Escondido

Home to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, a lively brewery scene, shopping, multiple hiking spots, and plenty of art & culture, Escondido is well worth a visit!
Todd Sarouhan
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means if you make purchases through them, I may be compensated at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
Escondido
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San Diego Zoo Safari Park
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Featured Hotel
Know Before You Go
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Escondido
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A Historic and Cultural Center in San Diego

Inside Manzanita Roasting Company Coffee House in EscondidoArt Outside the California Center for the Arts Escondido

Culture enthusiasts, outdoor explorers, wildlife lovers, and craft beer drinkers will all find something to love about Escondido in the San Diego North County Coastal area.

Escondido is one of San Diego’s oldest cities, with many residents long before its official incorporation in 1888. As a result, it is overflowing with history and culture. The Old Escondido Historic District helps preserve the town’s past, with many of its buildings dating back to the Victorian era.

Located a little over 30 miles from the San Diego International Airport (SAN) and a little less than 20 miles from the nearest beaches along the coast, Escondido is conveniently located near some of San Diego’s best attractions. The Escondido Transit Center also makes the area easy to visit from anywhere in San Diego!

Mural in Central Escondido
Mural in Central Escondido

Take a Day Trip to Escondido

Many vacationers prefer to stay at the beach in Oceanside and take a day trip to Escondido so they can enjoy the best of both worlds. Other beaches within a reasonable drive or rideshare include those in Carlsbad, Encinitas and Del Mar.

Attractions like performing arts centers and museums contribute to the vibrant cultural scene here. Explore its attractions plus surrounding neighborhoods with a Go City San Diego pass using our discount code - GVSD5OFF. The All-inclusive version includes admission to the star attraction in the neighborhood, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, as well as surfboard rentals and other beach gear rentals.

Escondido is also known for being a great spot to take advantage of San Diego’s year-round warm weather with outdoor activities. Some incredible hiking trails through varied terrain overlooking beautiful landscapes can be found all around town.

Some of the best golf in San Diego is in or nearby Escondido as well. Golf courses are plentiful with Reidy Creek Golf Course and nearby Twin Oaks Golf Course being two great choices!

Frida Kahlo Mural at the California Center for the Arts Escondido
Frida Kahlo Mural at the California Center for the Arts Escondido

Get a taste of local culture as you walk through the streets of Downtown Escondido. The restaurants, breweries, museums, and array of boutique shops all reinforce the feeling of small-town charm that emanates from this neighborhood.

In fact, Escondido real estate has become very popular thanks to the area’s abundance of things to do and its safe, friendly atmosphere. It is filled with residential neighborhoods that are among the best places to live in San Diego, with notable examples including San Marcos, Valley Center, and San Pasqual.

Ocean Front Pool at the Seabird Resort in Oceanside
Ocean Front Pool at the Seabird Resort in Oceanside

Stay at the Beautiful The Seabird Resort

If you’re just here for a visit, consider staying nearby at The Seabird Resort in Oceanside. This family-friendly beachside hotel is just a little ways outside of Escondido. It offers guests ocean view rooms, a spa, and luxury dining options so you can feel pampered during your stay.

Escondido
Why you'll love Escondido
Home to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, a lively brewery scene, shopping, multiple hiking spots, and plenty of art & culture, Escondido is well worth a visit!

Like many Carlsbad hotels, The Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa caters to families visiting LEGOLAND. As you'll learn on this tour with Todd, The Westin's 4-star luxury and beach access are also highlights.

Stay at the The Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa

Safari Park+Zoo = Go Pass

San Diego Zoo Safari Park
San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Visit this 1,800 acre park featuring over 3,000 animals in their natural habitats as you ride the African tram! Buy an All-Inclusive Go Pass and admission to the San Diego Zoo is included!
Buy Now
Local Tips
What kind of deals does the Go City San Diego pass offer?

The Go City San Diego pass gives visitors the ability to save up to 55% on attraction admissions.

Combine our exclusive 5% discount to save even more and consider the All-Inclusive pass to maximize your savings. Plus the pass gives you the ability to skip the line when visiting select attractions.

