On the lookout for enjoyable issues to do in Previous City San Diego? The intensive checklist under provides loads of concepts, from immersing your self within the space’s wealthy heritage by way of museums and excursions to indulging your artistic aspect with workshops and craft-making.
This vibrant historic district is taken into account the birthplace of California, and time spent right here might be each enjoyable and academic, with a hands-on angle. And, there’s nice procuring and meals, too.
Practically each kind of vacationer visits Previous City San Diego sights, from households and enterprise vacationers to historical past buffs and ghost hunters. Since many actions are free, it fits numerous budgets, too. Beneath, we talk about which of the various issues to are price house in your itinerary.
It can save you on tickets, excursions, and resorts by way of my affiliations. In the event you make purchases by way of the hyperlinks on this publish, I could also be compensated.
1. Begin on the Robinson-Rose Customer Middle
- 4098 Mason St, San Diego, CA 92110
- (619) 220-5422
As Previous City’s customer middle and park headquarters, the Robinson Rose Home is a superb place to start out. Right here you’ll be able to study many fascinating issues to do in Previous City San Diego, view museum displays, and be part of strolling excursions. Decide up among the brochures that discuss native sights.
Among the many highlights at this museum are the miniature mannequin shows of what Previous City appeared like throughout San Diego’s early days. Tour guides wearing interval clothes share tales of fascinating individuals who lived right here again then.
You’ll additionally study the historical past of the constructing itself, a reconstructed reproduction of a grand home constructed by James W. Robinson, a profitable lawyer within the 1850s. You may even expertise a little bit of the paranormal since this constructing is reportedly haunted, like another Previous City constructions.
2. Turn into a Junior Ranger (And Different Youngsters’ Actions)
The California Division of Parks and Recreation has a Junior Ranger program for youths, making exploring state parks much more enjoyable.
You may decide up a free booklet on the Robinson-Rose Customer Middle to fill out as you discover the park. Don’t neglect to show it in for an award on the finish of your go to.
Additionally, don’t neglect to print the free scavenger hunt sheet and produce it with you. I additionally like this coloring booklet, which is a number of pages lengthy. If you understand you’ll go to Previous City San Diego, have the youngsters colour it prematurely to allow them to spot acquainted indicators and buildings whereas there.
3. Take a Self-Guided Strolling Tour
In the event you’re not sure the place to start, take a free, self-guided strolling tour by way of the historic locations in Previous City. California Parks and Recreation has outlined excursions beginning at Robinson-Rose Home, which vary from an hour to 2 and a half hours. You may take a look online at recommended stops or seize a tour map on the customer middle for a small payment.
This stroll by way of historical past passes by many historic buildings. There’s the Johnson Home, in-built 1870 by George Alonzo Johnson, a steamboat captain on the Colorado River. The Mason Road College, in-built 1865, was the primary publicly constructed schoolhouse in San Diego County. Many buildings are open with free admission and even have their very own temporary, free excursions.
4. Go to the Free Museums in Previous City San Diego State Historic Park
So many issues to do in Previous City San Diego are freed from cost — together with lots of the distinctive museums discovered right here.
Examine with the Previous City Chamber of Commerce and Robinson-Rose Guests Middle to study which museums are free and what their hours are. The checklist is intensive; we’ve included a number of right here.
The McCoy Home was in-built 1869 by Irish-born immigrant James McCoy—who turned fluent in Spanish—as a marriage reward for his spouse, Winnifred. James served as county assessor, metropolis sheriff, and state senator. The museum provides an in depth glimpse into life within the space within the late 1800s.
La Casa de Machado y Silvas is one other marriage ceremony current—this one from a father to his daughter—constructed within the early 1840s. La Casa de Machado y Stewart is an adobe home that was lived in till 1966 however has since been restored to its 1830s character.
And, there are a number of others which are free and talked about under. You should definitely go to Previous City’s free museums to study San Diego’s multicultural historical past.
You’ll discover over 100 retailers in Previous City, San Diego, some in market facilities that home a number of stalls and others in historic buildings across the park.
At Old Town Market alone, you’ll be able to browse 40 distinctive indoor and outside retailers promoting items from Mexico, Ecuador, Guatemala, Peru, Vietnam, and different areas.
Buying at Bazaar del Mundo is a particular deal with, due to the distinctive treasures you’ll discover and the colorful setting that immerses you in Previous Mexico’s attraction. Buy truthful commerce merchandise from all over the world, together with people artwork, jewellery, style, and residential décor.
All through Previous City, you’ll encounter a big selection of specialty retailers that draw you in. Cousin’s Sweet Store sells old style sweets, together with saltwater taffy and do-it-yourself fudge.
