Dia de Los Muertos Old Town San Diego State Historic Park


Día de Los Muertos: A Community Celebration

Celebrate Día de Los Muertos at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park Saturday and Sunday, October 28 and 29, 2023. Throughout the weekend, visitors can explore the museums to see altares de muertos (altars of the dead) celebrating influential Old Town citizens, participate in hands-on activities, and sign-up for a sugar skull painting workshop (additional material fee). Around the Plaza de Armas, San Diego artists are invited to create art celebrating many communities that have defined “Old Town” over the centuries. Visitors are encouraged to honor lost loved ones by contributing their name to the Community Altar located in the Plaza de Armas in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. 

Saturday, October 28 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. | Sunday, October 29 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 


Movie in the Park

Saturday, October 28 at 7 p.m. San Diego Public Library will be presenting a FREE community showing of Disney Pixar’s Coco in the Plaza de Armas.

This programming is made possible by the State of California’s Arts in Parks program, which is a partnership between the California Department of Parks and Recreation, the California Arts Council and Parks California. Learn more about the Arts in Parks program by visiting artsincaliforniaparks.org.  


Community Altar | Plaza de Armas 

Paper “gravestones” will be provided to write your loved ones names and be placed on the community altar in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. This traditional seven-tiered altar will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, October 28 and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, October 29.

Bilingual Story Time | Plaza de Armas  

Join Odie the Coyote and the San Diego Public Library for bilingual story hour.

19th Century Magic Lantern Shows | Seeley Stable Theatre

Travel back in time with Matt Schnittker for a fantastical Halloween 19th century magic lantern show. Shows are 15-20 minutes.

Hands-On Art | Plaza de Armas 

Altares de muertos (altars of the dead) are works of art that incorporate statuary, seed art, flowers, sugar skulls, hand-cut paper, and more. Learn from California State Park’s how to create Seed Art inspired by traditional seed art found on altare de muertos and cut your own brightly colored papel picado to hang at your altare at home.

Sugar Skull Workshops with Sugar Skull Artist Carolina Celaya | Plaza de Armas 

Making sugar skulls is an indigenous Dia De Los Muertos tradition of Mexico. Decorate a hand-made sugar skull in honor of a loved one who has passed. This workshop is appropriate for all ages. Skulls are for decoration purposes and not for consumption.  This workshop is a $10 material fee.

Art in the Park

California State Parks is honored to showcase the work of five artists at this year's Día de Los Muertos event. Look for these artists throughout the weekend creating live art on site celebrating Old Town San Diego and Día de Los Muertos traditions. 


Katie Bush | Chalk Artist

Principal artist Katie Bush of San Diego chalk Artists has two art degrees and has been active as a professional chalk artist since 2013, branching in to sign lettering and design in 2014. Born and raised in Atlanta, GA, she co-founded the Georgia Chalk Artists Guild. She moved to southern California in 2018.

Katie has experience with traditional chalk, soft pastels, sidewalk chalk, chalk pens, and has developed her own permanent chalk treatment.

When not chalking, Katie loves to cook, read, and practice/teach yoga. Learn more about Katie and her previous work at https://www.sandiegochalkartist.com/.

Belen Islas | Muralist

Belen Islas is an artist, children’s book author, mother, and nature admirer. Belen’s work is influenced by the culturally enriched environment that is California and her feminine experiences as a mother. She believes art has the power to influence minds, touch hearts, and transform lives. Her work is in collections in Mexico, Europe, the U.S. and Latin America.

Learn more about Belen and view her work at https://belenislas.com/.

Isabel García | Muralist

Isabel Garcia is a self-taught, Chicana illustrator, muralist, and painter from Southeast San Diego. Her work consists of various styles of vibrant portraiture and illustration, logos, small and large-scale murals, tattoo design, world-building and character design. Using bright, soft colors lined in thick, dark outlines that capture happy and powerful moments in time, Isabel portrays the people who have impacted her, and aspects and concepts of nature that inspire her.

Isabel advocates for incorporating art in the lives and education of all children from underrepresented communities, much like herself, regardless of who they are or where they are from.

Learn more about Isabel and view her work at www.artbyisbl.com.

Juliet Elise Rodriguez | Muralist

Juliet Elise Rodriguez (b. 2001) is a multidisciplinary visual artist originally from Sacramento, CA. Since 2014, her work has featured in regional art spaces for solo and group exhibitions. Elise studied psychology at Cal Poly Humboldt State University (2019-2021) and relocated to Sacramento to pursue a career in visual art. She has served a vital role in preserving community art practices as a gallerist, muralist and docent. Elise has served as gallery attendant for The Art Bunker, A Space in Between, The Atrium, and Verge Center for the Arts. Her work has featured at The Pacific Art League, Wal Public Market, Sol Collective, and Sac Open Studios.

Learn more about Juliet and her artwork at https://julietelise.wixsite.com/artwork.

Sander van de Bor | Non-Traditional Mediums

Sander van de Bor is an engineer and an artist who blends light and technology in his sculptures and wearables. He works with LED lights, micro-controllers, supercapacitors, and fiber-art to produce works that showcase his interest in nature, science, and art. His sculptures are inspired by natural forms and patterns, such as the Fibonacci spiral found in sunflowers, while his wearables are made to add flair and fun to the human outfit. Sander van de Bor has exhibited his work at various places and occasions, such as the Crocker Museum in Sacramento, the Collide Festival in Stockton, the Textile Museum in San Jose, the Flavor Fest in Stockton, Bay Area Maker Faire in Vallejo, and the Autumn Light Festival in Oakland. He is also a member of Hackaday.io, where he shares his designs and tutorials for making LED sculptures and other electronic projects. He hopes to inspire others to appreciate the wonders of nature and technology, and to use them responsibly and creatively. 

Learn more and view his art at Instagram.com/californiasteam/


Parking is free in all Old Town San Diego State Historic Park parking Lots.

Please note that Lot "F" will be closed. 

Overflow parking is available at the CalTrans Parking Lot located at: 

4300 Taylor Street
San Diego, CA 92110 

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