Main Street, Chula Vista doesn’t necessarily stand a chance against the frills of Legoland or the restaurant splash of the Gaslamp District. That’s precisely why I come here.
Much overlooked, you can get some of the best food, shop, find a dive bar or hang out with your kids at the recreation center. You just have to see it and, ehem, not want all that splash. (Splash is for those who spend most of their time looking down into their phones anyway.)
Now that I’ve sufficiently offended you, let me introduce you to Main Street, Chula Vista–a place that needs to be seen… and then seen again… to be properly understood.
The Far End Of Main Street
- Main Street begins at the historic Salt Works. There’s a fabulously long history that dates back to the Kumeyaay who traded salt with other villages far away.
- The Otay Valley Regional Park begins here and you can hike or bike through all sorts of fascinating recovered parkland.
- Then there’s Swiss Park, established by Robert Eggers and several other farmers who came to this region in the 1930s. They wanted to preserve their homeland heritage, so today Swiss Park still hosts events, including an annual Schwingfest.
Along Main Strip you’ll find some of the hottest Mexican food trucks anywhere in the county
Everybody, but absolutely everybody raves about El Kiki.
The most popular: Mariscos y Birrieria: El Prieto. They’ve got seafood cocktails for $15.00. The Taco Governador and the Taco Perron are full of flavor. And who doesn’t love the Camaron a la Diabla? This truck really rocks and people swarm here on the weekends to enjoy the taco truck. Their speciality is Birria soup.
The night club/dive bar Over The Border also has food trucks around that have frutas, raspados, and burritos. Over The Border also has ladies night and can be a great watering hole for locals and tourists who want to visit the real San Diego.
This is where my hottest pick of Tamales is also located: Ancira.
If you’re into making mole from scratch or other Mexican dishes, you’ll want to shop at the exceptional Mexican market, El Ruisenor. They carry ingredients you can’t get anywhere else.
A few others you’ll see on this strip: Mariscos Del Toro, Santa Fe Meats at the Carniceria, Mariscos Marisol, Tijuana 100% Seafood Bar, Lomas Cafe (Mexican & Seafood) and El Ranchero Taco Shop.
Off to the side, you’ll come to a nursery, one of the few still remaining owned by a man who knows a lot about succulents and indigenous plants: Terra Bella Nursery is located at 302 Hollister Street.
Two restaurant stores are fun to wander and offer much better prices than the chains: South Bay Restaurant Supply and Mexam Enterprise, Inc. (I’m a fanatic about dishware, blenders and cooking utensils and the prices here are excellent.)
The Historic Site
Along Third and Zenith, just off Main Street, there’s also an old church that hearkens back to the days when this was nothing more than sleepy farmland.
And Finally, Pool & Ping Pong Tables
Otay Recreation Center is for youth who can play ping pong, pool, basketball or enjoy weight training.