Originally settled in 1769 with a single fort and a mission — the first in California — Old Town San Diego is considered our state’s birthplace. It’s visited by tens of millions of people annually for its fantastic Mexican food, heritage sites, museums, and shops. Staying in one of the Old Town San Diego hotels puts you close to the action here but also to major transportation arteries, including two freeways and the Old Town Transit Center, where one can catch the bus, MTS trolley, or train. And rates tend to lean more moderate than in other parts of town.
I’ve listed my favorite hotels in Old Town San Diego and where I think you might find the best hotel deals. In most cases, that’s either going directly through a brand’s loyalty program or hotels.com.
Note from Katie: We independently select all featured hotels. Booking methods mentioned we think offer the best value or are popular with readers. If you book through some of our links, we may earn a commission. Prices and amenities are subject to change. Our editorial guidelines.
1. Hilton Garden Inn San Diego Old Town/SeaWorld Area
Address: 4200 Taylor St, San Diego, CA 92110
Tip: Hilton Honors rates are usually best.
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Location really is everything at the Hilton Garden Inn San Diego Old Town. Just off the I-5 and a 10-minute walk to Old Town and Presidio Park, all of San Diego’s most popular attractions are easily accessible from here.
The pet-friendly Hilton Garden Inn is one of the newer Old Town hotels and offers complimentary WiFi, a fitness center, an outdoor pool, and a 24-hour business center. The onsite Verde Kitchen & Bar serves Mexican-inspired cuisine for breakfast and dinner, and the 24-hour Pavilion Pantry is where you’ll find grab-and-go snacks and staples.
Many of the oversized guest rooms have city views, and they all come with Serta Suite Dreams beds and bedding, 47″ flat-screen TVs, workstations with ergonomic desk chairs, and Neutrogena bath products. Adjacent room blocks and meeting/event spaces are also available, making this a great choice for business travelers and special events. You can use mobile check-in via the Digital Key feature on the Hilton app. It’s also on our list of best hotels near SeaWorld San Diego.
2. Old Town Inn
Address: 4444 Pacific Hwy, San Diego, CA 92110
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The family-owned Old Town Inn is a low-key, Spanish-style hotel with lush tropical landscaping and a prime location. Guests enjoy a long list of complimentary amenities, including continental breakfast, free parking, and WiFi, and there is no resort fee — a pleasant bonus in southern California. Guests also enjoy a heated outdoor pool and shared BBQ grill.
There are multiple types of guest rooms, including well-kept original rooms, renovated Deluxe rooms, two-bedroom extended stay spacious suites with kitchenettes, and the Jacuzzi Suite. All rooms have DVD players, and guests are provided a library of movies.
It’s located in a self-described industrial pocket, but it’s still one of the most convenient spots among Old Town San Diego hotels. SeaWorld San Diego is five minutes away, popular San Diego beaches are 10 minutes away, and the Old Town Transit Center is just across the street. The latter provides trolley service to downtown, Mission Valley, and the border in addition to Amtrak service to Disneyland, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and beyond. I also chose it as a top pick for budget-friendly or cheap hotels in San Diego.
3. Best Western Plus Hacienda Hotel Old Town
Most commonly known as simply the Hacienda Hotel, this charming Spanish mission-style property offers an ideal location and expansive views of Old Town and Mission Bay. Rustic Santa Fe-inspired furnishings and décor combine with top-notch amenities to create a uniquely warm, welcoming ambiance.
As far as hotels near Old Town San Diego, you’ll be hard-pressed to find one that provides so much value to guests. In addition to the fitness room, helpful front desk, heated pool and spa, and shuttle to San Diego Airport ($8 per person fee applies), guests enjoy dining in the adjacent Old Town Tequila Factory, which also serves breakfast for hotel guests.
The hotel is situated near both the I-5 and I-8 freeways and is also three blocks from the Old Town Transit Center trolley and Amtrak station. This is a non-smoking hotel, but there is a Cigar Terrace at the nearby Old Town Tequila Factory. No pets allowed.
4. The Cosmopolitan Hotel
Originally built as the family home for early San Diego settler Juan Bandini in 1829, “The Cosmo” is the only hotel located within Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
The historic building has been used as an apartment building, olive mill, and restaurant. Today, the 10-room boutique hotel has been fully restored and overlooks picturesque Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Some of the original floorboards, windows, and wainscoting remain. There are no televisions or phones, but guests can access complimentary WiFi during their stay.
This Old Town hotel features the indoor/outdoor Cosmopolitan Hotel Restaurant (yes, the same name). You can enjoy your meal on the Orchard Terrace or the Grand Sala. There are also pre- and post-dinner theater dining options in partnership with the neighboring Old Town Cygnet Theater.
Another charming hotel feature is afternoon tea, a nod back to its Victorian roots. For $25 a person, you can enjoy a three-tier menu that includes your choice among 15 types of tea. Dishes like open-face brioche topped with strip steak, Spanish egg salad with chipotle aioli, and a blackberry-mango mousse phyllo bite make for a diverse and delicious brunch or lunch.
