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San Diego Neighborhood Guide: Old Town

Where to eat, drink, and play in this historic corner of San Diego


Published:

Tienda de Reyes | Photo: Sydney Prather

Old Town Season

October 3
Taste + Tequila Old Town

November 2–3
Dia de los Muertos

Rust General Store

Jars of candy and spices line the shelves of this country store replica, and the staff dresses in 19th-century costumes to accentuate the Wild West aesthetic. They also carry hot sauces and gourmet kitchen items, and have a fridge full of old-timey tonics like sarsaparilla. Grab a hot pretzel or prickly pear lemonade from the takeout counter. rustgeneral

 

Oculto 477 | Photo: Haley Hill

Oculto 477

A secret door behind the bar at Tahona leads to this spooky speakeasy, opened just in time for Halloween. It’s right next door to one of San Diego’s oldest graveyards, El Campo Santo Cemetery, and the intimate space (just 25 seats) is illuminated by 477 lights—each one a tribute to a person laid to rest. tahonamezcal

 

Coral Tree Tea House | Photo: Sydney Prather

Coral Tree Tea House

Thrilled about the next season of The Crown on Netflix? You can live out your English tea-party fantasy here. It’s in a real Victorian home on Heritage Park Row, serving high and afternoon tea with scones and finger sandwiches presented on elegant tiered stands. There’s also a “prince and princess tea” menu for kids. Pinkies up! 

 

Tienda de Reyes

Every day is the Day of the Dead at this store, which is stocked with an array of artwork, ornaments, and clothing to celebrate the Mexican holiday all year.

 

Home & Away | Photo: Sydney Prather

Home & Away

The sports bar is one of the few non-touristy watering holes in the neighborhood. Come for the wings, Totchos (Tater Tot nachos), old-school arcade games, and dog-friendly patio.

 

Bazaar del Mundo | Photo: Sydney Prather

Bazaar del Mundo

The market next to Casa Guadalajara is an Old Town shopping staple. It’s filled with fine arts and crafts imported from Mexico, and is the exclusive US retailer for some unique items, like these jute shoes (pictured above) made by cobbler Sara Gutierrez in Hidalgo. bazaardelmundo

 

Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant | Photo: Sydney Prather

Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant

The hotel has been a fixture since the 1870s, and has been restored and modernized to reflect its heyday. Have Sunday brunch or happy hour on the terrace surrounded by fruit and olive trees. oldtowncosmo

 

New park space

A three-acre plot on Taylor and Juan streets is being turned into a state park. It’s expected to open March 2020.

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