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Spotlight on San Diego: The Gaslamp Quarter & Little Italy

The site of San Diego’s Old Town has a history that dates back over nine-thousand years and continues into the present. The area was first occupied by the Kumeyaay peoples who lived there for thousands of years before being colonized by the Spanish in 1542 who gave the town its iconic adobe style architecture. Today, Old Town is still vibrant and is home to 32 restaurants, 9 hotels, 100 shops, and 36 unique museums and historical sites.

One of the most iconic buildings in Old Town is the Church of the Immaculate Conception. The church first began construction in 1868 by Father Antonia D. Ubach during an economic boom, but it was not completed until 1919. The church was eventually transferred to the Order of Saint Francis in 1925. The church overlooks and has a nice view of Old Town and still holds Mass. The Church of the Immaculate Conception is a very beautiful building and completely free to visit.

For anyone interested in history or interactive programs the Junipero History Center is the place to see. The museum has cataloged the history of Old Town from the Kumeyaay to the present and has different rotating exhibits relevant to the town’s history and past. The museum has a wide collection of art and photographs through an immense span of human history, so there is something there for everyone.

Casa de Estudillo is one of the best examples of adobe architecture in all of Old Town. The home was built between 1827 and 1829 by Spanish aristocrat Don Jose Antonio de Estudillo. The home later served as a sanctuary for women and children during the American occupation in 1846. The house was restored to its former glory in 1910 and remains a popular place for tourists to visit. The home is currently a part of California State Parks.

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