Blake Walsh

23 Best Things to Do in Chula Vista, CA

  • Published 2023/01/10

Are you planning to take a vacation or a weekend trip?

Chula Vista should be your first choice.

Why? First off, the name of this city translates to “beautiful view,” so you’re guaranteed to see a stunning environment once you get here.

The city is nestled in the middle of the mountains on the other side of San Diego Bay.

San Diego and the surrounding region were formerly home to Kumeyaay Indians until the Spanish arrived and conquered the land.

When the First Mexican Republic was established in 1822, Chula Vista became a part of the newly established Mexican Empire.

When Mexico and the United States went to war in 1848, California became part of the United States and became a state in 1850.

City growth has picked up significantly since it was founded in the early 1800s and was incorporated in 1911.

If you live in this city, you’re part of the second-largest San Diego metropolitan area and the seventh-largest city in California, fifteenth-largest in California, and, if you live outside of the United States, 78th-biggest.

Chula Vista is a great place to visit since it offers so much.

In this metropolis, you’re in a whole other universe.

Read on to discover the best things to do in Chula Vista, California.

See Practice Games at Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center

View of Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center

Sherry V Smith /

The 155-acre Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center is home to Olympic and Paralympic athletes worldwide.

For more than a dozen different summer Olympic and Paralympic sports and cross-training for rowing, hockey, soccer, tennis, cycling, kayaking and canoeing, and several other winter sports, the Center was the first of its type when it opened in 1995.

Trail at Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center

Sherry V Smith /

Team USA-themed merchandise from Chula Vista’s sports teams and the numerous sports represented in the city are available for purchase.

Elite Team Shop at Visitor Center of Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center (CVTC) provides a broad assortment of these items.

Sculpture at Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center

Sherry V Smith /

Catch North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre’s Live Shows

The North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre, one of Live Nation’s properties, stands near Aquatica San Diego.

With a capacity of 20,500 people, this performance facility is one of San Diego’s largest performance venues.

Thanks to its premium seating, club access, VIP parking, and personalized service, you’ll be treated like a VIP at this event.

This venue has already hosted the likes of Linkin Park, Jason Aldean, Paramore, and a host of other big names.

Have a Picnic at Chula Vista Marina View Park

Public park Chula Vista Marina View Park has green fields and tall trees and picnic tables, interesting outdoor artworks, bright playground equipment, and beautiful arbors.

The park has many new bathrooms and a small wading pool with fountains to keep the water clean.

Port of San Diego and the City of Chula Vista worked together to create Chula Vista Marina View Park, where visitors can enjoy beautiful views of the city and the bay while attending special events.

Have a Splash at Aquatica San Diego

Entrance to Aquatica San Diego

Sherry V Smith /

Aquatica San Diego is a must-see when looking for interesting things to do in the city!

In addition to thrilling rides and animal encounters, Aquatica San Diego offers a luxurious beachfront resort with first-rate facilities.

You may sunbathe on a wide sandy beach part of the waterpark’s massive wave pool.

Wave pools don’t come much bigger than this one in California.

Many of the coasters and slides are submerged in water.

Penguin and dolphin encounters, aquarium excursions, and marine life displays are all available.

Shopping in the city park’s souvenir shop is also a great way to spend your free time in the city.

Shops like this one sell keepsakes and publications about the sea.

Indulge in Italian Cuisine at Italianissimo Trattoria

A delightful Third Avenue diner called Italianissimo Trattoria has classic Italian dishes and a wide selection of wine from local and international vineyards.

The family-friendly eatery’s menu features a wide variety of Italian classics for lunch and supper, including thick sauce-covered pasta, wood-fired pizzas, fresh seafood, and meaty entrees, with sweet or savory dessert options.

The traditional Margherita pizza is one of the restaurant’s best-known offerings.

The meal is complemented with a wide range of international and domestic wines and various other alcoholic drinks and liquors.

Pay Tribute to Fallen Heroes at the Memorial Park

Depression-era architecture may be found at the Memorial Bowl & Park.

It used to include a lovely water feature, but that was removed and replaced with a stage for outdoor performances.

The city purchased the site in 1937 and erected the Bowl to honor the sacrifices of the country’s fallen heroes.

At the time, Franklin D. Roosevelt was the United States’ president.

Today, it is one of the most beautiful parks in America, offering an unforgettable backdrop for special occasions and festivities.

Because it can hold up to 700 people, this area is frequently used for private events and school graduations.

This park hosts frequent stage acts that will keep you entertained for the duration of your visit.

Go Birdwatching at South Bay Salt Works

View of South Bay Salt Works

Codobai, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In southern San Diego, the South Bay Salt Works, a historic salt plant, was established in 1871.

First established in 1902 as the La Punta Salt Works, the South Bay Salt Works was the sole source of salt for Southern California before being bought and renamed Western Salt Company to become the state’s second-largest salt producer.

The South Bay Salt Works ‘ evaporation process has extracted more than a million metric tons of salt from the Pacific Ocean.

The salt ponds serve as a resting place for migrating birds at risk of extinction.

