Alta Vista Drive is a major street running through the neighbourhood, and shares its name. Both are named for their relative height, as the neighbourhood is generally higher than most of the city. Alta Vista is a highly residential neighbourhood with a strong community, several schools, churches, and community centres. It also has a vast amount of greenspace and parks, much of which is part of the Alta Vista Transportation Corridor Environmental Assessment.
The OC Transpo Transitway also runs through Alta Vista, with two stations in the neighbourhood itself (Pleasant Park and Riverside) as well as two just outside (Billings Bridge and Smyth), serving as a vital transit link to the rest of the city.
The General Campus of the Ottawa Hospital, and The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario are located just on the north side of Smyth Road, in Riverview, while the Riverside Campus of the Ottawa Hospital is located at Smyth and Riverside Drive. There are two shopping malls in and around Alta Vista: the Billings Bridge Plaza Shopping Centre at Bank Street and Riverside and the Elmvale Shopping Centre at St. Laurent and Smyth.
Alta Vista had a population of about 24,047 as of the Canada 2011 Census.