If this isn’t your first visit to San Diego, you already know that one of the best things about Mission Valley is Hotel Circle. Mission Valley runs on either side of Interstate 8 between Interstates 5 and 15, which gives it the great advantage of being central to anywhere you want to go in San Diego. You’ll find everyone from families to soccer teams to business professionals staying at these popular, centrally located hotels. Mission Valley is also home to the San Diego Chargers’ Qualcomm Stadium, some of the best shopping and dining in the city, and a beautiful, albeit challenging, golf course. Let Mission Valley’s prime location serve as Mission Control for your next San Diego vacation.
Mission Valley History
For more than 10,000 years, the Kumeyaay Indians called the area that is now Mission Valley home. Originally referred to as La Cañada, the valley was renamed Mission Valley in 1774, after Mission San Diego Acalá was moved from near Presidio at the west end of valley closer to fresh water at its eastern end. You can still visit the active Mission on San Diego Mission Road. The verdant valley was dotted with dairy farms by the 1940s, before succumbing to urban sprawl. The construction of Interstate 8, Mission Valley Mall, and the San Diego Padres’ Westgate Park, along with the growth of Hotel Circle in the fifties and early sixties spelled the end for the rural nature of the valley. Today, Mission Valley is a dining and entertainment mecca in its own right with easy access to every major attraction in San Diego.
Mission Valley Highlights
Qualcomm Stadium is a 70,000-seat multi-purpose stadium now predominately used by the San Diego Chargers since the Padres moved to their new digs at Petco Park in East Village. The aging facility, located off Interstate 15 at Friars Road, has been witness to great milestones over the years including Willie Mays’ 600th career home run in 1969. Two World Series and two Super Bowls have been played at “The Murph,” nicknamed for sportswriter Jack Murphy who initiated the original push for a stadium. Besides Chargers games, Qualcomm Stadium also hosts San Diego State University games, and two annual college bowl games, the Holiday Bowl and the Poinsettia Bowl. There are year-round events going on at the stadium like craft beer festivals, concerts, live legal street car racing, and more. Check their website to see what’s happening while you’re here. If you happen to score NFL tickets for a Chargers’ game, it’s best to take the trolley to the game and avoid the extraordinary congestion and parking headaches of game day.
Shopaholics will appreciate the convenience of two shopping malls located near Hotel Circle; Fashion Valley Mall on Friars Road and Mission Valley Mall on either side of Mission Center Drive. Fashion Valley is the more upscale of the two with four luxury anchor stores; Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom’s, and Macy’s. You’ll find a diverse selection of other high-end stores from Tiffany’s to Hermes to Armani Exchange. Dine at one of dozens of restaurants or take in a movie at the 18-screen AMC Fashion Valley Theater. Anchor stores at the older Mission Valley Mall East include Nordstrom Rack, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Target, and Sport Chalet. There is a 20-screen theater at this mall too. Don’t forget Mission Valley Mall West on the other side of Mission Center Road. You’ll find a Bev-Mo liquor store there with everything imaginable, if you need to stock up the hotel room. There’s also a Gordon Biersch for a tasty lunch, or a post-shopping craft beer.
Riverwalk Golf Course is just minutes from Hotel Circle. The 27-hole course provides a serene and welcome getaway in the middle of bustling Mission Valley. Rolling green hills, mature trees, and several water features combine to make this a beautiful and challenging course. The reasonable green fees add to the allure, plus special rates for seniors, online booking, and twilight and early bird tee times. The course is designed in three nine-hole configurations; there are plans to reduce the course to 18-holes soon. They offer a lighted practice range and putting greens at night. Fine-tune your game even more at Stadium Golf off Interstate 15 at Aero Drive. Located on the northeast edge of Mission Valley, Stadium Golf Center & Batting Cages is a longtime favorite of locals. You’ll enjoy a range of services including putting greens, a driving range, golf lessons, club fitting, and award winning golf shop, batting cages, and more.
Mission Valley Things to See and Do
Hotel Circle is a draw in itself to those vacationing in San Diego. Tourists use the central location of this hotel hub as a jumping off point to explore the many attractions of America’s Finest City. You’ll find a lot of quality hotel franchises here like Double Tree, Residence Inn, Howard Johnson, and more. If you’re looking for an independent hotel, you may want to stay at Handlery Hotel and Resort on Hotel Circle North. When Harry Handlery established the resort hotel in 1928, his vision was, “To have every guest not question why they stayed here, but to question why they didn’t stay here before.” It’s affordable luxury in a central location; check it out their It’s Included no resort fee package.
Mission Valley is the perfect place to fill in your down time between San Diego attractions. You won’t even have to leave Hotel Circle for an amazing breakfast at Adam’s Steak n Eggs. Travelers rave about the steak and eggs, huevos rancheros, handmade chorizo, corn fritters, and Bloody Marys. Hunter’s Steakhouse, also in Hotel Circle, has been a favorite with the locals for 40 years; the prime rib at this fine dining legend is unbeatable. If you’re a Dave & Buster’s Restaurant Bar and Arcade fan, you are in luck. There is one in Mission Valley located at nearby 2931 Camino del Rio North for all the family fun you can handle. Take in a college or NFL game, play a round of golf, shop, or improve your golf and at bat swings. Bike or hike nearby Mission Trails Regional Park; take in the epic views from the nature center. It’s also a quick trip to the beaches, Old Town, SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo, or anywhere else you want to be.