Escondido is one of the oldest cities in San Diego County and it has plenty to offer visitors. The city is known for its scenic views, excellent wineries and craft breweries.
The city also boasts a number of parks and is home to the San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park. This site marks the spot of one of the most significant battles in California history.
Downtown Escondido is home to several museums, the California Center for the Arts and Niki de Saint Phalle’s vibrant sculpture garden. The area is also known for its wineries, craft breweries and diverse arts and culture scene.
The city is nestled in a shallow valley, surrounded by rocky hills and three lakes. This is a great location to enjoy the outdoors, including hiking and mountain biking at Daley Ranch, fishing at Dixon Lake or wine tasting at one of the many local vineyards.
The downtown area is also home to the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum, Grape Day Park and the city’s historical museum. The history museum features the city’s original Santa Fe Depot, Victorian house, barn and blacksmith shop.
The 3,058-acre Daley Ranch is a conservation area and historic ranch site laced with more than 20 miles of multipurpose trails for hiking, biking and equestrian use. Its 2.4-mile Boulder Loop offers sweeping views of the city, and the 2.5-mile Ranch House Loop passes two small ponds and the site of Daley’s original log cabin.
Visitors are welcome to hike the Daley Ranch trails daily from dawn to dusk, and free parking is available at the main entrance on La Honda Drive. You can also access the northern portion of the property along Cougar Pass Road, 0.5 miles south of Alps Way.
For information about the trails and other park activities, visit the City of Escondido website. Ranger-led tours of the Daley Ranch house, a redwood barn and outbuildings are held on the second Sunday of every month.
A variety of trails wind through lush oak woodlands, coastal sage scrub and chaparral, grasslands, and riparian areas. It’s a perfect place to take the family for a hike.
Grape Day Park
The City of Escondido has a long history of celebrating the arts. From band concerts and early theatrical productions to the Grape Day Festival, it’s easy to see that the arts are a big part of the culture here.
Today, that heritage is reflected in a variety of local museums and galleries. Among those are the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum, Queen Califia’s Magical Garden by Nikki de Saint Phalle and Mingei International Museum Satellite.
One of the best places to go to learn about the city’s history is Grape Day Park. This park is steps away from City Hall and offers a little slice of Escondido’s past.
The quaint park includes an old Victorian house, an old red barn and a blacksmith shop that hosts week-end demonstrations. It also includes the first Escondido Library and a Santa Fe Railway Station that once delivered the mail or shipped crates of citrus and avocados. This is a wonderful park to visit with kids or by yourself.
San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum
Located in downtown Escondido, this lively indoor-outdoor museum is a must-visit. Children can glue wood together to make sculptures, discover history in an archeological dig box, and learn about the world around them with activities like building structures out of recycled materials.
The museum also hosts a variety of onsite evening events and is a perfect place to take your kids for a day of fun and learning! Guests can even rent the museum for private events.
The museum has four focused program areas: Experimentation (science, math), Exploration (world cultures, history), Imagination (theater arts, visual arts, music), and Discovery (outdoor space featuring gardens, environmental science, world cultures, and arts). Each exhibit and program is created by museum experts and educators to ensure a wide range of skill development and concepts that align with California’s Common Core curriculum for science, math, English language arts, visual and performing arts, and social science. Time spent at the museum develops crucial life skills such as curiosity, confidence, and creativity – qualities that enhance children’s potential to succeed in school, careers, communities, and as parents.