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Visit Escondido California | The Hidden Valley Discover Historic Downtown Arts and Museums, Wineries, Craft Breweries and Beautiful Outdoors

visit escondido california

Everything you need to know for your visit to Escondido, California. Start with these Quicklinks to zero in on a neighborhood or popular attraction. Learn more from our introductory article and links to the local history timeline. Explore recommendations for sights, activities, food, lodging, entertainment, and festivals and events. No time to do all this online? Download an Escondido visitor cheat sheet or have Amazon deliver a travel guide to you door.

Escondido Quick Links

Top Attractions

Area Wineries  Craft Beer  Escondido History Center

Farmers Market  Golf  Historic District


Parks and Recreation  Queen Califia’s Magic Circle  RV/Campsites

Discover Escondido

Escondido is a fast growing city located 30 miles north of San Diego, California. Long an agricultural community, in recent years agricultural lands have given way to housing communities, changing the landscape considerably and adding life and diversity to the community.

The city is rich is attractions including a Historic Downtown area with a wide variety of restaurants, arts, shopping and other attractions. The Escondido area boasts fine local wineries, craft breweries, outdoor recreational opportunities, golf, and camping.

Visitors interested in local history can explore the Escondido History Center, the San Pasqual Battlefield Historic Park, and Mission San Antonio de Pala. The San Diego Zoo Safari Park and Palomar Observatory offer unique experiences as well.

These are our top recommendations for visitors to Escondido, California. Why the Faber dozen?

  1. Begin your visit in the Old Escondido Historic District. There you will find many restaurants and other eateries, eclectic shops, art galleries and museums. Wander around the authentic vintage buildings, including historic homes built from the 1880s through post-WWII. Some homes are open to the public each year on Mothers Day.
  2. Explore local history at the Escondido History Center, including original building tours, craft demonstrations, and historical artifacts.
  3. Encounter over 300 species of animals at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
  4. Check out what’s happening at the California Center for the Arts. Take in a performance, view an exhibit, or join a community event. Free public events include Jazz Jam Sessions, Música en la Plaza, an Independence Day Festival, the Día de los Muertos Festival, Holiday Tree Lighting and First Wednesdays performances.
  5. Visit the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum. Enjoy family fun experiences and hands-on educational exhibits focusing on science, art, and world cultures.
  6. Take tour of Palomar Observatory, a world famous facility at the forefront of astronomical research for the better part of a century.
  7. Enter a fully immersive adventure at Clue Avenue Escape Room or ArtHatch Escape. Great for a night out solving puzzles with friends.
  8. Discover military history at the San Pasqual Battlefield Historical Park, site of California’s bloodiest battle during the Mexican-American War. Living history days held throughout the year.
  9. Ride horseback at Bandy Canyon Ranch, where the equestrian center offers property trail rides, wine & cheese trail rides, equestrian lessons, horse boarding, pony rides, and a petting zoo.
  10. Delight in Queen Califia’s Magic Circle, French artist Niki de Saint Phalle’s whimsical maze and sculpture garden in Kit Carson Park.
  11. Explore 10,000 years of human history at the San Diego Archaeological Center.
  12. Learn to swing, fly and catch under the coaching of trained instructors at Trapeze High, San Diego’s only trapeze school.
  13. Experience a Day of Mindfulness at Deer Park Monastery, nestled peacefully in the chaparral mountains north of Escondido.
  14. Discover the local legacy of 19th century pioneer farming at the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead.
  15. Make new not-so-furry friends at the EcoVivarium Living Museum of reptiles, amphibians and arthropods. Pet and hold animals under supervision.

Hungry? We can help you with food and drink recommendations for Escondido, California. Choose from a broad assortment of food styles and ethnic cuisines, or our atmosphere selections to find that perfect place for your next meal. If all you want is a place for drinks, check out our recommended watering holes.

Where to Eat in Escondido

Brigantine Seafood & Oyster Bar

Canyon Grille

Cenote Grill

Cocina del Charro

Hernandez Hideaway

J&M’s Family Restaurant

Jersey Mike’s Subs

Kennedy’s Market & Meat Co.

Lake Wohlford Cafe

Lourdes Mexican Food

Mike’s BBQ

Peterson’s Donut Corner

Phattie’s Mexican Restaurant

Pho Truc Xanh

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens

The Wooden Spoon

Vintana Wine + Dine

Watering Holes

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See Shopping in Historic Downtown Escondido

Canterbury Gardens & Gifts

Escondido World Marketplace

Farmers Markets  Weekly farmers markets are held around town. More information.

Holiday Wine Cellar

Stone Company Store

The Centre Retail Collection

Westfield North County

Consider these Arts and Theater venues for your next outing or event!

A Ship in the Woods

California Center for the Arts, Escondido

Distinction Gallery / ArtHatch

Escondido Arts Partnership Municipal Gallery

Joe’s Glass Shack

Patio Playhouse Theater

Queen Califia’s Magical Circle

Regal Stadium 16 IMAX Theater

Steve Fishwick’s Fine Art Collection

Stone & Glass Studio Gallery

Welk Resort theatre

Parks & Recreation

Daley Ranch

Felicita County Park

Grape Day Park

Heritage Garden

Kit Carson Park

Mayflower Dog Park

Ryan Park

San Dieguito River Park

Washington Park

Hellhole Canyon Preserve

Del Dios Highlands Preserve

East Valley Community Center

Escondido Sports Center

Park Avenue Community Center

Dixon Lake & Campground

Lake Wohlford

Lake Hodges

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Practical Matters

By Car

Escondido is easy to reach by car via Interstate 15 from San Diego, driving north for 30 miles. The city straddles the highway at its intersection with California State Route 78.

By Bus

Greyhound Lines offers bus service to Escondido, where it has only a curbside stop. Will call services available at this site, but no ticket purchases, so tickets should be purchased online.

Bus Stop Location:
Greyhound Bus Stop
700 W Valley Pkwy
Escondido, CA 92025

By Rail

Sprinter Hybrid Rail

The east-west SPRINTER hybrid rail spans 22-miles, connecting Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos, and Escondido, serving 15 stations along the Highway 78 corridor.

The SPRINTER runs every 30 minutes in each direction Monday through Friday, from approximately 04:00. to 21:00. Friday and Saturday trains run later. Saturday, Sunday, and holiday trains operate every 30 minutes between 10:00 and 18:00 and hourly before 10:00 and after 18:00.

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Escondido Travel Resources

Visit Escondido Municipal tourist information website.

Old Escondido Historic District Non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Old Escondido.

Escondido Travel Guidebooks and Travel Maps:

Travel Like a Local – Map of Escondido: The Most Essential Escondido (California) Travel Map for Every Adventure  Everything you need marked on a map to make the most of your visit to Escondido.

Escondido History and Culture:

Escondido Grape Day Festivals, by Lucy Jones Berk and Stephen A. Covey. Images of America series entry describing over 100 years of Grape Day festival history.

Downloadable Escondido Maps:

Area Tourism Map
Historic Downtown Map
Wine & Craft Beer Experiences Map
2nd Saturday Arts & Culture Experiences Schedule & Map
Kit Carson Park and Queen Califia’s Magical Circle Map
Daley Ranch Hiking Trails Map
Old Escondido Historic Neighborhood District Map
Public Art Walking Tour Map/English
Public Art Walking Tour Map/Spanish

Visitors Center

Visit Escondido
235 E. Grand Avenue
Escondido, CA 92025

Telephone: +1 (760) 839-4777

Hours: Tuesday to Friday 10:00-16:00

Facebook: @VisitEscondido
Instagram: @VisitEscondido

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