In 1769 Padre Junípero Serra and Gaspar de Portolá established the first Spanish settlement in California overlooking the valley of the San Diego River. Walk up from Old Town along Mason St for excellent views of San Diego Bay and Mission Valley. Atop the hill, Presidio Park has several walking trails and shaded benches. A large cross, made with tiles from the original mission, commemorates Padre Serra.
A flagpole, a cannon, some plaques and earth walls now form the Fort Stockton Memorial, commemorating the fort built when American forces occupied the hill in 1846 during the Mexican-American War. The nearby El Charro Statue, a bicentennial gift to the city from Mexico, depicts a Mexican cowboy on horseback. Nothing remains of the original Presidio structures; the mission was later moved upriver.