San Diego/Old Town-Mission Valley

thumb|right|350px|Mission San Diego de Alcala

56 things to do

All Places United States California

Mission San Diego de Alcala

The first of the Spanish California missions, founded in 1769 by Junipero Serra for the purposes of converting the native peoples who lived in the area at the time. In its long history, the mission has been the site of the first Christian burial and the first execution in California, saw bloodshed between the Spanish settlers and native peoples, and served as an armory in the years following U.S. annexation of California before being restored to an active church in 1941. Today, Mission San Diego is an active Catholic parish and a museum dedicated to the history of the mission. Tour the site, with its gardens, museum, and the original chapel.

Presidio Park

Perched on the hill above Old Town, this large park is the site of the old ''presidio'' (fort) that once protected the Spanish settlement of San Diego. The park contains canyons, tall trees, flowering plants, and grassy hillsides as well several memorials and historic landmarks, including the Junipero Serra Museum (see below) and the partially excavated presidio. The grassy lawns and hilltop views make it a great place to bring a picnic.

SEE   —  Map

University of San Diego Toreros

The Torero college basketball team plays their home games at the '''Jenny Craig Pavilion''' on the USD campus. The Torero college baseball team plays at '''Cunningham Stadium''' and their college football team play at '''Torero Stadium''' (both also on the USD campus). USD competes in the West Coast Conference.

Whaley House

The oldest brick building and most famous haunted house in San Diego. Built in 1856, the north room of the museum served as the County Courthouse in 1869. The structure includes period furnishings and other antique displays. Come during the Halloween season for special night tours.

Cosmopolitan Restaurant and Hotel

A beautiful dining establishment in a building originally built by Juan Bandini in 1829. Later, in the 1860's, a second story was added and it became the Cosmopolitan Hotel. You can eat in the garden amid flowers, trees, and fountains or inside the wonderful historic building.

Robinson-Rose House Visitor Center

To begin touring, the best place to start is the visitor’s center, which includes a model of what the area looked like in 1872, maps, information about touring, and information about the area’s history. Free guided walking tours of Old Town depart daily at 11AM and 2PM.

Junipero Serra Museum

Take the time to visit the historic site of what used to be the first ever California Mission, located in Presidio Park on the hill above Old Town. The museum includes exhibits on the life of Old Town and a tower which offers magnificent views of the area.

Racine and Laramie

Gorgeous award winning reconstruction of San Diego's first tobacco store. Offers a variety of historically related gifts, gentlemen's accessories, marbles and harmonicas for children, historic photos, knives, and of course tobacco, pipes, and cigars.

Fiesta de Reyes

A group of shops and restaurants operated by Delaware North, which runs concessions in other National Parks. Strolling musicians and beautiful flowers greet guests and there are often special (free) activities for children.

Maidhof Bros.

Sells genuine ships' salvage items such as wheels, brass portholes, furniture of all kinds including some amazing captain’s desks, compasses, navigational equipment, lamps, lanterns and ropes.

Qualcomm Stadium

Home to the NFL '''[ San Diego Chargers]''' and the college '''[ SDSU Aztecs]''' football teams.


Part of a local pizza chain in San Diego, they have a very extensive menu and also brew their own beer as well, with a stocked bar. Also has plenty of TV's to watch sports as well.

Mason Street Schoolhouse

Established around 1865, this was the first public school house in San Diego. The school offers daily tours, and visitors can sit at the desk and examine the books on display.

SEE   —  +1 619 297-1183 —  3966 Mason St

Light-Freeman House

Built in 1830, the house was originally an adobe saloon and provision stores became it became known as The American Hotel around 1856.

SEE   —  2767 San Diego Ave

In Cahoots

A two story country bar and dance saloon has a lot of pool tables and they hold line dancing classes and contests.

Handlery Hotel

A warm, friendly welcome and some big, lush rooms. Also has a hotel mini-bus to take you to SeaWorld.


Soup and salad (very limited), sandwiches, yards and half yards of beer, live music on weekend nights.

Hazard Center

Much smaller than the big centers in the valley, but with a nice assortment of shops nevertheless.

Westfield Mission Valley

Over 150 stores and restaurants, including a movie theater and the large Seau's sports restaurant.

Altamirano-Pedrorena House

Built in 1869, as a family residence, but is currently the site of a rock, gem, and jewelry shop.

SEE   —  on San Diego Ave


A grill and ale house, great place to watch sports at, has pool tables, darts and shuffleboard.

Black Hawk Smithy & Stable

Established in 1860. At the site, visitors can watch blacksmithing and other demonstrations.

SEE   —  Map

Casa de Estudillo

A beautiful historic adobe house that has been lovingly restored to its original appearance.

SEE   —  4001 Mason St

Fashion Valley

Nearly 200 stores and restaurants, including several department stores and a movie theater.

Town and Country

Resort with swimming pools, restaurants, spa facilities, golf, and beautiful gardens.

Seeley Stable Museum

A reconstructed stage coach stop with a collection of vintage carriages inside.

SEE   —  Map

Mormon Battalion Visitors' Center of San Diego

A monument to the hundreds of Mormons who fought in the US-Mexican War.

SEE   —  +1 619 298-3317 —  2510 Juan St

Ramada Mission Valley

Hotel with swimming pool and complimentary continental breakfast.

Johnson House

Victorian hats, related books, and jewelry in a 1869 style house.

Immaculate Conception Church

A historic Mission-style church in Old Town dating back to 1919.

SEE   —  Map

Casa De Reyes

Mexican food with lovely courtyard, and wandering musicians.

Heritage Park

A park in Old Town ringed with historic Victorian houses.

SEE   —  Map

Sheriff's Museum

Learn the history of the San Diego Sheriff's Department.

San Diego Union Museum

The first office of the San Diego Union newspaper.

SEE   —  Map

San Diego Courthouse

The original courthouse, which dates back to 1847.

SEE   —  2731 San Diego Ave

Lowery's Hot Glass

Hand blown glass art made on premises.

Wells Fargo History Museum

A historically furnished bank office.

Cygnet Theater

Live performances held regularly.

Cousin's Candy Shop

Taffy made on the premises.

Source: wikivoyage