Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo discovered San Diego bay in 1542 and Sebastián Vizcaíno returned to map the area in 1602, but it wasn’t until 1769 that the Spanish established a settlement here in San Diego by establishing the first of 21 Spanish missions in Alta California. I guess they didn’t want to rush into things.
The mission is in Mission Valley (go figure) not far from Qualcomm Stadium, and is a small oasis surrounded by modern shops and housing. Once you step behind the whitewashed adobe walls, you step into a serene, contemplative world.
There’s a small gift shop at the entrance where you pay a small suggested donation ($3.00 when I went) for admission to the grounds. You’ll be given a printed interpretive map of the grounds that you’ll use on a self-guided tour of the chapel and other buildings.
While you can probably tour the entire mission in 60–90 minutes, you may find yourself just slowing down to spend time in the chapel or to reflect in the gardens. Because the mission is still an active church with regular services, you may want to check their website to plan the timing of your visit accordingly.
What You Need To Know
Location: 10818 San Diego Mission Road, San Diego, CA 92108
Hours: 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Cost: Suggested donation of $3.00
Click for full-sized photos.