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Vista: North County's Hidden Gem for Shopping!

With its independently-owned retail stores, diverse merchandise, and spectacular public art, Downtown Vista is a mecca for people who are looking for an enjoyable shopping experience.

From arts and crafts to vintage clothing to floral arrangements, shoppers will find a broad collection of items to choose from.     
“It’s a hidden gem,” North San Diego County blogger Barb Miltenberger says of the colorful collection of retail stores that make up the shopping district. “There is a nice variety of businesses and easy parking. There’s a relaxed atmosphere. It has that old city charm.”

Blogger Barb Miltenberger
Blogger Barb Miltenberger

What makes Downtown Vista special are locally-owned businesses. Each store is unique, making a stroll through Downtown an experience very different from visiting a shopping mall. 


Lasting Charm 

The Downtown area hasn’t lost its charm over the years, Miltenberger said. “That’s one of the reasons I enjoy it so much. It’s pedestrian-friendly and there is a lot of public art on display. There are plenty of places to grab a bite to eat before or after you shop. They have boutiques. They have antiques. They have businesses that support local artists and makers.”

Shops along Broadway range from Hollywood Barn's vintage and rustic decor items to Standards Records where you can find that lost LP you've been looking for.  Not far away at Citrus and Broadway is Public Lemon that offers curated collections for women, men, pets and more! Or literally walk through history when visiting Beads, Crystals and More.

She noted that Crozier’s Flowers on Main Street sells gifts made by local artisans.

A short distance away on Main Street is Bungalow 101, Moonry Collective and Twice on Main for a wide variety of gifts, cards, household goods and fashion resale.

Culturally Rich City Center

The City of Vista’s efforts to revitalize Downtown has given the district a fresh appearance, Miltenberger said. In 2015, the city mapped out a downtown Vista plan for revitalization. The idea was to create a collection of businesses that would meet the needs of visitors and residents while providing opportunities to socialize. The result is a culturally rich city center.

In addition to its diverse merchandise, Downtown Vista is a showplace for public art. One of the best known is artist Clayton Parker’s “A Journey Through Time” mural. Covering several businesses, the 562-foot-long mural depicts Vista’s history dating back to the time the city’s rolling hills were populated by Native Americans. 

Local merchants and civic boosters work cooperatively to make Downtown Vista appealing, Miltenberger said. “When there are downtown activities, they all get on board to help. Rather than compete, they work together.”

Special Events

The result is a series of special events that keeps shoppers and other visitors entertained throughout the year, she added. Those events include the annual Rod Run classic car show, the annual Vista Strawberry Festival, and the Alley Art Festival, which is dedicated to preserving and promoting the arts in a variety of forms.

Although it embraces its past, Downtown Vista continues to evolve, proving a really fun shopping experience “There is always something new to discover,” Miltenberger said. “Longtime residents are even looking at it through new eyes.”