There is so much at Civita Park in San Diego, it’s really incredible! And, the final phases of the park were completed in September 2020 and required a whole other blog post because there is just so much to there! Because I think Civita Park still pretty unknown, I consider it a hidden gem!
The highlight for us would have to be the splash pad. It was a fun treat on a beautiful day! But there was a lot more to experience here… something for everyone! There was an area devoted to games, including ping pong tables, a giant chess board and tables for chess/checkers. There are several areas set up like outdoor living rooms (complete with cement “couches”) or dining rooms, and a couple of areas with deluxe barbecues that would be fun for a small-ish event.
There’s a walking/jogging track that goes around the park, complete with bars for stretching. Two half-court basketball courts and lots of space for almost any type of outdoor game. There’s a lot to cover in this blog post!
This park can be reserved (see more information below!) by calling: 619-531-1563.
Picnic tables, deluxe barbecues, lots of grassy areas, parking lot, game plaza, amphitheater, sculptures, gender neutral bathrooms, changing table, showers, garden, military tribute space, splash pad.
Lots of things to climb, baby swings, saddle swings, group swing, tot lot, small slides, big slide, spinner, sand, rubber round, wheel chair accessible (the slide has a ramp).
Run/walk trail, half-court basketball courts, stairs for exercise, stretching bar, large grassy areas.
Civita Park is nestled in the middle of the Civita community in Mission Valley. The Civita webpage describes it as a “14.3-acre, multi-level park, which cascades down the center of the former quarry site.” It’s pretty central to the city, which is probably why Civita refers to it as “San Diego’s ‘Central Park'” and makes it a great spot for a meet up.
Lots of Amenities
This park is SO BIG and has SO MUCH FUN STUFF, that you need a directory 🙂
The areas outlined on the directory are:
- Dog park
- Accessible Path
- Picnic Areas
- Splash Pad
- Game Plaza
- Basketball Court
- Exercise Stations
- Celebration Plaza
- Rose Gardens
- Military Tribute Plaza
- Cloud Amphitheater
- Living Room
- Civita Creek
Playground (opened September 2020)
The new playground at Civita Park is SO COOL! There is a lot to climb in this bright, beautiful playground. I wrote all about the playground and other features of the final phases of Civita Park HERE!
The Stairs were completed in an earlier phase of Civita Park, but they’re easier to access now from the main park (instead of having to park near the dog park and access from the tunnel). According to my five year old, there are 121 steps here and you’re rewarded with the Civita Tunnel at the top (keep reading below)!
At the top of the stairs, an incredible treat awaits! This incredible mural was also completed in earlier phases of the park (in 2018!) but can now be accessed from the main park as well. It’s at the top of “The Stairs” and leads to the dog parks. You can read more about the tunnel here, and see lots more pictures!
image courtesy of Sudberry Properties.
My daughter loved the splash pad! The sign said that hours of operation vary depending on season, but I’d imagine that means it would be off if it’s raining. The way to activate it is to stomp on the “stomp here!” and then go through it… the jets have motion sensors (which the kids LOVED!). There is lots of seating so parents can watch and the bathrooms/showers are nearby.
The lower park has five gender-neutral, wheelchair accessible stalls and one family restroom (also wheelchair accessible) with a changing table. Each stall has a toilet and a sink but no soap, you’ll find soap at the sinks outside the stalls. There are two showers for rinsing off before and after the splash pad.
Next to the playground is another restroom building, similar to the one pictured above. It has six gender-neutral, wheelchair accessible stalls, and two family restrooms with changing tables (also wheelchair accessible).
The game plaza is a fun spot! There is a giant chess board, a few table tennis (or ping pong) tables, and several tables with a chess (or checkers) top.
Near the Game Plaza, there are several outdoor “living rooms,” complete with couches, tables and chairs!
Amphitheater & Community Events
There is a beautiful amphitheater that is set up with tables and chairs when not used for performances. Seating for the amphitheater is on the grassy hill, and it’s a great place for a blanket or low chair.
