Chula Vista

Make it a multiple destination vacation! Visit Chula Vista which is right next to Mexico. Eat authentic street tacos while enjoying live music. Go fishing and visit the local waterpark. If you want a more laid back vacation, spend an afternoon birdwatching, tour the museums, or enjoy a pleasant picnic.
Chula Vista
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Third Ave Village
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Chula Vista
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Enjoy Music & Tacos in Chula Vista

People Enjoying the Afternoon at Bayside ParkRestaurants and Shops in the Chula Vista Marina

Meaning "beautiful view" in Spanish, Chula Vista truly is something to behold. While residents of this city are already well aware of why it's so beloved, visitors are lucky enough to experience the gorgeous scenery, diverse population, and rich culture for the first time. And the city continues to grow and expand, with plans for new development that will benefit residents and visitors, as well as wildlife.

When spending time here, you can enjoy numerous dining establishments, which exemplify the diversity of the cultural influences in the city. There are also many outdoor areas, including trails perfect for hikers, bikers, and walkers looking to spend some time with nature while on their vacation. The gorgeous weather means there are fun outdoor activities all year long, including events and parades around the holidays and those taking place in the summer months.

While highly amenable to visitors, Chula Vista doesn't offer the same sort of tourist destinations you might be used to. This is a place filled with honest, hard-working people, who take pride in their city and enjoy sharing its best attributes with those from out of town. It is community-oriented, making a great place to visit when traveling with your family.

Chula Vista is only about 15 minutes from both the San Diego International Airport and downtown San Diego making this a great alternate place to stay while visiting San Diego. One big advantage is that the city of Chula Vista is only 10 minutes from San Ysidro border crossing into Mexico making Tijuana a great destination to visit for the day.

Whether spending time here for business or pleasure, you're sure to be impressed with all that Chula Vista has to offer. This guide explains a few of the highlights to look forward to so you can plan the best possible trip, as well as explaining a little bit about Chula Vista's past and where it's headed in the future.

Chula Vista
Why you'll love Chula Vista
Chula Vista is right next to Mexico! Come enjoy tacos and live music, or birdwatching, fishing, hiking, strolling in the parks, shopping, and touring museums.

Trolly Ride with Go Pass!

2-Day Hop-on Hop-off San Diego
Hop-on Hop-off San Diego Trolley
Using your Go Pass, grab a 2 day Hop-on Hop-off San Diego Trolley. The trolley tour takes you through all the most popular areas of San Diego. It's a great way to start your trip and you'll learn where everything around the city is located.
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Local Tips
How much can you save by using the Go Pass?

The Go San Diego Pass is the perfect way to explore more attractions and activities that the area has to offer, all while being cost-efficient.

With the Go San Diego Pass, you can save up to 55% off admission fees at some of the area’s most popular attractions.

Things to Do

Boat Launch
Boat Launch
Jetskiing
Jetskiing
Museums
Museums
Picnic Tables
Picnic Tables
Waterpark
Waterpark

Things to Do in Chula Vista

No matter what time of the year you visit, there is always something to see and do in Chula Vista. The city is known for its many diverse attractions, which entertain visitors young and old.

You'll no doubt want to enjoy the gorgeous San Diego weather during your trip. You can do that in the city's numerous parks and outdoor recreation areas.

Otay Lakes County Park

Otay Lakes County Park is a 78-acre park located on the eastern edge of Chula Vista. It features hiking trails, a playground, picnic areas, a native plant garden, and ample bird watching opportunities.

Rohr Park

If you're a sporting type looking for a place to hone your skills, Rohr Park is the place to be in Chula Vista. Its 59.9 acres is filled with basketball courts, ball fields, soccer fields, and fitness areas. This park also features picnic areas, complete with barbecue grills, gazebos, and walking trails.

Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge

For a more back-to-nature experience, Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge offers a glimpse at the region's native wildlife and plant species. Sweetwater also features a zoo and aquarium, which offers a great learning experience to families. There is also trail access throughout the marshland which leads to a small strip of beach along San Diego Bay.

