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“Lots to see from a by-gone era”

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
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San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
Ranked #23 of 430 things to do in San Diego
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Historic site in downtown San Diego that recreates life in the Mexican and early American periods of 1821 to 1872.
Hudson, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
49 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“Lots to see from a by-gone era”
Reviewed March 22, 2013

Start off with the fact that there's plenty of parking and easy access - even a trolley stop right next door..

Where would I start? The blacksmith's shop where they do *real* smithing and make all sorts of equipment for Old Town? The old-time shops? The historical buildings? The 19th century saloon and hotel?

My best surprise was the restaurants with their open-air seating areas. For the first time in my life I had Mexican food that I genuinely enjoyed - not just some kind of meat and taco shells with enough jalapeno to start a forest fire dumped on them.

My only complaint was that some of the places closed a little early (like the old newspaper) but I should have been more observant. It may have been largely due to us being there off season (February)

You can easily spend a few hours here. There's really only one "typical" tourist shop and that's what makes this place all the more charming.

Visited February 2013
Thank djplong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Windsor, Colorado
Level Contributor
26 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Worth a visit”
Reviewed March 20, 2013

Old Town San Diego is one of my favorite things to do in San Diego! Lots of fun shopping and a little history mixed in. We went both during the day (twice) and one night following a Ghost Tour at the Whaley House (also pretty fun). The day time shopping is best suited for older kids.

Visited July 2012
Thank JLT2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
14 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“A Wonderful Day Together at Old Town San Diego”
Reviewed March 18, 2013

We have an RV and believe me getting around/parking etc in San Diego,,,, BUT we hopped on the wonderful mass transit system they have. We call it a light rail but they refer to it as a trolley. You can get to Old Town on the GREEN LINE... from anywhere in the San Diego area because they connect so well -- and it lets you off right there. Also there is a sight-seeing trolley that has a station there.

You can spend as much time or $$ there as you like -- no pressure. We walked around the historic town and learned a lot. It was of course a beautiful sunny day - St. Patrick;s Day 2013. There is wonderful food, live music in the plazas, lots of shops and color and gaiety.

There are museums, and the stores and vendors showing their wares -- i.e. making clay pottery, glass blowing. You can eat a quick bite, a dinner, or just ice cream or dessert. There are ALL kinds of drinks -- even sassafras tea and root beer floats.

It is a wonderful walk through the village, complete with a fully operational hotel and church. We spent about 4 hours there just bumming around!

I have pics but not available right now. Hope to add them.

Visited March 2013
2 Thank debw241
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
291 reviews
45 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 371 helpful votes
“Worth a visit - but much of it is recreated”
Reviewed March 17, 2013

Located just a few miles north of San Diego's current city centre, this State Historic Park (and the surrounding streets) makes a pleasant trip for the tourist with its blend of authentic and recreated housing / shops etc.. from the Spanish period (1800-1900) here. There are plenty of charming outdoor patio dining options, shops selling 'mexican art', historic reproductions, jewellery etc.. With an open plaza in the middle and an historic adobe style spanish hacienda house it is a visually appealing place. Probably need no more than 2 hours to stroll slowly, have a coffee, do a little shopping etc...

Visited March 2013
Thank LondonUnveiled
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scotch Creek, Canada
Level Contributor
87 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“so much color and life”
Reviewed March 15, 2013

We loved the atmosphere and color in Old Town. All the neat little shops to wonder around and we had our pictures done in one of the stalls that made us look like western people. The food was so tasty and the service was good in the ones we did eat at. There wa sone place we did go to however, that we sat down and they came and cleaned the tables around us but not ours and we never got amenu so left and went and ate at El Fandango. We also ate at this quaint lil place and we had this one server who treated us so well. (I think her name was Sacurah) The atmosphere of that place was so wonderful, the colors and the yes even the heaters that chased the dampness away.There was a band playing there...and well we just thoroughly enjoyed it.

Visited February 2013
Thank Joanne5502
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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