San Diego’s South County is full of hidden gems, undiscovered attractions and culturally diverse places. Living in South County means having access to a whole world of exploration. There are way more than 10 reasons to live in South County, but here’s our top picks to get you started on your adventure.
Chula Vista means “beautiful view” and as the second largest city in the county, it’s no surprise that it’s at the top of our list. With over 120 bike trails and more than 60 parks, Chula Vista is a warm and inviting city with a neighborhood vibe. You can get your ‘city fix’ here with delicious authentic foods and craft breweries, such as Aqui es Texcoco and Bay Bridge Brewing.
Certified Community Wildlife Habitat
In 2011, Chula Vista became a Certified Community Wildlife Habitat. The National Wildlife Federation grants this national status to cities that work to improve their local environment for wildlife and the general health and well-being of its citizens. Chula Vista is the second largest city to be certified – only second to Austin, TX– through the creation of sustainable habitats in schools, backyards, parks and community gardens. Make sure you check out the Living Discovery Center in Chula Vista, a non-profit zoo and aquarium on San Diego Bay – you’ll get to learn more about what makes South County a unique wildlife habitat!
Aquatica Water Park
San Diego’s largest water park, Aquatica, is a must-see attraction. Located just south of Otay Ranch, Aquatica is the perfect fun-filled day out for the whole family. Be entertained by up-close marine life shows and high-speed thrill rides, or kick back with a margarita at Rockwater Oasis, one of the many dining experiences in the park.
Chula Vista Waterfront
Hugging the picturesque San Diego Bay, the Chula Vista Waterfront is a new addition to the lively Chula Vista scene. Sporting panoramic views from Baja California to San Diego, the waterfront is a world class residential and resort destination for locals and tourists alike. Surrounded by 3,000 acres of wildlife preserve and containing a much needed conference centre, the waterfront is a truly special place.
Leave the car at home because Downtown San Diego is closer than ever with the SD MTS Trolley. Hop on the blue line in Chula Vista and travel in comfort all the way into the heart of the action. Spend the day in Balboa Park or use the other trolley lines to connect to El Cajon, La Mesa or the Mission Valley Mall. You can park conveniently at many of the stations and travel is made easy with the Compass Card.
Otay Ranch Town Center
One of the best shopping malls in San Diego is so close to Escaya. The Otay Ranch Town Center has over 100 stores, including REI, Macy’s, Anthropologie and an AMC Theatre. There’s also a dog park and plenty of dining and entertainment options in this open-air mall – it even has its own iPhone and Android app.
Mattress Firm Amphitheatre
Love live music? Then you have to check out the Mattress Firm Amphitheatre in Chula Vista. This 20,500-seat amphitheatre occupies 72 acres of what used to be a dairy farm and fields. It opened in 1998 and has seen countless world famous acts grace its stage. Diverse music and events happen here regularly so there’s sure to be something for everyone.
Elite Athlete Training Center
Located in the eastern part of Chula Vista, the Elite Athlete Training Center is a 155-acre facility where Olympic and Paralympic athletes train and prepare for competition. Athletes that train in beach volleyball, archery, track and field, rowing, BMX and rugby frequent the facility, and more than 60 medal winners from the past 6 Olympic and Paralympic Games have trained here. As a visitor, you can take a tour or organize a VIP experience.
Otay Valley Regional Park Trails
The Otay Valley Regional Park is a stunning network of open spaces that connect south San Diego Bay with Otay, San Miguel and the Jamul Mountains. The park offers multi-use trails for biking, hiking and some equestrian riding. The printable trail guide is a great resource to discover the rich natural history of the area. Escaya’s neighborhood park has a trail that connects to the beauty of the Otay Regional River Valley, so pack some water, snacks and sunscreen and start exploring!
Cross Border Xpress Terminal (CBX) – Tijuana Airport
Are you an international traveller? The Cross Border Xpress – Tijuana Airport Terminal is the world’s first true bi-national airport passenger terminal, located in Otay Mesa. This gateway to the world opened in 2015 and is an enclosed pedestrian skywalk bridge across the U.S./Mexico border. This innovative terminal makes it easier to travel internationally and to connect to more destinations worldwide. The CBX brings the world closer for everyone living in South San Diego.