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AAA Walking Tours

Old Town San Diego SHPPedestrians can take a self-guiding tour of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, which is closed to vehicular traffic. Guide booklets giving a brief history of Old Town are available for $3 at the Robinson-Rose Visitor Information Center at 4002 Wallace St.

Go south from the visitor center and turn east on San Diego Avenue; you will pass a number of historic one-story buildings, including the 1840s Machado-Silvas Adobe. At the reconstructed First San Diego Courthouse, turn south on the walkway to Machado-Stewart Adobe, once the home of a shipmate of author Richard Henry Dana Jr. A visit to the adobe was described in Dana's classic “Two Years Before the Mast.”

Diagonally north of Machado-Stewart Adobe on Mason Street is Mason Street School, a one-room frame building erected in 1865. This building served as the city's first publicly owned schoolhouse. Walk north on Mason Street to San Diego Avenue and continue east to Dodson's Corner, a group of small false-front shops where merchants sometimes dress in period costumes. Across San Diego Avenue is the San Diego Union Museum, birthplace of Southern California's oldest continuously published newspaper.

Walk northward on Twiggs Street; around the corner at 2648 Calhoun St. are the Seeley Stables Museum and visitor information center. Head north along the west side of the stables, then slightly east, to the Blacksmith Shop. Adjacent stands Casa de Bandini, built in 1827 for Juan Bandini. In 1869, the building, which was then a one-story adobe, was purchased by Alfred Seeley. A second floor was added, and it became a hotel; today it operates as the Cosmopolitan Hotel & Restaurant.

Walk west on Calhoun Street to Johnson House, a small frame home built by California politician George Alonzo Johnson in 1869, and the neighboring Alvarado House, a reconstruction of an 1824 residence. Retrace your steps and head south on Mason Street, stopping for a visit at historic La Casa de Estudillo, the former home of a Spanish aristocrat. Directly across the street on Mason is Old Town Plaza, a good place to end the tour.

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San Diego, CA

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Travel Information

City Population

1,307,402

Elevation

13 ft.

Sales Tax

State and county sales taxes total 7.75 percent in San Diego. A lodging tax, called a transient occupancy tax, of 10.5 to 12.5 percent also is levied along with a 10.5 percent (11 percent at the airport) rental car tax.

Emergency

911

Police (non-emergency)

(619) 531-2000

Hospitals

Alvarado Hospital, (619) 287-3270; Scripps Mercy Hospital, (619) 294-8111; Sharp Memorial Hospital, (858) 939-3400; University of California-San Diego Medical Center, (858) 657-7000.

Visitor Information

996 N. Harbor Dr. San Diego, CA 92101. Phone:(619)236-1242

Air Travel

San Diego International Airport

Rental Cars

San Diego County is served by major rental car agencies. Hertz, at the airport, offers discounts to AAA members; phone (619) 767-5700 or (800) 654-3080.

Rail Service

Amtrak, (800) 872-7245, rolls from the historic

Buses

Greyhound Lines Inc., (619) 515-1100 or (800) 231-2222, has a depot at 1313 National Ave. Greyhound buses and Five Star Tours' eight-passenger shuttles, (619) 232-5040, offer service to downtown Tijuana, Mexico; reservations are required 24 hours in advance.

Taxis

Local taxis are metered. Cab companies include Orange, (619) 223-5555; San Diego Dispatch, (800) 368-2947; USA, (619) 231-1144; and Yellow, (619) 444-4444. Base fare is around $2.80, with a rate of approximately $3 for each additional mile. Limousine service is available throughout the area averaging about $75 an hour.

Public Transportation

Transportation by bus and trolley is available in San Diego.

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