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San Diego Neighborhood Guide: Chula Vista

A prime example of South Bay rising, this city is blending old and new in its cuisine, craft beer, and entertainment


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Bowlero

Chula Vista This Month

Chula Vista Challenge Half Triathlon, Bayside Park, August 12

HarborFest, Bayside Park, August 18

Living Coast Discovery Center

Located in the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge, this nonprofit zoo and aquarium hosts animal interactions where you can feed sea turtles. Follow one of the trails for views of native plants, the skyline, and the Coronado Bridge. 

thelivingcoast

 

Chula Vista Yoga Center

This studio is decked in bright, colorful murals inside and out. Most classes are 90 minutes, and they offer a $10 pass for newbies to use for their first 10 consecutive days. 

chulavistayogacenter

Chula Vista Yoga Center

 

The Balboa Bar & Grill

Look for a South Bay outpost of this Bankers Hill staple this summer. Burgers are the main draw, with bacon-topped versions and a burger-burrito hybrid lined with a layer of fries. 

 

Bowlero

Geared more toward recreational bowlers than hard-core leaguers, this alley has blacklights and HD screens to go with those splits and strikes. The venue also has an arcade with Mario Kart and Pac-Man, plus the usual bowling fare (nachos, chicken wings, etc.). 

bowlerobowl

 

Tacos el Gordo

Their newest location, on Broadway, promises more parking—but yes, you’ll still have to wait in line. It’s worth it for their authentic Mexican street-style tacos—you’ll likely need three to make a meal—especially the adobada, which has its own queue. If you want to venture (slightly) beyond tacos, try the mula, like an open-faced taco topped with melted cheese. 

tacoselgordo_

 

TJ Oyster Bar | Photo: Sam Wells

TJ Oyster Bar

The Chula Vista location is more casual than its Bonita counterparts, but those smoked tuna tacos are just as much of a fixture. You can also try it over fries, or opt for their popular garlic shrimp or ceviche tostadas. 

tjoysterbar

 

The Gentle Penguin

Part cocktail and wine bar, part live music venue, The Gentle Penguin has one section devoted to dancing and music—live Latin tunes as well as DJs spinning ’80s and ’90s playlists—and a more low-key area flanked by local artwork.

thegentlepenguin

 

Groundswell Brewing

What started as a small project out of a garage has become a full-on brewery. Their tasting room on Third Avenue is a sleek, convivial space known for sessionable brews. 

groundswellbrew

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