Tucked between the coastal mountain foothills and San Diego Bay, Chula Vista, which means ‘beautiful view’ was so named for its scenic location. One of the best California weekend getaways, the city boasts a wealth of family-friendly attractions, such as the Living Coast Discovery Center, Mattress Firm Amphitheatre, Aquatica San Diego, and the Chula Vista Marina.

1. Living Coast Discovery Center, Chula Vista, California

Living Coast Discovery Center, Chula Vista, California
© Living Coast Discovery Center

Located in the Sweetwater Marsh Unit of the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge, the Living Coast Discovery Center is an environmental education center that features a variety of exhibits showcasing animals, birds, and marine animals. The Center’s permanent displays focus on native animals and plants that are found in San Diego Bay and Southern California, including several large exhibit spaces such as Turtle Lagoon, which focuses on Eastern Pacific green sea turtles; and the Shark & Ray Experience & Sting Ray Touch pool where visitors can see several species of sharks, guitarfish, and rays. Other exhibits include the Discovery Center Galleria, the Burrowing Owl Courtyard, the Shorebird Aviary, Raptor Row, Eagle Mesa, and a native plant garden and composting demonstration garden. The Center also features 1.5 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails from the center to the shore of San Diego Bay.

1000 Gunpowder Point Drive, Chula Vista,CA 91910, Phone: 619-409-5900

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2. Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center

Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center
© Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center

The Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center is a 155-acre high-performance training facility for Olympic & Paralympic athletes. The Center opened in 1995 and was the first of its kind with a variety of sports venues and support facilities for more than a dozen summer Olympic and Paralympic sports, along with cross-training abilities for summer sports such as rowing, hockey, tennis, soccer, cycling, canoeing and kayaking, and various winter sports. The Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center (CVTC) is open to the public for interactive experiences, guided tours, private events and functions throughout the year and has an Elite Team Shop located inside of the Visitor Center, which has a wide selection of unique gear and souvenirs from Team USA and the various sports represented in Chula Vista.

2800 Olympic Pkwy, Chula Vista, CA 91915, Phone: 619-656-1500

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3. Aquatica San Diego, Chula Vista, California

Aquatica San Diego, Chula Vista, California
© Aquatica San Diego

Part of SeaWorld's Waterpark™, Aquatica San Diego is a beautifully landscaped waterpark with high-speed rides and thrills, interactive and up-close animal experiences, and the deluxe amenities of a stylish beachside resort. The South Seas-themed waterpark features one of the largest wave pools in Southern California with a vast sandy beach for sunbathing, dozens of water-based slides and rides, including the HooRoo Run® with two enclosed and two open-air slides that have an 80-foot descent. Visitors can enjoy up-close encounters with dolphins and penguins, marine life shows, and aquarium tours, and a souvenir shop offers a variety of marine-inspired books, gifts, and mementos.

2052 Entertainment Cir, Chula Vista, CA 91911, Phone: 619-222-4732

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4. Chula Vista Bayside Park, Chula Vista, California

Chula Vista Bayside Park, Chula Vista, California
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Chula Vista Bayside Park is a small waterfront public park on the east side of San Diego Bay with paved walking trails, picnic tables, a fishing pier and beautiful views of the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge and the San Diego skyline. Amenities at the park include several paths for biking, walking, running, and skating, parking for bikes, exercise stations and play equipment for children of all ages, concessions, and a small, sandy beach. Visitors can enjoy swimming and stand-up paddle-boarding off the beach, along with kayaking and guided kayak tours of the nearby Sweetwater Marsh. Modern restrooms are dotted about the park, and special events and functions can be hosted in the park against a backdrop of stunning city and bay views.

999 Bayside Pkwy, Chula Vista, CA 91910

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5. North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre, Chula Vista, California

North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre, Chula Vista, California
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Set on 72 acres of once farmland and open fields, the North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre is a 20,500-seat amphitheater and one of the larger concert venues in the San Diego area. Currently owned and operated by Live Nation, the North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre was opened in 1998 and has had several names, including the Coors Amphitheatre, the Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre, and the Sleep Train Amphitheatre. The North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre features 9,468 chair back seats and 10,024 lawn seats and has hosted an array of concerts and performances over the years, including the Spice Girls, Deep Purple, and the Counting Crows.