Local Tips
Looking for a treat?
Visit the Living Coast Discovery Center. Here you can discover all the wildlife that lives in the San Diego Bay from the sharks and rays to the Green Sea Turtles that call San Diego home.

Aquatica

SeaWorld San Diego is more than just a place to check out aquatic animal exhibits, although that is certainly fun. It's also home to Aquatica, SeaWorld's very own water park. Keep in mind SeaWorld San Diego is along Mission Bay Park, just north of downtown San Diego and Aquatica is in Chula Vista.

Spend the day hanging around the poolside on one of the comfortable lounge chairs or check the many thrilling rides and slides, such as Woohoo Falls, which riders go down a high-speed waterslide on an inflatable tube.

North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre

Perhaps you want to check out some live music during your stay. If so, North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre features top bands and other performances, in a scenic outdoor atmosphere. Choose from stadium seating, which allows you to get up close to your favorite performers, or stake out a place on the lawn.

Chula Vista Marina

Chula Vista also offers two separate marinas, one with its very own RV park. If you have a boat, you'll have easy access to the gorgeous San Diego Bay from the Marina and RV Park and California Yacht Marina. The area also offers fishing and whale-watching, as well as numerous dining establishments.

Chula Vista Bayfront Project

Despite the massive growth it has already experienced from its inception to recent years, Chula Vista just keeps on expanding. Plans are underway to renovate 535 acres of undeveloped industrial land into a waterfront area that combines homes, recreation areas, and resorts. There are also plans to create an ecological zone to preserve local wildlife.

The area will also feature ample opportunities for outdoor recreation. Along with parks and walking trails, there are also plans for a Costa Vista RV Resort. This resort will be replete with fun activities for the whole family, including arcades, pools, day spas, and playgrounds.

Visit Tacos el Gordo

Are you looking for an authentic Mexican Taco Shop? You are in luck Tacos el Gordo is the real deal. From street tacos to mulas to sopes this taco shop is the best. There are 2 locations in Chula Vista, one on H Street and the second location on Broadway. Whichever location you choose you are in for a treat!

Shopping & Eating at the Chula Vista Center

No visit to a new city would be complete without shopping like the locals. There are many unique establishments within the city, perfect for picking up souvenirs for loved ones back home or finding something perfect to wear on nights out during your vacation. Chula Vista Center offers ample shopping opportunities, as well as many great dining establishments to keep you satisfied while shopping.

With 74 stores to choose from, you're sure to find just what you're looking for at this beloved mall, which is a hot spot for locals. Jewelry, apparel, and health and beauty items are all available here. There are also a handful of specialty shops, as well as an onsite movie theater showing all the latest releases.

If you're hungry during your visit, be sure to check out one of the numerous eateries. There are casual establishments for on the go meals, as well as sit-down restaurants, perfect for enjoying a meal with your family after a long day of shopping. There are also plenty of places to get snacks, candy, coffee, and other delights to keep you going during the day.

Popular Activities

Belmont Park Ride and Play Pass
Belmont Park Ride and Play Pass
Discounts Available
Learn More
San Diego Air and Space Museum
San Diego Air and Space Museum
Discounts Available
Learn More
San Diego Harbor Cruise
San Diego Harbor Cruise
$28 per person
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The World Famous San Diego Zoo
The World Famous San Diego Zoo
Discounts Available
Learn More

Third Avenue Village

Considered the center for culture and entertainment in Chula Vista, Third Avenue Village, located in downtown Chula Vista, is a pedestrian-friendly community landmark perfect for visitors looking to shop, eat, and relax. While there, be sure to check out:

Talavera Azul

Classic Mexican fare combines with an upbeat ambiance at Talavera Azul. This restaurant serves up breakfast and lunch dishes, including Huevos Rancheros, Mole Chilaquiles, and Divorciados. When planning a visit, be sure to arrive early, as this establishment fills up fast.

Don Pedro Taco Shop

Sometimes you just want some quick and tasty eats in a casual environment. If so, Don Pedro Taco Shop is the place for you. Their authentic dishes include enchiladas with your choice of meat, tacos, burritos, tortas, and sides like rice, beans, and sopes.

