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Getaway Guide: Chula Vista

Getaway Guide: Chula Vista

Chula Vista, California is a great place to escape to on the weekend! Check out this fun itinerary for your next trip.


4 min read

January 04, 2022

Located just seven miles from Downtown San Diego, Chula Vista is celebrated for its genuine Mexican cuisine, burgeoning art community, and abundant outdoor pursuits. As the second-largest city in San Diego County, Chula Vista is rapidly carving out a unique identity for itself. Highlights include Aquatica by SeaWorld, the largest water park in San Diego, blockbuster concerts at the North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre, and a plethora of dining spots that promise to satisfy your culinary cravings. However, the invitation extends beyond these well-known attractions; delve deeper to uncover the city's hidden treasures.

As the second largest city in the San Diego metropolitan area, Chula Vista was inhabited by the Kumeyaay before contact from the Spanish.

Day 1


As you make your way from San Diego, Chula Vista begins to unveil a more nuanced character than you might first expect, a discovery that starts to unfold right outside your car window. This city presents a rich tapestry that melds its natural assets, cultural diversity, and a progressive outlook seamlessly. Spanning 560 acres of parkland from the San Diego Bay to the glistening edges of Lower Otay Lake in its eastern countryside, Chula Vista promises an exceptional outdoor adventure that you're on the verge of experiencing.

But first thing’s first—you need to drop your bags off and maybe shower real quick. The Comfort Inn provides you with that and a great deal more. Located within close proximity to all the popular points of interest like Old Town San Diego, Coronado Island, and the Chula Vista Water Park, the hotel boasts spacious comfortable rooms, fitness facilities, and an outdoor heated pool.

Even though Chula Vista was incorporated in 1911, the city saw very rapid population growth in recent years.


Kick off your afternoon with a visit to the crown jewel of the city's parks, the 200-acre marvel, Otay Valley Regional Park. However, insiders prefer to dub it the "Emerald Necklace" for its fitting allure. Wrapped in eight miles of hiking trails that meander past serene ponds, this expansive green haven truly embodies the essence of Chula Vista's Spanish name, which means "beautiful view."

Looking for an afternoon energy boost? Look no further. Visit Grind House, a beloved all-day café nestled in the historic Third Avenue Village of Chula Vista, CA. Complement your tasty coffee with their vegetable omelet or bacon cheddar sandwich for a perfect midday treat. For those craving something richer and more filling, just across the street, La Bella Cafe offers genuine Italian cuisine, a local tradition since 1955.

Chula Vista is situated in the South Bay region of San Diego County, between the foothills of the Jamul and San Ysidro Mountains.


Third Avenue hosts the beloved OnStage Playhouse, a community theater that's worth exploring—make sure to review their seasonal performances ahead of your trip. For dinner, if authentic Tijuana-style street cuisine is what you crave, Tacos El Gordo is a must-visit for straightforward, delicious fare. Additionally, Karina’s Mexican Seafood and Lolita’s Taco Shop are two other local gems offering genuine and exceptionally tasty Mexican dishes.

After you’ve eaten (we can already predict it was a huge, delicious portion), we recommend you burn those calories off at Chula Vista, San Diego’s best recreational bowling alleys. Bowlero has backlights, HD screens, an arcade with Mario Kart and Pac-Man, plus the usual munching fare.

Tourism is one of the strongest factors of the city's economy; you'll come across plenty of dining, shopping, and cinema experiences.

Day 2


A visit to The Living Coast Discovery Center’s aquarium and zoo on the Chula Vista beachfront is a fun and affordable way to explore the local habitat and wildlife. Spend your morning feeding bat rays and meeting the resident raptors, then head to your next adventure—camping. 

The San Diego Metro Koa Resort (also known as Koa Chula Vista) presents you with the finest camping experience you can dream of in SoCal. Whether you're camping with an RV, tent, or want to try one of their Deluxe Cabins, KOA Chula Vista is the Golden State’s top destination for outdoorsy fun.

What's a visit to Chula Vista if you're not going to experience it like the locals? Pay a visit to the farmers market to see what the buzz is about.


After you’re done camping, make your way down to Chula Vista, CA’s Third Avenue Village Certified Farmers Market. Each Thursday between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., the farmers market opens its doors for visitors to purchase a wide range of fruits and veggies. The produce comes directly from the local farmers, so you can be sure it’s the freshest it can possibly be. You can also find an international food court as well as booths for handmade arts and crafts; this will likely take up a few hours of your time.

Worked up an appetite yet? Make your way straight to Romesco, a Mexican-Mediterranean eatery, originally conceived by Tijuana superstar chef Javier Plascencia. This foodie haven continues to excel in delivering cuisine inspired by old-world techniques and Baja ingredients. Their lunch and brunch menus are relatively new, but the one thing you can count on is a modern take on Mexican staples like the fideo seco and original Tijuana Caesar salad that comes with a twist.


And thus you’ve reached your final hours in gorgeous Chula Vista, CA. If you do have time to spare, we recommend bidding the area farewell with a visit to the gorgeous Marina View Park. The grassy lawns here feel like a lush rug, winding past public artwork, unique arbors, and Chula Vista’s breathtaking beaches; a perfect way to say goodbye.

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