As a result, two of the salt ponds transformed into marshlands for the benefit of these birds in 2011.

Celebrate Chula Vista Lemon Festival

The annual Chula Vista Lemon Festival is held to celebrate all that is unique about the lemon in the city.

In addition to the live music and crafts, there will be a Lemon Pie Eating Contest.

Most attendees bring their lemons to compete for the greatest reward, and the event often draws 25,000 enthusiastic participants.

One of Chula Vista’s most popular events, the festival is a must-attend.

Grab Third Avenue Village Farmers Market

As far as the South Bay goes, the longest-running farmers market is the Third Avenue Village Farmers Market in the city.

From 3 to 6 p.m. on Thursdays, the market is available to the city’s residents.

It has been open for over two decades and provides a large selection of fresh produce grown in the area.

Because it is sourced directly from the farmers in the area, the food is as fresh as possible.

In addition, there is a global food court and a few homemade goods.

Taste Bay Bridge Brewing’s Beers

Bay Bridge Brewing in the city’s first craft brewery with a copper mash tun, a huge screen television, seven beers on tap.

When Doug and Jim launched Bay Bridge Brewing in 1996, they aimed to create a laid-back, laid-back feel by producing full-bodied, well-balanced beers, such as Bonita Blonde, Wolf Canyon Wheat, and America’s Finest Amber Palomar Pale Ale.

Special parties and activities can be held at this local brewery’s tasting room on Thursdays through Sundays.

Enjoy Different Water Activities at Chula Vista Bayside Park

View of the sunset from Chula Vista Bayside Park

Eleni Mavrandoni /

Although Chula Vista Bayside Park is a tiny park, you will enjoy it.

A pier for fishing paved walking pathways, and picnic tables round out the amenities here.

The Coronado Bay-San Diego Bridge and the San Diego skyline may both be seen well from this Waterfront Park’s vantage point on the water.

View of Chula Vista Bayside Park

Eleni Mavrandoni /

Attractions in this park include a beach with concessions, a playground and workout stations for children, parking spots for bikes, and several trails for skating and running.

Paddleboarding, swimming, guided kayak trips, and kayaking in the nearby Sweetwater Marsh round out the list.

Chula Vista Bayside Park boasts state-of-the-art toilets, an ideal location for special gatherings, breathtaking bay views, and the city skyline.

Bench overlooking the waters at Chula Vista Bayside Park

Sherry V Smith /

Go Hiking at Rice Canyon Trail

Rice Canyon Track is a 3.5-mile out-and-back trail that may be used by hikers, joggers, and trail runners of all abilities.

As part of the California Riding and Hiking Trail (CR&HT), the Rice Canyon Trail winds its way through Chula Vista’s Rice Canyon Open Space Preserve, surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty and beautiful flowers.

The trailhead is located at the parking lot’s western end, and some picnic tables adjacent to the parking lot make for an ideal lunch place.

Easy to follow and suited for all abilities of hikers, the path is marked with yellow signage.

Check Out the Historic Gunpowder Point

During the early 1900s, the Hercules Powder Company maintained a facility that gathered acetone from kelp and potash near Gunpowder Point in the city.

As a result of the emigration of the DuPont family, who fled the French Revolution and brought with them gunpowder knowledge, the business manufactured gunpowder and cordite, a smokeless powder utilized by British forces in World War One.

Nearby the Living Coast Discovery Center, a historic site, has scattered concrete pads and other remnants that hint at what was once a bustling manufacturing operation.

Hit the Rough Road at California Motorsport Adventours

California Motorsport Adventours offers tours of the Baja Peninsula by ATV and dirt bike.

To name a few, trips offered by the firm include a visit to one of the Baja Peninsula’s award-winning wineries and a meal of fresh lobster at an Oceanside restaurant, as well as a chance to take in the region’s stunning natural scenery.

A professional tour guide, essential riding safety gear, OHV off-road park admission fees (where applicable), vehicle fuel, and drinking water are included in all trips.

Get Up Close and Personal with Wildlife at Living Coast Discovery Center

The grounds of Living Coast Discovery Center

RightCowLeftCoast, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

San Diego’s Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge has the Living Coast Discovery Facility, an environmental teaching center that contains a range of animal, bird, and marine mammal displays.

For example, Turtle Lagoon has Eastern Pacific green sea turtles, while the Shark & Ray Experience and Sting Ray Touch Pool let guests get up close and personal with sharks, guitarfish, and rays from the San Diego Bay and the region.

Fish in Living Coast Discovery Center

Mark from san diego, usa, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Also included are a Discovery Center Galleria, an Owl Courtyard, an Aviary for Birds of Prey (including the Shorebirds), Raptor Row, and Eagle Mesa, as well as a native plant garden and a compost demonstration garden.

San Diego Bay’s shoreline may be reached by a 1.5-mile hiking and mountain bike path from the Center’s facilities.

Get Your Wheels Rolling at Len Moore Skatepark

The Len Moore Skatepark in the city, California, is a great spot to meet other skaters.

