Downtown Chula Vista, California, at sunrise. There are park benches and cars parked at local businesses.

Living in Chula Vista, CA: A Vibrant San Diego Suburb


by Matt Lyons Posted on March 29, 2024
While city living certainly has its benefits, living in suburbia may be able to offer you more. If you’re considering a move to San Diego, take a look at Chula Vista. The area offers a perfect balance between city living and suburban relaxation. In fact, living in Chula Vista offers plenty of outdoor beauty, diversity, and friendly people all within close proximity to San Diego’s top attractions. It’s hard to go wrong when you choose to make this community your new home!
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Where is Chula Vista, California?

Chula Vista lies south of San Diego, right on the eastern shore of San Diego Bay and north of Tijuana, Mexico. Claimed by the Spanish, Mexicans, and eventually the Americans, Chula Vista was originally laid out in 1888. Once the world’s leading lemon grower, Chula Vista has morphed into an area with plenty of residential growth, thanks to the aerospace industry and various other manufacturers located in San Diego. 

Q: Is Chula Vista a good area to live?
Yes! Because of its abundant natural beauty and vibrant green spaces, like Chula Vista Bayside Park, living in Chula Vista, CA, is quite popular for outdoor enthusiasts. Families of any size can also find plenty to love about the area.

What Makes Chula Vista One of the Best Places To Live in the San Diego Area?

Without a doubt, Chula Vista’s proximity to San Diego is one of its main draws. The drive from Chula Vista to San Diego, for example, is just 15 minutes, so going back and forth to the city is a breeze. You can find numerous opportunities for entertainment when visiting San Diego, including visiting the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, and the USS Midway Museum. But in addition to San Diego, residents also like to travel to the Seaport Village nearby, which is a shopping mall home to plenty of shops, eateries, and galleries. 

Why else is Chula Vista a good place to live? Chula Vista weather is similar to other California cities — warm and mild all year. So that’s definitely another driving factor as to why people relocate there. But besides the desirable weather, Chula Vista also offers a variety of different housing options, from luxury apartments to town homes to beautiful single-family houses — the average home price in Chula Vista is around $835,500. And there’s a mix of top-notch public and private schools that serve the area, including Francis Parker School and Helix Charter High School.

Q: Is Chula Vista expensive to live in?
While the community is a very attractive place to move to for those looking into Southern California, it’s important to consider the high cost of living in Chula Vista, CA. With a cost of living index of 154.9, the cost of living in Chula Vista is nearly 55 percent higher than the national index of 100 and five percent higher than the state average of 149.9.

A row of single-family homes in the Otay Ranch neighborhood of Chula Vista, California.

Guide to Chula Vista Neighborhoods

Each of the 55 constituent neighborhoods of Chula Vista offers its very own charm and allure, with magnificent views of all the beauty Southern California has to offer. And along with those beautiful landscapes, the neighborhoods of Chula Vista offer plenty of housing options, recreational opportunities, places to shop, dine, and more. Families can also rely on quality schools within Chula Vista for their kids to receive a top-notch education. So whether you prefer more of a laid-back or bustling environment, there’s likely a neighborhood in Chula Vista with your name on it. Take a look at some of our favorites.


Eastlake is a charming community located in the southeast corner of Chula Vista that offers the perfect blend of modern living and a tranquil environment. This community is surrounded by gorgeous lakes, parks, and mountains and features a mix of commercial and residential areas.

Eastlake takes pride in providing its residents with a wide range of local attractions and amenities. The Eastlake Village Center, for example, is a bustling hub that features various shops and plenty of dining options, like Patxi's, L&L Hawaiian BBQ, and Papagayos Grill and Cantina.

And the Eastlake Trails are a network of paths that wind through the community, providing residents with opportunities to explore the neighborhood and stay active. The local Enagic Golf Club is also a great place to hit the green, as it offers panoramic views of the lake.

Rolling Hills Ranch 

The Rolling Hills Ranch neighborhood also offers an ideal blend of modern comforts and natural beauty, with plenty of recreational areas and parks throughout the community designed to accommodate different activities. Family picnics, paths for walking, and other outdoor pursuits are available at the popular Rolling Hills Park, for instance.

Rolling Hills Ranch residents can rely on the area's top schools for quality education, as well. They’re part of the Chula Vista Elementary School District and Sweetwater Union High School District. 


Ideal for younger professionals, the neighborhood of Bonita is a close-knit community that offers its residents plenty of opportunities to have fun. The Sweetwater Summit Regional Park provides hiking trails, camping spaces, and picnic areas, while other spots like the Bonita Golf Course are ideal when you feel like admiring Bonita’s scenic backdrop. 

For some cultural fun, residents enjoy exploring the Bonita Museum & Cultural Center — with exhibits that show off the region’s vast history. 

And from small cottages to modern homes, there’s plenty of architectural diversity to choose from when on the hunt for a home in Bonita.

Otay Ranch 

Located right in the heart of Chula Vista, the neighborhood of Otay Ranch has the reputation of being one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in the San Diego area. And it’s easy to see why! Filled with plenty of green space and a mix of residential and commercial areas, Otay Ranch caters to just about any walk of life. 

The Otay Ranch Town Center is where residents get the best shopping and dining experiences. Along with a variety of stores in all kinds of departments ranging from clothing, beauty, and electronics, there are plenty of places to eat, including the Garbatella Osteria Bar and Karina’s Mexican Seafood. 

Q: Is Chula Vista affluent?
Chula vista was named one of the fastest-growing wealthy suburbs in the U.S. in 2023, making it one of the most affluent areas in San Diego.