Discover lovingly restored antiques at The Johnson Home, Marine Antiques, and West Sea Co Nautical Antiques. At Tinsmith, you’ll discover beautiful star lamps and different tin-punched ornamental objects to convey residence.
The Greatest Locations to Browse
The place to go Buying in Previous City
We put collectively a listing of the place to search out enjoyable items and souvenirs whilst you discover this historic neighborhood.
6. Stroll By means of a Well-known Haunted Home — Whaley Home Museum
One of the widespread issues to do in Previous City San Diego is to go to the Whaley Home Museum. It was the previous residence of a pioneering household, but it surely’s extensively regarded at present as one of the crucial haunted homes in North America, because of the a number of deaths that occurred on the premises.
The Greek Revival-style 1850s home is the oldest brick construction in Southern California. It served as a basic retailer, courthouse, and personal residence. Upstairs, you’ll discover San Diego’s first business theater.
A California Historic Landmark, the Whaley Home has been featured on quite a few ghost-hunting exhibits, together with America’s Most Haunted and Ghost Adventures. Guests can take a daytime self-guided, self-paced tour, or a night guided tour.
7. Dine on Mexican Meals and Extra
As a eating vacation spot, Previous City provides among the finest Mexican eating places in San Diego County and different noteworthy consuming institutions, together with nice sushi locations.
No matter you crave, you’ll discover nice eateries in Previous City, together with an enormous choice of specialty margaritas and each alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks—like the favored horchata.
For many individuals, eating al fresco in vibrant outside areas is among the favourite issues to do in Previous City San Diego. Many eating places right here provide patio eating, with stunning flowers, effervescent fountains, and firepits so as to add to the ambiance.
An instance of the various choice to be present in Previous City contains:
- Casa de Reyes: A vibrant restaurant serving favourite Mexican dishes, together with rolled tacos, tostada salads, burritos, tamales, and way more.
- Tahona Bar: Collect with buddies for an upscale eating expertise in an institution that celebrates mezcal. Tasting room obtainable by reservation.
- Harney Sushi: This elegant sushi place provides a big selection of conventional and modern sushi creations and cooked Japanese specialties.
- Congress Café: Open for breakfast and lunch, this cozy café with a beautiful outside seating space serves Venezuelan favorites, together with arepas and cachapas.
8. Previous City City Market
A comparatively new addition to the Previous City scene, this market place is situated simply outdoors of Previous City San Diego State Historic Park.
Whereas there may be retail house obtainable, proper now, you’d go there to eat. And it’s worthwhile. From the drip-your-own bone marrow on tacos at Tuetano Taquería and ceviche at Mar Rustico to the delectable elote from Elote and shortly donuts from Barrio Donas, it’s a spot for foodies.
You’ll eat on a lined patio that isn’t massive, so get there early. Every part is counter-order, so you could possibly seize it to go for a picnic in Previous City State Historic Park.
9. Store and Eat at Fiesta de Reyes
Fiesta is an effective way to explain this vibrant part of Previous City, the place you’ll be able to store, dine, and revel in free, stay musical performances in a novel setting. Fiesta de Reyes is Spanish for “celebration of kings,” and you may rejoice like royalty with out breaking the financial institution.
Right here you’ll be able to get pleasure from a number of Previous City San Diego sights with out having to stroll far since every part is shut collectively but far sufficient aside to provide you that satisfying sense of exploring a vibrant district. Mariachi musicians and folklorico dancers entertain guests most weekends.
Dine in consolation on the plush backyard patio of Casa de Reyes or throughout the enticing, hacienda-style environment of Barra Barra Saloon. Each locations serve genuine Mexican delicacies, from customary favorites to new creations and a big choice of margaritas.
Store at one of many distinctive shops, reminiscent of Treasures of Mexico, Previous City Jerky & Root Beer, and The Tile Store.
10. El Campo Santo Cemetery
El Campo Santo Cemetery dates again to 1849 and is/was the ultimate resting place of many early San Diego residents, together with members of distinguished households such because the Estudillos and Fitchs.
Through the years, the realm’s growth modified the boundaries of the cemetery. Some our bodies have been relocated and paved over whereas others stay buried as meant. This has stated to have disturbed some trapped souls and set off some paranormal exercise.
A part of the cemetery was restored based mostly on outdated data and guests at present can stroll by way of remaining gravesites.
11. Stroll As much as Presidio Park
An idyllic spot to have a picnic and let the youngsters play awhile, Presidio Park overlooks the Mission Valley space and past. It’s a few 7-minute stroll from the Robinson-Rose Customer Middle.
A number of viewpoints current attractive views — you’ll be able to see Mission Bay and the coast — whereas nature surrounds you, with a big assortment of lovely, mature bushes unfold all through the park.
