Skip to main content

Getaway Guide: Chula Vista
Travel

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.

Share

4 min read

January 04, 2022

About seven miles from Downtown San Diego, Chula Vista boasts authentic Mexican food, an expanding art scene, and outdoor activities galore. And though it’s San Diego County’s second largest city, the picturesque Chula Vista is quickly developing an identity of its own. There are the more obvious touristy draws—Aquatica by SeaWorld  (San Diego’s largest water park), pop megastar concerts at the North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre, and countless eateries serving up delights that make your tastebuds go “Oh yeah, that hits the spot.” But, we do urge you to explore further; there are hidden gems beneath the surface.

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

Arriving 

Driving down from San Diego, you’ll already notice that there’s a subtler side to Chula Vista than you initially let on; a side that begins to reveal itself right from your car window—a diverse and dynamic vision that embraces all its natural resources, cultural influences, and does it all with a  forward-thinking spirit. Within its 560 acres of parkland (which stretches from the San Diego Bay to the sparkling shores of Lower Otay Lake in the rural east), Chula Vista, California always follows through with a promise of an ideal outdoorsy getaway, and you’re about to find that out.

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.

Afternoon

Start your afternoon right by popping by the queen jewel of the city’s park system—the 200-acre showstopper known as Otay Valley Regional Park. But here’s a local’s tip: calling it “Emerald Necklace” sounds much more fitting. Enveloped in eight miles of hiking trails that snake around the most tranquil ponds you’ve ever seen, this open-space oasis really illustrates why the Spanish translation of Chula Vista is “beautiful view.”

In need of a midday pick-me-up? Say no more. Head over to the local fave Grind House, an all-day cafe located in Chula Vista, CA’s historic Third Avenue Village. Pair your delicious brew with their veggie omelet or bacon cheddar sandwich for an unbeatable afternoon snack. If you’re looking for something a little more hearty and substantial, cross the street to La Bella Cafe for an authentic Italian meal, crafted locally 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.

Evening 

Third Avenue is home to OnStage Playhouse, a popular community theatre venue—be sure to check their season lineup before your visit. And as for your evening dining options, if you’re a purist when it comes to Tijuana-style street food, head to the no-frills Tacos El Gordo. Two other local favorites for simple but supremely authentic Mexican food are Karina’s Mexican Seafood and Lolita’s Taco Shop.

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

Morning 

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.

Afternoon 

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.

Evening 

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.

Recomended businesses

Show me California.com
Recommended Businesses near

Discover the best of California. Our recommended businesses are top-quality and are committed to their communities.



RELATED Articles

Discover More

fueled by the power of California love
We’re committed to helping you discover the places, people and businesses that make our state Golden. Our online publication, updated daily, brings you all the content you need to live your California dreams. And that’s just the beginning…
LEARN MORE ABOUT US
Purpose section
Purpose section