If you are looking for the best destination for your next vacation or just a weekend getaway, Chula Vista should be on top of your list. There are so many things to do in Chula Vista, this city has it all! Before I visited, I thought it was just another city. Little did I know this city is a world of its own.
Tucked between San Diego Bay and the mountain hills at its coastal side, this city is as beautiful as it is rightfully named Chula Vista, meaning “beautiful view.” The best part of Chula Vista is that it has good weather all year round.
If you want to visit in the warmest months, plan your trip and visit between July and October. If you prefer colder months, you can travel in January, February, or December. The best months for swimming are from May to November.
Things To Do In Chula Vista (CA)
1. Visit the Living Coast Discovery Center
The Living Coast Discovery Center is at the top of my list because it’s a place where the whole family can visit and learn. It’s essentially an education center featuring marine animals, birds, and land animals.
The Living Coast Discovery Center is part of the National Wildlife Refuge in San Diego because it is in the Sweetwater Marsh Unit. This center has permanent displays focusing on native plants and animals from Southern California and San Diego Bay.
At the Living Coast Discovery Center, you’ll see many shark species, including rays and guitarfish. There are many other displays here, like Eagle Mesa, Raptor Row, the Shorebird Aviary, the Burrowing Owl Courtyard, and the Discovery Center Galleria, and more.
If you like hiking, you’ll find this center quite entertaining. It has about 1.5 miles of mountain biking and hiking trails, stretching from the center up to San Diego Bay’s shores.
2. Visit Memorial Bowl & Park for Stage Performances Or For a Moment of Remembrance
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Memorial Bowl & Park is one of the structures built during the Great Depression. Initially, it had an attractive water feature, which was later replaced by an outdoor performance stage.
The land was acquired in 1937, and the Bowl was built in memory of all the heroes who fell while fighting for the US. It was set up at a time when the president of the US was Roosevelt. It has undergone several reconstructions, and today, it’s one of the most attractive parks in the US, providing a stunning and unique setting for occasions and celebrations.
Many people use this location for their private weddings and school graduations because it can accommodate up to 700 guests. Stage performances also take place in this park regularly and can keep you and your family occupied the whole day.
3. Have a Restful Night At Hercor Hotel
If you are a fan of urban boutiques like me, then spending a night at an exquisite hotel like the Hercor Hotel is something you don’t think twice about. When you visit Chula Vista, your first assignment should be to book a room in this hotel before you go out to have fun.
The good news is that Hercor Hotel isn’t far from the San Diego Airport. It will only take you about 15 minutes from the airport to the hotel. And you know what, Hercor Hotel isn’t just another hotel. Here you’ll get free Wi-Fi, air-conditioned rooms, and they serve continental breakfast daily.
Hercor Hotel is in pristine condition and has well-trained staff always ready to make visitors feel comfortable, no matter the time of the day or night. There are many different kinds of meals here, and they are all affordable. This makes it one of the best places to visit in Chula Vista.
4. Things to do in Chula Vista: Visit the Chula Vista Bayside Park
Chula Vista Bayside Park might be a small park, but I like it. It has a little bit of everything, picnic tables, paved walking trails, and a fishing pier. While at this Waterfront Park, you’ll be able to have stunning views of the San Diego skyline and the Coronado Bay-San Diego Bridge.
This park has several amenities, including a sandy beach, concessions, play equipment and exercise stations for kids, parking spaces for bikes, and many paths for skating, running, walking, and biking. You’ll also enjoy paddle-boarding, swimming at the beach and also guided kayak tours, and kayaking at the Sweetwater Marsh just nearby.
Chula Vista Bayside Park has modern restrooms, making it the best place to host special functions and events, most notably because of the bay views and stunning city backdrop.
5. Get A Nice Treat At Italianissimo Trattoria
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A visit to Chula Vista will give you the best opportunity to try Italian dishes. If you’ve never tried them before, head to Italianissimo Trattoria for a fine Italian treat. An Italian named Zaino Aniello created this restaurant, and it has been in existence for over three decades.
Aniello used to work on an Italian cruise ship moving around the world. One day, he found himself in San Diego. He started by opening Buom Giorno, which became very popular. Later on, he moved to Chula Vista, where he opened Italianissimo Trattoria.
This restaurant is now among the best in Chula Vista and San Diego at large.
Headed by an experienced Italian chef and has such a friendly waiting team. They have a great selection of wines and an excellent menu. In terms of food and drinks, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
6. Stretch Your Muscles At The Elite Athlete Training Center
If you have an extended vacation, you may want a place where you can stretch your muscles. There’s no better place to do this than the Elite Athlete Training Center. Lying on a 155-acre piece of land, this center has all you need to keep fit.
It was opened in 1995 and is home to many sports facilities and venues. So, whether you are a fan of kayaking, canoeing, cycling, soccer, tennis, hockey, rowing, and high-performance training, this center has it all. It is worth mentioning that this center has facilities in which Olympic and Paralympic athletes perform their training.
