Junipero Serra Museum


Location: Old Town (4 Miles North of Downtown San Diego)

Open Daily: 10AM – 5PM Weekends

Cost: $6 ($3 for Kids ages 6-17 and $4 for Seniors 65+)

Features: Site of the 1st European Settlement in California

mission-firstFather Junipero Serra Museum Highlights: Spanish Explorers first arrived in San Diego in 1542. However, no settlement was established by the Spanish Government until 1769. That is when the government sent Franciscan Friars, who had been establishing Catholic Missions in Mexico, to what is now California. The first Mission was built on the hilltop in Old Town San Diego. Despite its perch overlooking the San Diego Bay, the Mission had a difficult time accessing enough water resources to cultivate the adjoining land. As a result, the Mission was moved to a river bed in what is now the Mission Valley area, about six miles to the east of Old Town. This Museum tells the history of that original church. (You can also visit the relocated Mission San Diego de Alcala in Mission Valley.)

3 gun salute at the Serra MuseumWhen to Visit the Junipero Serra Museum

  • During the school year, many classes are brought to the Museum. If you want to avoid these crowds, your best bet is to visit in the afternoon. The Museum also notes it may delay its opening time until 12PM to accommodate school groups. You can call 619-297-3258 for news on any delayed openings.

What to Expect

  • The Museum sits high up on a hill overlooking Old Town and the San Diego Bay.

Junipero Serra Museum Exhibitions – This Museum highlights the history of this perch overlooking Old Town and the San Diego Bay. Known as Presidio Hill, this perch was first home to the Kumeyaay Indians before the arrival of the first Spanish Mission. You can learn about the interactions of these two very different cultures. (Note: The Historical Society of San Diego runs the Museum of San Diego History in Balboa Park, as well as the Junipero Serra Museum. Scroll down past the exhibitions for the Museum of San Diego History to read more about the exhibitions at the Junipero Serra Museum.)

Food – You will find many food options down the steep hill from the Museum. Many are on San Diego Avenue and include full service and fast-food Mexican, Italian, and general American fare. You will not find any national chains. It is best to drive down the hill rather than walk because there is no sidewalk from the top of the Presidio down to the other attractions in Old Town.

mission-signInformation on Visiting the Junipero Serra Museum

Admission Prices: (Costs are Approximate)

  • Parking is Free
  • $6 Standard Fee
  • $4 for Seniors 65 and Over, Students, and Military
  • $3 for Kids ages 6-17

Directions from Google Maps to 2727 Presidio Drive in San Diego, CA 92103. (If you use Taylor Street, it is a little hard to see the Presidio Drive street sign. Get in the right lane and you will see Presidio Drive just as the right lane ends.)

Parking – There is a large parking lot across the street from the Museum. It is secluded from the rest of Old Town and thus does not have the parking problems that are encountered when you head down the hill.

Traffic – It is relatively easy to reach Old Town since it is close to both the I-5 and I-8 freeways. Traffic on the I-5 is not bad in this area. You will have some heavy delays if you need to head east on I-8 during the evening rush hour. There will also be a slight delay if you need to head west on I-8 to the end of the freeway during the evening rush hour. (Learn how to get the latest traffic updates.)

Transit – The San Diego Trolley Stop in Old Town is at the bottom of the hill in Old Town. You will have a 1/3 mile walk up a very steep hill, with no sidewalk, to reach the Serra Museum. (See San Diego Transit Information for information on using an online Transit Planner that will plan your route to Old Town or to print out a Trolley Schedule.)

Find More Attractions with Similar Themes or Location: *Top San Diego Museums*, Nostalgia & Western Frontier, Old Town, Scenic Views |

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