Mission Valley is San Diego's geographic center. It is part of the floodplain of the San Diego River, which was once a major source of fresh water for the area. The Spaniards located the original Mission San Diego de Alcala near the base of Presido Hill, and eventually moved it to its present location in the Valley in 1774.
Major urban development began occurring in Mission Valley in 1958, mostly because of highway improvements. Today it is an urban center of San Diego, and is home to Qualcomm Stadium, Hotel Circle and several major shopping centers and malls.The San Diego River is still an important part of Mission Valley's character. The river travels approximately 52 miles from the mountains of Julian to the Pacific Ocean at Dog Beach in Mission Bay Park.