Old Town

Landmarks

School Districts

Schools Nearby

Parks and Recreation Centers

About Old Town

One of the most recognizable areas of San Diego, Old Town is often considered the “birthplace” of California. It is the location of California’s first Spanish settlement as well as the site of the first of the twenty-one missions for which the state is so well known. Established by Father Junipero Serra in 1769, the Mission San Diego de Alcala and the Presidio that accompanied it rested atop a hill above what is now known as Old Town. By the early 1820s, there had begun a small but growing community at the base of the hill, and by 1846, the United States had staked a claim on the area. California’s Department of Parks and Recreation created the Old Town Historic Park in 1968 to preserve this unique area of the state’s history, and today there are still many historic homes, museums, exhibitions, and demonstrations that keep the history of Old Town alive.

In keeping with the history of the area, there are many Mexican restaurants and shops in the area, and most of the commercial development in the area is centered around the community’s tourist industry and historical preservation and recreation. Residences in Old Town are a unique combination of historical homes, modern day apartments, and duplexes. Although there has been a recent demand for more residential accommodation, construction has been steadily shifting from to commercial in effort to support the industry of the area. Plans to create a more balanced residential-commercial community are currently in motion.

Photos of Old Town