Escape the crowded beaches and experience San Diego through a local lens in Valley Center. Nestled beneath the Peninsular Range, this neighbourhood features a lively downtown core and offers easy access to fantastic parks and hiking trails.
Things to do in Valley Center
Palomar Mountain State Park protects a landscape of lush oak forests, flower-filled meadows and crystalline streams. The low elevation keeps the park cool, even in the hot summer months. Stretch your legs on the scenic trails and head to the Palomar Observatory to peer through an enormous Hale Telescope. Doane Pond is well-stocked with trout.
Learn about the unique narrative of the area at the Valley Center History Museum. The museum is packed with family-friendly exhibits, including an impressive taxidermy California Grizzly Bear that stands almost 2.5 metres tall. Other exhibits spotlight the California Gold Rush and Native American culture.
Valley Center is surrounded by prime farmland, with everything from lavender to grapes grown in the fertile soil. Take a guided tour of a local nut farm and try cashews, pistachios, almonds and more. You can also sip your way through the boutique wineries in the area.
Get up close with rare birds and raptors at the Avian Behaviour International Centre. You’ll love hands-on experiences like feeding colourful toucans, playing with parrots and handling owls. The centre is also home to goats, mini donkeys and other friendly farm animals. Nearby San Diego Zoo Safari Park one of the city’s premier attractions. Drive through the 730-hectare park and spot giraffes, rhinos, elephants, cheetahs and other exotic species.
Getting around Valley Center
A rental car offers the freedom to explore Valley Center and visit surrounding sights and attractions at your own pace. The neighbourhood is a one-hour drive from Downtown San Diego and popular beaches like La Jolla and Ocean Beach. San Diego International Airport is a one-hour drive away.