Neighborhood Spotlight: Mission Valley/ Old Town

Discover San Diego’s Neighborhoods with our Summer Sweepstakes. Join us every week as we showcase the best in what to do, where to eat, and where to stay in some of San Diego’s unique neighborhoods. Be sure to check back for exciting insider tips, giveaways, and more! This week’s spotlight is on Mission Valley/ Old Town.

Located in the San Diego River Valley, Old Town has historic significance as the birthplace of San Diego (and some argue of California), and Mission Valley is a centrally-located business and entertainment corridor with a slew of restaurants and outdoor shopping centers. Here’s a list of the top 10 things to do and see in Mission Valley/ Old Town.

Serra Museum located in Presidio Park

  1. Presidio ParkA 50-acre park offer more than two miles of hiking trails in the middle of urban San Diego and views from Mission Valley to the Pacific Ocean.
  2. Serra Museum Located in Presidio Park, the Serra Museum interprets San Diego history during Native American, Spanish and Mexican periods.
  3. Old Town San Diego State Historic Park – Features such historic sites as the main plaza, California’s first public school house, and an 1850 Catholic Cemetery.
  4. Whaley House Museum The number one most haunted house in the U.S., according to the Travel Channel’s “Most Haunted.”

    Heritage Park Village

  5. Heritage Park Village – Features seven restored Victorian homes built between 1887 and 1896.
  6. Old Town boasts two dining, shopping, and entertainment complexes specializing in authentic Mexican cuisine, one-of-a-kind treasures, and live performances: Fiesta de Reyes and Bazaar del Mundo.
  7. Old Town Trolley TourExplore the best of San Diego aboard an Old Town Trolley.  Experience more than 100 points of interest on this hop-on, hop-off tour equally as enjoyable for locals and tourists alike.
  8. Sheriff’s Museum – Captures more than 150 years of San Diego Sheriff’s Department history, providing visitors with a look into early communication, crime scene investigations, search and rescue, and the K-9 unit.

    Fashion Valley

  9. Fashion Valley – An upscale outdoor shopping center with high-end department stores (Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom), specialty retailers (Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton), and a variety of eateries (PF Chang’s, The Cheesecake Factory).
  10. Play a round of golf at one of Mission Valley’s courses, including: Riverwalk Golf Club (host to the PGA Tour in the 50’s and 60’s), Mission Trails Golf Course (a scenic course adjacent to Cowles Mt. and Lake Murray), and Presidio Hills Golf Course (one of the oldest par 3 courses in the nation).

We want you to explore San Diego’s greatest sights aboard the Old Town Trolley. Comment below by Wed. June 22nd at 10:00 am and get entered to win four Old Town Trolley Tour passes. Tell us, where are your favorite places to visit near Mission Valley/ Old Town?

This entry was posted in Attractions, Culinary, Golf & Sports, Insider Tips, Shopping, Tours & Sightseeing and tagged , , , , , , by Courtney. Bookmark the permalink.

About Courtney

I love fashion, Gerbera daisies, and yoga. I recently moved back to San Diego after 10 years of living in LA. I couldn't be more excited to rediscover the best activities, views, food, and more in this amazing city. My husband of two years is my partner in crime (thankfully he loves exploring SD as much as I do).

What would you do on your ideal San Diego Day?

My perfect day would start with a cup of tea (no matter the temperature outside). A breakfast burrito from Pipe's would definitely be in order. Then I'd go for a leisurely bike ride or walk at the beach with my husband. We’d eat sushi for dinner, watch a movie at home, and drink a glass of red wine.

What is your favorite San Diego outdoor activity?

It’s impossible to pick one thing! I love biking, walking, shopping, dining outside.

Do you prefer burgers and beer or linguine and red wine?

Linguine and red wine. Done!

Latest music purchases for my iPod player are…

Josh Tuner, Keith Urban, the Best of Elton John

52 thoughts on “Neighborhood Spotlight: Mission Valley/ Old Town

  1. What a great way to get around San Diego. We’re heading down next week with the entire family for a vacation and will be on the trolley quite a bit.

  2. I love San Diego’s shopping, Walks in Presidio Park, River Walk, Mission Valley shopping and history in Old Town. Have enjoyed dinner at Old Town Mexican Cafe and taken home tortillas made there. I would enjoy taking the Trolley Tour very much.