Use our exclusive discount code GVSD5OFF to save an extra 5%!

Things to Do

Biking
Biking
Museums
Museums
Picnic Tables
Picnic Tables
San Diego Zoo Safari Park
San Diego Zoo Safari Park

How to Spend a Perfect Day in Escondido

There’s no shortage of interesting attractions in Escondido, from cultural and educational sites to fun malls and parks. Plan a fun-filled day in the neighborhood, or discover a hidden gem.

Giraffe at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Giraffe at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is a sprawling wildlife sanctuary with various zones designed for different kinds of animals from around the world. Take a tour around the park to see animals roaming free in cageless enclosures that perfectly replicate their natural habitats, just like on a real safari, or watch fun and educational live shows.

For a more detailed look at the Safari Park, check out our dedicated section on the attraction below!

Getting Ready for the Nutcracker Ballet at the California Center for the Arts Escondido
Getting Ready for the Nutcracker Ballet at the California Center for the Arts Escondido

California Center for the Arts, Escondido

The cultural hub of Escondido is its California Center for the Arts. This large theater hosts hundreds of live performances each year, including musical acts, plays, ballets, art shows, and more.

The California Center for the Arts, Escondido also has its own museum which hosts rotating exhibits about local art and culture. There are four to six different exhibits per year, typically focusing on contemporary artists and often including multimedia components. The Center Museum’s exhibits also contain an Emerging Artists Wall that helps highlight young talent from around the Escondido area.

The official website has a calendar with upcoming performances. If you’re in town around the holidays, consider buying a ticket for the theater’s annual performance of The Nutcracker Ballet, a local favorite! See our Holiday Season Guide to San Diego Christmas Activities for more seasonal celebrations all around San Diego.

Manzanita Roasting Company Coffee House in Escondido
Manzanita Roasting Company Coffee House in Escondido

Old Escondido Historic District

The beautiful architecture and charming atmosphere of the Old Escondido Historic District make it a memorable place to go for a stroll. This is the oldest area in Escondido, and it’s also the only residential historic district in North San Diego County. It’s also home to the Escondido History Center.

The buildings in this part of town harken back to different periods throughout San Diego’s history, ranging from its earliest days to more modern influences. Victorian houses intermingle with post-World War II homes, while some buildings showcase the art deco style popular just a few decades prior. Walking through Old Escondido Historic District can feel like you’re stepping through different eras in American history.

North County Mall in Escondido
North County Mall in Escondido

Westfield North County Mall

Go on a shopping spree at Westfield North County Mall in Escondido. This mall has three floors with almost 100 different stores, including big-name retail and department stores like JCPenny and Macy’s. Shop adults and kids clothing, toys, games, perfumes, jewelry, and other products.

Westfield North County also has over a dozen different eateries. These include everything from fast food and casual snack stands to gourmet bakeries and even an upscale dining option for those who prefer a sit-down experience.

The Westfield North County is included in our Best Malls in San Diego list!

Outdoor Expeditions

Active explorers who enjoy hiking and biking will love Escondido. Daley Ranch has scenic views and a horseback riding trail. You can also visit Lake Hodges and fish at Dixon Lake, or see the historic park at Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead.

Escondido’s parks are equally pleasant. Both Grape Day Park and Rancho Bernardo Community Park are popular with families. Kit Carson Park is also home to Queen Califa’s Magical Circle, a sculpture garden featuring works by Niki de Saint Phalle.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

White Rhino at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park
White Rhino at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego is a popular vacation destination for animal lovers, who can visit the world-famous San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park. In addition to the zoo, Escondido has its own animal-centric attraction, this being the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Both the Zoo and the Safari Park are part of the Go City San Diego pass, so purchase a pass with our discount code - GVSD5OFF before your visit if you’re interested in checking out both attractions

The Safari Park offers guests various attractions, all of which incorporate education and animal encounters.

Safaris

Enjoy a real African or Asian safari experience right in San Diego! Board an open-air safari truck or a tram, then sit back and enjoy a guided tour of the park. You’re sure to see dozens of animals, including elephants, zebras, big cats, birds, and a few endangered species.

