"Fabulous" for Families
Located in San Diego's North County just seven miles from the ocean, Vista has more than 25 educational institutions for its young people and a business park that's home to more than 800 companies. Is it any wonder that Vista has been named in the book 50 Fabulous Places to Raise Your Family? Vistans like to boast about their perfect mild Mediterranean climate, which allows them to enjoy a wide range of year-round outdoor activities in a setting of gently rolling hills and pleasant rural surroundings.
According to the Vista Chamber of Commerce, the recorded history of the region begins with the arrival in the late 1700s of the Mission padres who traveled north from San Diego along the original El Camino Real — the King's Highway — which actually passed through Vista on its way to the Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside. In 1850, Col. Cave J. Couts, Sr., who later constructed the magnificent Rancho Guajome Adobe, drew a map that plainly shows Vista on the original El Camino Real over which Portola, Crespi, Fages, and Moncado first traveled. Others who passed through Vista in its earliest days included Jebediah Smith, General Kearny, Commodore Stockton, Kit Carson, and Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, son of the Indian maiden guide of the Lewis and Clark expeditionary force. In the next century — in 1882, to be exact — a settler, John Frazier, officially named the city Vista. He chose that name because of Rancho Buena Vista Creek. Vista was incorporated in 1963.
Since the 1800s, Vista and the neighboring city of San Marcos have had large Japanese-American populations. Vista is home to a Japanese-American Cultural Center and Buddhist Temple, one of only two in California. Older sections of Vista are predominantly Hispanic. Vista also has a large and active Jewish community.
Vista has a lot of open land, especially in the north, and much of it is dedicated to city parks. Perhaps the two best-known parks within the city are Brengle Terrace Park and Guajome County Park. Brengle is home to a baseball field, senior center, playground, the city community center, and the Moonlight Amphitheatre (more about that below). Brengle Terrace Park is also the site, every June, of the San Diego Scottish Games & Gathering of the Clans, one of many annual events held in Vista. The more rugged Guajome Park is comprised of 557 acres, and half of the park is in Vista; the other half in Oceanside. Features include campsites, horse trails, and the Rancho Guajome Adobe, which, like the Rancho Buena Vista Adobe (see "Points of Interest"), was built in the mid-19th Century and now hosts special occasions. It is a National Historic Landmark. Vista's Parks and Recreation Department runs the Wave Waterpark, which is a small but well-equipped waterpark near downtown Vista and is open from mid-spring to early fall.
The city of Vista supports two theaters: the Moonlight Amphitheatre and the Avo Playhouse. The former is an open-air theater (you can picnic there before the show) that specializes in award-winning musical productions presented during the summer. In the winter season, the Moonlight switches to the Avo Playhouse, which also presents other productions.
The median price for a single-family home was $337,667 in 2008. The median for a single-family luxury home is currently $2,799,000. Please note that our "House Price Points" are based on the luxury market.