The community of Old Town, in San Diego County, is probably best known for its Mexican restaurants, quaint retail shops and art galleries, as well as being home to the Old Town San Diego Historic Park. Old Town is the oldest settled area in California, with European migrants first inhabiting the area in the late 1700’s. Among the carefully-restored and preserved structures in Old Town are The Church of the Immaculate Conception, built in 1917 and Casa de Estudillo, one of five adobe buildings from San Diego’s early history that includes a stable, a municipal office, and the first schoolhouse to be built in California. This charming neighborhood sits just a few miles inland from coastal San Diego, and is situated south of I-8 and east of I-5, with Mission Hills and Banker’s Hill to the South. Old Town enjoys pleasant weather throughout the year, with temperatures fluctuating very little between the 60 and 80-degree mark.
Old Town is home to a small population of about 1000 residents, most occupying small apartments, restored condos, and Craftstman-style cottages and bungalows. Colorful gardens adorn the exteriors of the many character homes that reflect the Mexican heritage of the area. There are some opportunities for wonderful views of the San Diego Bay and Presidio on several desirable lots. Prices for single-family homes in the Old Town neighborhood start from $262,000 for a modest but appealing condo to $499,000 for a starter home with two bedrooms and two baths on a lot with both front and back yards. Home prices can be seen upwards of $1.4 million for a sizable house with three bedrooms and 5 baths, designed in the Craftsman style. The median home price in Old Town San Diego is $614,000.
Old Town boasts two wonderful state parks, Presidio Park and Old Town San Diego Historic Park, both of which are listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The state-protected Old Town Historic Park commemorates the early days of San Diego and offers residents and visitors a glimpse of historic buildings constructed primarily between 1820 and 1870. Established in 1968, Old Town San Diego Historic Park is the most-frequented park in California. Presidio Park is the site of Serra Museum, which highlights the area’s first mission. Households in Old Town are comprised of an average of two residents, a small number of which include school-aged children. Grades K-8 are served in Old Town by the San Diego Unified School District, which provides elementary and middle schools directly in the community. A creative and performing media arts school teaches children up to grade eight.
Residents of Old Town walk to bazaars, cantinas, and authentic restaurants in the “town center.” The community features nine hotels, 32 eateries, over 100 retail outlets, and 12 art venues. The Cygnet Theater, a local playhouse, entertains residents with quality theater productions throughout the year. Old Town celebrates with annual festivals like a grand Cinco de Mayo event, the Old Town Art Festival in October, and Fiesta Navidad, a two-day Christmas festival held every December. Transportation in Old Town is made easy with a central hub that services local bus routes, the San Diego Trolley, San Diego Coaster, and the Amtrak.
Old Town is an eclectic community that showcases the vibrancy of San Diego as a major tourist destination, and also relishes in the pride of early California with its sense of small-town community values and historical roots.
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