Italianissimo Trattoria

Rounding out the tour of international fare, Third Avenue also features Italianissimo Trattoria, a classic Italian eatery with all the charm and quality you would expect from such an establishment. Start your meal with Bruschetta Toscana made from fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, and round it with an entree like Salmone Arrosto. They also provide a robust wine selection so there is something to pair with every dish.

California Sushi

California Sushi offers fresh fish selections prepared by highly trained chefs. However, this sushi offers a little something different thanks to its southwestern influences. Specialty rolls include the Oakland roll, which is composed of spicy mussels, tuna, yellowtail, avocado, and cucumber, or the Jalapeno roll, which is deep-fried crab with jalapeno slices, eel, shrimp, and spicy crab.

Featured Activity

San Diego Harbor Cruise on San Diego Bay at Sunset
San Diego Harbor Cruise
Enjoy this ‘San Diego Top Pick Award’ winner as you set sail on a three level luxury ship providing 360-degree views of San Diego’s scenic beauty. Relax for a 1-2 hour narrated tour, learn about the city from the bay.
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The History of Chula Vista

The first people who inhabited the area that's now known as Chula Vista were the Kumeyaay, who are believed to have settled in the land as long as 12,000 years ago. The first Spanish settlers arrived in 1542, and in 1795 the land became part of Rancho del Rey, which is translated as "The King's Ranch". Ownership changed hands again in 1850 when California officially became part of the United States.

Farming boomed throughout the late 1800s into the 1900s, with lemon trees proving to be a highly lucrative local crop. Chula Vista was integral in the war effort during World Wars I and II, and the increase in factories also caused the city to experience a massive population boom. Today, it remains one of the largest and most vibrant communities within San Diego and is actually San Diego County's second-largest city.

Featured Hotel
Pier South Resort, Autograph Collection
Exterior view, Pier South Resort, Autograph Collection
Beachfront
Beachfront
Families
Families
Surfing
Surfing
4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
By the white sands of Imperial Beach is where you’ll find Pier South Resort. This exceptional hotel is your destination for luxury and comfort.
Prices Starting at $188
Check Availability

Know Before You Go & Tips

Cafes
Cafes
Museums
Museums
Parks
Parks
Shopping
Shopping
Trolley Stop
Trolley Stop

Events in Chula Vista

Chula Vista is also well-known for its many festivals and events. There are festivals devoted to food, salsa dancing, music, and many other interests and activities. Three notable festivals and parades taking place in the city include:

International Mariachi Festival

Honoring the Mexican culture that has had such an impact on Chula Vista as a whole, the International Mariachi Festival celebrates the very best Mariachi performers at this two-day event. Along with the great music, you can also enjoy authentic cuisine and plenty of dancing.

Chula Vista Lemon Festival

Chula Vista celebrates its status at the lemon capital of the world with its annual Lemon Festival. Two separate stages will feature live music, while the craft beer garden has lots of local lemon-themed brews. Attendees are encouraged to wear their brightest yellow attire and participate in the Best Lemon Outfit contest.

Chula Vista Starlight Parade

If you're planning a visit to the area over the holiday season, the Starlight Parade & Children's Faire is a must-attend event. Taking place in December, activities include ornament crafts, holiday-themed games, free pictures with Santa, and free train rides along a real snow hill. Adults are sure to enjoy the winter wonderland as well.

Chula Vista
is Famous For:
Mexico Nearby
Mexico Nearby
Parks
Parks
Sidewalk Cafés
Sidewalk Cafés
Taco Shops
Taco Shops
Known For:
Fishing
Fishing
Hiking
Hiking
Taco Shops
Taco Shops
Waterpark
Waterpark
This Month's Forecast
62℉ / 76℉
Partly Cloudy in June
Jul
66℉ / 81℉
Sunny in July
Aug
68℉ / 83℉
Sunny in August
Sep
66℉ / 82℉
Sunny in September

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