History and Culture in Mission Valley & Old Town
Many events in history happened here. The area is rich in historical and cultural sites that offer you a look into the past where you can learn about early settlers and what life was like before the modern day.
Not far from Mission Valley is Old Town San Diego, which is the site of the first settlers in the area. You’ll find many museums and historical sites throughout this town.
Whaley House Museum
The Whaley House Museum is another ideal stop for those who love history, located in Old Town. This house was more than a family home. Throughout its lifetime, it’s been a granary, courthouse, commercial theater, general store, ballroom, billiard hall, school polling place and served many other purposes.
The house is an example of mid-19th Century Greek Revival architecture. It also holds the distinction of being California State Historic Landmark #65. Designed by Thomas Whaley, he built the house in 1857. It is a cherished piece of architecture because it was the first of its kind in the city made from all bricks.
Whaley did build the home on a questionable spot. Before its construction, the town would hold public hangings here. This adds to the paranormal rumors about the place. It is on the list of the most haunted places in America and you may have seen it on television or read about it in books.
It was also a place of great sadness for the family. In 1885, a family member died by suicide in the home. Of course, this, too, helps fuel the speculation that it is haunted.
Wells Fargo Museum in Old Town
Moving on, there is the Wells Fargo Museum. Here you can see an original stagecoach, working telegraph, gold presentation and banjo clock. The site also has a replica of an 1800s stagecoach station.
Another nearby historical stop is the Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego. While today, it is a bustling center of activity, it still showcases its wild west roots. This area was home of Wyatt Earp, so you can find tours allowing you to follow his footsteps and get a glimpse into the past.
Mission San Diego de Alcalá
The first of the missions in California Mission San Diego de Alcalá was founded in 1769 still serves as an active parish church and holds mass on every Sunday as well as mass during the weekdays. These masses are open to the public.
Junipero Serra Museum, located in Presidio Park, is a symbol of the city. It gets recognition for being the place where Mission Valley got its start. In 1769, Father Junipero Serra started the first mission here, Mission San Diego de Alcalá, which featured Spanish Revival architecture. Mission San Diego de Alcalá is located on the east end of Mission Valley about 10 minutes from Old Town and Junipero Serra Museum.
If you want a little culture while in Mission Valley, stop and take in a show at the California Ballet Company. This professional classical ballet company puts on shows throughout the year. Some notable shows in the past included the Nutcracker, Cinderella and Noche Latina. Most of the ballet’s performances are at the San Diego Civic Theater in Core-Columbia in downtown San Diego.
There is also another amazing Nutcracker show during the holiday season that is performed at the famous Spreckels Theater also in Core-Columbia in downtown San Diego. This ballet is performed by the local ballet company City Ballet where you will see professional ballet dancers as well as ballet dancers from their ballet school.