Valley Center is a census-designated place (CDP) in North San Diego County, California. The population was 3,277 at the 2010 census.
Valley Center was the site of the capture of the largest California Grizzly Bear in history. In 1866, a grizzly weighing 2,200 pounds was killed in the area. Although the town had been settled in 1845 and homesteaded in 1862, it had no formal name until the famous 1866 bear incident. The notoriety surrounding the event gave Valley Center its original name of Bear Valley. The name was subsequently changed to Valley in 1874, to Valley Centre in 1878 and, finally, to Valley Center in 1887. An exhibit of the bear is on display at the Valley Center History Museum.Valley Center Historical Society celebrated 150 Years of Valley Center in 2012. Valley Center, was settled shortly after President Lincoln signed the Homestead Act on May 20, 1862. Celebrations were held throughout the year of 2012, with the main event during the annual Western Days weekend.