Mission ValleyÂ is a wide river valley trending east-west inÂ San Diego,Â California, through which theÂ San Diego RiverÂ flows to theÂ Pacific Ocean. For planning purposes it is divided into two neighborhoods:Â Mission Valley EastÂ andÂ Mission Valley West.
Mission Valley was the site of the firstÂ SpanishÂ settlement in California, established in 1769.
Mission Valley nowadays serves as an important shopping and entertainment center for San Diego. Some condominiums and apartments can be found in the area as well.
The San Diego River valley was originally called La CaÃ±ada de San Diego. CaÃ±ada in Spanish means gully, ravine, or glen. The name was changed to Mission Valley in the 1860s in reference toÂ Mission San Diego de AlcalÃ¡.
The Mission Valley area was inhabited byÂ KumeyaayÂ Indians for more than 10,000 years.
The first Spanish settlement in present-day California was theÂ Presidio of San DiegoÂ and Mission ofÂ San Diego de AlcalÃ¡, both established in 1769. The Presidio and Mission were located at the western end of Mission Valley, present dayÂ 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.
Until the 1940s Mission Valley remained largely undeveloped, featuring dairy farms and other agricultural activities; the city of San Diego was largely confined to areas south of the valley. After World War II the cityâ€™s expansion began to encroach on the valley.Â The last of the valleyâ€™s dairy farms closed in the early 1960s.
Another early activity in Mission Valley was quarrying sand and gravel from its walls. A large quarry on the north side of the valley was in operation for most of the 20th century. The quarry ceased operation around 2000 and is now the site of the proposed Quarry Falls mixed use development.
The development of Mission Valley began in 1953, when the first hotel was built in what is now Hotel Circle. In 1958 the city council rezoned 90 acres (36Â ha) of the river valley to allow construction of San Diegoâ€™s first regional shopping center. The Mission Valley Center (now Westfield Mission Valley) opened in 1961Â and was followed by several other large regional shopping malls.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the U.S. 80 freeway (nowÂ Interstate 8) was constructed through Mission Valley, further opening the area up for development.
Westgate Park, a baseball stadium for the then-minor-leagueÂ San Diego Padres, was built in Mission Valley in 1957. In 1967 San Diego Stadium (later renamedÂ Jack MurphyÂ Stadium, nowÂ Qualcomm Stadium) was opened and the Padres moved there, becoming a major league team the following year. Westgate Park was razed in 1969 and was replaced by the Fashion Valley shopping center.
Mission Valley serves as a path forÂ Interstate 8Â and is crossed at its mouth byÂ Interstate 5. Both I-8 and I-5 serve as the major east-west and north-south routes respectively, forÂ San Diego. At the Jack Schrade Interchange,Â Interstate 805Â crosses Mission Valley and connects with Interstate 8.Â Interstate 15Â andÂ State Route 163Â also cross Mission Valley and connect with Interstate 8.
The Green Line of theÂ San Diego TrolleyÂ system also runs through Mission Valley. The main hub for buses is located at theÂ Fashion Valley Transit CenterÂ and Mall. Other trolley stations in the valley are found atÂ Morena/Linda Vista,Â Hazard Center,Â Mission Valley Center,Â Rio Vista,Â Fenton Parkway, andÂ Qualcomm Stadium.
Toward the eastern end of Mission Valley lies Mission San Diego de AlcalÃ¡, for which the valley is named. At the southwestern end overlooking the valley isÂ Presidio Park. At the foot of Presidio Hill liesÂ Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, the original site of the town of San Diego. All three attractions are listed on theÂ National Register of Historic Places.
Three major shopping malls located in Mission Valley areÂ Fashion Valley Mall, Hazard Center Mall andÂ 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.
Qualcomm Stadium, home of theÂ San Diego ChargersÂ and theÂ San Diego State University (SDSU) AztecsÂ footballÂ teams, is located in Mission Valley East near the I-8/I-15 interchange. At the outlet of Mission Valley lieÂ SeaWorld,Â Mission Bay, and other San Diego attractions.