Exterior view of the Urbana apartment building in Chula Vista, California. The building has a modern block design with an urban flair. The first floor features open-air parking.

What About Apartments in Chula Vista?

Along with its single-family homes and townhomes, Chula Vista is also popular for its wide variety of luxury apartments. Along with stainless-steel appliances and lavish hardwood floors, these apartments offer the very best views that Southern California has to offer. Take a look at some of the top apartment buildings you can choose from in the area.

Del Oro On Broadway

Located just 10 minutes away from the downtown area of San Diego, Del Oro on Broadway offers the perfect urban feel with plenty of apartment and community amenities. Along with beautiful views and private patios, this complex provides nightly security, a play area, a pool, a fitness center, and a resident lounge for social interactions. The apartments also feature heavy insulation along with luxury wood and stainless steel. 

Vista Apartments 

The inviting apartment community of Vista Apartments is best known for its variety of both individual and shared amenities, including gated access, public transportation nearby, a pool, special vinyl flooring, lots of storage, and energy-efficient appliances. These apartments are also pet-friendly.

The Avalyn at Otay Ranch

When renting at The Avalyn at Otay Ranch, you get to pick from a variety of luxury residences to suit your needs. From one-bedroom layouts to three-story townhomes, The Avalyn offers first-class amenities in a premium location surrounded by amazing views. And featuring an infinity pool, rooftop decks, a fitness studio, and even a speakeasy, it’s easy to stay active as a resident of these apartments. There are also several pocket pet parks within the community for your dogs to get rid of some of that energy!

Students of Victory Christian Academy toss their caps in the air as they celebrate their graduation in the school’s gymnasium.
(Source: Victory Church & Christian Academy via Facebook)

What About the Schools in Chula Vista?

Whether you plan on sending your kids to a public or private school, there are plenty of options in Chula Vista when it comes to receiving a quality education. With top rankings on Niche, The best schools in Chula Vista include:

  • Arroyo Vista Charter School (Public)
  • Discovery Charter School (Public)
  • Victory Christian Academy (Private)
  • Mater Dei Catholic High School (Private)
  • High Tech High Chula Vista (Public)
Q: Is Chula Vista safe?
According to Neighborhood Scout, the crime rate in Chula Vista is one of the lowest in the entire country for its size. You can rest assured that your kids will grow up in a safe environment while living in Chula Vista, especially when you choose from one of its best neighborhoods!

Top Things To Do in Chula Vista 

Even though the community of Chula Vista is so close to all of the big attractions in San Diego, there are still plenty of ways to stay entertained within the city limits.

Parks and Greenspaces and Outdoor Activities Galore

With year-round warm and mild weather combined with a scenic environment that offers the best outdoor activities, it’s hard not to fall in love with the area. And visiting the Living Coast Discovery Center is one of the most popular things to do in Chula Vista. It features a variety of exhibits and educational programs in a picturesque location. Other parks, such as Chula Vista Bayside Park and Sweetwater Summit Regional Park, also make great places for great outdoor recreation. 

Culture Opportunities That Lead to Lots of Fun 

The diversity and lively culture of Chula Vista will likely lead to many new experiences and relationships. Cultural festivals, such as the Chula Vista Mariachi Festival and Fiestas Patrias, are great opportunities to enjoy food, music, and dancing with other members of the community.

Breweries for All the Beer Lovers

The craft beer scene in Chula Vista has been on the rise in recent years, and there are plenty of breweries in the area that offer not only flavorful but unique brews. Some of the most popular breweries include the Chula Vista Brewery and Novo Brazil Brewpub., which also offer ways to interact with the community at various events and tastings. 

Attractions Suited for All Walks of Life

Residents of Chula Vista have access to a wide variety of year-round fun attractions that are also family-friendly. Take the kids to the Sesame Place Theme Park, for example, which features theme rides centered around Sesame Street and water attractions. Catch theater and musical performances at OnStage Playhouse and the North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre. Or stop at the local scenic harbor for fishing and easy access to the southern part of the San Diego Bay. 

Cuisine Options for All the Foodies

Trying new food is always fun, right? Well, it may seem like there’s a new eatery to discover on just about every corner while living in Chula Vista. The options are quite diverse, to say the least!

Because of Chula Vista’s location between the San Diego area and Tijuana, Mexican restaurants such as Romesco are quite popular. At Romesco, you can try everything from a Mexican-style brunch to traditional tableside dinner platters. The Italianissimo Trattoria also serves up the best Italian dishes, while The Galley is where you’ll want to go for seafood.

Q: What is Chula Vista, CA, known for?
Boasting natural beauty in an urban environment, Chula Vista, CA, is a place packed with outdoor recreation, diversity, culture, great food, and great beer!

A father and son stand at the entrance to their PODS portable moving container in the driveway of their new home in Providence, Rhode Island. The boy is holding the handle to a red wagon filled with a sports helmet and ball.

Moving to Chula Vista With PODS

Getting to your new home in Chula Vista is easy when you enlist the help of PODS. Get a portable moving container delivered right to your driveway, where you can easily load your belongings on your own schedule. PODS can help you connect with local packing and loading assistance, if needed, and your container can be picked up and delivered to your new residence whenever you're ready. Need more time? A secure PODS Storage Center is available to store your things in case you aren't quite ready to move yet.

Editor’s note: For ease of reading, monthly rental prices were rounded to the nearest $25 and home values were rounded to the nearest $100.

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