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Getaway Guide: Escondido
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Getaway Guide: Escondido

These are the best things to do in Escondido, California including activities, sightseeing, and accomodation for a weekend getaway.

Roubina Al Abashian

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4 min read

January 09, 2022

Just 15 miles from the roaring Pacific is Escondido, San Diego’s rustic paradise. Occupying a shallow valley surrounded by rocky hills, the city attracts visitors in big numbers. One of the biggest allures is the abundance of natural wonders—the lakes, mountains, trails, and canyons stand out in the county. Pack your bags for a short trip to this San Diego gem; there’s so much to do in Escondido, CA

From a vibrant downtown to world-class recreational opportunities, Escondido offers something for everyone!

Day 1
Arriving

Escondido is just a short drive from Southern California cities. Downtown San Diego is 30 minutes away, while D.T.L.A. is an hour and a half away. The good news is you won’t be worn out at arrival—you’ll be able to savor your first day here. But before getting all touristy, you have to check in at your accommodation of choice. 

If you like the rustic side of Escondido, San Diego, we recommend spending the night at The Ranch at Bandy Canyon. The cabins here are our definition of comfort and style. Your morning ritual will start with marveling at the breathtaking views of the San Pasqual Valley. You can even take advantage of the equestrian center and go horseback riding whenever you like.

As for those who like the finer things in life, Welk Resorts San Diego will do the trick. Choose one of the luxurious villas for an opulent experience. You’ll have access to five recreational centers and top-notch amenities like a 6,000-square-foot-fitness center, two golf courses, and a tennis court. 

You'll soon discover that Escondido is a culinary paradise with a variety of restaurants offering different experiences.

Afternoon

Now that you’ve settled in, it’s time to experience the City of Escondido. Get a taste of authentic Mediterranean food at the local favorite Ali Baba Mediterranean Cuisine. Their menu includes an array of main and side dishes to choose from—the chicken kabab platter with a side of garlic sauce and tabbouleh will definitely hit the mark. With hunger out of the way, head towards the Old Escondido Historic District for a quick tour of the area. You’ll come across several historic sights that would impress any history buff. Old Town Escondido consists of Victorian houses, craftsman bungalows, and post-World War II residences that were built starting in the 1880s. 

Later, make your way towards the California Center for the Arts to attend a performance, tour the museum, and check out the educational programs offered. Upon entering the museum, you’ll realize that the thought-provoking, contemporary artworks displayed are some of the best in the area.  

Escondido is nothing short of outdoor recreational opportunities. Pay a visit to Kit Carson Park for a fun evening during your getaway.

Evening

It’s almost golden hour, and where else to experience its glory than the heart of nature? Kit Carson Park is Escondido’s ideal place for relaxation and nature viewing. You’ll find several of San Diego’s best hiking trails here. But if you’d rather lay on the grass and relax, the best spots are by the ponds. And how could we forget? One of California’s weirdest attractions is located right here. Queen Califa’s Magical Circle is a sculpture garden that’s too beautiful to miss. 

Before you head out for dinner, pay a visit to Escondido’s Daley Ranch. The 3,201-acre conservation area is where you’ll have one of the best sunset views in SoCal; your dog can also join in. You can’t head to your cabin without late-night dinner and entertainment. Make your way to the Grand Comedy Club to see some of the greatest names in the industry performing live. Don’t forget to order one of the club’s signature pizzas as you enjoy the show!

Have a satisfying and energizing breakfast to start your day with a morning exercise by biking along the bridge.

Day 2
Morning

Rise and shine for a new day in Escondido City! Thinking of breakfast? Sunny Side Kitchen has the right recipe to brighten your day. Their popular Wake Up Escondido with a little bowl of cantaloupe and honeydew is to die for. Add a cup of joe to the mix and you’re ready to start the day.

Did you know that the world’s longest stress ribbon bridge is located in Escondido? The Lake Hodges Bicycle Pedestrian Bridge is a great place for a morning exercise with great views. Cycle all 990 feet of this San Diego biking trail and take in the views of Lake Hodges. Later, head towards Dixon Lake to rent a boat and row through the turquoise waters. Not bad for a morning workout if you ask us!

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park, originally named the San Diego Wild Animal Park, is one of the largest tourist attractions in the county.

Afternoon

Hungry yet? Pho Saigon Express is a top San Diego restaurant that’s ready to deliver high-quality Vietnamese, Chinese, and Thai food. Try their chicken pad thai and salt and pepper chicken wings—you’ll thank us later. 

Every visit to Escondido includes stopping by the San Diego Zoo Safari Park—it’s on every SoCal itinerary. Hop on an open-air safari truck and engage with over 3,500 animals in their natural habitat. Many of the animals you encounter on your San Diego adventure are actually endangered. 

Enjoy one last dinner at Escondido before heading out. What's a better comfort food than pizza!

Evening

It’s almost time to leave, but you still get to treat yourself to one last meal. Filippi’s Pizza Grotto is another restaurant you need to try before you go. Every slice of pizza oozes with extra cheese, just the way we like it. Their trademark Fit for a King pizza should be your number one pick—people drive for miles to have it. 

You had delicious meals, enjoyed nature, and visited all of the best spots in Escondido—you can now call it a day. As you leave the beautiful city, it’s pretty normal to start planning your next vacation; there are plenty of more adventures to be had in San Diego County.

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