2050 Entertainment Cir, Chula Vista, CA 91911

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6. Marina View Park, Chula Vista, California

Marina View Park, Chula Vista, California
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Chula Vista Marina View Park is a public park with grassy lawns and towering trees, many picnic tables, unique public artworks, colorful play equipment, and pretty arbors for romantic moments. Modern restrooms are dotted about the park, and there is a little wade pool with fountains that keep the water fresh. The Chula Vista Marina View Park is a collaborative effort between the Port of San Diego and City of Chula Vista and special events and functions can be hosted in the park against a backdrop of lovely city and bay views.

900 Marina Pkwy, Chula Vista, CA 91910, Phone: 619-725-6001

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7. South Bay Salt Works, Chula Vista, California

South Bay Salt Works, Chula Vista, California
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The South Bay Salt Works is a salt factory in the South Bay region of southern San Diego that dates back to 1871. Initially opened as the La Punta Salt Works operations, the South Bay Salt Works was the sole supplier of salt for Southern California before being purchased and renamed Western Salt Company in 1902 and went on to become the second largest salt producer in California during the 20th century. The South Bay Salt Works uses water from the Pacific Ocean from which to extract salt by evaporation and, more than a million tons of salt has been harvested since inception. The salt ponds are also a stopping point for endangered and threatened migratory birds, and in 2011, two of the works' salt ponds were restored to marshlands as a habitation for the birds.

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8. Rice Canyon Trail, Chula Vista, California

Rice Canyon Trail, Chula Vista, California
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Rice Canyon Trail is a 3.5 mile lightly trafficked out-and-back trail for hiking, walking, and trail running of all skill levels. Located within Chula Vista’s Rice Canyon Open Space Preserve, the Rice Canyon Trail forms part of the California Riding and Hiking Trail (CR&HT) and is surrounded by spectacular natural scenery and blooming flora. The trailhead is located near the western end of the parking area, and there are a few picnic tables near the parking area which provide an excellent spot for lunch. The trail is well signposted with yellow signs and easy to follow and is suitable for all levels of hiker.

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9. Memorial Bowl & Park, Chula Vista, California

Memorial Bowl & Park, Chula Vista, California
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Memorial Bowl & Park is a beautiful urban park in Chula Vista that is home to the Memorial Bowl which built during the Great Depression. The Bowl originally had a significant water feature but has been since replaced by a stage where outdoor concerts and performances are held. Memorial Park provides a stunning setting for special celebrations and occasions such as local school graduations and private weddings with seating for up to 700 guests.

373 Park Way, Chula Vista, CA 91910, Phone: 619-409-1980

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10. Gunpowder Point, Chula Vista, California

Gunpowder Point, Chula Vista, California
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Gunpowder Point is a historical site in Chula Vista that once housed the Hercules Powder Company which owned a factory that harvested potash and acetone from kelp during the early 1900s. Founded by the DuPont Family who escaped the French Revolution and emigrated from France in the 1800s, bringing with them gunpowder technology, the factory produced gunpowder and cordite, a smokeless powder used by British in World War One from the harvested potash and acetone found in kelp. Based across the road from the Living Coast Discovery Center, the historic site features the remains of concrete pads and scattered structures that hint at the industry that once operated on this site.

1000 Gunpowder Point Drive, Chula Vista, CA 91910-8222, Phone: 616-307-3950

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11. Things to Do Near Me: Friendship Park, Chula Vista, California

Things to Do Near Me: Friendship Park, Chula Vista, California
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Friendship Park is a half-acre binational park located within the Border Field State Park in San Diego County. The park includes the border fence that divides the United States and Mexico in the San Diego–Tijuana region and despite its name, is heavily monitored by U.S. Border Patrols 24 hours a day. The park is open on Saturdays and Sundays between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm and entrance to the park is monitored by the U.S. Border Patrol, however, there is no access limitation to the park from the Mexico side. Border Field State Park features pristine beach and coastal habitats and is located next to the suburb of Playas de Tijuana in Mexico and within the city limits of Imperial Beach in San Diego County.