The reason I fell in love with this center is that it is open to the public. Not only that, but the center offers guided tours and interactive experiences all year round. If you have a private function or event, you can book a venue at this center. There’s a shop right inside the center where you’ll get a unique selection of sports souvenirs and gear from Team USA.
7. Take A Stroll To The Otay River Valley
Otay River Valley is one of the fun places to go in Chula Vista. It has a rich history dating back to 9,000 years ago. Native Indians who used the river as the source of their livelihood inhabited the area. The Spanish moved here in the 1800s and started developing the area.
Many buildings came up, and along with this came entertainment joints, some of which exist to date. Today, Otay River Valley has picnic, biking, and hiking areas, in addition to horse trails.
Several musical concerts and annual events take place in this valley, attracting families from all over the globe. This place is perfect for a family or corporate getaway.
8. Have A Memorable Day At Aquatica San Diego
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I like places with water, and lots of it, whether it’s beaches, rivers, or even lakes. That’s why I had to spare some time to visit Aquatica San Diego, an attractively landscaped waterpark.
At Aquatica San Diego, you’ll enjoy high-speed thrills and rides, up-close and interactive animal experiences, and an exquisite beach resort with top-notch amenities.
This waterpark has a giant wave pool with a large sandy beach where you can sunbathe. This wave pool is one of the largest in Southern California. It features numerous water-based rides and slides.
Here, you can enjoy very close encounters with penguins and dolphins, aquarium tours, and marine life shows. Another fun thing to do in Chula Vista is to go shopping at the souvenir shop in this park. This shop has many mementos and marine-inspired books.
So, if you’re looking for fun places to go in Chula Vista, you have to add Aquatica San Diego to your bucket list!
9. Enjoy Mexican Food At Tacos El Gordo
I like Mexican food, especially when served fresh. That’s why I can’t count my Chula Vista tour complete without visiting Tacos El Gordo. Here they serve fresh Mexican food bursting with flavor. You’ll be served with large tacos full of flavor. Tacos aside, you can also enjoy quesadillas and mulas, which are also large and equally tasty.
Every food here is prepared to perfection and served with homemade tortillas. Here, the employees will treat you as if you are a member of their family. They’ll provide you with top-notch service and unmatched hospitality.
10. Chula Vista Things To Do: Visit The Mattress Firm Amphitheatre
When I was heading to Mattress Firm Amphitheatre, I never expected it to be so large. Once inside, I was shocked. This amphitheater occupies 72 acres of land, which was once open fields and farmland.
This amphitheater has 20,500 seats, making it one of the biggest in San Diego. This facility opened its doors in 1998. Live Nation operates and owns this theater. It features over 10,000 lawn seats and about 9,500 chair back seats.
Many annual events, performances, and concerts, including the Counting Crows, Deep Purple, and the Spice Girls, take place here. This place is ever busy, meaning you’ll never get bored, no matter what time of the year you visit the Mattress Firm Amphitheatre.
11. Tour The Chula Vista Heritage Museum
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When visiting Chula Vista, it’s good to learn about its history. The best place to know more about Chula Vista’s history is the Chula Vista Heritage Museum. This museum is quite fascinating because it has photos that tell the story of the city.
Through the photos, you can see how the city has been developing and changed over the years. The museum also has an exhibition featuring many activities, like lemon packing, going on in this area.
If you love architecture, you’ll be marveled by what you’ll see. You’ll get the opportunity to see some of the best architectural designs in San Diego. Before you visit the museum, it’s good to check when it will be open. It usually opens on Saturdays, Wednesdays, and Mondays, but this is subject to change.
12. While Away Spend The Day At Marina View Park
If you want to relax, you can choose to enjoy the beauty of Marina View Park. The lawns here are marvelous. They are grassy and packed with towering trees that make the place cool, even on hot sunny days.
Here you’ll find most of the Chula Vista attractions, including attractive public artworks, several picnic tables, many play equipment, and unique arbors for your romantic explorations. It also has modern restrooms and a wading pool fitted with fountains to keep the water cool and fresh.
The park has an attractive backdrop of bay views and the lovely Chula Vista city, making it the perfect place for hosting functions and events.
13. Rice Canyon Trail
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When I visited the Rice Canyon Trail, I took my time trying most of the activities here. The canyon has a trail 3.5 miles in length where you can run, walk, or hike. The trail is lightly-traffic, making it an ideal place for your routine exercise.
What I liked most about Rice Canyon Trail is that it’s lined with beautiful flora and lovely natural scenery. The park has picnic tables and parking areas. It is a great place to take your lunch. The trail has many signposts that can guide you as you enjoy your day away from home.
There you have it, 13 unforgettable things to do in Chula Vista. You now have an excellent reason to choose Chula Vista if you are planning your next trip away. This city has everything you need, from entertainment to food and drinks, and fun for the whole family.
Now we want to hear from you, let us know in the comments if you have been to Chula Vista and what were your favorite things to do. If you haven’t what are you looking forward to the most when you finally visit. Thank you for reading!