First founded by the Spanish in 1795, the city was officially established in 1887 when the first house was erected on the land. With the completion of the Sweetwater Dam, farming became an essential piece of the Chula Vista economy, and it was the world's largest lemon grower for a period of time. Agriculture largely sustained the city through the great depression. After World War II, the city experienced exponential growth, and much of the lemon groves were replaced with homes and businesses. The area became one of the largest regions in San Diego County. Since this time, the city has only continued to grow steadily to the east. Today, small businesses make up the majority of the city's economy.

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Located a little over seven miles from the Mexican Border and a little over seven miles from the center of San Diego, Chula Vista is recognized as one of the most culturally and economically diverse regions in the United States. With a number of influences from a population of ethnically and racially diverse individuals, the area thrives in arts, culture and business. The original west side of the city includes historical neighborhoods with single and multi-family homes. The newer planned communities to the east provide a number of single-family housing options in the neighborhoods of Rancho del Rey, East Lake and Otay Ranch. There are additionally some condo and townhome communities available for purchase.

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