San Diego Historic Attractions

San Diego Historic Attractions
The history of San Diego takes visitors back to the Kumeyaay people as recorded by the explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in 1542. By the time of the arrival of Spanish settlements in 1769, many of the Kemeyaay had fled to the hills. Explore San Diego's past, rich in European, Mexican and Spanish history, culture and architecture. Hike, sail or just admire the scenic views. Visit the National Historic Landmarks (NHL) and chronicle what started as a small village and prospered into the eighth largest city in the United States.

Mission Basilica San Diego de Acala

Overlooking Mission Valley, Mission Basilica San Diego de Acala is the first of 21 missions that were formed along the California coast. It was founded in 1769 by Franciscan monk Junipero Serra, and is named for Saint Didacus of Alcalá. Nicknamed the "Mother of Missions," its rich history is steeped in conflict, illness and determination.

Above the mission, view the dam with a tile aqueduct that carries the water down to the mission itself. Stroll through its flower-filled courtyard gardens and view the historic bell tower. It's still an active Catholic parish serving daily Mass, Saturday confessions and other sacraments today. Afterward, hike along 40 miles of trails in the footsteps of the Kumeyaay in nearby Mission Trails Regional Park. Visit the mission from 9:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. daily.

Mission Basilica San Diego de Acala
10818 San Diego Mission Rd.
San Diego, CA 92108
(619) 640-0481

San Diego Maritime Museum

One of the highlights of the Maritime Museum is the active merchant vessel Star of India, which resides in the bay of downtown San Diego. This NHL is the "world's largest active ship" of its type. Built in 1863 from iron instead of wood, she was launched as Euterpe and later renamed Star of India. She was fully restored in 1976 after being docked in the bay for over 50 years, and still sails on special occasions. Visit the Star of India and other historic ships that are on tour at the San Diego Maritime Museum.

The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (9 p.m. in summer) with metered parking throughout the week. The price of admission is $12 for adults, $9 for seniors 63 and over and active military with ID, $8 for children 6 to 17, free for children 5 and under.

Broaden the maritime experience with a sea voyage. Sail aboard the schooner Californian or journey on the America for a whale-watching adventure. All trips depart from the museum.

San Diego Maritime Museum
1492 N. Harbor Dr.
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 234-9153

Cabrillo National Monument

Along the southernmost tip of the California peninsula, Cabrillo National Monument is situated on 160 protected acres of land. With a remarkable view, it is bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the San Diego Bay. The monument was erected in recognition of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, the first European to set foot on the shores of what is now the West Coast of the United States.

Established in 1913 as an NHL, visitors can relive Cabrillo's landing during a yearly reenactment each September. In addition, explore Point Loma Lighthouse, which is one of the most visited NSLs in California, and the nearby protected tide pools. Take a self-guided two-mile walk from the lighthouse and witness spectacular views of the harbor and city of San Diego.

The park is open 9:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. 365 days a year. Entrance fees are based on passenger vehicle or bicycle.

1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr.
San Diego, CA 92106
(619) 557-5450

Article Written By Dawn R. Levesque

Dawn Renée Levesque has been a writer for 32 years and has a B.F.A. in photography. Her photographs have been exhibited in Europe and the United States. As a SCBWI member, Levesque is the author of Women Who Walk With the Sky and co-author of Wisdom of Bear.

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