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Eat, shop, golf and play like a local with these ten things to do easily within reach of San Diego's Mission Valley.
Family-friendly and affordable accommodations, easy transportation access and close proximity to almost all of San Diego's best attractions means Mission Valley is positively in the middle of it all!
Cinco de Mayo, Dia de los Muertos, historical tours, ghosthunting, theater, unique specialty shops, and tequila tasting at the Old Town Tequila Factory are all part of the Old Town experience! Take in the area's history by visiting 17 museums and historical sites including the Whaley House, a historical landmark on San Diego Avenue that has been named in the Travel Channel's America's Most Haunted list. Pick up a unique gift at Bazaar del Mundo's colorful shops from handmade items to books to sugar skulls. Follow the sounds of mariachi bands and smell of fresh handmade tortillas to a variety of authentic Mexican restaurants, including the visitor and local favorite, Cafe Coyote. Make a night of your journey back in time by booking dinner and a say at the historic Cosmopolitan Restaurant & Hotel, located in the heart of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Cruise on down to Mission Beach's Belmont Park, an oceanfront amusement park that first opened its doors in 1925. From arcade games to mini golf and rock climbing, make Belmont Park your playground for a day of fun in the sun. Throw your hands in the air and ride the Giant Dipper, the oldest wooden coaster on the West Coast. On the boardwalk, Draft offers over 60 brews while restaurants like Cannonball allow you to sip on a cold drink while you take in ocean views.
Enjoy a hike, picnic, or an educational journey atop the iconic hill once occupied by the first Alta-California Mission. Featuring displays about the city's founding, the Junípero Serra Museum was built in 1925 and is operated by the San Diego History Center. Today, the museum in Presidio Park houses artifacts of early California life and offers beautiful vistas where visitors can take guided tours to explore a plaza, stables, jail, chapel, and commander's house of years past.
Just a few miles from the heart of San Diego, make it a play date and explore over 3,700 animals of more than 650 species and subspecies at the San Diego Zoo! Open 365 days of the year, visit the habitats of animals like polar bears, tigers, alligators, and more. Learn about Southern California's landscape millions of years ago through the Elephant Odyssey and take a bushwalk with the koalas of the Australian Outback. Schedule a unique animal experience during Play Days and get a bird's eye view of the zoo from the Skyfari. With popular seasonal events like Jungle Bells, visit to find out why it's been named Trip Advisor's Best Zoo in the World.
There's something new to cheer about beyond the San Diego State University football team's on-the-field success: Aztec Stadium, the 35,000-seat venue that will serve as the program's home when it opens in September 2022. The stadium is the cornerstone of SDSU Mission Valley, a multifaceted development built on the site of the old Qualcomm Stadium. The project will include a 400-room hotel, 40,000 square feet of meeting space, retail outlets, recreation areas and much more.
We hope you brought an extra suitcase! Treat yourself to a day in the sunshine at Fashion Valley Mall among San Diego's finest collection of stores, from department to designer and everything in between. Fashion Valley is a popular San Diego destination, meeting every budget, style and taste. Apart from shopping, the mall also hosts community events, a movie theater and many restaurants.
Meet on the green! Riverwalk Golf Club's 200+ acres, four lakes and the San Diego River make for scenic views and strategic diversity for golfers of all abilities. The 27 holes of magnificent golf, superb amenities and outstanding service have earned it recognition among the region's premier semiprivate golf courses. Conveniently located off of the 8 Freeway and by Hotel Circle, prepare yourself for an unparalleled golfing experience.
Don't miss a trip to the first of California's 21 missions nestled in the heart of Mission Valley! Home to San Diego's original Padres, Mission San Diego de Alcala was founded in 1769 by Father Junípero Serra. The beautiful site boasts tranquil gardens and fountains, a 46-foot-tall bell tower with its distinctive 5 bells, along with a museum and gift shop. Today, the rebuilt and restored mission stands as an active Catholic parish and a must-see when visiting San Diego.
With one outstanding restaurant after another sitting side by side, offering unique and memorable cuisine from different countries, India Street in Mission Hills is home to San Diego's International Restaurant Row! Dating back to the 1890s when it was called Five Points, International Restaurant Row is now a popular hub for foodies with restaurants like San Diego Magazine's Best Sandwich Award winner, Rubicon Deli, Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill, Shakespeare Pub & Grill and the famous El Indio Mexican Restaurant. This neighborhood is more than just a dining destination, the Wine Vault and Bistro is a local secret and offers a variety of Californian and Mexican wines. End an evening laughing at The National Comedy Theatre, where the audience inspires improv comedic performances.
Cowles Mountain is no secret to San Diego hikers! The highest point in the city, a 1.5 mile climb to the top rewards you with 360-degree views including the downtown skyline and the Coronado Bridge. Located within Mission Trails Regional Park, spend a morning or afternoon hiking along the wildflowers. Described as a moderate difficulty hike due to its incline, we recommend an early morning hike to avoid large crowds of people and dogs on the trail. From the summit, overlook San Diego, Lake Murray and the Pacific Ocean.
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