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Vista City Overview

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The city of Vista, in north central San Diego County, was named one of the "50 Fabulous Places to Raise Your Family" by author Melissa Giovagnoli. While writing her book, Giovagnoli interviewed relocation experts, real estate agents, state and government agencies, economic development organizations, school districts, chambers of commerce executives and more. Criteria for selecting the top 50 included: a strong local economy with growing job and business opportunities, good schools, a diversified real estate market, low taxes, great recreation and culture, low crime, an aggressive plan to preserve the environment, and a passion for kids.

She writes, "This dynamic beauty close to Pacific Ocean shores has it all. Why else would the population have tripled in the past 20 years? Who wouldn't want to be in the climatic wonderland of the United States, where the average daily temperature is 74 degrees and children go to top schools and have their pick of choice recreational activities?"

Vista Parks and Community Services operate 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. 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. The Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum maintains fully operational exhibits: blacksmith & wheelwright shop, country kitchen & parlor, steam & gas industrial power units, gristmill & sawmill and farm equipment. And Guajome County Park offers a rich riparian area, marshes, spring-fed lakes, picnicking, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, and camping.

Vista Unified School District (VUSD) has enjoyed a long-standing reputation as one of the finest school districts in the nation. Several of Vista's schools have earned National Blue Ribbon and California Distinguished School honors. VUSD operates two special education schools, a technology-based charter school and two magnet schools: the Casita Center for Technology, Science and Math, and the Vista Academy of Visual and Performing Arts. Vista is also the only school district in the western states to offer a fully implemented International Baccalaureate program.

Vista real estate varies from older cottages built in the 1940s and 1950s, to newer homes the majority built since the 1980s. Older neighborhoods have open spaces and large lots, many with horse quarters and greenhouses. Neighborhoods are nestled in among the hills. The Shadowridge area south of Highway 78 is built around Shadowridge Country Club with predominantly master-planned communities. On the outskirts of Vista, large executive homes have been built into the hills and feature wonderful views. Vista homes' median home price is currently $500,000, with condos beginning at $200,000 and single family homes from mid-$300's, ranging up to $2.7 million.