historical Marker No.830

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • Historic San Diego Town

    by grantravel Updated Sep 8, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Old Town
    4 more images

    We actually stayed in Old Town for 3 nights. It is a surprisingly quiet area for such a touristy type of place. It is a part of the city that looks like it has been frozen in time with authentic old style buildings and architecture. There are plenty of restaurants lining the main street, which are primarily Mexican. We had dinner at 2 of them, see my restaurants section. There is also a marketplace where you can purchase souvenirs, a historical museum and an old cemetery. It’s a great place to just stroll around and enjoy a bit of the history of times gone by.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Food and Dining
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo

    Old Town

    by Jim_Eliason Updated Aug 18, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Old Town
    4 more images

    Great restaurants and shops in a recreated village. Part of the area is a state park with building restored to the original state. This is the core city upon which SD was built. It wasn't till much later that an American built up the area (now downtown) by the harbor.

    Related to:
    • Food and Dining
    • Historical Travel
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • Peterodl's Profile Photo

    Whaley House

    by Peterodl Written Feb 27, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Whaley House
    4 more images

    The Whaley House is located on San Diego Ave. just down the street from the church.
    It is the oldest 2-story building in San Diego and is reportedly, one of the most haunted houses in the United States.
    I myself did not see any kind of ghostly activity. I did catch some "orbs" on my camera but they are more likely dust particals.
    Even if I didn't see any ghosts, I did enjoy the history of the house. It has a courthouse, a general store and a theater that reportedly had 148 people attend its opening production.

    You need to buy tickets in the gift shop next door to the House and present your receipt to the person at the door.
    Tickets cost:
    (10am-5pm)
    $6 for adults
    $5 for seniors, age 55 and over
    $4 for children, ages 3-12;
    Free for children 2 and under
    AFTER HOURS
    (5-10pm, Thursday-Sunday only)
    $10 for adults
    $5 for children (3-12)
    Free for children 2 and under

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • tvdandy's Profile Photo

    Step back in time, take a siesta

    by tvdandy Written Jan 11, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    3 more images

    Just north of Downtown is the area called Old Town. Old Town is a section which recreated San Diego in the 1800's. You feel like you stepped back in time with old fashioned buildings,
    much of them with an emphasis on the spanish heritage of the time. There is also a bizaar or marketplace you can purchase goods in. There are some excellent restaurants here as well. Mainly this is a great place to learn about early culture and history of San Diego in that early time period.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • rafgys's Profile Photo

    San Diego's Old Town

    by rafgys Written Dec 13, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    You can't visit San Diego and don't spend at least an afternoon in the Old Town. You can wander around tons of souvenir shops, get into very old "casas" and gardens, eat at a whole bunch of different Mexican restaurants... it's a very nice walk.

    If you feel like walking, you can follow the trail up the hill to the Presidio Park and the Junipero Serra Museum... the view from up there is gorgeous!

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: San Diego

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

105 travelers online now

Comments

View all San Diego hotels