This blog post was updated on September 11, 2014.

Family Travel: Old Town San Diego, flickr: jc.winkler

Chowing Down in Old Town

Visiting California’s birthplace, Old Town San Diego, is a fun and educational activity for the whole family.  Nestled in the foothills between Interstates 5 and 8, Old Town is a one-stop spot for tasty food, access to seventeen museums, live dancing, entertainment, and over 150 stores!

In 1769, Father Junipero Serra established the very first California mission on the hill overlooking current day Old Town. By the mid 1800s, the town was a mixture of Mexican communities and U.S. Navy and Marine outposts.  When you arrive, stop into the Robinson-Rose House Visitor Information Center.  It is a great place to begin your day, plan out what museums you want to see, and get a great perspective of the history and cultural interchanges that helped to shape Old Town.

One of the best attractions in Old Town is the food!  There are over 20 full service restaurants open daily for business. Visitors and locals alike love the food at Café Coyote, my personal favorite.  The restaurant offers an expansive outdoor patio dining area in addition to numerous indoor dining options.  The wait for a table can get long on busy days, but you can easily tide kids over watching homemade tortillas being artfully crafted at the front of the restaurant.  Indulge in a cinnamon or chocolate tortilla, you won’t regret it.  

After you get a bit to eat, stop in to visit Mason Street School, California’s first public school house, and the Seeley Stables Museum, which houses a large collection of wagons and carriages, with a good focus on the history of transportation. The Wells Fargo Museum boasts an authentic 1868 stage coach, but families with young children will enjoy snapping pics with the life size horse stuffed-animal drawing the coach inside.  If you have some brave little ones in tow, take one of the haunted Old Town tours as numerous homes and areas are said to be visited by spirits from the past who just can’t get enough of Old Town.  

Saturdays, Old Town comes even more alive as it hosts its year-round Farmer’s Market from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.  The Market is San Diego’s largest.  

Visiting Old Town is fabulous any time of year and is especially magical during the Fiesta Cinco De Mayo, running May 4-6 this year.  The square will come alive with bold colors, loud mariachi music and fun activities for the whole family.  Three stages will feature a variety of bands, and entertainment and a dedicated kid’s area will offer crafts, teach dances, and will bring history alive.  

Whenever you find yourself with a flight to San Diego, be sure to stop into Old Town.

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photo: jc.winkler

One Response

  1. Diana

    Thanks Katie for sharing your experience with us. Old Town San Diego gives us all the information about the history of San Diego. It is really beautiful city as well as there museum are amazing gift for us.


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