Guests are treated to a complimentary daily breakfast of housemade pastries and coffee in the saloon. The Victorian-style guest rooms are decorated with antique American-made furniture, and several feature in-room fireplaces, balconies, or claw-foot tubs. Reserved parking is complimentary. If you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary, The Cosmopolitan is one of the most haunted hotels in San Diego.
5. Courtyard San Diego Old Town
Address: 2435 Jefferson St, San Diego, CA 92110
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Mere steps from everything Old Town has to offer, this Courtyard by Marriott has it all — a phenomenal location, modern and spacious guest rooms, onsite dining, and a whole host of amenities.
Several restaurants are within walking distance, and the location just off the I-5 makes it simple to visit the San Diego attractions on your must-see list. For guests who prefer to stay close to the hotel, the hotel’s onsite restaurant, The Bistro, serves Starbucks coffee, breakfast, dinner, and evening cocktails.
Amenities at Courtyard San Diego Old Town include complimentary WiFi, an outdoor pool and whirlpool, 24-hour fitness center, oversized 60″ televisions, in-room coffee, mini-fridges, ergonomic workstations, and luxury bedding. In addition to the standard guest rooms, there are one-bedroom spacious suites available that are ideal for families — all are praised for cleanliness thanks to being newly renovated in 2020.
6. Holiday Inn Express San Diego Airport—Old Town
At Holiday Inn Express San Diego Airport-Old Town, you’re less than a mile from San Diego International Airport and near Old Town San Diego, CA. Spacious rooms include luxury linens, new furniture, a mini-refrigerator and microwave, and blackout shades.
There are also queen and king suites with hot tubs available and a two queen hot tub suite with its own balcony.
Guests also receive a free full breakfast and free WiFi in addition to the use of the heated outdoor pool, fitness center, and self-service laundry. Street-level and underground self-parking is available for a fee, along with complimentary charging for electric vehicles to all guests.
7. Fairfield Inn & Suites San Diego Old Town
Well-suited to leisure and business travelers alike, the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Old Town is a charming hotel with Spanish-inspired decor situated close to the I-5 and I-8 connection. Guests are treated to a complimentary continental and hot breakfast buffet each morning, as well as a business center, outdoor pool, hot tub, and fitness center.
As a part of the Marriot family, the Fairfield Inn & Suites maintains the polished, refreshing feel the hotels are known for. Its lobby features a spacious, inviting seating area with a large fireplace decorated in quintessential California blues, orange, and white. There’s also a lovely courtyard with a Mediterranean-style fountain and a few tables with umbrellas.
The comfortable guest rooms include a mix of standard studios and suites with separate living and sleeping areas, and some have private balconies. All rooms include free WiFi, work areas with ergonomic chairs, in-room coffee makers, mini-fridges, microwaves, and large flat-screen TVs. On-site parking is available for a fee. The airport, SeaWorld San Diego, and the San Diego Zoo are all within a 10-minute drive.
8. Comfort Inn Old Town/Airport
The bright and colorful Comfort Inn Old Town is the epitome of SoCal cool combined with modern amenities. The business center, outdoor pool, and hot tub allow travelers to mix business with pleasure, and there is also an airport shuttle for added convenience.
Each morning guests can enjoy a complimentary Bright Side Breakfast before heading out for the day with a waffle bar, yogurt, fresh fruit, and more. Sunny guest rooms include pillow-top mattresses, complimentary Wi-Fi, large flat-screen TVs, and in-room coffee makers, mini-fridges, and microwaves. Suites have separate living areas with pullout sofa beds, and children under age 18 are always free with a parent.
The hotel is located off I-5 and offers underground parking. Less than 10 minutes away from the San Diego International Airport and the historic Gaslamp Quarter, it’s got a great location whether you’re in town for work or leisure.
9. Old Town Western Inn & Suites
If you’re looking for no-frills, budget hotels in San Diego near the Old Town area, one option is Western Inn. Rooms, including an option for larger families with two queen beds and a sofa bed, come with a microwave, small refrigerator, flat-screen TV, and free Wi-Fi internet. Guests receive a free daily breakfast which can be enjoyed on a small outdoor patio or in the breakfast room.
Sure, it’s a little old-looking, and reviews are mixed, but you will pay less than other hotels on this list.
(This is a better low-price alternative to E Z 8 Motel Old Town, which you will see on many lists of Old Town hotels and motels — read the reviews, and you’ll see why it’s not on this list.)
If you want to stay near some major San Diego attractions and save serious money on lodging, then the Old Town Western Inn & Suites can work well. It’s 20 minutes from LEGOLAND California, a five-minute drive to SeaWorld, a two-minute walk to the Old Town Sightseeing Trolley.
Tips for Staying in Old Town San Diego Hotels
In addition to lower prices than you might pay at other San Diego hotels, the location offers other trip conveniences.
As mentioned already, you’re near public transportation but also have access to the hop-on, hop-off Old Town Trolley Tours stop in Old Town. This popular sightseeing tour can take you to Balboa Park, where the San Diego Zoo is located, and to places further afield like La Jolla, the Downtown city center, or even Coronado (the stop is in front of Hotel del Coronado). It’s an easy place to go carless in San Diego.
What are your favorite hotels in Old Town San Diego?