Fiesta de Reyes
Life is a celebration at Old Town’s Fiesta de Reyes, a flower-filled square inspired by 19th-century Mexican pueblo life.
The pretty plaza boasts 19 specialty shops, ranging from one-of-kind art and jewelry pieces to garden decor, ethnic-inspired clothing, Mexican pottery and an amazing array of Dia de Los Muertos merchandise. Diverse succulents and native trees adorn the beautifully landscaped courtyard, which is also dotted with Mexican folk artwork and informative signage noting San Diego’s history as a cosmopolitan frontier. In the courtyard’s center, colorful Folklorico dancers and mariachi bands take center stage, performing daily for visitors who sometimes come just for the entertainment. The venue also features three distinct restaurants and a 10-room boutique hotel for those wanting to complement their experience. Learn more about Fiesta de Reyes, “Where History Lives and the Fiesta Lasts Forever,” on a walking tour here:
1. Barra Barra Saloon
Behold Old Town San Diego State Historic Park from the patio at Barra Barra Saloon, the first Fiesta de Reyes venue welcoming guests to Old Town, California’s birthplace. As impressive as the Californio Mex fare and extensive tequila list is the period saloon’s furniture and décor, providing the ambiance of a ranch home in Old Mexico. Admire the authentic reproduction collectibles and Mexican artifacts while enjoying delicious seafoods, mouthwatering Mexican barbecue, Indian flatbread tacos and of course, the saloon’s famous frosty margaritas. Families are encouraged to bring the kids, who eat for free every day with a paying adult.
2. Old Town Roasted Nuts
Steps away, the aroma of Old Town Roasted Nuts beckons guests at Fiesta de Reyes’ main entrance. This outdoor kiosk (and delicious snacking experience) features fresh, roasted cinnamon-glazed almonds, cashews, pecans, peanuts and macadamia nuts prepared and roasted on site. Free samples are served with a smile. The stand also offers gift platters filled with mixed nuts for patrons with party plans.
3. Temecula Olive Oil Company
Savor complimentary samples of locally grown and produced gourmet olive oils, vinegars, herbs and spices at Temecula Olive Oil Company, just to the left upon entering the Fiesta de Reyes courtyard. Among the many palate-pleasers are Fresh Blood Orange Olive Oil, as well as the Vanilla & Fig Balsamic Vinegar. The shop also carries other foodie delights such as sea salt, spreads and olives, in addition to olive oil bath and beauty products. The shop, where “olive your dreams come true,” is a must-see for natives and newcomers. Bottles, sampler packs and gift cards are available for purchase.
4. Javier’s Handcrafts
Pick up everything from mariachi figurines to tequila shot glasses at this charming shop, celebrating Mexican culture. A variety of handmade utilitarian items are available, including a good selection of Mexican tiles. Visit Javier’s for unique gifts and collectibles, and perhaps meet Javier himself!
5. Awesome Hot Sauce
Spice things up at Awesome Hot Sauce, blazing the trail in mouth-tingling hot sauces, salsas, mustards, barbecue sauces, and condiments, most made right in San Diego. Customers may sample a variety of spice levels and sauces with different pepper bases, but are advised that they may need to sign a waiver first. The veteran-owned store carries dozens of varieties ranging from mild to hot, hot, hot, including the award-winning Hummzinger, a garbanzo bean-based hot sauce. Guests usually stock up and take home a few bottles (or order online) until they can return!
6. Goldman’s Jewelry & Gifts
Shop for fine jewelry at Goldman’s Jewelry and Gifts, all exquisite and unique. Patrons will appreciate the stunning selection of sterling silver and gold jewelry featuring natural semiprecious stones to diamonds, as well as nautical-themed gift items and glass perfume bottles made by a local glassblower. Many of the pieces, like necklaces, bracelets and earrings, are designed and made by the owner and artist in residence, Susan Young, who has a silversmithing degree from San Diego State University, and who is often on hand to assist with jewelry selection.
7. Old Town Gift Co.
Find all manner of books, postcards, greeting cards, decorative pillows and novelties at Old Town Gift Co. Neatly organized in an intimate space, all the items carried here make ideal souvenirs. Purchase books on the history of Old Town, San Diego’s haunted past, as well as other fun page-turners, and watch for book signings, which are popular store events. From military memorabilia to maritime décor to snow globes and shark teeth, stickers, stamps and more, the shop has fascinating gifts for one and all.
