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“Life in Vista CA is wonderful, the climate is ideal, right around 72 degrees with minimal rainfall. It takes about 20 minutes to drive to the beach from Vista. Vista is about 40 miles north of downtown San Diego. Because of that fact, the attractions of San Diego (Zoo, Seaworld, Gaslamp, Quarter etc) are about an hour’s drive away.” This is how one commenter on describes his home town. Vista is a large community that is located in the San Diego Metropolitan area in San Diego County. It has a population of about 101,000 people and residents of this community enjoy a fairly good lifestyle – they have good home, all the infrastructure that they could want and they are also highly educated. Let us start with Vista’s history.

The area where Vista stands was originally home to the Luiseno Indians. Fast forward to 1798 when the Spanish founded the San Luis Rey Mission. Later, the Mexican government granted the land to different people and eventually the area was made up of 3 ranchos – Rancho Guajome, Rancho Buena Vista, and Agua Hedionda Y los Manos. Lack of water and changing politics started to affect the ranchos in the 1850s and settlers saw a chance to move in and form smaller farms. John Frazier was one of them and he opened the first post office and gave the place the name that it bears today. Other settlers planted vineyards on hundreds of acres. They are responsible for the first winery in the country which they built in 1886, but which was later shut down due to prohibition.

Wikipedia explains how Vista came to be as we see it today: “Inhibited by the lack of water, Vista grew slowly through the early 1910s to less than 1,000 people. With the vote of the people in 1923, the Vista Irrigation District had the necessary funding to construct a new water supply from Lake Henshaw.[16] New buildings in downtown sprang up almost immediately. Agriculture began to flourish with crops such as tomatoes, celery, and citrus fruits. Some hillsides were also planted for avocados and by 1948 Vista became the “avocado capital of the world”. Following World War II, agriculture declined with an influx of growth of population and housing. The City of Vista was incorporated on January 23, 1963. The frequent housing booms of the 1970s through early 2000s greatly increased the population of Vista. Numerous apartment complexes were also built in these booms. Many light manufacturing businesses moved into the Business Park area on the south side, starting in the 1980s. In the 1990s, Wal-Mart, Target and C
ostco opened large stores. In 1993, Vista became involved in a national controversy when the Vista Unified School District board unsuccessfully tried to incorporate creationist, anti-evolution views into the biology curriculum.”

Today, Vista is mainly a working community, with many employers including the Vista Unified School District, the San Diego Superior Court, Watkins Manufacturing Company, Zodiac Pool Care, Walmart and many others. What is notable about Vista is that most of its residents are highly educated – more than two thirds have a bachelors degree or higher. In fact, most of its residents work either in computers or mathematics.

The cost of living in Vista is 45 lower than the California average, but people who are not from within the state will find it high. Median household income is 22% lower than the state average and the crime rate is 23% lower than the California average. Although Vista started off as a predominantly white community today it is made up of all races and people mix freely. There are more than 20 neighborhoods in all and most of them are relatively safe so long as you take the usual precautions.

Buying a home in Vista is cheaper than in many other cities in California – the median home value is 7% lower than the state average. A small 2 bedroom, 2 bath house goes for around $80,000 while a bigger 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom house will go for about $700,000. Because so many of the people who live in this community are young they rent – about half the community lives in rentals.

That is not to say that there is no room for families – nearly a quarter of the population is made of families. There are great schools here. According to Wikipedia, “The Vista Unified School District serves Vista. Vista has eighteen elementary schools, six middle schools, and seven high schools, including Rancho Buena Vista High School, Vista High School and Mission Vista High School. Guajome Park Academy is a charter school with joint elementary, middle, and high schools that receives part of its funding from the Vista Unified School District. Alta Vista Continuation High School is another option for teens who cannot attend regular school. There are 12 private schools serving over 2500 students including Tri-City Christian School, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School and Calvary Christian School.”

There is also plenty to do. The weather is good year-round with summer highs of 68F. The residents are very proud of their craft beer breweries and go on tours frequently. There are many tasting rooms where you can sample wines from local vineyards. The local water park is open to all from May to September every year, and you can also head over to the botanical gardens to see the local flora. If you would like to enjoy a day at the beach you only need to drive or cycle for a few minutes and there you will find people engaged in all sorts of fun activities.

Lastly, if you love the arts you will love Vista. According to, “The Art Beat on Main Street opened with the goal of increasing people’s awareness of art and how it benefits the community. It also features a wine lounge so everyone can enjoy themselves and the beauty around them as they sip delicious varietals of white, red and blush. However, the real emphasis is on the performance arts.”