Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá
10818 San Diego Mission Rd, San Diego, CA 92108, USA
Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona/San Diego Tourism
Mission Basilica San Diego de AlcaláAn active parish of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá remains a tranquil place of worship and reflection. Regardless of your religious beliefs, the first of California’s 21 missions is well worth a visit for its extensive history. It was originally constructed in Presidio Park in 1769 but moved inland to its current site just five years later. Records show that it was the first place in California to cultivate olives; tree cuttings from this mission would later be used to found olive groves at other missions around the state. It’s also home to the grave of Father Luis Jayme, the state’s first Catholic martyr; he was killed when American Indians stormed the mission in 1775 and is now buried next to the altar. Destroyed many times over, the mission was most recently rebuilt in the 1930s, but looks as it would have in the early 1800s.