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Travel: An Overnight In Old Town

Dear Diary,
I’m perpetually hesitant to call posts of this nature “guides,” because I don’t want to sound like I’m telling you what to do, or that it must be done in same manner I did it.

Instead, my goal with this post is to spark your interest in a place and inspire you to see it for yourself. I will share with you what I experienced, but in the end, the choice and opinion is yours. 

With all of that said, exploring Old Town San Diego was like stepping into a time capsule. It is considered the birthplace of California, with the first settlement created in 1769 with merely a mission and a fort. After strolling along the modern downtown city and watching the seals, a visit to this historic site completes the picture.

When we traveled: mid-December (this Minnesota family was EAGER!)

Where we stayed: Hilton Garden Inn, Old Town (request a room with a renovated bathroom!)

Restaurants we ate at: Café Coyote and Casa Guadalajara (we ate at Casa multiple times!)

(Casa Guadalajara)

What we did:

We bought souvenirs at the Bazaar Del Mundo.

(Inside the Mormon Battalion)

Take in a free tour at the Mormon Battalion.

Purchase tickets for a walking tour through the Whaley House. It’s completely self-guided, and they allow photography. This was one of the most interesting homes to see! (Whaley House Web site)

Then, go to the nearby cemetery. The stories that come from this site stay with you.

We also walked around the State Historic Park and the Cosmopolitan Hotel, which is another option for your stay.

(*All photos by Brianne Sieberg unless a source is linked beneath the image. Links will take you to either my related blog posts, or the official site of the places mentioned here.)

For more information, visit the Old Town San Diego Guide.


  1. Great post! The photos are really awesome!

  2. Looking for Smoky Mountains family vacation planner website. I will be glad if you can help me with your advice!

    1. HI again, Alex - at this time, I'm not sure I can be a resource for you in this regard. If you find something, will you share it in the comments too? I've never been, and would love to hear more about this!