Considered the birthplace of California, Old Town’s historic buildings, parks, museums and alfresco dining options make it a festive tourist attraction. Come hungry, as fish bowl margaritas and more Mexican food than you can handle await. Old Town is east of Mission Bay and a few miles north of downtown San Diego.
See & Do
Known as the birthplace of California, Old Town is home to a number of historic sites operated by state, county and city park agencies. Admission is free. Soak up the sun at the Old Town State Historic Park and let the kids run around the big grassy area. Visit the Whaley House Museum which is thought to be the most haunted house in America. View artifacts dating back to the late 1700s at the Serra Museum or hop on an Old Town Trolley Tour and explore the area and beyond, at your own pace.
A visit to Old Town is not complete without indulging in a delicious meal at one of the many Mexican restaurants. Enjoy the fresh, warm tortillas at Cafe Coyote, made by hand on the patio griddle for all to see. Try the Pollo a la Crema and let the Master Bartenders select one of their 100 tequilas to put in your margarita. Mariachi musicians play music by request at your table and you just may think you're south of the border.
Though Old Town's nightlife scene heads to bed before midnight, come early for margaritas in a casual atmosphere. Curious about tequila? El Agave Tequileria boasts one of the biggest collections of tequila bottles in the USA and has over 2000 different types for you to taste. Fish bowl-sized margaritas are available all over Old Town, in a variety of frosty flavors, should you need to dilute your tequila. Plenty of public transportation is available to take you home.
In line with the historic feel of Old Town, the Cosmopolitan Hotel takes guests back to the 1800s. Newly restored with period decor and private baths, this 10-room bed and breakfast is the only hotel located in the Old Town State Historic Park. The hotel restaurant features American, seafood and Mexican-inspired favorites. Alternatively, the 2-diamond Old Town Inn is a bit larger with a swimming pool and complimentary breakfast. This hotel has great reviews and prides itself on comfort, price and location.
No shopping malls here. Margarita glasses, trinkets, pieces unique to early California and other souvenirs are seemingly everywhere, mixed in with make-your-own candles and candy shops. Shops are sprinkled in throughout Old Town, however, Old Town Market Place is where you find local artists and entertainment. Bazaar del Mundo shops are full of Mexican hand crafted flowers, wrought iron, Mexican hand-painted tiles and more colorful items. There's also a Farmer's Market from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturdays.