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About Chula Vista
As a young city 90 years ago, Chula Vista was filled with fragrant lemon groves and fields of other agricultural products. Today, located halfway between San Diego and the Mexican border, Chula Vista is a thriving city with diverse cultural influences and an influential small business community. The name, which means beautiful view, highlights the reason why tourism is a huge part of the local economy.
The Community of Chula Vista
Chula Vista is a fast-growing city; in fact, it was named the second fastest growing city in the U.S. by Forbes in 2013. Five years later, the city continues its growth spurt and plans to further develop its bayfront. The city is easily divided into two halves: West Chula Vista, with the vast majority of the original community, and East Chula Vista, where Southwestern College and most of the new residential areas are popping up.
What to Do in Chula Vista
Whether you enjoy animals, marine science exhibits or beautiful walking trails, a trip to the Living Coast Discovery Center is a must do while in Chula Vista. This nonprofit zoo and aquarium is located right on San Diego Bay and incorporates 1.5 miles of trails and close proximity to the 316-acre Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. See sea turtles, sharks and birds of prey -- and, for an additional fee, you can feed these amazing creatures. Open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $16 for adults and $11 for children.
If you're a sports fan, you might plan a stroll around the grounds of the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center, a U.S. Olympic and Paralympic training site. Open to the public on weekdays from 9 to 5, you can take a tour, eat in the Dining Hall and check out unique souvenirs in the Team Shop. Lucky visitors may see athletes and teams training.
Zone out with a trip to one of Southern California's best-loved water parks. Aquatica San Diego has water slides, wave pools and a lazy river for hours of fun. Run by SeaWorld, some proceeds from the park go to support animal rescue efforts. Single-day tickets start at $47.99 for an adult and $42.99 for a child under age 10. Pay a little extra for front-of-the-line access and you won't have to wait on the slides.
One Place You Shouldn't Miss in Chula Vista
Looking for a nice place to walk and see wildlife? The Rice Canyon Trail near Discovery Park is an easy hike in a greenbelt area. Keep your eyes open for hawks and other birds, coyotes, frogs and even the occasional rattlesnake. Plan your jaunt for morning or evening to avoid the hottest part of the day, and don't miss the succulents growing at the top of the trail.
Dining in Chula Vista
Close to the Mexican border, you'd expect to find some excellent restaurants featuring south-of-the-border dishes. La Quinta Grill pairs delicious seafood dishes, traditional carne asada and high-end tacos with margaritas that receive rave reviews and great service.
For a less formal meal, visit Tacos El Gordo De Tijuana for freshly made, authentic street tacos. Stand in line for the type of taco you want, then take your meal to the outdoor patio. The carne asada fries are a must try, and brave culinary adventurers might choose lengua (beef tongue) or buche (pork stomach) tacos.