Robert Arends

Affordable Mission Valley – Where to Play and Stay!

View From Cowles Mountain

I’m on a “mission” (pun intended ūüėČ ) to find the most affordable sights, bites and places to stay in Mission Valley¬†and share them with you for when you visit San Diego.

Find out how to win a stay in San Diego when you finish reading this post!

Mission San Diego de Alcala

Did You Know - Mission San Diego Alcala is one of four missions in San Diego County

Mission San Diego de Alcala in Mission Valley

Mission San Diego¬†de Alcala, the first in a chain of 21 Alta California missions, is our first stop. For only $3 you can visit¬†a small museum brimming with artifacts from the mission‚Äôs early years. It’s pretty cool and surreal being able to step back into time to the 1770s ‚Äď especially with so¬†much modern development in the valley now. Also be sure to check out the quaint chapel, padre’s quarters and stroll through the beautiful gardens, including a cool archeological dig!

Where: 10818 San Diego Mission Rd., San Diego, CA 92108
> Find out more about the Mission San Diego de Alcala

Mission Trails Regional Park

Mission Trails Regional Park

Mission Trails Regional Park

Just down the road is Mission Trails Regional Park, one of the nation’s largest urban natural parks covering over 6,005 acres and featuring 42 miles of scenic trails for hiking, mountain biking, birding and rock climbing. Best of all: it’s¬†Free¬†– everything! – including free guided nature walks every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 9:30 AM. Stop by the Visitor Center to get the lay of the land.

View From Cowles Mountain

A fantastic view from the top of Cowles Mountain

My favorite spots are the historic Old Mission Dam on the San Diego River and Cowles Mountain where you’ll be rewarded with spectacular 360 degree views of all of San Diego from its 1,592 foot peak!

The San Diego River

San Diego River flowing through Mission Vallley

San Diego River flowing through Mission Valley

Running through Mission Valley is the¬†picturesque¬†San Diego River. It‚Äôs sometimes hard to find through all the condos and shopping centers, but it‚Äôs there. Pedestrian/bicycling paths can be found¬†along the Mission Valley Greenway between Texas Street and Hazard Center. There’s also urban kayaking,¬†for¬†the more¬†adventuresome!

Mission Valley Eats

If you’ve worked up an appetite, at Mission Valley Center the popular new Broken Yolk Caf√©¬†is perfect for breakfast or brunch (recommend the eggs benedict and hash browns). Nearby Pho’ Cali serves up some of the¬†tastiest Vietnamese beef noodle soups. And for dinner, local¬†favorite Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza is yummy, as is Oki Ton Japanese Bistro, one of the best sushi bars in town!

Tiki Oasis in the Heart of San Diego

Tiki Oasis art at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Mission Valley

Tiki Oasis art at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Mission Valley

If you’re looking for a place to rest your head at night, look no further than Hotel Circle North and South dotted with numerous affordable motels, hotels and resorts. My personal fav is the tiki oasis known as Crowne Plaza Hotel (formerly the Hanalei).

Back in the day it was much more tiki-fied, but remnants remain and it‚Äôs a hoot to spot Polynesian artifacts in the lobby and pool areas. The Crowne Plaza, BTW, is the site of¬†14th¬†annual Tiki Oasis festival on August 14-17. I’ll be there! ūüôā

Getting Around

Tip: To see all of Mission Valley in one fell swoop, catch a ride on the San Diego Trolley’s scenic Green Line which hugs the San Diego River.¬†It only costs $2.50 ($5 for a day pass), with¬†convenient stops at¬†Mission Valley¬†Center and Mission San Diego.

See you in Mission Valley – in the middle of it all!

Mission Possible: Stay and Play in San Diego Sweepstakes

Mission Possible: Stay and Play in San Diego Sweepstakes

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to stay and play in the heart of San Diego.

Enter for the chance to complete this mission with two nights at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley, two tickets to a San Diego Padres game, meals at DEN restaurant, and two San Diego Trolley passes.

Just steps from the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley’s central location, the Rio Vista Trolley Station makes it a breeze to visit some of the best of San Diego offerings including Petco Park, Old Town, Gaslamp Quarter and the Embarcadero.

The entry page will self destruct on Monday, 9 June 2014, at 10:00 AM.

> Enter Now

Maren

All Aboard! Live Music on the San Diego Trolley

[youtube http://youtu.be/TL7Rlkw2osE]

Looking for live music in San Diego? From the famed Belly Up in Solana Beach to the House of Blues in Downtown, San Diego has everything from international headliners to local favorites performing at venues throughout town. See up-and-coming favorites at the Casbah, enjoy an evening of music under the stars at Humphreys Concerts by the Bay, or catch an acoustic show aboard the San Diego Trolley.

[youtube http://youtu.be/3MY108ghf8Q]

You heard right! Breaking through the fourth wall of traditional musician/audience relationships is A Trolley Show, which not only brings bands such as Iration, Youngblood Hawke and The Silent Comedy to perform in the uncontrolled and unregulated performance environment of San Diego’s public transit system, but produces a video of each performance, come what may, to share with the world via the internet.

[youtube http://youtu.be/6ZaMbex0c_E]

While musical busking on public transit has been around as long as the transit systems themselves in cities such as New York City and San Francisco, San Diego’s public transit has a relatively adolescent and undefined performance culture. In this environment, the¬†A Trolley Show removes live music from its culturally accepted place on the stage and brings bands that typically sell out traditional venues to the San Diego Trolley, not to busk, but to perform for an unwitting audience and let the cameras roll. I only hope I can be a pleasantly surprised¬†audience member¬†on my next trolley trip.

> Listen to more Live Music in San Diego

Tell us in the comments below, who would you like to see play aboard the San Diego Trolley?