In 1769, James Cook arrives in Tahiti on the ship HMS Endeavour. A few months later he discovers New Zealand. Frontiersman Daniel Boone begins to explore Kentucky and becomes one of America’s more well-known folk heroes. The worst natural disaster in human history, the Bengal famine, kills ten million people in India.
In this same year, Charles III of Spain sends Spanish missionaries to California and one of these, Father Junípero Serra, founds Mission San Diego de Alcalá, the first of the 21 California missions. This is considered the birthplace of California.
The Presidio was built atop a hill overlooking the current location of Old San Diego. The top of the hill is now the home of the Father Serra Museum and nothing remains of the Presidio beyond a cross and some stone walls. Originally, Old San Diego (OTSD) was a Mexican community comprised of a collection of adobe buildings known as El Pueblo de San Diego. It wasn’t until 1846 that the area officially became known as Old Town San Diego.
The main plaza of OTSD still retains much of its Mexican feel through architecture, food, art, and entertainment. Yet, even though there are many hotels surrounding Old San Diego, there is not much in the way of nightlife. The area is rather isolated from the rest of San Diego and without a car you’re limited to what is in the immediate vicinity. If you wish to visit the Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala, it is a 10-15 minute drive from the Old Town.