If you’re looking for living that feels like the countryside but still has a lot of amenities, look no further than Vista. Far from the packed-in urban areas of central San Diego, Vista has fewer than 100,000 people. It’s got excellent schools, gourmet restaurants, and tons of community events, making it a perfect place to raise a family or simply enjoy a quieter pace.
Vista is north of the city of San Marcos, on the very outskirts of inland San Diego County, so you’ll want to consider your commute time. The 78 freeway makes it an easy jaunt to the northern coastal communities. It’s only about 15 minutes to Carlsbad, for example. But if you work in downtown San Diego, expect it to take an hour or more to get there by car. Another option is the train, which leaves from coastal San Diego stops.
It’s easier to find a home with some land here than it is in most other areas of San Diego County. That said, there are homes to fit a variety of budgets. You can still score a condo here for less than $300K, with the average price of all homes at $522K. The housing market remains hot, with homes typically selling within 10 days of going on the market.
There are a number of both public and private schools in Vista, all with an average ranking grade of B+. Several schools have a ranking of A+, though, like Mission Vista High, which is #102 in the state. Check with the school district to find out if the home you’re interested in is within the boundaries of a school you like.
Private schools in Vista are predominantly church-affiliated. Most of these schools are highly rated, with admission requirements.
Though it’s a relatively smaller city by Southern California standards, Vista’s got a vibrant foodie scene. Mikko Sushi opened a Vista sister location to its beachside Carlsbad joint, serving up a variety of modern Japanese seafood dishes and noodles for a moderate price.
If you’re in the mood for authentic Italian, check out Ciao Ristorante, which has a full pasta and pizza menu, as well as many other items. Curbside Cafe on Main Street in downtown Vista is a neighborhood favorite for breakfast and lunch, with items costing around $10, and boasts Vista’s best cinnamon roll.
Things to Do
One of the things residents like the best about Vista is its historic, quaint downtown, known as Vista Village. Currently undergoing redevelopment, the area has a number of shops and restaurants perfect for strolling.
Held every Saturday at the courthouse downtown from 8 am to 1 pm, the Vista Farmer’s Market is San Diego County’s oldest. Here local farmers bring fresh produce to sell. But you can also buy everything from microgreens to oil and vinegar. Locals love to meander the aisles, sipping coffee and eating from the many vendors selling specialty items.
Vista also has many annual events. The yearly Rhythm and Brews Festival is a fundraiser for two food banks. Held downtown every spring, it features more than 100 craft breweries and live music stages.
The Vista Strawberry Festival is a family-friendly event that usually takes place on Memorial Day weekend that hearkens back to the days when Vista was the largest producer of strawberries. The area still grows quite a few of these fruits, which are also sold at this event. Because it’s a strawberry festival, it features events like the Little Miss Strawberry Shortcake pageant, strawberry jam making, and strawberry costume contests. It’s also got a bunch of carnival rides for the kiddos and a beer garden for the grown-ups.
Legoland San Diego is also very close, and a great place if your kids are 10 and under. Many families get annual passes. There’s also a water park here, perfect for hot days. The Moonlight Amphitheatre is a Vista treasure, with open-air plays during the warmer months. They feature Broadway shows, concerts, and outdoor movie screenings. Age ranges for the shows do vary, so check out those guidelines before buying tickets.
Vista is really close to the Cleveland National Forest and Palomar Mountain.
It’s just an hour’s drive up the slopes if you feel like seeing snow during the winter. There’s also a ton of hiking and camping to be had. The area has a couple dozen mountain biking trails, for all skill levels.
If you’re looking for rock climbing, northern San Diego has many different places to try it out. For fishing, kayaking, and other boating, check out Lake San Marcos, located just south of Vista. Or you can head west for about 10 miles and go to the beaches in Carlsbad or Oceanside.
Whether you’re looking for a single-bedroom condo or a large home on multiple acres, if you want a country kind of life that’s still very active, Vista could be the right area for you. Contact our local experts to find your dream home today!