Border Field State Park, 1500 Monument Rd, San Diego, CA 92154, Phone: 619-575-3613, (website link)

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12. Community Congregational Church, Chula Vista, California

Community Congregational Church, Chula Vista, California
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Founded in 1953 by eight friends who desired a place for simplified, a non-liturgical form of worship, the Community Congregational Church is a self-managed religious institution that is a member of the United Church of Christ. The Church aims to create a Christian fellowship and bring people together in the name of Christ and offers services every Sunday morning in the Sanctuary or Chapel. The church is led by Lead Pastor, the Rev. Dr. Johann J. Bosman, and Pastor, The Rev. Jennifer Testa Hrynyk and offers welcome receptions after each service for newcomers and fellow worshippers. The Church also offers Bible studies, adult education seminars, special programs and activities, concerts and choir practice and youth fellowships.

276 F St, Chula Vista, CA 91910, Phone: 973-379-5600

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13. Things to Do Near Me: California Motorsport Adventours, Chula Vista, California

Things to Do Near Me: California Motorsport Adventours, Chula Vista, California
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California Motorsport Adventours provides exhilarating ATV and dirt bike tours around the Baja Peninsula. The company offers a variety of tours, which includes exploring the spectacular natural landscapes and terrain of the Baja Peninsula and other exciting attractions such as wine tasting at an award-winning winery in the Guadalupe Valle and enjoying fresh lobster at one of the Oceanside restaurants. All tours include professional tour guides, essential riding safety gear such as helmets, goggles and gloves, OHV off-road park entry fees (if required), drinking water, and vehicle fuel.

Chula Vista, CA, Phone: 619-350-7776

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14. Things to Do Near Me: Village Walk at Eastlake, Chula Vista, California

Things to Do Near Me: Village Walk at Eastlake, Chula Vista, California
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Village Walk at Eastlake is an enchanting shopping village located in the Eastlake area of Chula Vista that features a fantastic selection of specialty shops, brand stores, an array of dining options and coffee shops, and a full complement of amenities and services. The center boasts inviting outdoor spaces with winding walking paths, water features and a pond filled with koi and turtles, a children’s sandbox, a grand clock tower, and spacious areas for special events and functions, which are held throughout the year. Brand stores and favorite restaurants include T.J. Maxx, Trader Joe’s, Hooked on Crab, Sprouts Farmers Market, Pier 1 Imports, Pho Hiep & Grill Château, Petco, The Broken Yolk Café, and more.

884 Eastlake Pkwy #1627, Chula Vista, CA 91914, Phone: 619-656-8231

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15. Things to Do in Chula Vista, California: Family House of Pancakes

Things to Do in Chula Vista, California: Family House of Pancakes
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Family House of Pancakes is a family-friendly restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a casual, relaxed setting. Established in 1964, the eatery offers a wide range of classic dishes such as pancakes and egg plates for breakfast, fresh salads for lunch and prime steaks and burgers for dinner, along with senior, holiday and kid’s menus, and weekly specials and is open year-round. Family House of Pancakes has two locations in Chula Vista and National City.

562 Broadway | Chula Vista, CA, Phone: 619-425-5133

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16. Things to Do in Chula Vista, California: Italianissimo Trattoria

Things to Do in Chula Vista, California: Italianissimo Trattoria
© Italianissimo Trattoria

Italianissimo Trattoria is a charming eatery on Third Avenue that serves a menu of traditional Italian fare and a robust wine list of local and imported wines. Open for lunch and dinner, the family-friendly eatery offers a menu packed with mouthwatering Italian favorites such as handmade pasta smothered in hearty sauces, wood-fired pizza with various toppings, fresh seafood dishes and meaty entrées, along with sweet and savory desserts. Signature dishes include calamari with spicy tomato sauce, mushroom ravioli, shrimp farfalle with asparagus and cherry tomato sauce, and classic Margherita pizza. The food is accompanied by an excellent selection of imported and local wines, and other tasty spirits and beverages.

