Clockwise from top : Authentic Mexican Shopping Old Town ; Dancers Old Town ; Casa Estudillo Old Town
Open Daily for Breakfast , Lunch & Dinner and drink in the warm sea breezes . In San Diego , you can have it all .
OLD TOWN The vibrant , historic quarter of Old Town is where the city got its start . Presidio Park marks the location where Europe established its first permanent settlement on the Pacific Coast , and it once served as both the site of San Diego ’ s first mission and a hillside military outpost that overlooked the deep waters of the bay . A small cluster of adobe structures was built soon after the founding that evolved into the present-day Old Town . A thriving village and marketplace flourished and remained vital until a pivotal exodus of its inhabitants began during the 1860s , thanks to a combination of misfortunes ( including flooding and high tides ) and the building of another settlement called New Town , which quickly eclipsed Old Town . Ruins of the original fort remain , and the area ’ s Spanish and Mexican heritage and culture are celebrated in the galleries and museums found there today .
Within Old Town State Historic Park , select museums are open and staffed Thursdays through Sundays , while some buildings are open for walk-throughs ( without staff on-site ) every day . Guided
tours are temporarily on hiatus , but visitors may set out on their own along a path that hits dozens of historic points of interest such as the architectural gem of La Casa de Estudillo , once the private dwelling of an influential Old Town resident ; the oneroom Mason Street School ; a collection of beautifully restored Victorian homes ; and the Old Adobe Chapel . There are also ongoing programs such as living history talks and events that take place Thursdays through Sundays where visitors can view skilled craftspeople and artisans demonstrating blacksmithing , sewing , spinning and quilting ; these are volunteerbased presentations and so each craft may not be shown every day .
Ready for a spine-tingling chill or two ? Old Town is also the site of the 1850 El Campo Santo Catholic cemetery and the old Whaley House — reputed to be the most haunted house in the country . You can recover later with some shopping therapy at Plaza del Pasado , the Old Town Market and Bazaar del Mundo , where selections include beautiful handmade souvenirs . Most weekends — except when special events are scheduled — Old Town Harney Street Market gets underway with works by local artists that range from turquoise jewelry , pottery and hand-painted glass to wood art , paintings and even clothing and accessories . g