Civita Park has hosted several events, including farmer’s markets, food trucks and concerts in the park.
The amphitheater is available to reserve for events (the phone number to reserve is 619-531-1563), but is otherwise open for use (if not reserved).
Barbecues and Parties
There are two areas I saw with deluxe barbecues (and hot coal bins) and tables/seating for small events. One area nestled up the hill passed the basketball courts (images 1 and 2 below) and the other is by the gaming plaza (images 3 and 4 below).
The large grassy area (pictured below) is also available to reserve by quadrant. It’s a great spot for a bouncy house (permit required), but you would need to bring tables and chairs to accommodate a party. The number to reserve is 619-531-1563.
In addition to the four areas that you can permit on the grassy area, you can also get a permit for events at the Wedding Arbor, Turf West and East (see below), and the Amphitheater.
Dogs & Dog Parks
Dogs are allowed at the park, but they must be on a leash. There are several signs to call the San Diego Humane Society to report unleashed dogs. There is a dog park at the very back of the park, at the top of “The Stairs” and through the Magic Tunnel. You could also drive there to park.
I think it’s a lovely park to walk your pup, but I absolutely think you should keep your dog on a leash in the main park area. I saw several unleashed dogs running around, and two of them ran through the splash pad and then into the street! With all the children running around it’s too tempting to want to play… I think that a dog that chases children isn’t a bad dog, he’s a dog being a dog! For everyone’s safety, I’d imagine it’s best to keep your pup on a leash in the main park.
There are several drinking fountains with spigots for dogs around the park if you and your pup get thirsty.
Small Dog Park and Large Dog Park
At the very top of the park, you’ll find two fully-fenced dog parks: one for small dogs (less than 25 pounds) and one for large dogs. In the picture below, the large dog park is in the middle and the small dog park is on the left.
The small dog park is grassy, with a little bit of shade. The large dog park is much larger, mostly dirt with a little shade, and also some agility equipment.
Here are the signs for the two dog parks (click to enlarge). To access the dog park, you can park in the little parking lot right by the dog park (address is Via Alta and Apex Way in San Diego). You can also park in the larger parking lot or the street at the lower park, walk with your dog through the park (leashed please!), up “THE STAIRS” and through the Magic Tunnel to get access to the dog parks. See the (updated!) map at the bottom of this post 🙂
Civita Community Garden
Near the entrance to the park, there is Civita Gardens. The gate was locked when I was there, so I didn’t go in. There is a cute red tractor outside the gate which is a great photo op.
Phase 2 has more gardens, including a Scent Garden, a Winged Garden and a Succulent Garden which are all lovely to stroll through!
Civita Park features two half-court basketball courts. There are also a couple of bars for stretching and, on the far side of the park, a feature called “the stairs” – which will whip your booty into shape! It has 121 steps (according to my five year old) and you’re rewarded at the top with The Magic Tunnel.
If you’re looking for a nice place to jog or walk, there is a nice path around Civita Park.
Every area of the park (except “the stairs”) is accessible by wheelchair. Even the Promenade, which accesses the Promenade Overlook via a series of stairs, has an ADA path (pictured below). All of the sidewalks are nice and wide, and the restroom stalls are all accessible. The Magic Tunnel (at the top of “the stairs”) is accessible from the dog parks at the top of the park.
Art and Sculpture
There are sculptures throughout the park, including this large play sculpture near the game plaza (which my daughter enjoyed in lieu of an actual playground) and several wildlife sculptures on boulders throughout.
Plants & Flowers
I love how much natural beauty is incorporated into this park! There are several rose gardens (which I’m sure will look lovely when it starts to warm up in San Diego) and beautiful flowers throughout. There is a lot of drought-resistant landscaping, which is beautiful, and boulders, dirt paths and plants around. And, of course, palm trees (it’s San Diego, after all!).