Mission Valley is a wide river valley trending east-west in San Diego, California, through which the San Diego River flows to the Pacific Ocean. For planning purposes the city of San Diego divides it into two neighborhoods: Mission Valley East and Mission Valley West.
Mission Valley was the site of the first Spanish settlement in California, established in 1769.
Mission Valley currently serves as an important shopping and entertainment center for San Diego. Several condominiums and apartments can also be found in the area.
The San Diego River valley was originally called La Cañada de San Diego. Cañada in Spanish means gully, ravine, or glen. The name was changed to Mission Valley in the 1860s in reference to Mission San Diego de Alcalá.
The Mission Valley area was inhabited by Kumeyaay Indians for more than 10,000 years.
The first Spanish settlement in present-day California was the Presidio of San Diego and Mission of San Diego de Alcalá, both established in 1769. The Presidio and Mission were located at the western end of Mission Valley, present day Old Town, where the valley opens out into the flood plain of the San Diego River. In 1774 the Mission was moved to its present location at the eastern end of Mission Valley because of better access to fresh water for drinking and farming.
Toward the eastern end of Mission Valley lies Mission San Diego de Alcalá, for which the valley is named. At the southwestern end overlooking the valley is Presidio Park. At the foot of Presidio Hill lies Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, the original site of the town of San Diego. All three attractions are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Three major shopping malls located in Mission Valley are Fashion Valley Mall, Hazard Center Mall and Westfield Mission Valley. Many other commercial developments can be found in the valley as well, including smaller shopping plazas, auto malls and vocational schools. The frontage roads parallel to Interstate 8 west of Highway 163 are named Hotel Circle North and Hotel Circle South, for the many hotels and motels located on them. The frontage roads east of Highway 163 are called Camino del Rio North and Camino del Rio South.