323 Third Ave, Chula Vista, CA 91910, Phone: 619-651-1457

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17. Things to Do in Chula Vista, California: Aunt Emma's Pancakes

Things to Do in Chula Vista, California: Aunt Emma's Pancakes
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Established in 1959, Aunt Emma's Pancakes is a family-owned and operated restaurant that has been proudly serving pancakes ever since. The eatery offers over 24 different options of pancakes, ranging from sweet to savory, as well as other sweet treats such as crepes and waffles. Pancakes are made from scratch using the freshest local ingredients and Aunt Emma's special recipe, promising mouthwatering delight with every bite. Signature pancakes include Pumpkin Pancakes with pumpkin puree, powdered sugar and whipped cream, Buckwheat Pancakes with whipped butter and gluten-free syrup, Banana Pancakes made with fresh bananas and topped with powdered sugar. Aunt Emma's Pancakes is open for breakfast and lunch, seven days a week.

700 E Street, Chula Vista, CA 91910, Phone: 619-427-2722

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18. Chula Vista Heritage Museum

Chula Vista Heritage Museum
© Chula Vista Heritage Museum

Committed to showcasing and celebrating the history and community within Chula Vista, the Chula Vista Heritage Museum carefully and thoughtfully creates rotating exhibits held within the city’s public library. Some of their exhibits have included “RUTH: Remember Us the Holocaust,” which pays tribute to South Bay immigrants who survived the holocaust, along with an exhibit showcasing the history and legacy of Chula Vista’s fire department. The museum also offers virtual programs online focusing on different aspects of the community from significant personal stories to local animal wildlife. Admission into the museum and its exhibits are free to the public and are accessible during library hours.

365 F Street, Chula Vista, California 91910, Phone: 619-691-5069, (website link)

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19. Things to Do in Chula Vista, California: Speed Circuit Family Fun Center

Things to Do in Chula Vista, California: Speed Circuit Family Fun Center
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Spend a thrilling day with the family at Speed Circuit Family Fun Center. Highly regarded and favored by many local families, the center is well known for its wide selection of exciting attractions. Their Thrill Park includes an 8-person wipeout trampoline, a 50-foot zip line, a human-sized hamster ball arena, a large foam pit, and giant 3-level warped wall players can attempt to climb. The park is also home to a toddler circuit where young children can safely play with mini-sized attractions. Outside of the thrill park, the family center also offers go-karts, an elevated ropes course, as well as a state-of-the-art arcade. Speed Circuit Family Center is open every day.

881 Showroom PL, Chula Vista, California 91914, Phone: 619-600-3200

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20. Things to Do in Chula Vista, California: Sesame Place San Diego

Things to Do in Chula Vista, California: Sesame Place San Diego
© Sesame Place San Diego

Sesame Place San Diego is a must-visit for young families. Recently opened, this park is the first of its kind on the West Coast with only two Sesame Place parks in the entire country. Families will shout and laugh as they ride the 18 Sesame Street-themed rides throughout the park including a family-friendly rollercoaster, swinging carousel, Cookie Monster climbing walls, and more. Water park attractions are also available such as a lazy river, water slides, and a 500,000-gallon wave pool to name a few. A highlight of the day will surely be walking down the iconic Sesame Street neighborhood where families can visit the 123 Stoop and interact with beloved characters like Elmo, Bert, Big Bird, and Cookie Monster.

2052 Entertainment Circle, Chula Vista, California 91911

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21. Things to Do in Chula Vista, California: Seven Mile Casino

Things to Do in Chula Vista, California: Seven Mile Casino
© Seven Mile Casino

Located off the San Diego Bay, Seven Mile Casino welcomes visitors to enjoy quality gambling and dining experiences. All kinds of players, from beginners to seasoned professionals, will appreciate the casino’s top-notch facilities offering games like blackjack, Pai Gow, baccarat, and multiple variations of poker. The casino is also home to the award-winning Sammy’s Restaurant and Bar, which serves innovative dishes centered on healthy cuisine and balanced nutrition. Their menu includes tacos, pitas, hummus, baguette sandwiches, woodfired pizzas, as well as meat and seafood entrees—all made with locally sourced organic ingredients. The bar also serves a selection of local brews and hand-crafted cocktails to try. Seven Mile Casino is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

285 Bay Boulevard, Chula Vista, California 91910, Phone: 619-425-3333

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