Take a Guided Tour of the Historic Whaley House
With plenty of San Diego tours to choose from, why not consider a tour of the historic (and haunted!) Whaley House in Old Town. This is the first two-story brick house built in San Diego and the first mansion.
Built in 1857 from bricks manufactured by its owners very own brickyard, the house was not only home to Thomas Whaley and his family, but it also housed a courtroom rented to the city. The house also served as a general store and the first commercial theatre in San Diego.
The Whaley house is not only a historical holy ground; it is also dubbed as one of the most haunted locations in America. Over 100,000 people visit each year to see for themselves and hopefully encounter a ghostly spirit or two.
Up to four spirits are said to haunt the grounds, including the ghost of Yankee Jim Robinson, who was hanged in 1852 on the site where the house now stands; Thomas Whaley, the owner: his wife Anna; and daughter, Violet, who took her own life on the property after being heartbroken from divorce.
If you are looking for an interactive way to spend time with your kids, or you don’t want a spooky encounter, come during the day. The docents dress in costumes from the time period and provide extensive information about the house, family and town.
My tour guide, Victor Santana, has been giving tours of the Whaley home for over 13 years. He kept the entire group entertained from start to finish. The tour guides are incredibly knowledgeable and like to add their own personal stories about their experiences in the house.
There is also a self-guided tour option where visitors are given a map to roam the house freely. You can see the courtroom, general store, the Whaley’s kitchen, upstairs theatre and bedrooms as well as the immaculate parlor. Picture taking is encouraged although they ask that no video be taken in the house.
Admission before 5 p.m. is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and children ages six to twelve. Children under age six are free. Admission after 5 p.m. is $13 for adults and $8 for seniors and children six to twelve. Kids 5 and under not recommended. The history is fascinating, and the authentic furniture and décor completely take you back in time.
I would personally recommend visiting at night, not only for the ghost stories but simply for the atmosphere. It felt as though the Whaley’s would be returning for dinner at any moment. Personally, I’m glad they didn’t. But who knows, maybe they’ll stop by and say hi to you!
By: Madison Teague