Fodor's Expert Review Western Inn–Old Town

3889 Arista St., San Diego, California, 92110, United States See on Map

It’s nothing fancy, but the Western Inn offers good value in a convenient location on the edge of Old Town, a bit removed from the tourist stuff. Unassuming looks aside, the budget hotel is clean and comfortable, with excellent customer service and a complimentary continental breakfast. From the Western Inn, it’s a 10-minute walk to the trolley station. It’s also a short drive from the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld.

Established in 1769 with nothing more than a fort and a mission, historic Old Town is known as the birthplace of California.


Rooms feature two queen beds and simple furnishings, as well as a mini-fridge, microwave, and coffeemaker. Some rooms feature patios or balconies -- call ahead to request them.

YOU SHOULD KNOW Rooms are on the dated side, but you’re not really staying here for the decor.


Bathrooms are plain but serviceable, with an outside vanity and a shower-bathtub combo.


The reception office features a check-in desk and a cabinet with various sundries for sale.

YOU SHOULD KNOW On-site parking is $10 a day (a steal compared to most hotels in San Diego).


The hotel offers a daily complimentary continental breakfast.


Getting Around

San Diego is easiest explored by car, but public transit is still a doable option. You can catch the San Diego Trolley at the Old Town Transit Center, a 10-minute walk from the Cosmopolitan Hotel. The trolley’s Green Line services Little Italy, Seaport Village, the Gaslamp Quarter, and the Convention Center. Also at the Old Town Transit Center are trains that run north, including the Coaster train, which stops in the coastal communities of Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad, and Oceanside; Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner keeps going north through L.A. and beyond. Right by Old Town, Interstate 5 is a major north-south freeway that connects to other highways.


First things first: Old Town is on the touristy side, including a lot of the restaurants. Also, most of the food is Mexican or Mexican-ish (not a bad thing, if you ask us). But there are a few gems, including the upscale El Agave Restaurant and Tequileria (4-minute walk), which features classy, vibrant traditional Mexican décor. The restaurant serves exquisite regional Mexican fare alongside an extensive selection of high-end tequilas. Casa Guadalajara (5-minute walk) is a casual Mexican option with family-friendly favorites like enchiladas, chimichangas, and chips and guacamole. The tortillas are made fresh twice daily. The décor is loud and the mariachis festive.


You’ll find plenty of places to throw back a drink or two in Old Town. The very popular Café Coyote (5-minute walk), which also serves tasty Mexican food and offers ample outdoor seating, has frosty margaritas and also stocks about 100 tequilas that deserve to be sipped solo. Mariachi bands add to the lively vibe. If you’ve had enough with the agave-based beverages, Old Town Saloon (5-minute walk) is a brick cantina meant to resemble an old cowboy bar where you’ll find stiff drinks and sports on TV.


As San Diego hotels go, the Western Inn is especially easy on the wallet. Clean, comfortable, and known for great service, the hotel is close to Old Town attractions and within easy reach of SeaWorld and the Gaslamp Quarter.


Residential Area


Phones: 619-298–6888;888-475–2353

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