Hello everyone! This is a friendly reminder that any of these fun places we may visit, we are a guest at. Please treat both businesses and trails with the utmost respect. We here at Hidden San Diego follow the 'Leave no Trace' mantra, meaning whatever you bring with you comes back with you. If you see trash on a trail, please do your part to help remove it. Remember, we are not picking up trash from another person but instead cleaning up for Mother Nature. Happy adventures!

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1270 Vale Terrace Dr.
Vista, CA 92084

Phone: (760) 945-3954
33.210416, -117.219389

Dog-Friendly: Yes   Kid-Friendly: Yes

HOURS: Mon-Fri-7am-5pm // Sat-Sun- 10am-5pm

Admission: $5 // Kids: $3 / Kids under 3 free



**Check out our list of all must-see gardens in San Diego!**

About the Alta Vista Botanical Garden

At this point I would say most people know about the San Diego Botanic Garden & Hermitage Self-Realization Gardens, both which are exquisite and beautiful botanical gardens. If you go about 15 minutes east of these areas though there is another spot that holds it’s own for unique beauty: Alta Vista Botanical Garden.

The Alta Vista Botanical Garden is an interactive botanical garden that uses up-to-date technology in an interactive atmosphere. This a place that all ages can appreciate.

There are different zones such as sub-tropical, an herbal labyrinth, the Children’s Musical garden. ponds, prehistoric gardens and more. It truly is a treat here, especially for the price! Rather than taking the conventional approach of creating another living plant museum, this garden has become a gathering place for the community.

One of the main highlights throughout the project are the art installations. Most recently they acquired some of Ricardo Breceda’s art installations, who is most famous for his contributions to Galleta Meadows out in the Anza Borrego Desert.

While you’re in the area, make sure to check out Exotica Rare Fruit Farm nearby!

One key attraction of the garden is the incorporation of art throughout the grounds, giving artists a magnificent showcase to display their talents. From garden art to sculptures, to walkways and walls created by some of the area’s most talented artisans are on display.

Along the trail systems, throughout the garden, are multipurpose platforms, which act as way stations for visitors. These platforms eventually will play host to a multitude of events in the garden, such as fine art shows, culinary events, the performing arts, as well as Tai Chi and Yoga. The goal of the garden is to leave no stone unturned in our quest to “Bring Together People, Nature and Art.”

A list of their gardens

Australian Garden- The “Down Under” garden is located near the front gate and surrounded by several species of eucalyptus trees. It holds a variety of plants native to Australia and a beautiful rock billabong.

California Natives Garden- A newly planted garden of California natives is located near the Labyrinth. It is a display of plants indigenous to the San Diego area. A nearby hillside also holds original native plants.

 Ceremonial Garden– This large open area is located west of the Garden House and surrounded by trees and shrubberies. It contains a pond with live turtles and edged with aquatic plants, A memorial gazebo with climbing roses offers views of the Vista valley.  It is a perfect location for weddings.

Children’s Garden and Discovery Trail– This garden, found just inside the front gate, is both whimsical and educational. It contains a variety of interesting plants including cotton shrubs and proteas. The Discovery Trail allows children and adults to learn about unusual plant features.

 Culinary Herbs Garden– The Sharon Kern Culinary Herbs Garden is located near the Garden house.  It is composed of five raised beds bordered by rock walls and contains a variety of herb including oregano, sages, rosemary, basil and more.

Garden Labyrinth – Rosemary and lavender plants ring the circular path leading to the labyrinth center. Benches provide opportunities to meditate or enjoy the ocean view.

Alta Vista Botanical Garden

 Jungle Shade Gardens- A lush, tropical garden surrounds the Palapa Patio and contains a variety of palm species, agave, Mexican Weeping Bamboo, Bird of Paradise, Coral Tree and more. A Lower Jungle Garden with shaded paths is located in the south eastern corner of the Gardens.

Mediterranean Garden– Next to the Labyrinth, this a garden includes olive and fig trees, cistus, and flowering Pride of Madera.  A Grape Arbor with stone bench offers expansive views.

Medicinal Herb Garden– This noteworthy garden can be found next to the Ceremonial lawn.  It contains a wide variety of plants and trees that have been used for hundreds of years to cure head aches and other ailments.

Pan Asian Garden– This garden is currently under development. Follow the paths down from the Ceremonial Garden to discover this large open area with a natural pond surrounded by black pines, cedars and flowering chicory. Enjoy the view from benches.

Prehistoric Cycad Garden: The cycad collection is located on the hillsides around and below the Labyrinth. It contains several species  including rare blue cycads.

Rare Fruit Garden– The Garden’s rare fruit collection is found east of the lower Jungle. Species include Cherimoya and Sapota.

Reception Garden– Tucked in behind the Garden House, this newly renovated lawn and patio area is surrounded by Heritage Roses and serves as a community gathering place.

South African Garden– A garden of plants native to African countries can be found by following paths down from Palapa. It is still under development.

Upper and Lower Ponds and Gardens– The Upper Pond and stone bench are located next to the Jungle Garden. A waterfall lush with tropical plants leads down to the Lower Pond and patio below the Palapa. Lily pads and small fish make this pond a favorite with children.

Welcome Garden– This teardrop shaped garden is located in front of the Garden House. The beautiful landscaping holds a combination of plants and trees found throughout the gardens.

Personal Experience

Several people had tipped me off about this place and I want to say thank you! I had no clue this spot existed! It is similar to the San Diego Botanic Garden but a little more run down/unfinished.

There are many areas that still seem like a work in progress, but that is okay because this place only costs $5 to visit after all. If you are a lover of nature, art and beauty, stop on by! These photos were all taken in mid December. I imagine it looks even prettier in Spring when everything is in bloom.


Poor Sage fell in the pond.  She stepped too close to the edge onto algae and fell right in!  Good thing we’d been practicing swimming the week before. 😛become a member

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4 Reviews

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4 Reviews


  • Vista_4_LIfe
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    thx 4 the update, I wanna go back soon this is awesome 🙂 thx Jessica

    January 21, 2016

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    February 8, 2017

  • tsunamitommy
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    Thanks for telling me about this place. Glad Sage was able to swim

    June 22, 2019

  • Mary Murphy
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    The Garden is beautiful. So much art, so many plants, and so many places to just sit and enjoy. The admission is $5 for adults, not 2. But it’s worth it! Great place for kids! Kids over 3 are $3.
    Once you’ve heard about the Garden, it’s easy to find.
    Take water! The Garden is 14 acres. 😀
    Dogs need to be leashed, however.

    August 11, 2021

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