by JESSICA WOODS | photos by Sandé Lollis

Our Town

Old Town, San Diego harks back to the roots of San Diego’s early days as a settlement. There’s loads of history and lots to see packed into a few blocks between the I-8 and I-5 freeway, including the historic parks and infamous Whaley House. For a more mobile experience, the Old Town Trolley Tours offer sightseeing of Old Town and beyond from the comfort of an old-school trolley.

The Old Town Historic Park appears to be straight off a Hollywood movie set. You can just picture the cowboys atop their horses and ladies with hoop skirts parading down the main way. Visit a traditional adobe house, La Casa de Estudillo, the First Brick Courthouse, the Seeley Stables where horses and carriages were once stored, and many restored homes of historic San Diego families. A short distance away is Presidio Park, with the Junipero Serra Museum and Bazaar Del Mundo specialty shops. Above Old Town is a plot of land known as Heritage Park. Take a step back in time in these restored Victorian homes where you can get a glimpse of what life was like in these regal estates. But when it comes to a particular house in Old Town, be careful of what you find!

The Whaley House – it’s a place that you dare your friends to step into. Are those footsteps you’re hearing? Did you feel a chill? Known as one of the most haunted spots in America, the Whaley House is open for daytime and nighttime tours, and perhaps you’ll get a ghostly visitor or two. If you aren’t brave enough to step inside, you can walk around the outside and tour the gift shop.

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Día de los Muertos 2014

produced by SOHO (Save Our Heritage Organization)

This Nov. 1 and 2, Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) 2014 comes back to Old Town. The annual celebration honors those who have passed and attributes to San Diego’s Mexican heritage with color, music and more. This is not to be confused with Halloween and is not meant to be scary or morbid. Rather, families and friends come together to offer the spirits hospitality.

Over fifty public altars will be peppered throughout Old Town, hosted by local businesses, museums and shops, with many of them depicting historical and recently passed figures important to them. Visitors are encouraged to tour the altars to learn more about these figures and pay respects. A Tour of Altars Map will be available at www.sddayofthedead.org. Other family activities will include live entertainment, skull face painting, paper flowers, masks and more.

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