Escondido is a city located in a shallow valley of citrus groves and avocado trees surrounded by rocky hills. Escondido is an inland city, about 18 miles from the Pacific coast, and is the second most populous community in San Diego’s North County with over 150,000 residents (2014 estimate). It is 30 miles northeast of downtown San Diego and 100 miles south of Los Angeles.
The name Escondido comes from the Spanish word for ‘hidden’, and it is one of the oldest cities in San Diego having been incorporated in 1888. The area was part of a Mexican land grant called Rancho Rincon del Diablo in 1843, before being annexed by the United States following the Mexican-American war of 1848. Ownership of the grant changed hands several times after the US takeover and the deed ultimately wound up in the hands of the Escondido Land & Town Company in 1886. While Escondido was an agricultural community for much of its history, all that came to an end in the 1970s when most of the arable land was repurposed for housing developments.
Today most of Escondido’s workforce is employed in a diverse range industry from education, healthcare, and retail to manufacturing, administration, and science. The city’s top employers include Escondido Union School District, Palomar Medical Center, the City of Escondido and the Escondido Union School and High School Districts.
Escondido offers all the amenities of metropolitan living but in a quiet suburban setting – small town friendliness combined with the diversity and vibrancy one only finds in big cities. House prices are affordable too, with the median Escondido listing price being $495,000 as of July 2016 – compared to $629,000 for all of San Diego.
In 2001 Money Magazine named Escondido the Best Place in the West in which to retire and Ladies Home Journal ranked the city number eight in their Top Ten Cities for Government feature. Escondido also has a reputation of being family and kid friendly thanks to its many city-run youth programs. Escondido Union, the Escondido Union High and the San Pasqual Union school districts serve the community with 19 elementary schools, 5 middle schools and 7 high schools.
A Connected City
Escondido is well connected to the metropolitan San Diego, making commuting a breeze. Route 78 and Interstate 15 runs through the heart of Escondido offering on-ramp access to commuters travelling west to San Marcos, Vista, Carlsbad and Oceanside, north to Riverside and south to downtown San Diego. The local bus service is provided by the North County Transit District (NCTD). Escondido Transit Center is the hub and offers connections to both the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System and the Riverside Transit Agency.
Escondido is also linked to Southern California’s light rail network via the Sprinter line which connects it to Oceanside. The city is also listed as a stop along the planned Southern to Northern California high-speed rail system.
What to do in Escondido
Escondido is not only home to 15 parks and 3 lakes, but is also rich in local history and culture. Attractions include the Children’s Discovery Museum, California Center For The Arts, Roynon Museum of Paleontology, Escondido History Center, the 3000 acre Daley Ranch and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Also popular are tours of the local wineries and craft breweries as well as the year-round golfing, hiking, biking and fishing. Escondido’s historic downtown is always worth a visit and there’s always something happening!