It’s time for a celebration. This Sat., July 16, will mark San Diego’s 253rd anniversary — that’s right, it’s been quite some time that America’s Finest City has spent working its way to the top of the list for best (and most beautiful) cities in the country.
With all that our coastal city has to offer, there’s a lot to celebrate: beaches, boats, glamorous restaurants, neighborhoods with lots of culture, and gorgeous weather. But to really commemorate this huge milestone, let’s take a step back in time and review the history that made San Diego the robust city it is today.
A city on a mission
On July 16, 1769, the first mission of 21 in California — Mission San Diego de Alcalá, also called “Mother of the Missions” — was established by a Franciscan priest named Saint Junípero Serra. Five years later, the mission was relocated to its present site (now San Diego Mission Road), closer to the ancient Kumeyaay villages. Many decades later, the City of San Diego was born.
The mission’s name literally means “Saint Didacus of Alcalá” and was chosen by Spanish explorers back in November 1602, who wanted to honor the Saint’s upcoming feast day.
This old town’s not too shabby
For all you lovers of old architecture, no need to fly across the world to Europe. Today, the neighborhood of Old Town — California’s birthplace — is a cultural hub that continues to hold much of that history, particularly via Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Five original adobe, or “mud brick,” buildings stand at this landmark, containing museums, shops + restaurants.
Other things to do here include:
⏳ Experience the Mexican-American period of the 1800s
🪘 Enjoy some jazzy tunes of early San Diego
⚒️ Visit a working blacksmith shop
🐴 Meet the park’s burros, known as “donkeys”
📜 Explore interpretive exhibits or take a guided tour