Old Town San Diego Travel Guide

Old Town San Diego Travel Guide

One of my favourite excursions during my visit to San Diego was an afternoon in Old Town San Diego. Founded in 1769, it was the first European settlement on the West Coast and included a mission and a fort. You can experience what is was like to live in 1820-1870s, as many buildings are preserved from that era. During that time, it became a commercial hub, and that is still preserved today, with many restaurants, shops and hotels in the state park.

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I loved my visit in Old Town San Diego, and my only regret is not having made dinner reservations for some authentic Mexican cuisine, but I still enjoyed strolling through the park, looking at shops and taking pictures. Let’s just say I’m still excited by the site of large cacti (can you tell I’m from Canada!?)

old town san diego (7 of 19) old town san diego (8 of 19) old town san diego (9 of 19) old town san diego (15 of 19)Old Town San Diego makes for a fantastic photo shoot location, as there are many beautiful historic buildings, kitschy murals, and cacti (again, I’m obsessed) to take photos with. I wanted to dress for the occasion, so I wore an embellished dress from Zara (similar pom pom dress here), which has a Southwestern flair! I layered on a jean jacket from Forever 21 (which is the best jean jacket ever!), and wore my new Stuart Weitzman Highland boots in Navy. For accessories, I kept it simple and just wore my Rebecca Minkoff LOVE Crossbody bag.

Shop the post:

Old Town San Diego Shopping

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There are many shops selling authentic souvenirs. My sister, Sasha blogged about some great embroidered dresses she found in Old Town Market. I wish I had more space in my luggage for a tin star lamp or Day of the Dead idol. I visit Mexico every year and love the culture! I wasn’t totally in a shopping mood but it was nice to browse and not be harassed by shop owners, which happens often in Playa Del Carmen if you’re not accompanied by a man.

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There were also shops selling niche items including a gem store, which stocked local precious stones including beautiful turquoise pieces that were sadly out of my budget for the trip. I also loved the Old Town Candy Shop and spent a while playing with bath salts and candles at Toby’s Candle and Soap Shop! I wish I brought home a hand-dipped candle of a cat or unicorn, now that I think back! The store also had the most pretty little tiled staircase adorned with succulents.

Old Town San Diego Attractions

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There are also some museum attractions, including the Whaley House museum, which is known as America’s most haunted house. It was a sunny day, so even though I’m obsessed with ghost stories, I passed to make the most of the sunny weather during rainy season. We did pop into the old courthouse and other buildings throughout the Old Town San Diego.

If I would visit again, I would definitely want to eat at Casa Guadelajara, as they had a beautiful courtyard and make authentic handmade tortillas and live mariachi music! There were many Mexican cantina-style restaurants throughout the park, so I would love to come back again and try them out when it’s patio weather.

A visit to Old Town San Diego is a must. I’d say it’s very kid-friendly, but also great for couples who are looking for a cute date spot. With plenty of bars and restaurants, old-timey candy shops, and even a Tequila factory, it would make a great experience!

You can learn more about Old Town San Diego here.

This is the first in a series of Travel Tuesdays! I’ll be sharing travel guides, restaurant reviews and itineraries. Keep coming back each week for a new destination to discover.


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