One of the early Mexican settlements in San Diego was a military installation, now Presidio Park (2811 Jackson St., 619/692-4918).
The Junípero Serra Museum (2727 Presidio Dr., 619/297-3258, daily 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m., adults $5, seniors $4, children $2) sits inside the park, on the spot where Father Junipero Serra and Captain Gaspar de Portola established the Presidio fort. Its collections include housewares, artifacts, and a cannon from the Mexican occupation through the early California period of San Diego  through 1929.
If you prefer nature with your history, take a stroll along the more than two miles of trails winding through the acres of gardens and wild areas of the park. Palm Canyon  features lawns surrounded by stately old palm trees.
The Arbor has a more formal garden feel, complete with pillars and flowers. It’s hard to believe as you wander the charming parkland that you’re on the site of a former military base.