Activities

A wide variety of activities and special events are offered at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park each year. These include adults-only wine tours, tours from a hot air balloon, and ziplining adventures. They also include child-friendly activities like the zoo’s Petting Kraal, a carousel, play areas, and even an opportunity to have a sleepover at the zoo.

Featured Activity

White Rhino at San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Visit the San Diego Zoo Safari Park
When heading to the San Diego Zoo, make sure to visit to the Safari Park. The Safari Park is home to a wide array of different safaris where you can experience different animals from around the world.
Learn More

Local Breweries & Picturesque Wineries

Escondido is known for its craft beer scene, with many standout breweries you won’t find elsewhere in Southern California. These include smaller scale tasting rooms and pubs, as well as established local hangout spots like the famous Stone Brewing.

If you’re a beer aficionado, check out the 10 Best Food & Beer Tours in San Diego for more options of the best San Diego has to offer!

Local Tips
Did you know?
The headquarters for Stone Brewing is located in Escondido. Just adjacent to the brewery is the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens. It features their great beer and delicious food.

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens

Stone Brewing has multiple tasting rooms in San Diego, but Escondido is its official headquarters. The craft brewery serves over 30 different kinds of beer on tap, which guests can enjoy inside or outside at the open-air patio and sprawling beer garden. They also offer a behind the scenes brewery tour that will teach visitors about their brewing process.

In addition to tap beers, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens sells bottled beer and wine. There’s also a food menu serving up classic pub favorites and the entire experience is family-friendly.

Wineries In and Around Escondido

If you’re more of a wine person than a beer drinker, Escondido and the surrounding neighborhoods may be just what you’re looking for!

Popular wineries among Escondido residents include the Forgotten Barrel Winery and Belle Marie Winery. A number of other popular vineyards with tasting rooms lie just to the southeast of Downtown Escondido, all within less than a 30 minute drive.

To the south of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and the San Pasqual Valley you’ll find Orfila Vineyards and Winery, Espinosa Vineyards and Winery, Cordiano Winery, Domaine Artefact Vineyard and Winery and Speckle Rock Vineyards.

Featured Hotel
The Seabird Resort
The Seabird Resort
Beachfront
Beachfront
Families
Families
Pool
Pool
4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
The Seabird Resort by Hyatt is the perfect hotel for family vacations to San Diego, with ocean views & nearby attractions to keep both kids & adults entertained.
Prices Starting at $289
Check Availability

Know Before You Go & Tips

Breweries
Breweries
Cafes
Cafes
Parks
Parks
Shopping
Shopping
Trolley Stop
Trolley Stop

What to Know About Escondido Before You Go

Prepare for a trip to Escondido with these tips and answers to commonly asked questions.

Posing at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Posing at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

What is the Best Attraction in Escondido?

The most popular attraction is the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, but it’s far from the only thing to do! If you want to experience everything Escondido has to offer, don’t forget to get a Go City San Diego pass before you arrive!

Who Will Most Enjoy Escondido?

Escondido is excellent for animal lovers thanks to its Safari Park, and its public parks and hiking trails are ideal for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s also a favorite among craft beer lovers thanks to Stone Brewing and the flourishing local brewery scene.

A Residential Area

Many Escondido neighborhoods are suburban residential. It can be a nice reprieve from more touristy areas like some of the most popular beaches or Downtown San Diego. Activities here usually center around visiting local businesses and enjoying the great outdoors!

Escondido
is Famous For:
Breweries
Breweries
Hiking
Hiking
Safari Park
Safari Park
Sidewalk Cafés
Sidewalk Cafés
Known For:
Breweries
Breweries
Business District
Business District
Hiking
Hiking
Parks
Parks
Safari Park
Safari Park
Sidewalk Cafés
Sidewalk Cafés
Sunshine
Sunshine
This Month's Forecast
60°F / 77°F
Sunny in June
Jul
64°F / 83°F
Sunny in July
Aug
65°F / 85°F
Sunny in August
Sep
64°F / 83°F
Sunny in September

Stay Nearby

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