Old Town is a neighbourhood in San Diego. It contains 230 acres and is bounded by Interstate 8 on the North, Interstate 5 on the West, Mission Hills on the East and Bankers Hill on the South. It contains Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and Presidio Park, both of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Old Town was founded in 1769 by Gaspar de Portola and Junipero Serra at the same time as Mission San Diego de Alcala. They were both located on a bluff (the Presidio) at the Western end of the San Diego River valley. Five years later, the Mission was relocated several miles up river to its current location.
In the 1820s, San Diego grew up at the foot of the Presidio (Old Town San Diego State Historic Park) and the Presidio fell into disrepair. Mexico granted peublo (chartered town) status in 1834 but it was revoked in 1838, due to declining population. The difficulty here was the distance that the settlement was located from navigable water, making it difficult to deliver supplies.
When California was admitted to the United States in 1850, it was named the county seat. Population dwindled and Old Town fell behind New Town (located on the bay) in the 1860s.
The area is largely supported by tourism these days. We were no exception, as we wanted to visit the state park and the Old Town and eat good Mexican food. Access to Old Town is easy due to the location of the Old Town trolley stop nearby.
We wandered into the information center to determine our best course of action. We were in luck, as it was nearly 11 AM and a tour was leaving almost immediately. We were the only 2 people on the first part of the tour and our guide explained in detail how the current area had developed, taking us through various restored adobe homes, businesses and the school house. He did set us on the right course to the candle and soap shop and confirmed that Cafe Coyote was the place to go for lunch. We wish you well Connor. Here are the photos.
Guides were dressed in period costumes and the village burro even made an appearance.
The adobe homes.
The school house
Our guide, Connor
Some of the other buildings in the park
Some scenes of the central plaza in the park where shops and restaurants were located.
Some detail shops
Blossoms and cacti were everywhere.
Some shots of Old Town outside the State Park.