Experience a simpler time at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, a living museum complete with 19th-century buildings. This park is located on the former site of San Diego’s commercial center, which moved closer to the coast in the 1860s and 1870s for easier shipping and commerce. Visit this historic reserve, which was established in 1968, to visualize what the city center looked like during this early period.
Tour authentic 19th-century buildings throughout the park. Occasionally actors play the parts of period San Diego figures. Visit the Casa de Estudillo, built in 1827, and learn how the cultures of Mexico and the United States were in conflict at the time. Be sure to stop at the Racine and Laramie store, where a tobacco trade was booming in the 19th century.
Stay a while at the Black Hawk Smithy and Stable to see a demonstration of period blacksmithing. Afterward, browse a collection of horse-drawn buggies at the Seeley Stables and explore the classrooms of Mason Street School, San Diego’s first public school house.
Delve into San Diego’s history at the Wells Fargo Museum, which occupies a former hotel built in the 1850s. See where travelers dismounted at an authentic stagecoach stop or learn about Morse code at the telegraph office. Discover how newspapers were printed at the nearby San Diego Union Museum.
Settle your hunger after a walk with a meal at one of many restaurants in the Old Town area. The suburb is known for its exquisite Mexican restaurants and stalls selling pan dulce, sweet Mexican bread.
Nearby, browse exhibits of modern police equipment and vehicles at the William B. Kolender San Diego County Sheriff’s Museum and Educational Center. Take a ghost tour of Old Town’s Whaley House Museum, one of America’s most famous haunted mansions.
Find Old Town San Diego State Historic Park just next to the Old Town Transit Center, which is conveniently served by public commuter rail, trolley and bus services. The park is open daily throughout the year and is free to access, although several individual venues charge admission.