Calhoun Street near Juan Street,
The best way to introduce a newcomer to the Old Town State Historic Park is to take one of the free one-hour guided tours given at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. daily. But if you're tour-averse or you don't happen to be there at the right hour, the Seeley Stables stands out as a way of tasting local history. The building is a restoration of one constructed in 1869 next to the former Cosmopolitan Hotel (now the Casa de Bandini restaurant), and today it houses Roscoe E. Hazard's collection of stagecoaches and other horse-drawn vehicles. The mere presence of these conveyances -- some lumbering, some graceful -- does much to evoke the past, plus there are informative displays explaining local stagecoach history. If the taste whets your visitor's appetite, the Casa de Estudillo, a social and political center of the city during California's Mexican and early American period, is across the street.