It is possible to skate on wooden or concrete constructions in four separate regions.

The Oleander Boys & Girls Club built the park, which cost 1.3 million dollars to construct.

Rails, ramps, vertical extensions, and pyramids are all part of the design of this attraction.

In addition to freestyle and competitions, the park is available every day.

Take a Stroll Along Village Walk at Eastlake

This shopping village in the city’s Eastlake neighborhood, Village Walk at Eastlake, is filled with unique boutiques, high-end brands, shops and cafes, and an impressive assortment of facilities and services.

Outside, the Center has meandering walking paths, water features, a koi and turtle pond, a playground, a stately clock tower, and various places for special events and gatherings.

Commemorate Mexican Heritage at Friendship Park

In the San Diego–Tijuana region and the US–Mexico border, Friendship Park is a great spot to meet new people.

In this park, you may walk your pets, stroll, and let the kids run around and play soccer in an open green area of 4 acres (1.62 ha).

Everything about the location is immaculate, from the environment to the cleanliness of the facilities.

In addition to being a peaceful retreat, the nearby Chula Vista Library makes this a convenient stop for contemplation.

Leave Feeling Younger with Balensi Spa

Come by the 1910-built historic mansion transformed into a lovely spa.

The French-Mediterranean design of Belensi Spa’s five rooms, terrace, and garden complement its décor.

They strive to provide you with the most individualized day spa treatments in their Spa Boutique setting.

Balensi Spa provides an unrivaled array of spa services in addition to its award-winning facials.

Their commitment to restoring the harm caused by heat, pressure, and external factors to aging skin is among its most distinctive features.

Highly skilled professionals help unravel years of skin damage to reveal healthier, youthful, and brighter skin.

Delight in a Hearty Breakfast at Aunt Emma’s Pancakes

Since its establishment as a family-owned and -operated business in 1959, Aunt Emma’s Pancakes has been delivering pancakes with pride.

For the past 50 years, they have fulfilled the morning cravings of starving clients.

Robert Roland, the company’s founder, came up with the catchphrase, “It’s Always Pancake Time.”

Aunt Emma’s Pancakes, a well-liked family restaurant, has prioritized customer service while maintaining reasonable rates.

There are 24 different kinds of pancakes on the menu, including delectable strawberry, apple, and cajeta crepes, breakfast dishes, lunch items, and specialty sandwiches.

They are certain you will like every mouthful of the pancakes since they are created using their own exclusive Aunt Emma’s secret recipe.

Prepare to Feel an Adrenaline Rush at Speed Circuit Family Fun Center

Chula Vista’s top indoor go-kart track, Speed Circuit, features an arcade, ropes courses, and an amusement park in addition to its well-liked and popular thrill park.

The unique and newest Thrill Park at Speed Circuit is the talk of the neighborhood.

As an inflatable arm swings around a confined space, enter the wipeout trampoline and compete with your mates to see who can survive the longest.

Explore the latest Adventure Ropes Course’s high-flying adventure and enormous structure that will test you and your companions on over 13 challenges.

If you’re searching for nonstop fun, take your friends and family to the Amazing Go-Kart Racetrack and Thrill Park, offering trampolines, zip lines, and numerous other attractions.

Discover and relish the Shuffle Board, over 30 Popular Arcade Games, and the 13-Element Ropes Challenge Course!

Explore and Take Tons of Pictures at Sesame Place San Diego

Prepare to tour the brand-new Sesame Street Neighborhood!

Discover the street’s vibrant attractions, such as Hooper’s Store, Abby Cadabby’s Garden, Big Bird’s Nest, and the 123 Stoop.

In various areas throughout the neighborhood, meet up with your Sesame Street characters to get the ultimate snapshot.

There will be tons of whirls, wiggles, and splashes for you and your child to enjoy, from your kid’s first rollercoaster ride to thrilling water slides.

Multiple splash pads, exhilarating body slides, tube slides, a family raft slide, and a wave pool are suitable for all ages.

Plan a fun-filled day exploring the different attractions, including an active Sesame Street neighborhood, performances, parades, dining, shopping, and opportunities to connect with everyone’s best-loved furry friends.

Pay a Visit to Chula Vista Heritage Museum

The South Bay Historical Society has run Chula Vista Heritage Museum since 2015.

The museum was relocated to the Chula Vista Library when Memorial Park’s previous facility was destroyed in 2015.

It aims to locate, collect, display, preserve, and record objects of local historical significance for Chula Vista and the South Bay Area.

The Heritage Museum features displays about the Great Flood of 1916, native South Bay inhabitants, local flora and animals, and more.

Additionally, the museum features a new subject every year.

The Chula Vista Heritage Museum’s exhibits and services are available daily during library hours, however, on separate schedules.

Final Thoughts

The nicest thing about Chula Vista is that the weather is always pleasant.

Make plans to travel between July and October if you want to enjoy the hottest weather possible.

If you favor the cooler months, January, February, and December are ideal months to visit.

Meanwhile, the best months to go swimming are May through November.

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