This hill is steeped in historical past. As you stroll the grounds, you’ll discover statues, memorials, and markers commemorating previous influencers and occasions from San Diego’s previous. It was the location of a fort and church that date again to 1769, and this spot served because the capital of Baja California when Mexico owned the land.
You’ll discover a number of strolling trails all through Presidio Park, some tougher than others. It’s often not crowded right here, providing you with house for quiet contemplation.
12. Go to the Mormon Battalion Historic Website
This historic website commemorates LDS church members who served within the Mexican-American Warfare of 1846-1848 as a part of the U.S. Military’s Mormon Battalion. Whereas stationed within the space, these volunteer troopers and their households constructed water wells and a courthouse in Previous City.
The middle provides free excursions day by day, displaying glimpses of what life was like within the area through the mid-1800s. The tour lasts 45 minutes and contains an interactive video concerning the battalion, plus a have a look at numerous artifacts. You’ll wish to allocate an hour to an hour and a half to take part in every part the middle provides.
All areas of the museum are wheelchair accessible. For guests’ comfort, the location has a small car parking zone within the again—just like the museum, parking is free. You should definitely try the beautiful views from the window as you stroll by.
13. Watch a Efficiency at Previous City Theatre
- 4040 Twiggs St, San Diego, CA 92110
- (619) 337-1525
- Name or test on-line for exhibits and hours
The Cygnet Theatre firm runs one of the crucial distinctive Previous City San Diego sights the place you’ll be able to get pleasure from every part from Shakespeare performs to extra modern musicals. Housed in a constructing nonetheless referred to as the Previous City Theatre — on a website that was once a barn — the Cygnet Theatre presents stay performances inside a one-of-a-kind theatrical setting.
An fascinating historic tidbit: between 1986 and 1991, the theater served as a stage for pupil productions. Among the many alumni from this era are actor and singer Jamie Foxx and actor John Barrowman (of Physician Who fame).
Right now you’ll be able to catch theatrical productions like El Huracán, a multi-generational lyrical story concerning the energy of forgiveness, or cabaret-style leisure.
Examine the web site to see what’s enjoying and study particular performances, reminiscent of these providing ASL interpretation or evenings devoted to the LGBTQIA neighborhood. Assisted listening units can be found freed from cost.
14. Admire the La Casa de Estudillo, a Historic Adobe Home
- 4000 Mason St, San Diego, CA 92110
- (619) 220-5422
- Open Every day: 10 a.m.– 5 p.m.
As one of many fastidiously restored historic adobe homes in Previous City San Diego, La Casa de Estudillo dates again to 1827 and is a beautiful instance of Spanish Colonial structure. As soon as a middle of social gatherings and spiritual observations, this museum was the house of a distinguished 19th-century household.
Constructed by comandante José María Estudillo and his son, lieutenant José Antonio Estudillo, this 12-room home has a phenomenal internal courtyard that invitations introspection. Now part of the California State Park system, La Casa de Estudillo is a museum price visiting for its depiction of multicultural life within the early 1800s.
A number of rooms with interval items, together with cover beds, carved tables, and upholstered chairs are open for public viewing. You’ll see a set desk subsequent to a hearth within the eating room whereas and one other room homes working instruments of the time, together with a big spinning wheel. Different highlights embody an outside oven and a bell tower.
15. Make Candles at Toby’s Candle Store
- 2645 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110
- (619) 297-5426
- Open Every day: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Many issues to do in Previous City San Diego are hands-on. Making your individual candles at a historic candle store is actually certainly one of these actions. At Toby’s Candle & Cleaning soap Store, you should purchase stunning candles should you don’t have time to make one.
A bit concerning the store. It was established in 1981 by burgeoning candle-making fans who started to show candle carving methods all through Southern California malls and even at Knott’s Berry Farm. Toby’s Candles has been in Previous City since 1992.
Your candle-making expertise is a chance to make your individual stunning reward for your self or a buddy. The store welcomes walk-ins, however reservations are wanted for teams of ten or extra.
In the event you’re brief on time, the candle dipping course of is the best choice; it doesn’t take lengthy however may be very satisfying. You probably have extra time, make your individual sand wax candle. You will want a minimum of twenty minutes for this enjoyable undertaking.
16. Spend a Evening on the Cosmopolitan Resort
If you wish to immerse your self on this historic district to have extra time to get pleasure from all of the Previous City San Diego sights which are obtainable, spend an evening or two on the Cosmopolitan Resort. This historic lodge gives a first-class expertise that takes you again in time.
