The Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala was the first church established in California. Founded in 1769, the mission was the first of the Spanish missions built by Father Junipero Serra. Originally sited on the hill above the harbor that is now the Serra Museum, the mission was moved six miles up the valley about five year later. The move was to find better water and better land for crops. The new site was on the San Diego River and was close to the Indian villages.
In 1775, the Indians revolted and burned the mission to the ground. Fr. Serra rebuilt it on the lines of an army fort. The mission was secularized in 1834 and served several other purposes until returned to a school for the Indians in 1892.? Restored in 1931, the mission is an active parish church in addition to a living history museum.
In addition to the church there is a small museum that explains the area and its inhabitants from the Indians through the Spanish period. There is also a well-stocked gift shop.