16 Pros and Cons of Living in Chula Vista, CA

Updated On October 9, 2023
Chula Vista, CA

Do you want to move to Southern California but don’t want to experience the hassles of a major city?

Well, Chula Vista may be the ideal destination for you.

Families, students, athletes, business professionals, artists, and those working on their craft all call sunny Southern California home.

Whether you’re moving for education, more opportunity, or a career, Chula Vista, or its beautiful view in Spanish, has something for everyone.

Located in San Diego Bay on the Pacific Ocean, Chula Vista boasts 52 square miles of incredible landscapes, including over 60 sports fields, parks, foothills, canyons, and water.

Sound good?

Before you make a snap decision and immediately move to Chula Vista, it’s essential to understand the pros and cons of the city and area.

Keep reading to learn more!

Chula Vista, CA
Chula Vista, CA

Pros of Living in Chula Vista, CA

Some of the best advantages of living in Chula Vista include:

1. Countless Housing Opportunities

Chula Vista features numerous housing options, from single homes to condos and apartments.

Elderly living accommodations can be found in the historic city center on the west side.

However, new planned communities are developing on the east side of Chula Vista, in neighborhoods like Eastlake, Otay Rach, and Rolling Hills Ranch.

The 2020 median San Diego County home price was $588,000, with a median rent price of $2700.

Although Chula Vista is located in San Diego County, the median home price is $511,900, with a price per square foot of $294, almost $100 less than the county median of $390.

2. Excellent Diversity

Chula Vista boasts a rich Hispanic heritage and is located in one of the most diverse areas of the U.S.

The ethnic demographic of the city consists of 49% White Hispanic, 16% non-White Hispanic, 16% Asian, and 3% Black.

In addition to being surrounded by a variety of cultures and experiences, the number of ethnic restaurants around Chula Vista is extraordinary.

You can have a different cuisine every night for a month and never get tired of the food!

3. Great Family Atmosphere

If you’re uprooting your entire family, then one of the best aspects of Chula Vista is its family-friendly atmosphere.

The city boasts pleasant year-round weather with plenty of outdoor space to enjoy the sun.

Chula Vista Parks and Recreation oversees 60 parks, comprised of a whopping 560 acres of land.

Mountain Hawk Park is one of the most popular in the city because it offers scenic views of Otay Lake, play areas, picnic tables, and extensive hiking trails.

If you’re not in the mood for the park, then Coronado and Silver Strand State Beach are just a short car ride away.

4. High Livability Scores

Chula Vista boasts a livability score above the national average due to low crime, excellent educational opportunities, a lower-than-California-average cost of living, and overall resident happiness.

Although not everyone who moves to Chula Vista will believe it to be livable, given that every individual has varied factors, Chula Vista is a highly comfortable community, which should be a significant factor when considering moving to the area.

5. Ideal Weather

Southern California has always boasted legendary weather throughout the year.

One of the best ways to spend those sunny days is by enjoying all the outdoor activities the area has to offer, be it golfing, strolling through the park, taking the boat out, walking around the waterfront, sitting on the beach, or just sitting on your back porch.

So if you’re an outdoorsy person who needs that constant sunshine, Chula Vista is your ideal location!

6. Incredible Growth

Since 1960, Chula Vista has grown year-over-year with a growth rate of around 4%.

Since 1990, the population has doubled, and to manage this astronomical development, the local government set up the Growth Management Oversight Commission.

This Commission oversees issues, including improving air quality, emergency services, and climate protection, to ensure this explosive growth limits the environmental impact.

The group also manages the amenities at parks to deliver a better quality of life.

7. Top Notch Education

The two school districts in Chula Vista have earned an excellent reputation for providing top-notch educational opportunities to students.

The Chula Vista Elementary School District runs 44 K-6 schools across the city, and the Sweetwater Union High School District operates grades 7-12. The Arroyo Vista Charter School, Parkview Elementary School, and Salt Creek Elementary School have all earned 10/10 ratings on greatschools.org.

In addition, Otay Ranch Senior High School, Eastlake High School, and Olympian High School earned 8/10, 9/10, and 9/10, respectively.

8. Very Safe Community

Regarding safety, Chula Vista is one of the best places in the state.

It’s the safest city in San Diego County and consistently ranks at the top of California’s safest communities.

The overall crime rate is 31% lower than the national average, with violent and property crimes being 13% and 34% lower, respectively.

Living in Chula Vista means you have a 1 in 59 chance of being the victim of a violent or property crime.

Since safety will undoubtedly be a significant factor in determining where you plan to live, Chula Vista can put your mind at ease.

Cons of Living in Chula Vista, CA

Like in any city, there are some downsides that you must consider, including:

1.9.3% Income Tax Rate

We’re going to jump in with one of the biggest reasons not to move to any town in California, the incredibly high-income tax rate of 9.3%.

With a national average income tax rate of 4.6%, you will pay slightly more than double when working in Chula Vista.