In your room, you’ll be surrounded by classic vintage furnishings, each bit a real murals. With simply ten rooms to are likely to, the lodge workers can ship attentive, customized service to each visitor.
This mattress and breakfast institution serves do-it-yourself pastries with sizzling espresso and tea within the constructing’s old style saloon. For a lot of visitors, among the finest elements of staying right here is getting away from all of it — there are not any telephones or TVs within the rooms, though you’ll have entry to WiFi.
Calm down and revel in your keep on the Cosmopolitan, as soon as the house of Peruvian-born Juan Bandini, a California politician born in 1800 who helped form San Diego and was identified to throw nice events.
The Greatest Locations to Keep
High Previous City San Diego Inns
Historic, funds, and pleasant resorts and motels to contemplate in your trip.
17. See Stagecoaches and Extra at Seely Steady Museum
- 2648 Calhoun St, San Diego, CA 92110
- Friday – Sunday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Closed Monday – Thursday
A favourite amongst children, the Seely Steady Museum homes a set of outdated coaches, wagons, and buggies, every lovingly restored and cared for at this distinctive museum devoted to California’s stagecoach historical past.
Find out how mail, items, and passengers have been transported throughout the nation earlier than the railroad strains have been established. Stagecoach journey was a dangerous approach to journey between locations, however the California gold rush inspired vacationers to enterprise west regardless of the hazards. On the museum, you’ll see maps displaying outdated stage routes—the popular journey mode earlier than the times of practice tracks and freeways.
By the way in which, the museum is called after Albert Lewis Seeley, who, at 17, turned a stagecoach driver and established the USA Mail Stage line. He continued rising his enterprise by increasing stagecoach routes to move mail and passengers between San Diego and Los Angeles, San Diego, Yuma, and different itineraries.
18. Take the Previous City Trolley Tour
In the event you’re not sure what to do in Previous City San Diego, a superb place to start out could be getting there by way of the Previous City Trolley. This hop-on, hop-off expertise runs by way of a number of elements of San Diego and contains eleven stops. You may hop off and store, eat, or sightsee earlier than hopping again on and persevering with along with your tour.
Purchase a ticket as soon as, after which spend the remainder of the day conveniently hopping on and off. Along with taking you thru Previous City, the trolley-style tour bus takes you thru the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, Barrio Logan, Coronado, Balboa Park, Little Italy, and extra. A good way to see all of it at your individual tempo.
EXCLUSIVE LA JOLLA MOM DISCOUNT
Use promo code WINTER to use an additional $8 off the 1-Day Tour, $15 off the 2-Day Tour, $4 off the Ghosts and Gravestones Tour, and $10 off the San Diego Metropolis Lights Tour.
19. Look Out for Dwelling Historical past Demonstrations
- 4002 Wallace St, San Diego, CA 92110
- (619) 220-5422
- Wednesday and Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (test the schedule earlier than you go)
As a part of the California Division of Parks and Recreation, Previous City makes dwelling historical past applications obtainable to all ages. Folks put on interval clothes, answering questions concerning the area’s historical past for memorable, interactive exchanges. Dwell demonstrations convey San Diego’s historical past alive for locals and guests alike.
On a Wednesday or Saturday, see dwelling historical past demonstrations of every part from furnishings constructing to quilting. Demos differ from week to week. You may find out how folks used to spin wool into thread and see outdated blacksmithing methods in motion.
On the Kosay Kumeyaay Market, the traditions of the area’s first peoples are preserved and demonstrated. You may see time-honored basket weaving methods or maybe different artisans at work.
As you browse Previous City, you might encounter numerous dwelling historical past demonstrations, re-enactments, performances, and mini-talks. In the event you see somebody in interval clothes, be happy to ask questions on what life was like right here prior to now.
20. Sip San Diego’s Greatest at Rose’s Tasting Room
- 2754 Calhoun St San Diego, CA 92110 (inside Fiesta de Reyes)
- Word: All visitors should be ages 21+
I really feel like Rose’s is a little bit of a hidden gem. In any case, you’re within the birthplace of California and maybe targeted on the actions it’s well-known for — fishbowl margaritas, Mexican meals, free museums, a grassy park, Whaley Home, and so forth.
However you might be shocked to know that there’s a bit of tasting room with indoor and outside seating that may let you style among the craft beer San Diego is known for (do you know that we’re a craft brewery vacation spot) along with some wine made in San Diego (sure, it’s good). And, they even provide a number of cocktails on the menu.
It makes for a beautiful cease in between sights. Previous City San Diego, we predict, is finest skilled on a sunny day whenever you’re not in a rush. And, you might end up having fun with sips and suds at Rose’s for longer than anticipated.
What do you suppose are the very best issues to do in Previous City San Diego?