Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Guided tours
No
Backcountry camping
No
Lodging
No
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, dubbed the birthplace of California, is a cultural mecca and a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.

The history of Old Town begins thousands of years ago, during which time the Kumayaay Native Americans thrived along the bank of the San Diego River and built several villages throughout the area. Father Junipero Serra, a Franciscan Missionary, established the first of many missions at this site in 1769. It is still standing today and is known as the first permanent European settlement in California.

Throughout the 19th century, a small town was gradually built near the mission and became known as El Pueblo de San Diego. Over the years its rich cultural heritage has been well-preserved, and today it consists of a central plaza, numerous museums, and over 23 historic sites.

Visitors are encouraged to begin at the visitor center at the Robinson-Rose House, where they may obtain free information and maps and check out a scale model of Old Town.

For those who are interested in Old Town's historical significance, Casa de Estudillo is an adobe compound with rooms that are maintained as they would have looked in 1825. Other suggested museums include La Casa de Machado y Silvas, Wells Fargo Museum, Mason School Museum, and the Seeley Stable Museum.

Fiesta de Reyes has several authentic Mexican restaurants, gardens, art installations, a stage for live music and entertainment, and a total of 19 shops carrying traditional art and souvenirs.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Numerous historical and cultural museums. Family friendly.

Cons

Crowded.

Features

ADA accessible
General store
Historically significant
Family friendly
Flushing toilets
Shelters
Picnic tables
Potable water

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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