Therefore, when determining if you want to move to the city, it’s critical to budget this automatic pay loss into your decision since it can be significant, depending on your current and future salary.

2. High Cost of Living

Although the Chula Vista housing market is more affordable than San Diego County, it’s still not cheap!

The national cost of living index is 100, and Chula Vista is 147.1!

Healthcare is slightly more affordable, but you’ll pay significantly more in every category, including transportation, utilities, housing, and groceries.

3. Lackluster Mass Transit

Southern California is known as a car enthusiast’s paradise.

While mass transit has improved in Los Angeles and San Diego over the past few decades, it’s nowhere near the efficiency of major East Coast cities.

Therefore, despite constant gridlock, driving around town is more efficient than taking mass transit options.

While several bus lines and a single light rail line run through Chula Vista to downtown San Diego, it’s incredibly inefficient.

If you’re moving from a major east coast city or a city with excellent mass transit options where you don’t require a car, you will be greatly disappointed in Chula Vista and need a car!

4. Lengthy Commutes

The average one-way U.S. commute is 26.4 minutes.

In Chula Vista, the average commute is 30.9 minutes.

While a four-minute difference may not seem like a lot, you could be at the higher end of the commuting times, pulling the average up.

Smart Asset found that Chula Vista has the 19th worst commute time of any U.S. city.

Therefore, before moving to the city, you must consider where you will be commuting in San Diego and determine if it’s worth sitting in traffic for hours per week.

5. Natural Disasters

While the Pacific Ocean is too cold for hurricanes and the semi-arid climate is too warm for snow, Chula Vista is on or near ten known fault lines, so regular earthquakes and tremors occur.

While this is a typical occurrence, wildfires are the greatest natural disaster threat to the region.

The dry heat mixed with multiple days of drought can result in out-of-control wildfires, especially in the open-air areas of the city and canyons.

Additionally, urban and localized flooding can occur with minimal rainfall causing all types of damage.

6. Parking

This drawback to living in Chula Vista is that there are so many cars on the road, so parking can be a nightmare when you want to go out somewhere.

Unfortunately, you can’t take mass transit because the network isn’t convenient, so driving or rideshare are your only two options.

If you want to drive to downtown San Diego, parking will be a significant challenge, and even going locally to Chula Vista, you may have additional parking woes.

7. Poor Air Quality

San Diego County has some of the highest air pollutions in the United States, which leads to days of elevated particulate levels.

As a result, those who are asthmatic or have other respiratory challenges may have difficulty breathing during this time or develop a cough.

In addition, long-term exposure to air particulates can lead to heart and lung issues, including heart attacks, strokes, and asthma.

8. Public Safety Shortages

Due to Chula Vista’s skyrocketing population, the city continues to scramble to provide essential services.

The Growth Management Oversight Commission produces annual reports forecasting five-year population increases and the steps required to maintain an acceptable service level for fire and EMS services, police response, rec space, traffic, parks, libraries, and more.

Unfortunately, the most recent reports present an inadequate amount of police to manage emergency and urgent calls, leading to slow response times.

Chula Vista, CA
Chula Vista, CA

Pros and Cons of Living in Chula Vista, CA – Summary Table

Pros of Living in Chula Vista, CACons of Living in Chula Vista, CA
1. Countless Housing Opportunities1.9.3% Income Tax Rate
2. Excellent Diversity2. High Cost of Living
3. Great Family Atmosphere3. Lackluster Mass Transit
4. High Livability Scores4. Lengthy Commutes
5. Ideal Weather5. Natural Disasters
6. Incredible Growth6. Parking
7. Top Notch Education7. Poor Air Quality
8. Very Safe Community8. Public Safety Shortages

Chula Vista Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Chula Vista Safety Review

Safety Index:
Chula Vista

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Chula Vista a wonderful place to live?

With excellent diversity, caring and welcoming residents, well-kept parks, extensive food options, a lower cost of living than most of the rest of the state, growth, development, and excellent schools, Chula Vista is a fantastic place to live.

Residents who weren’t born in the area moved to Chula Vista because of these many perks and to raise a family in a great community.

How far is Chula Vista from San Diego?

The driving distance between downtown San Diego and Chula Vista is just nine miles.

On a regular day, the drive will only take around 10 minutes.

However, it can take double or triple that time during rush hour.

Is Chula Vista a walkable community?

It depends on where you live.

The closer you get to San Diego and the light rail line, the more walkable it is.

Millenia is a highly walkable section of Chula Vista, with tree-lined pedestrian walkways.

You can also walk through inviting gardens, gathering areas, promenades, and parks.

What is Chula Vista best known for?

With around 52 square miles of trails, parks, canyons, hills, mountains, and coastline, Chula Vista is best known for its outdoor activities.

Also, the city is a leader in renewable energy and conservation, is one of the safest in the U.S., and has exceptional public schools.

How far is Chula Vista from the beach?

The closest beach (depending on where you are in the city) to Chula Vista is around 16 miles, so it won’t take longer than 20 minutes to reach the beach on average.

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