Old Town San Diego
Old Town San Diego
4.5
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
This old and historic town is not just the oldest neighborhood in San Diego but also the location of the first European settlement in California. Here, you can see over 200-year-old historic buildings, pan for gold at a museum, check out an art show, shop for handicrafts at the market, get spooked at the haunted Whaley House and take a hike through Presidio Park. You can explore all this and more on a living history tour, or even a food tour to learn about the town's Spanish roots through food. You can ride the San Diego Trolley to the Old Town from downtown and neighborhoods like Little Italy. – Tripadvisor
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Top ways to experience Old Town San Diego
The area
Neighbourhood: Old Town
How to get there
  • Old Town Transit Center • 3 min walk
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See what travellers are saying
  • mnguru1
    Edina, Minnesota554 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Lots to do and see in this historic area- Come HUNGRY
    Amazing restaurants (Tohano) and cool shops- found some trinkets and jewelry. Fun place- with food and snack options along with shopping. You can get Churros, ice cream, candy, plus many different restaurant options.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 21 July 2023
  • Sarah Power
    Sheffield, United Kingdom122 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    A nice wander round
    We didn't know a lot about Old Town San Diego before we visited but we were pleasantly surprised, it had a nice atmosphere. It's mainly restaurants and shops selling tourist trinkets. We were there in the evening and quite a lot of the shops were shut but the restaurants were good and busy. We also came across some Mexican dancing that was staged which made for a nice little attraction. I wouldn't spend a huge amount of time here as there wasn't a great deal to do but a couple of hours is nice to wander round.
    Visited August 2023
    Written 17 August 2023
  • Alex P
    Phoenix, Arizona8 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Must do!
    Trolley Tours provide a wonderful tour of the popular and historical areas of S.D. We rode the tour bus for entire 2 hours tour narrated by our drive and tour guide Scooter. He was entertaining and full of insightful details about each of the areas visited. As we toured we made mental notes of places we wanted to explore and after a brief break reboarded and went to the areas of interest. This way we would see the entire tour and have time to explore areas of our interest. Tour buses come by every 20 minutes and you can get off and RE board the entire day. We began our tour at Old Town where parking was free but you need to be parked by 8:30 a.m or lot gets full fast. Tours start prompt at 9:00 and every 20 minutes after that. Last pick up to return to your original start is between 3;30 to 5:00 p.m. depending on the published bus schedule given to you beginning of our tour. Nice way to spend the day or two. Enjoy
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 10 September 2023
  • gatoruk
    Watford, United Kingdom106 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Definitely worth a visit
    Definitely a must see if you’re visiting the city. The old town is set up as almost an open air museum showing the colonial past of the city. It is surrounded by some really terrific places to eat and some unique market Style shopping opportunities.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 6 October 2023
  • VegEcoFriendly
    77 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Good for a 2 hour visit with teens. Good for history buffs
    Old town with preserved houses showcasing life in old time San Diego. Good for a 2 hour visit with teens. Good for history buffs .Lots of restaurants, shopping and artists boutiques. Not much to do beyond 2 hours.
    Visited November 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 23 November 2023
  • WildernessJoe
    Orlando, Florida111 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Enjoyable day at Old Town
    Our friends took us to Old Town, which is under the National Parks jurisdiction. If you like unique shops, authentic food, live music you've come to a beautiful place to spend a day. There is a lot of history and historic buildings on the grounds. Its safe good fun for the entire family. Parking is tricky to find but if you come early you might find some free street parking
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 2 December 2023
  • Astrobeemer
    Vancouver, Canada1,199 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    So much to see and do!
    We spent a few hours in Old Town San Diego and we really enjoyed ourselves. There is something to see and do for everyone. The history is amazing, and it very interesting to see all the little museum like displays and rooms they had set up. The shops are great - from candy, to olive oil and jerky to candle making and pottery and everything in between. There were a lot of people but it didn’t feel crowded and the atmosphere was nice.
    Visited May 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 10 December 2023
  • traveltheworld012
    Rochester, Minnesota16,215 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Wonderful and exciting Old Town
    We were visiting San Diego in November, 2023. One of us had a car, so 4 of us piled in from our hotel on the harbor and drove over on Saturday, November 18, 2023. It was very busy at the numerous restaurants and shops on the main drag. We ate at Cafe Coyote which was disappointing. We walked over to the actual Old Town area with the old historic buildings, and it was not very busy at all. If one takes the time to look and read, this is a very significant place to visit. Here is where San Diego had its beginnings. Originally, the indigenous people lived here, then in 1769 it became a Spanish settlement. From this, San Diego grew into a metropolis. It is a fascinating place to visit with living history stores and museums. In the back corner area you may find live music on a stage, many handmade authentic crafts and street food. Other historical buildings here, the Whaley House and Cosmopolitan Hotel among others. This is an exciting place to visit if you take the time to immerse yourself in the culture.
    Visited November 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 16 January 2024
  • VanillaAce
    Saint Simons Island, Georgia1,032 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great place to explore San Diego history.
    History, shops, and dining make for a great way to spend the day. Take your time to enjoy all the history and museums on site. Check days and times for museums and exhibitions before attending. Most were closed on Monday.
    Visited June 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 17 June 2024
  • Frankie F
    Bridport, United Kingdom131 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Awesome
    Great place to visit, lots snd lots of shopping and food. Go to Soap and Oils. Purchased a Teakwood room/linen/car spray Epic! Go here and buy this, I am in the UK and wish I had purchased more! Very friendly staff! Also visit the old town cemetery, El Campo, a ten minute walk out of town, a great historical area.
    Visited June 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 20 June 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles1,870 reviews
Excellent
937
Very good
685
Average
208
Poor
31
Terrible
10

