Asian Pacific Historic District Tours


Location: Downtown San Diego (Marina District)

Tours: 2nd Saturday of Each Month at 11AM. Cost: $2. Self-Guided Tours Also Available.

Farmers Market: Sunday Mornings from 9AM – 12PM

Features: Tour the Original Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, and Hawaiian Communities in Downtown San Diego; Pick-up Unique Items at the Asian Bazaar and Farmers Market.

Touring the Chinese Historical DistrictSan Diego Asian-Pacific Historic District Highlights: Downtown San Diego was home to a thriving Asian Community in the mid to late 19th Century. It consisted of Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese, and Hawaiians. Today, visitors can take a look into the history of that original Chinatown in San Diego by visiting the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum, the William Heath Davis House, and taking a walking tour of the Asian Pacific Historic District.

The District is spread over 8 blocks and includes 20 historical buildings. Some retain there original architecture and character, while others have been altered over the years. For a self guided tour, you can pick up a tour map at the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum, which is open every day except Mondays. The Map describes all 20 buildings and provides a brief description about each Historic Asian Community.

Tours & Events – Tours begin at 11AM on the 2nd Saturday of each month. They begin at the Chinese Historical Museum. In addition, each of the Asian communities holds special events on occasion celebrating the legacy of early Asian settlers.

Farmers Market – Outside of the Chinese Museum, you will have access to Local Produce, Food, Hand-Crafted Jewelry, and Asian Novelties every Sunday morning.

Historical Sights – Get more information about the Philippine Library and Museum as well as learn where to find an Asian Pacific Photo Exhibit.

Food – If you attend the Farmers Market, there is obviously plenty of food. Otherwise, there are dozens of food options a couple blocks to the east in the Gaslamp Quarter.

Information on Visiting the Farmers Market or Taking a Tour

Admission Prices: (Costs are Approximate)

  • Parking will range from $0 – $8 (See more parking information below.)
  • Tour Fee is $2

Directions from Google Maps to 404 3rd Avenue in San Diego, CA 92101. (At the corner of 3rd Avenue and J Street.)

Parking – Metered Street Parking is available near the Museum of Chinese History in San Diego and runs about $1.25 per hour with a limit of 2 – 3 hours. If you are lucky, you can find a few free street parking spots adjacent to the Chinese Museum. (Street Parking is Free on Sundays.) There is also a parking lot a block to the west at the corner of 2nd Avenue and J Street. The parking rate ranges from about $3 for an hour to $8 for the day. It is also within walking distance of the Gaslamp Quarter and the New Children’s Museum.

Traffic – Getting in and out of downtown using highways I-5, SR-163, and SR-94 is relatively easy. Downtown San Diego is not a major employment center and thus there is very little rush hour traffic. Watch for slower traffic on the I-5 where it does a tight S-curve through downtown San Diego near the SR-163 interchange. When heading southbound on SR-163, stay to the left side unless you want to get on the I-5. (You will encounter a slight delay getting on the I-5 from SR-163.) You will also encounter a slight delay on SR-163 going into downtown when there is an event at Petco Park. If the San Diego Padres plays a daytime game, it usually start at 1:05PM. Even though traffic backs up a little on SR-163, it continues to move along. When leaving downtown, remember that:

  • 1st Avenue will get you to the I-5 North,
  • 11th Avenue will get you to SR-163 and the I-5 North,
  • E & J Streets will get you to the I-5 South, and
  • G Street will get you to SR-94.

The traffic lights on these streets are synchronized and will generally move you along without delay. (Learn how to get the latest highway traffic updates.)

Once you are downtown, you will find most of the streets are one-way, on an alternating basis. (You can see them if you zoom in on Google Maps.) Broadway and Market Streets are both two-way streets running east-west. You will find that at several intersections you are not allowed to make a left turn off of Broadway or Market. Thus, if you need to make a left turn, it is often better to use a one-way street rather than Broadway and Market Streets. Third Avenue, in front of the Chinese Museum is a two-way street. However, most nearby streets are one-way so keep your eyes open for the one-way street signs.

All of the streets downtown move along quite well. The only exceptions are 4th and 5th Avenues through the Gaslamp Quarter in the evenings and around Petco Park before and after events. One other exception is crossing train tracks that run along Harbor Drive in front of the Convention Center. You can cross over the train tracks at Market, Front, 1st, and 5th. Sometimes, freight trains block the latter few crossover streets. If you see them sitting still, it means they are checking their brakes, so it could take a while. Don’t wait. Move farther north towards Market Street to cross over the tracks.

Transit – Both the Blue and Orange Trolley Lines move through Downtown San Diego and get you within four blocks of most attractions. The Orange Line stops a block away from the Chinese Museum at the Convention Center Station. (See San Diego Transit Information for the downtown transit map and information for the online Transit Planner.) Walking around Downtown San Diego is easy since it is flat with the exception of the northeast corner near Cortez Hill.

Related Attraction – You may also be interested in visiting the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park, which is just 3 miles away. In addition, you can take guided tours in the adjacent Black Historic Neighborhood and the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Area.

Find More Attractions with Similar Themes or Location: *San Diego Tours & Sightseeing*, Architecture, Cultural Gifts, Embarcadero South / Marina, Ethnic Culture, Gems / Jewelry |

Help others find things to do and see! Share your ideas.

Connect with Facebook

Or, fill in the form below:

  • Join our great San Diego Tours or Create Your Own Adventure!

    "Having trouble dreaming up the perfect trip...TourGuideTim has you covered...use his comprehensive website to design your own adventure." - Los Angeles Times
  • Translate Travel Guide

  • Search for San Diego Attractions

  • Follow-us to Explore San Diego

    TourGuideTim on Facebook     TourGuideTim on Google+ TourGuideTim on Twitter TourGuideTim on Pinterest TourGuideTim on YouTube