Cultural heritage sites
San Diego Cultural Heritage Alliance

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There may be as many reasons why San Diego is a magnet for visitors of all ages, interests, and energy levels as there are fish in the sea. Sure, the year-round sunshine and ideal temperatures can't help but lure vacationers here to escape harsher climes.

And it's no secret that you can combine your tour of historic landmarks with a trip to the beach! Prime examples include the confectionary Hotel del Coronado, which Marilyn Monroe made "hot;" the reconstructed, palm-covered Surf Shack built by serious surfers, probably during the late 1940s, at Windansea Beach; and a rebuilt powerhouse dating from 1928 that's now Del Mar's Powerhouse Community Center within Powerhouse Park.

Knowledgeable, friendly tour guides can point out and convey the significance of historic sites from an open-air trolley, or on foot in, say, Balboa Park or Chicano Park, home to many murals that residents created to protest a major freeway that split Barrio Logan in two. You can choose a tour that concentrates on one rich, dense area, such as downtown's Gaslamp Quarter, or opt for a tour that will provide a broad overview of historic buildings, neighborhoods and places.

Should you and your party be nocturnal by nature, you can go ghost hunting with a guide aboard a ghost bus or trolley, or on foot. The 1857 Whaley House, now a house museum operated by Save Our Heritage Organisation in Old Town San Diego, is widely considered the most haunted house in the America. In October, SOHO offers Halloween tours that take you inside this two-story, brick residence at night. Previous visitors, including renowned ghost hunters, have discovered cloudy white, ghostly shapes in their photos. Some swear they have encountered as many as three spirits associated with the Whaley family and this property. Other tour operators may give you year-round access to different haunted buildings.

If you prefer a self-guided tour on your own schedule and under your own steam, cultural heritage itineraries with trusty maps featuring landmark addresses and hours can be downloaded from this website. Self-guided explorers, of course, can linger at historic places or interrupt their plans for detours, refreshments, or siestas.


2476 San Diego Avenue · San Diego CA 92110 · Phone (619) 297-9327
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