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7 Can’t-Miss Experiences

in Mission Valley and Old Town

For those who seek variety in their days, the area between I-5 and I-805 just east of downtown has something for everyone. From Old Town's historical sites to the high-end shops at Fashion Valley Mall, there is no shortage of things to see, eat, and experience. Start with this list and see where Old Town and Mission Valley take you!

By: San Diego Magazine
Bike Rental by Moment Cycles

Tacos and Margaritas at Cafe Coyote

2461 San Diego Avenue

Authentic Mexican restaurants can be found on nearly every block across San Diego, but Cafe Coyote is consistently hailed as one of the best. They’re specifically known for their fresh tortillas made daily, but their open air patio also provides one of the best people watching spots along Old Town’s bustling main drag. Try one of the traditional Mexican plates paired with a margarita, then kick back, relax, and enjoy the view.

Mission San Diego de Alcala

Mission San Diego de Alcala

10818 San Diego Mission Road

You don’t have to be a history buff to be wowed by this stunning California mission. Founded in 1769, Mission San Diego de Alcala was the first Franciscan mission in the area and is still in use today as an active church and cultural center. Tours are offered every weekday, along with daily Catholic Mass services, but non-religious visitors have plenty of options to enjoy as well. Stroll through the magnificent gardens or admire ancient artifacts from the Kumeyaay tribe on display in the mission’s museum.

Old Town Trolley

Old Town Trolley

4010 Twiggs Street

If you want to see as much of “America’s Finest City” as possible, then hop aboard this fully narrated two-hour tour. Start your trip in Old Town and soak in over 100 points of interest along the way. With on and off privileges, guests can disembark at any of the 11 stops during the tour, allowing you the option to craft your own itinerary. Old Town Trolley is a fantastic (and fun) way to experience the best of San Diego.

Get Haunted at the Whaley House

Get Haunted at the Whaley House

2476 San Diego Avenue

This spooktacular stop is a must-see for ghost hunters. The Whaley House has been called the #1 Most Haunted House in the United States by Travel Channel's America's Most Haunted and was designated as an “official haunted house” by the United States Commerce Department over 50 years ago. Naturally, the number of daily tours ramps up around Halloween, but as one of the most visited destinations in the city, reservations are recommended.

Rock Climbing at Mission Trails Regional Park

Rock Climbing at Mission Trails Regional Park

1 Father Junipero Serra Trail

As one of the largest urban parks in the country, Mission Trails Regional Park offers tons of activities for all ages, but one of the most popular options is rock climbing. There’s a climb for all skill levels, but it’s best for intermediate and above climbers. Although San Diego’s year-round perfect weather means outdoor activities are always available, those who prefer a more controlled environment can opt for an indoor experience at the nearby Mesa Rim Climbing & Fitness Center in Mission Valley.

Retail Therapy at Fashion Valley

Retail Therapy at Fashion Valley

7007 Friars Road

With over 200 shops and restaurants to choose from, Fashion Valley is a shopper’s paradise. This sprawling outdoor mall has everything from high-end jewelry stores and beauty outlets to fast-fashion chains, home goods, and more. If you’re feeling fatigued after exploring the 1.7 million square feet of space, take a load off at the 18-screen movie theater or one of the many eateries on premise.

Indoor Skydiving at iFly

Indoor Skydiving at iFly

2385 Camino Del Rio North

Experience the thrill of skydiving without the terror of jumping out of a plane at iFly, one of San Diego’s newest attractions in the heart of Mission Valley. This indoor skydiving arena offers custom options for both single flyers and groups and can be enjoyed by flyers as young as 3 years old. There are basic first-time flyer packages available and group packages based on group size, time, and flight experience.

Explore More Sunny 7 Experiences

Get out and explore more of San Diego’s unique neighborhoods, attractions, and experiences. View more Sunny 7’s here.

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