While visiting San Diego, you can escape the frenetic pace of the big city with a laid-back journey through Old Town, easily reachable via the Old Town Trolley from downtown. At the Old Town State Historic Park, which spans nine square blocks, you find pristine haciendas, an original Wells Fargo stagecoach, the first schoolhouse in San Diego, and the office of the city's first newspaper, the San Diego Herald. Outside the park, favorites include the Whaley House Museum Complex (allegedly containing the most haunted house in the America) and the Serra Museum in Presidio Park – the site of the first European settlement in what is now the western United States. From there, you can stroll up San Diego Avenue, the main thoroughfare in Old Town, and visit El Campo Santo Cemetery, the final resting place for 500 nineteenth-century residents, including the famous Indian leader, Antonio Garra, and the notorious boat thief, Yankee Jim Robinson – whose ghost, by the way, you might bump into at the Whaley House.
No doubt, unearthing history can render a person parched and famished, and the restaurants in Old Town do their best to ensure you don't leave the area without sustenance – or at least a couple shots of tequila. While mouthwatering Mexican cuisine is ubiquitous, the food types in this quaint old settlement are indicative of California's diverse culture. Included on the menus are Italian, Japanese, Creole, Peruvian, and some savory seafood.
- • Old Town San Diego Guide: www.oldtownsandiegoguide.com
- • Old Town San Diego Business Directory: www.oldtownsandiego.org
- • Old Town San Diego State Historic Park: www.parks.ca.gov
- • Old Town on Wikipedia: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Town_San_Diego_State_Historic_Park