San Diego is known as America’s Finest City for a reason. It’s mild climate, must-see attractions, and culture help it to live up to its name. If you happen to visit San Diego around Halloween or anytime for that matter and want a little scare, be sure to visit to one of these five locations and uncover why San Diego is surprisingly one of the nation’s most haunted cities.

haunted places in san diego

The Old Point Loma Lighthouse

Over 200 years old, The Old Point Loma Lighthouse stood watch over the entrance to San Diego Bay for 36 years. At dusk on November 15, 1855, the light keeper climbed the winding stairs and lit the light for the first time. It seemed to be a good location 422 feet above sea level, however, low clouds often obscured the light. On March 23, 1891, the light was extinguished, and the lighthouse decommissioned.

Many have held to the belief that they have personally witnessed heavy footsteps emanating from the upper rooms of the lighthouse. Other accounts have come from guests who have felt extreme drops in temperature mostly felt at the entry landing that leads up to its spiral staircase.

A number of ghost hunters believe the spirit of the famed Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo lives here, waiting to transition to the other side. Others say that the lighthouse’s final light keeper, Captain Robert Decatur Israel returned after his death, watching over his beloved lighthouse, and keeping his eye on all who venture inside.

Today, the Old Point Loma Lighthouse still stands watch over San Diego, sentinel to a vanished past. Situated in the Cabrillo National Monument, it is now open to the public as a museum.

haunted places in san diego the cosmopolitan hotel

The Cosmopolitan Hotel

Built in 1829, the Cosmopolitan Hotel was originally designed to be a home for Don Juan Bandini, a cattle rancher who was said to exemplify Mexi-Cali culture from that era. Cattle ranching was his livelihood and served to make him quite wealthy.

After the United States wrested control of California from Mexico in the 1840s, his wealth and health faded. In 1859 he sold his beloved home in an effort to pay off debts and died just months thereafter.

Ysidora (one of Bandini’s three daughters) passed away in 1897, and it is believed that hotel rooms four, five, and 11 are haunted by her spirit. Room 11 in particular is said to see the most mischief, with lights turning on and off, items moving around, and doors opening and closing at will.

The Cosmopolitan still operates as a hotel and a restaurant in Old Town San Diego.

William Heath Davis House

William Heath Davis House

Built in 1850 by William Heath Davis, this historic house is the oldest structure in what is now downtown San Diego, but ironically, Davis was never an actual resident of the house.

Among the residents that did live in the house were Alonzo Horton, the founder of San Diego, and his wife Sarah, a German Spy along with others whose spirits are believed to still be lingering about. There were also numerous deaths that occurred during the ten years the building served as a hospital. One of the home’s most eminent spirits is that of an unknown Victorian woman, who has appeared many times in front of visitors. Lights have been known to turn off and back on again – even when the house was not yet wired for electricity and only used gas or coal oil lamps. Each evening the interior lights are turned off before the security alarm is set, yet many mornings a light in a back room is found mysteriously turned on.

If you’re feeling brave, you can tour the Davis-Horton House. Their programs serve as educational tools that allow the Foundation to fulfill its mission of preserving the architecture, culture and history of the Gaslamp Quarter, while sharing San Diego’s amazing heritage along the way.

The Whaley House

The Whaley House

It is known as America’s #1 Most Haunted House and for good reason. The Whaley House gets its name from the residence’s previous owners, the Whaley family. Built for them back in 1857, the famous mansion has a dark past riddled with death, suicide and mystery. One of the more popular San Diego attractions, the Whaley House is visited by thousands of tourists each year.

The Whaley House has functioned as a multitude of services – it was once the city’s courthouse, San Diego’s first commercial theater and a general store. But the time between such endeavors was burdened with sadness and turmoil.

While several spirits are regularly seen, one is thought to be the lovely Violet Whaley, who killed herself after being ostracized by society for her divorce. Depressed and humiliated, the Whaley’s 22-year-old daughter shot herself in the chest with her father’s gun. Other ghosts include Yankee Jim Robinson who was convicted of grand larceny and hanged on the site where the house now stands. Unexplained sounds and shadows and more unusual events continually occur at the Whaley House, drawing in visits from ghost hunters across the world.

Today the Whaley House serves as a museum that is open to the public. There, people can get a first-hand look at the house that was meant to be the Whaley’s forever home.

Hotel del Coronado

Hotel del Coronado

The most famous ghost in San Diego is at Hotel del Coronado, a historic hotel that opened in 1888. Kate Morgan has haunted the hotel since 1892, the year she checked in and awaited the arrival of her husband. The 2 were traveling con artists. Her husband never showed up and, 4 days later, the hopeless (and pregnant) Kate was found dead at the bottom of an outdoor staircase leading to Coronado Beach, with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Her ghost is often seen both in the hotel and on the beach.

In case you’re curious and/or want a scare, Kate stayed in Room 3327 (formerly Room 3312). That’s not the only creepy spot. So is Room 3519 (formerly Room 3502): Once a maid’s room, it has been the site of numerous paranormal occurrences, such as objects moving around by themselves.


Unwind with Haustay

After your ghost tour, it is time to take a deep breath and find a place to relax and unwind. Check out Haustay’s properties for a comfortable and scare-free stay.

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