Old Town San Diego Historic Park makes an excellent day trip for any van lifer looking to explore San Diego’s birthplace to eat, shop or drink tequila. Its many preserved historic buildings and museums commemorate the early days of San Diego’s town from 1820 to 1870, allowing you to visit California’s history firsthand.
If you want to spend the day taking a trip back when San Diego was a fledgling city, then Old Town San Diego Historic Park is your place. It’s located at the intersection of the I-5 and I-8 Freeways and ten minutes from downtown.
There are various things to do in Old Town to include dining, watching artists’ work, exploring the history and old buildings, and shopping. Live mariachi performers can be seen every day in putting on a show. Also, throughout the year, the Old Town Society puts on seasonal shows and festivals.
Bazaar del Mund
One of the most popular attractions in Old Town is Bazaar del Mundo which is popular for food, folklore, and fun. Translated as “marketplace of the world,” Bazaar del Mundo features award-winning restaurants and international shops with a dazzling array of ethnic clothing, jewelry, pottery, furnishings, and many other treasures. Countless special events also make Bazaar del Mundo an attraction year-round.
Old Town History
If you are interested in learning more about the history of Old Town, the park maintains a collection of 19th-century homes and businesses that provide a glimpse into colonial life in San Diego. Seek out the old adobe ranch homes, schoolhouses and graveyards spread among the occupied areas of the neighborhood. Kit Carson was among the first pioneers to raise the American flag here in 1846. There are also numerous rumors of ghost sightings in the area—most persistently at the old Whaley House Museum on San Diego Avenue.
On the hillside overlooking Old Town is Presidio Park, where Father Junipero Serra founded the first California Spanish Mission in 1769. Old Town makes a perfect place to relax and visit in San Diego.
There’s both paid and free parking, but it fills up quickly on the weekends.