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Top Attractions In and Around Escondido, CA

Escondido, in North San Diego County, is central to a number of World Famous sites as well as home to a number of "hidden jewels". It is a great place to visit, but a better place to "set anchor" and be within a short drive to the desert, ocean or mountains, all within one day if challenged to do so. San Diego Wild Animal Safari Park is just minutes to the east, while Legoland is just a 20 minute drive west. The beautiful campus of Cal State San Marcos serves the educational needs of the local populace, and accents the emphases for higher learning for the savvy and professional residents of the local communities. The world famous Palomar Observatory beckons your drive to the North. If big city life adventure is your call, the San Diego downtown gas lamp district is but a 30 mile drive south. If peace and tranquility is your aim, there are three exceptional lakes - Lake Wholford; Dixon Lake and Lake Hodges - offering fishing, boating and miles of hiking trails, all within a 15 minute drive from central Escondido. It is here where many of the hidden jewels of the area are discovered. North County Fair is home to most of the national big name shops, so the shop-a-holics can nurture fashion needs to their heart's content. Additionally, a scenic, rural drive via Del Dios Highway drops off into the well known Rancho Sante Fe neighborhood, ending in coastal Del Mar. Ensconced within and around all these fantastic attractions are the exceptional neighborhoods and communities that make living here a true delight. Come see why this area is so highly desired as a destination visit for so many residents of other countries. Let me show you the reasons to consider setting roots here in the North County

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

This is a sister site to the San Diego Zoo, and allows visitors to view numerous animals, many facing extinction, in large enclosures simulating a natural habitat. This facility is one of the world's most successful breeding programs for endangered species, helping several rebound to greater numbers and extinction prevention.

Kit Carson Park

Kit Carson Park is a prime example of great city planning and offers locals a place to walk their dogs, a skateboard park, tennis courts, soccer and softball fields, frisbee golf course, picnic areas, children's playgrounds and open space to "get away from it all."

California Center for the Arts

This downtown site houses a number of important city gems, including city hall, an arts and performing center that brings in many famous entertainers, Grape Day Park and banquet facilities. Escondido celebrates the Fourth of July here with live bands, picnic gatherings and fireworks.

Stone Brewing Company

Stone Brewing has risen through the ranks to hold its own among the giants of the brewing industry. Their on site restaurant offers a rich choice of gourmet specialties and most their popular brews are available with dinner at any given time of the year. If you are on the run, you can quick park and grab a keg or growler for the home celebration.

Orfila Winery & Tasting Room

This popular winery beckons locals and visitors alike to enjoy the wrath of the grapes with a variety of different celebrations. Spend a last summer Sunday afternoon with your favorite white or red, accompanied by sounds of local crooners and strummers. Food truck Fridays also entice locals to end the week in style, easing into the week end with a place to unwind after a week of hard work.

Hernandez Hideaway Mexican Restaurant

If you head out of Escondido via Del Dios highway, why not plan lunch or dinner at this landmark North County eatery? The food is reasonable, the service is friendly and the food is authentic Mexican cuisine. Plus, you will learn a little of the local Del Dios community, peaceful respite in the midst of the Southern California hustle and bustle lifestyle.

Palomar Medical Center

One of the biggest concerns for many homebuyers is the home's proximity to medical facilities should the need arise. Palomar Medical Center is a star of the art new construction, and is central to all parts od Escondido and outlying areas. The supporting EMT/fire station locations are fully staffed, well organized and an excellent support for this highly regarded medical facility. Your health will be in good hands if this is where you choose to hang your hat!

Lake Hodges Recreation Area and Fishing

One of the more popular water spots in the North County, Lake Hodges , like many favored fishing spots, has tales of epic proportions. Purportedly, where the area of the lake is roped off near the dam, divers inspecting the dam structure have seen catfish greater in size than the present world record. Would you believe it? News articles have been written for years, supporting these claims. Maybe if you hang out at the Hernandez Hideaway restaurant, or engage the local Del diode folk in conversation, you can get to the real facts. This area is also part of the San Dieguito River Park Project, which is a single, united trail system that stretches from the beaches of Del Mar to the historic little town mountain of Julian. This will be a long hike just to get some famous Julian apple pie.

Peterson's Donut Corner

If you come into Escondido, you MUST stop in for a donut at this Escondido landmark. Plan on standing in line for a little while if you are part of the breakfast crowd. Often, even in the middle of the day when it is hot, there is a line. Locals will readily know what you mean if you say, "I am going to Petersen's" Try the custard filled variety...it's "the bomb."

The Vineyard at Escondido Golf Club

This public golf course with its undulating fairways, inviting ponds, rough fringes and well placed trees will challenge both the duffer or the "scratch" scorer - it may be wise to stow a few extra golf balls in your back pocket. Located near the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Orfila Vineyard, Kit Carson Park and the North County Westfield Shopping Mall, most families could easily fill a day enjoying this quadrant of attractions. Just think, everyone would be happy, and if Momma's happy (hint: mall) , this is definitely true.

Westfield North County Shopping Mall

If it is shopping you are after.look no further. This indoor mall is the shop-a-holic's greatest delight. There are numerous excellent restaurants ringing the mall perimeter, and most major west coast big name stores are anchored here. From diamond to pretzels, this is the place for the full shopping experience! A day spent here will fill anyone's shopping bag with complete satisfaction!

DownTown Escondido

Downtown Escondido has a lot to offer. On Tuesday afternoons, a portion of Grand Avenue is shut down for the local Farmer's Market, where many of the local growers sell their prized nutritional nuggets. This is the place to purchase your fresh produce, breads, and related goods...from farm to table! For much of the summer, onn Friday nights, the downtown streets come alive with the smells and sounds of cruisers from decades past; it is CRUISIN' GRAND night. This is something you do not want to miss when you visit. This is where you meet your neighbors, car buffs and friends you went to high school with. Most of the food venues have "cruisin'specials" and local bands are set up at several strategic locations. Two iconic eateries worth mentioning, because of their "forever" service to this town: Champions, the popular local hangout for breakfast, and for dinner, Fillippi's, which serves Italian cuisine that will rival any of the best Chicago establishments. On the fourth of July, the community gathers in Grape Day Park, a hop, skip and jump from downtown, to celebrate the festivities of the fourth, and dramatically impressive fireworks. Downtown offers locals many great life enriching experiences.

Will Wester

Guide Author
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Top Attractions In and Around Escondido, CA