  3. My children live in San Diego and being from Atlanta, I think San Diego is “heaven on earth.” I cannot ever see it all in the frequent trips I make there…..

    Even so, I think I love Old Towne the best and vote for it!!! along with Hotel del Coronado, Gas Lite, etc…lol….

  4. I love the weather in San Diego. I like walking in the Presidio Park. River walk in Mission Valley and a favorite of our is to eat at Old Town Mexican Cafe when we are in San Diego. Would very much enjoy the Trolley Tour in Old Town!

  5. I am so looking forward to trip to San Diego with my son, we are attending our favorite summer Joni retreat for families affected by disability. Coming from Canada!

  6. Every time we visit San Diego, we MUST go to Old Town. Our goal is to find something new to see each time we go. We can’t leave without fresh “homemade” tortillas!!!!

  7. The kids love to go to Sea World, I love to go to explore Old Town San Diego, that’s my amusement park.

  8. When we lived in SD, I loved to see all the great shopping places in Old Town and Mission Valley. One of my favorites was the pottery stores. When we visit next month, we will be sure to catch the eateries I noted online!

  9. We’re visiting SD in early August for the first time and Old Town is on our list of ‘must do’ activities. A trolley ride sounds fun!

  10. I’m new to SD and would like to experience all SD has to offer. So excited to share this wonderful city with my son who is visiting from out of state.

  11. I love taking my kids to the different shops in old town to see the culture there and enjoy the food. I have lived in San Diego my whole life there is always something to do and see. In Mission Valley there is so much to do and see shopping food and entertainment. I love San Diego. I would never want to live anywhere else.

  12. My family will be visiting San Diego in July. After the long winter we’ve had, we can’t wait for some sea, sun, and surf!

  13. Because I no longer live there, it is ALL beautiful to me whenever we visit. I remember when there was no Mission Valley or Fashion Valley shopping malls!

  14. Our family will be vacationing in San Diego for the first time next month and have been told Old Town is a must.

  15. I grew up in San Diego. Many family picnics to the Presidio. My husband could never figure out why San Diego was Home until he experienced it with me 30+ years ago. For 30+ years he is the Zoo, the Museums, the Trolley (and tours), the Wharf but most of all he has learned it is Old Towne. Food, drinks, shopping, people and history.

  16. I remember visiting my friend Connie and going to the shops and having buttered tortillas in Presidio Park. She lived near there. We attended Roosevelt Junior High School together in 1961.

  17. Two stops whenever friends come to visit are Old Town and the zoo. I have been shopping at Fashion Valley for 20+ years. Old Town Tours is a great way for locals and visitors alike to see all the sights in San Diego.

  18. We love old town and looking through the shops. We also love the historic buildings and we have ease-dropped on tours going on in old town and love hearing of its history. A great place to spend the day! We would enjoy taking the trolley tour just to learn more information and history. We love San Diego!

  19. I miss San Diego & my Father…need to win this so I can come back – it’s been too long !!
    Karen in Nashville !!

  20. Every time we have Family or Friends visit there are two places we go – the San Diego Zoo & Old Town … always have a good time

  21. I am getting ready to move to San Diego and can’t wait to explore the city. This would be the perfect way!!


  23. I have been going to Presidio Park since I was a little girl in the 50’s….from our family reunion when I was 3, a Girl Scout fair when I was 7, to the love-in when I was 17. Fishing on the San Diego River at Ferrari’s dairy…catching my first bass. San Diego holds so many good memories! I love my hometown!

  24. I luv old town. Best Mexican food and margaritas at cafe coyote. I bring all my out of town guests on trolley tour to see all the best spots. We start tour at old town to be able to enjoy the atmosphere. Fashion valley has best stores and different food venues

  25. I love walking thru Presidio Park, its so peaceful and beautiful, but I happen to love Fashion Valley Mall too.

  26. I worked in Old Town for the “Fiesta 200” in 1969 and have great memories of that summer in Old Town!!!

  27. Old Town is my favorite place to be in SD. The Marriott and Hacienda are great places to stay, and the food is amazing and the history is so interesting.

  28. It is going on 2yrs that I have lived in San Diego and I am still discover what an amazing place I live in. So it would be great for an opportunity to explore more of San Diego. I always invite friends/family from Denver to visit and this will help me show them some new places.

  29. I love exploring Old Town and its shops and restaurants. Whenever I have visitors from out of state, I take them on a tour of Old Town. It always gets rave reviews!

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