South Bay San Diego

The South Bay San Diego region is quite unique because of it’s physical borders of the Pacific Ocean, US-Mexico border and the eastern rural hills. With this geography, it has the distinct characteristic of having it’s own beach towns, marina’s, amusement parks, rural areas, and shopping malls.

As with any border area, a large concentration of growth will be along the border between the US-Mexican border, namely San Ysidro. Historically, working class demographics are found here as well as many tourists from south of the border. Duty-free stores, international services, and the Las Americas outlet shopping mall are all within reach within San Ysidro.

Just north of San Ysidro is the vast and diversified city of Chula Vista. Along the I-805 highway, Chula Vista is divided between West Chula Vista and East Chula Vista. The Western Chula Vista Area has a long history of post-WWII residential expansion because of it’s close proximity to the Pacific Ocean, as well as having the distinct downtown and civic center area of the Chula Vista.

East Chula Vista, is more recently developed. Starting from the early 1990’s to the present day (currently 2018). East Chula Vista is primarily residential track-homes with pockets of apartment complexes. This area largely attracts upper working-class and middle-class demographics because of the higher standard of living and amenities in the area like newer schools, higher priced homes, organized commerical and industrial zones, and beautifully designed street corridors.

Directly North of the city of Chula Vista is the area known as Bonita. It is unincorporated, so there is no mayor or governing board, but this tight-knit community is able to operate through it’s various community organizations such as the Kiwanas Club, Rotary, Optimist Club, Women’s Club, and the Bonita Professional’s Club. Bonita is unique for offering custom designed homes as well as equestrian areas and small horse ranches.

Then due north of Bonita is the Paradise Hills and Encanto area. Officially part of the City of San Diego, these 2 areas are quite distinct from each other because of the way each area was developed. Encanto was developed as a residential area to meet the needs of the Metro San Diego, so it has better utilization of the San Diego mass transportation (MTS). Paradise Hills was historically setup as a Naval Housing community and then private residential neighborhoods grew around the Naval Housing complex area, thus creating this new community. Access to Paradise Hills is easier because of highway 54, aka “South Bay Freeway.”

West of Paradise Hills is National City. Being just a few blocks away from the 32nd Street Naval Base, National City is where many of the shipyard personnel calls home. Many military personnel choose to live here to avoid any freeway traffic when reporting for their duty shift. It has the classic post WWII style homes which are typically 1000 square foot, 2-3 bedroom, with a long driveway and garage in the backyard. It has a lots of business zones and restaurants, so many Paradise Hills residents stop by National City to get groceries or food before going home.

Imperial Beach is found on the south west corner of South Bay San Diego. It is unique for South Bay San Diego for being the only true beach community. It has a pier, long stretches of sandy beaches, and even a salt water estuary. Residents are attracted to Imperial Beach because it’s one of the last beach communities that is still affordable in California as well as being very relaxed as a traditional beach community should be.