8. Treasures of Mexico
Find a unique selection of artwork and handcrafted items from international artisans at Treasures of Mexico, honoring the country’s rich culture and history. Take note of several fascinating displays like the Javier Servin Ceramics collection, ranging from dinnerware to home décor to jewelry. All of Servin’s creations are shaped by hand and painted to perfection. Also appreciate the intricate designs on various Talavera pottery pieces straight from the city of Puebla and nearby communities in Mexico. Brightly beaded Huichol folk art also graces the store. Huichol artists have a long history of beading, with “modern” beadwork usually consisting of Dia de los Muertos masks, decorative bowls and other items covered in small, colorful commercial beads fastened with wax and resin.
9. The Tile Shop
Browse the extensive selection of affordable tile address markers and letters, as well as Mexican ceramic, Talavera and finely handpainted tiles at the Fiesta de Reyes store known simply as The Tile Shop. The store stocks all types of decorative tiles, such as California Mission tiles, a beautiful collection wth each depicting one of the 21 California missions. Also find tile coasters, cork-backed trivets, hand-carved trays and hand-painted light switch covers. Mini-tiles are also available and make great wedding favors or table decorations. Shipping is available.
10. Fiesta Cocina
Nestled near the back of the Fiesta de Reyes courtyard, Fiesta Cocina is a feast for the eyes. The beautiful Latin-inspired boutique carries traditional and festive products and supplies sure to brighten up any kitchen! The shop sells Mexican vanilla, everyday Talavera pottery with colorful designs, handmade Mexican linens, Guamachil hand-carved and painted wooden bowls, platters and dishes; aprons (women’s, men’s and children’s), cookbooks, tablecloths, and authentic Mexican kitchen tools. Hosting a party? Pick up tortilla presses, papel picado (perforated paper), Mexican candies, chocolates, piñatas and more at this charming place. Fiesta Cocina ships its products worldwide.
11. Casa de Reyes Restaurant
Raise a glass to good company, delicious drinks, and great Mexican cuisine at Casa de Reyes, situated in the back of the Fiesta de Reyes courtyard. Enjoy the lush garden setting, fire pits and a fiesta with lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Daily entertainment ranges from energetic mariachis to historical plays to traditional folklorico dancing. The restaurant serves everything imaginable under the Mexican sun, from burritos, tostadas and tacos to enchiladas, carnitas and tamales. More than just a restaurant, Casa de Reyes is an authentic Mexican experience for all the senses. Drink it all in, including the enormous 58-ounce fish-bowl-sized “El Jefe” margarita, clearly designed to be shared with friends.
12. Nibble Chocolate
Learn about and sample the sweet, handcrafted bars at Nibble Chocolate, the newest edition at Fiesta de Reyes. Nibble’s style of chocolate is known in the business as “bean-to-bar”, and its focus on pure but bold flavors draws comparisons to the way craft beer and artisanal coffee are produced. Made with just two ingredients (organic cocoa beans full of antioxidants and organic cane sugar for sweetness), each of their chocolate bars represent flavors sourced straight from farms in Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Madagascar and Peru. Can’t decide on a favorite? Take home a four-bar tasting flight, the perfect gift for any occasion.
13. Rose’s Tasting Room
Please your palate sampling local wines and microbrews at Rose’s Tasting Room, a warm and inviting family-owned shop next to Nibbles Chocolate at Fiesta de Reyes. Wine and beer selections from San Diego County producers rotate monthly and keep happy customers coming back. Tastes, flights and bottles of red, white and rosé wines, as well as bottles of local craft beers, are available, not to mention an extensive offering of unique gifts and food items. Happy Hour runs from 3-5 p.m. daily (weekends too!) and includes $1 off a glass of wine and $1 off a full pint of beer.
14. Casita Verde
Pick up an imported planter or wind chime at Casita Verde, a home and garden specialty store. Check out the nice selection of garden gift items too, like Mexican-inspired and Southwest-style patio chair pillows, hand-painted vases and all manner of wall art. Casita Verde also boasts the largest selection of fairy garden accessories in San Diego!
