Overview of The City of Vista

Vista, California is a beautiful North San Diego County City of approximately 90,000 people.  It is situated along both the north and south sides of Hwy 78, the main thoroughfare from Escondido to Oceanside.  Vista stretches north and west along Hwy 76 with fields of green, farms, simple living and custom homes.  It’s climate is among the best in the world.

This information on Vista, CA from Wikipedia:

Vista (/ˌˈvɪstʌˈ/Spanish: view) is a city in Southern California and is located in northernwestern San Diego County. Vista is a medium sized city within the San Diego Metropolitan Area and had a population of 93,834 at the 2010 census. Vista also includes portions of unincorporated San Diego County to north and east, with a county island in the central west, which is within its sphere of influence. Located just seven miles inland from the Pacific Ocean, it has a Mediterranean climate.

Originally the lands of Rancho Buena Vista, Vista was founded on October 9, 1882 with an establishment of apost office. It was incorporated January 28, 1963 and became a charter city on June 13, 2007.

Vista has more than 25 educational institutions for youth, and a business park home to over 800 companies. Vista was listed as the seventh-best place in the United States for family life, based on factors such as jobs and business opportunities, education, climate, and cost-of-living in a 2008 review.

Vista Restaurants and Entertainment

There’s a lot of good food in Vista, and lots to do as well.  Take a quick look at what Google has to offer on many of the restaurants in town.  One of my favorites is the Prohibition Brewing Company, a local brewery and eatery, and one of the many breweries in Vista.  One of my other favorite restaurants is the classic La Paloma restaurant, a local favorite, and some of the best fish dishes around.

How about entertainment?  Well, one of the best ways to keep in touch with and know what’s happening in the City of Vista is through the Vista Chamber of Commerce.  Here’s a bit of information from them on our local attractions.

In the recent book, “50 Fabulous Places to Raise Your Family”, Vista was voted #7 of the 50 best cities in the nation. With an average of 340 days of sunshine a year, its only natural that fun and recreation should dominate Vista’s style of life. The Vista Parks and Community Services Department operates a total of 15 community parks – six times the national average – that includes theaters, museums, recreation centers, picnic grounds, athletic fields and specialty sports parks.

Vista is home to the Wave Waterpark, the only family aquatic center in North San Diego County. The Wave is a great compliment to Boomers and the Vista Entertainment Center, which offer great family fun! In addition, the Moonlight Amphitheatre and the Avo Playhouse, draw thousands of Southern Californians each year to experience award-winning productions that have made Vista a cultural hub.

The Rancho Buena Vista Adobe provides students and visitors with hands-on educational and research programs by which they can trace local history.  And the Alta Vista Botanical Gardens harmoniously incorporates education, nature and art with its living classroom, remarkable plant life, and public art.

Located on 40 acres of rolling farm land in Vista, the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum is a non-profit organization that evokes nostalgic memories of rural lifestyles and family traditions. Unique from many museums, the equipment is maintained in operating condition and used in Museum programs. The Museum’s collection focus on the period from 1849-1950 extensively coving agriculture, construction and early industrial trades. Exhibits include blacksmith & wheelwright shop, country kitchen & parlor, steam & gas industrial power units, gristmill & sawmill and farm equipment from horse-drawn through modern row crop. Annual events include a Civil War Reenactment in March and a Threshing Bee and Harvest Fair in June. Click here for detailsAdditional event reservation information.

Rancho Guajome Adobe Hacienda depicts a unique example of Anglo-Hispanic architecture built on an original Mexican land grant. Distinguished as a National Historic Landmark for its contribution to our nation’s history, the rambling twenty-room adobe ranch house, built with huge profits from the cattle boom of the 1850′s, bustled in its heyday with extravagant fiestas, lively rodeos, and constant visitors. This San Diego County Park is available for weddings and events and also for tours Saturday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., by appointment. Address: 2210 N. Santa Fe Ave., Vista, CA 92083. Directions: I-5 to Hwy. 76 East, past Mission San Luis Rey 2.4 miles. Turn right on North Santa Fe, proceed 2 miles to Guajome Adobe Ranch House. Phone (760) 724-4082. Guajome County Park also offers a rich riparian area, marshes, spring-fed lakes, picnicking, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, and camping. Click here for details.

A golfer’s fantasyland because of its close proximity to some of the most scenic courses in the world, Vista is home to the Shadowridge Country Club and the Vista Valley Country Club.

Vista Farmer’s Market is held each Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 12 p.m., at the County Courthouse: 325 S. Melrose Drive, just south of Hwy 78. For more information, contact manager Mark Wall: email or phone 760-945-7425. Click for map.

Main Street Farmer’s Market is held each Wednesday from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the historic downtown (map). For more information, visit their Facebook page by clicking here.

Vista’s centralized location also provides quick accessibility to the ocean, the mountains, Mexico, and famous attractions such as LEGOLAND, the World-Famous San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, Sea World and Disneyland.

Vista is home to two city-supported theaters: the recently updated Moonlight Amphitheatre and the Avo Playhouse. The Moonlight Amphitheatre is an open-air theater that specializes in musical productions, performing several during the course of the summer, and a winter season at the Avo Playhouse.