diane B
Quebec, Canada528 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
This is a lovely place to walk and enjoy the little boutiques They have snack stores, clothing stores, and gift shops. There is a coffee shop with a variety of flavored coffee beans where you can select the flavor you like and they will grind it on the spot for you to purchase. You can also buy a cup of coffee to drink. There is a cigar store. There were a few walk in historical museums that were interesting to see. One section had several outdoor restaurants where a live band was playing latino music. We didn’t plan to eat here as we were headed to another place but I am planning to eat here the next time I visit. I would definitely recommend Old Town. The parking was free but you have to be patient to wait for a free spot. I did not come across any restrooms, so that was inconvenient.
Written 4 July 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Louise Masin Sattler
Los Angeles, CA1,462 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
June 2021
When you go to San Diego there are certain sites I would recommend you visit. The Old Town of the city is one of them. But, try to go on weekdays when less crowded and "touristy". Meander among the streets and (soon) the closed shops and museums should reopen for visitors.

Sit awhile and have some street tacos as you enjoy the music that plays. Need gifts? This is a great place to shop!

And, in case you are wondering - my other top choices for visitors to explore in the San Diego area are 1) Their infamous SD zoo! 2) Coronado, especially the Hotel Del Coronado and 3) The Gaslight district
Written 15 June 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jim S
El Paso, TX16 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
If you have not been to a Mexican style plaza or Latino shopping place, you may love Old Town. If you are experienced with Mexican markets, don't bother. They do have a very good restaurant variety, most of which are also Mexican. There is a train stop right at Old Town which is convenient - green line. If you do the hop on hop off bus, this may be worth a 30 minute perusal. I'd rather spend the "hop on" time at Coronado Island, Little Italy or downtown.
Written 13 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jadranka P
London, UK735 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2021
Good place to spend an hour …. Came in the morning to get trolley tour … very empty and easy to park … worth seeing without crowd .. came back around 16:00 .. it was crowded …with lots of places to eat and with cute little shops … overpriced but nothing spectacular
Written 1 February 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Carmen81
Chapin, SC52 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Couples
This place is well worth a visit for couples as well as families. It is free to walk around to all the restaurants, shops and historical areas. It doesn’t appear to be much from the outside & parking area but, once inside it is quaint & family friendly. The historical buildings are very interesting and house many authentic artifacts and documents. There are plenty of places for a snack, treat, or meal. Lots of items to buy if you are looking for souvenirs. Places to sit and people watch & just take in the atmosphere. Large grassy area for kids to run around. You can see tortillas being made & even sample. All & all very nice. Beautiful in the evening too!
Written 19 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bidule05
France1,931 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2020
We visited the old town in San Diego. The park recreates life in San Diego as it was in the early 1800s. More than 20 buildings dating from 1821 have been beautifully preserved, especially the Estudillo house.
In the old town, there are also many colourful shops! There is also a stage, where you can listen to mariachis every weekend or see folk dancers!
Written 27 April 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MNmover
Rosemount, MN234 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021 • Friends
We visited during Dia de Los Muertes month and so glad we did! The calaveras were so unique and pretty. It’s not a long strip but a lot of stores and museums to see. We enjoyed looking at all the stores and had lunch. We spent about 3.5-hrs here without going to museums. Parking was a little hard to find a spot on a Sat afternoon but patience will pay off.
Written 10 October 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

IlyaNJ
Marlboro, NJ991 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2021
This is a nice enough attraction, giving you the feel of what the colonial town may have looked like a couple of centuries ago. Free, too. Unfortunately, only one of its dozen small museum exhibits was open on the day of our visit. Plenty of attractive artisanal shops and occasional entertainment compensated for that a bit. There was also a weekend street market on a nearby street (nothing too big or fancy).
Written 13 September 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

thelonious22
Seongnam4,379 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2021
With easy access from the Amtrak train station, it’s an easy visit even by public transport. The area contains some buildings from the 19th century including the first San Diego courthouse. The park definitely has a theme park vibe as most buildings are now just a shell for gift shops although some are for museums. With a good selection of Mexican restaurants nearby, it’s a good place to spend a half day and a meal.
Written 7 January 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Yadira C
Los Angeles, CA106 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
July 2020
We really enjoyed our time here. There are some really cool shops and histoty here. The museums were closed and there were no tours obviously but it was cool nonetheless. Some of the restaurants were crowded and they had barriers between tables but definetly not 6 ft. apart. Would love to go back when everything is open again.
Written 28 July 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Old Town San Diego - All You MUST Know Before You Go (2024)

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