Chula Vista is known for its consistently wonderful weather and its plentiful natural beauty. In fact, the name “Chula Vista” even means “beautiful view.” If you find yourself in the Chula Vista area, you should take advantage of all that wonderful weather and get out there to see some of that natural beauty. And some of the attractions of the city as well. Take a look at our list of the top things to do in Chula Vista to get an idea of how to get started.
Table of Contents
Go Hiking or Biking
Chula Vista has an incredible 120+ miles of hiking and biking trails, giving you a lot of incredible views to take in. The Rice Canyon Trail is a particularly good one. It stretches almost 4 miles through some beautiful fields of flowers. The slopes are quite gentle, making this walk suitable for people of all fitness levels, and also great for jogging. There are some picnic tables at the start of the trail, if you want to begin or end your walk with a nice outdoor meal. The Otai Valley has several great trails as well, including some opportunities for horse rides.
Explore Third Avenue
You haven’t really seen Chula Vista until you’ve seen Third Avenue, the cultural center of the city. There’s a little bit of everything there. Do you like coffee? There are a whole bunch of unique, and even quirky, coffee shops. Looking for a bite to eat? You have a lot of restaurant options, from big established names to undiscovered gems. If bars are more your thing, you’re spoiled for choice. Going shopping? There are all kinds of fun and interesting shops. And then there are the activities. From block parties to car shows to live music to children’s fun zones, there’s always something going on. Oh yeah, and if you’re looking for a truly unusual Third Avenue activity, wait for the Lemon Festival!
Shop at the Farmers Market
There is one regular Third Avenue activity that you should especially try if you like home cooked food: the Farmers Market. It’s held every Thursday from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. It sells locally grown fruits and vegetables, so you can get the very freshest ingredients. There is also international food and a variety of arts and crafts.
Spend an Afternoon at Chula Vista Bayside Park
If you want to relax outside surrounded by some great views, spend some time at the Chula Vista Bayside Park. Eat at the picnic tables, work out at the fitness stations, sun yourself on the beach, hike along the walking trails, or fish off of the pier. Whatever you like to do, you will be surrounded by an awesome view of the San Diego skyline and the Bay Bridge. If you prefer to get out in the water, you can go swimming, paddleboarding, or kayaking.
Go Whale Watching
Speaking of getting out on the water, you shouldn’t miss the chance to take a whale watching tour. There’s a bunch of them to choose from. At the very least, you’ll get a tour around the bay, and you might even get to see some whales, possibly in an up-close and personal manner that you’ll remember as the experience of a lifetime.
Take a Wine Tour
If you’re something of a wine connoisseur, you should take the opportunity to go on a Chula Vista wine tour. There are a lot of wineries and vineyards in the area. It is, after all, wine country. You’ll have a lot of tours to choose from, covering different wineries and focusing on different types of wines. Some of these tours include various types of food to go along with the wine. Some of them are really fun and quirky too.
If you like skateboarding, then Chula Vista has a $1.3 million surprise for you: a surprisingly awesome skate park. The high budget used to construct the park has blessed it with a wide variety of features. It’s got ramps, rails, tracks, pyramids, and vertical extensions. There are four different skating areas, some with wood structures and some with concrete. Competitions are regularly held there. It’s a great place to go if you want to hang out with other skating enthusiasts.
See the South Bay Salt Works
If you want to visit an alien world, you don’t have to go any farther than the South Bay Salt Works. The fields of white crystal, the salt ridges, and everything else will show you a vista unlike anything else on Earth. You should also check out the salt ponds, part of an artificial brackish marshland. They are home to a number of endangered species of migratory birds, and the marshlands were actually engineered to give these birds a home.
Walk the Village Walk
Head on over to the East Lakeside area and take a stroll through Village Walk at Eastlake, a delightful little shopping village with gorgeous landscaping and an iconic clock tower. You can find unique little independent shops and big brand stores alongside cute little coffee shops and some interesting restaurants. As you shop, enjoy the koi pond and the turtles that live there, along with the little walking trails. There’s even a play area for the kids while the grownups do the shopping.
Don’t Miss the Living Coast Discovery Center
The San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge is well worth seeing and, if you’re going there, you really should head over to the Sweet Water Marsh area to see the Living Coast Discovery Center. Once there, you can have an up-close encounter with more than 350 different indigenous species of animals and plants. There are eagles, burrowing owls, stingrays, jellyfish, turtles, and so much more. These are each located in their own exhibitions, such as the Sting Ray Touch Pool and the Burrowing Owl Courtyard. There are also 1 1/2 miles of biking and hiking trails running all the way down to the shore.