Vista houses one movie theater, a Krikorian Cinema which opened in fall 2003.

Two of the best-known parks in the city are Brengle Terrace Park and Guajome County Park. Brengle Terrace Park houses the Moonlight Amphitheatre, Alta Vista Gardens (a city-owned botanical garden), a baseball field, a senior center, a playground, and the city community center, where the main offices of the city’s day camps are held. Guajome County Park has 557 acres (2.25 km2) of land, which is shared between Vista and nearby Oceanside. It features a small lake, willow and oak woodlands, campsites, horse trails, and the Rancho Guajome Adobe, a National Historic Landmark. Shadowridge Park on the south side of Vista is a natural park where users can hike on trails through native chaparral and oak woodland.

The Rancho Guajome Adobe and Rancho Buena Vista Adobe are two historic rancho buildings in Vista, built in the mid-nineteenth century, both available for touring and special occasions.

The city’s Parks and Recreation Department runs the Wave Waterpark, a small but well-equipped waterpark near the downtown area open from mid-spring to early fall, and the brand new Vista Community Sports Park. Another attraction is the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum, an open-air museum demonstrating agricultural equipment from the 19th and early 20th centuries. A Boomers family fun park is also located in Vista.

Vista is home of a Japanese-American Cultural Center and Buddhist Temple, one of only two in California, and over 75 other churches and temples of various denominations.


Vista Schools

The Vista Unified School District teaches a diverse group of students, preparing them for what lies ahead.  From their website, here’s pretty much all the information you’ll need to be up-to-date on these fine schools.

Framework for the Future

School leaders have agreed on a set of expectations and priorities that will help guide the district and create a more efficient organization. The Framework for the Future was unanimously approved in November 2012, after the district gathered extensive input and feedback from the community.


Our vision in Vista Unified School District is to be the model of educational excellence and innovation.


The purpose of Vista Unified School District is to inspire each and every student to persevere as critical-thinking individuals who collaborate to solve real-world problems.


  • Respect: Treating all with dignity.
  • Trust: Having confidence that every decision focuses on the best interests of all students.
  • Collaboration: Working in a collective partnership with clear two-way dialogue that builds relationships among home, school and the community.


With 29 schools serving more than 22,000 students from preschool to 12th grade, Vista Unified School District is one of northern San Diego County’s largest educational agencies. The district stretches 39 square miles across most of Vista, a large portion of eastern Oceanside, some unincorporated areas and small slivers of Carlsbad and San Marcos. In addition to the campuses district administrators oversee, Vista Unified also includes one of the county’s largest adult-education programs with about 20,000 enrolled each year and another 3,000 students in four charter schools sponsored by the district.

Schools include:

  • fifteen elementary schools,
  • five middle schools,
  • three comprehensive high schools,
  • two alternative high schools,
  • two schools for students with special needs,
  • one k-8 school,
  • one home-school/independent-study school,
  • one adult school.


The district serves a diverse population of students, including more than 3,000 in its special education programs and more than 6,000 who are learning English as a second language. Enrollment has declined over the last several years from about 26,000 students in 2000 to more than 22,000 in 2012.

Student demographics include:

  • 58 percent qualify for free lunch,
  • 24 percent English learners,
  • 10 percent homeless,
  • 60 percent Hispanic,
  • 28 percent white,
  • 4 percent African American,
  • 3 percent Asian,
  • 3 percent two or more races,
  • 1 percent Filipino,
  • 1 percent Pacific islander.

Test Scores

Test scores in Vista Unified have risen each year since new state standards were adopted in 2004. The latest district-wide Academic Performance Index score is 798, just two points shy of the state goal of 800.


Vista Unified School District formed in 1936, after voters in the Vista Union School District approved a plan to create a separate high school for older students who were attending Oceanside-Carlsbad High School. Its history goes back even farther, though, with Vista’s first school built in 1887. The original elementary school district was formed in 1916 by combining that campus with two other schools in the area.

School Board

The five-member school board oversees a budget of nearly $190 million. Each trustee is elected from a specified area within the district. Area 1 is the northern portion of the district, Area 2 is the eastern portion, Area 3 is the western portion, Area 4 is the central portion and Area 5 is the southern portion.

Current members are:

  • Elizabeth Jaka, president, area 1;
  • Angela Chunka, vice president, area 4;
  • Carol Herrera, clerk, area 2;
  • Jim Gibson, trustee, area 3;
  • Rich Alderson, trustee, area 5.


The district employs more than 2,000 people, including about 1,100 teachers, 1,000 support employees and 75 administrators. Most employees are represented by local chapters of the California Teachers Association and California School Employees Association.
District administrators:

  • Devin Vodicka, Superintendent, [email protected] Twitter: @dvodicka (760) 726-2170 ext. 2219
  • Jeanie Luckey, Deputy Superintendent, [email protected], (760) 726-2170 ext. 2332
  • Donna Caperton, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, [email protected], (760) 726-2170 ext. 2222
  • Brett Killeen, Assistant Superintendent of Human Relations, [email protected], (760) 726-2170 ext. 2269

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