Chula Vista is the second-largest city in San Diego County, with a population of more than 267,000. The city’s attractions include the U.S. Olympic Training Center, golf courses, a variety of parks and the Living Coast Discovery Center, which is home to eels, sharks, stingrays and other San Diego Bay marine life.
Known as a biker town for its rough atmosphere and seedy beachfront area throughout the ’70s, Imperial Beach has undergone a significant makeover and has done much to become visitor-friendly, commercially viable and overall more aesthetically pleasing. The city is also famous for its annual sand castle competitions, which are now part of the Sun & Sea Festival.
National City is the second-oldest city in San Diego County with a rich history. The National City Mile of Cars is recognized as one of the first “auto malls” in the world. The National City Southern Railroad Depot, built in 1882, served as the first Pacific Coast terminus station of the Santa Fe Railway system’s transcontinental railroad. Paradise Valley Hospital, a 291-bed acute care facility, was founded by Ellen White, an Adventist, in the early 1900s. Cafe La Maze, which was established in 1941, is recognized as one of National City’s most historic restaurants.
National City’s 3-mile port area along the San Diego Bay is part of Naval Base San Diego, the largest U.S. naval base on the West Coast.
Other attractions include Westfield Plaza Bonita, a shopping mall in National City that attracts customers from all around the South Bay region of San Diego County. It is one of the only completely enclosed (all indoor) shopping malls in the county.