15. del Cobre
Admire the hand-hammered copper artwork at del Cobre, an intimate shop that celebrates the fine art of coppersmithing, an ancient tradition among the Indians in the Mexican town of Santa Clara del Cobre. Check out teakettles, plates, pans, bowls, serving dishes and more all cast in copper, and polished for a brilliant finish.
16. Tienda de Reyes
Discover the absolutely largest selection of Dia de Los Muertos merchandise at Tienda de Reyes, also featuring beautiful apparel, colorful jewelry and a wide selection of souvenirs. It’s great fun checking out the trinkets, purses, T-shirts, painted ukuleles and Mexican folk art.
17. Geppetto’s, A Child’s Fantasy
Find classic toys and games at Geppetto’s, a San Diego tradition for over 40 years. The store is Geppetto’s original location. Have fun browsing the shelves stocked with puzzles, games, Rubik’s Cubes, the original boxed Slinky, dominoes, dart boards and even Lincoln Logs! Toy experts can help you find appropriate toys that are entertaining and engaging. Gift-wrapping is complimentary.
18. La Panaderia
Stop in for a sweet treat at La Panaderia, selling baked goods made using early Mexican cooking methods. Locals love this cute corner bakery for its fresh and crispy churros, Latin sweet breads and ice cream. Sit with a cup of coffee or Mexican hot chocolate plus your pastry of choice and, if the timing is right, catch a show in the courtyard’s center stage. The bakery accepts cash only.
19. Silver Lily
Find beautiful sterling silver jewelry including one-of-a-kind designs at Silver Lily, often called “the prettiest store in Old Town.” The shop, owned by silversmith and designer Susan Young, offers a wide selection of beautiful, high-quality, handcrafted jewelry. Choose from fun, elegant, well made and well-priced sterling silver necklaces, bracelets, earrings, including hoops and clip earrings, pendants, rings, charms, chains, rosaries, toe rings and more. Silver Lily’s displays gleam with eye-catching jewelry adorned with semi-precious gems, pearls, Murano Millefiori glass from Italy, druzy and more. Here you will find an excellent selection of pieces with always beloved turquoise, sky blue Larimar found only in the Dominican Republic, and Baltic and Chiapas Amber. Visit Silver Lily and take home an authentic piece of your own!
20. Old Town Jerky and Root Beer
Choose from 45-50 root beer flavors and nostalgic sodas at Old Town Jerky and Root Beer, a salty-and-sweet shop for fans of quirky combinations. Root beer enthusiasts will appreciate brands like Berghoff, Sea Dog, Abita, Dang! That’s Good, Buckin’, Faygo, Waialua, and of course, Dad’s. At this tastebud-tempting shop, root beer floats are always “Buy One Get One Free.” As impressive as the root beer collection is the seemingly endless supply of jerky. More than 100 varieties from the exotic Alligator and Ostrich (for those adventurous enough to try) are offered, as well as traditional Turkey Jerky, Beef and Bacon flavors. Also check out the big bin of assorted bottle caps. Grab a mixed bag of the caps for $1.
21. Old Town’s Most Haunted
On the way out of Fiesta de Reyes, pick up a flyer for a family-friendly ghost experience, courtesy of Old Town Most Haunted. Knowledgeable guides recount numerous tales of Old Town ghosts, ghost sightings, and haunts. More than just an evening stroll, the excursion’s guests are given meters to measure ghostly activity and vortexes around town. Tours are offered year-round and start at 9 p.m. by the water fountain in front of Fiesta de Reyes’ main entrance.
22. The Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant
Stroll through and stay at Fiesta de Reyes’ sister property, the historic Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant, steps from Fiesta de Reyes itself. This restored bed-and-breakfast features Victorian-style bedrooms and baths, private dining rooms (one containing a black-and-white portrait of Juan Bandini, who built the structure as his grand mansion in the 1800s) and a historic saloon, open periodically and offering tasty cocktails. The venue also invites patrons to dine outdoors on the Orchard Terrace or indoors in the more formal Grand Sala while enjoying Mexican favorites, American grill and fresh seafood. Both venues serve lunch and dinner daily and Saturday and Sunday brunch. For a lovely treat, try the Spanish-style afternoon tea, offered on Saturdays.
Located in Old Town
2754 Calhoun Street Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
San Diego, CA 92110
Hours of Operation:
Mon – Thurs: 10 am – 9 pm
Fri – Sat: 10 am – 10pm
Sun: 9 am – 9 pm