Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Escondido, CA

  • Published 2022/07/10

Escondido is an ideally located city 30 miles from San Diego, California.

While the city is already a famous spot among visitors due to its convenient location, it also has some really good places to enjoy.

Escondido is blessed with scenic beauty and is home to lovely parks, restaurants serving excellent cuisine, and a whole bunch of wineries.

The city is also famous for its abundance of artistic and cultural attractions, along with some stunning lakes.

As Escondido has so much to offer its visitors, there’s never a dull moment in this city.

The following article will revolve around the best things to do in Escondido, California:

Go Fishing at Dixon Lake

Scenic view of Dixon Lake

Sholmes370 /

Ideal for all those people on the lookout for natural beauty and a tranquil environment, this place is a perfect fit.

The lake is an ideal spot for clicking some Instagram-worthy pictures and enjoying activities such as boating and camping in the lake area.

Boating at Dixon Lake

Mark Skovorodko, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Also suitable for fishing, the lake has a good number of trout fish that will make your visit even more adventurous.

The area around the lake will familiarize you with the village life in Escondido.

Picnic area at Dixon Lake

Mark Skovorodko, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In a busy world where everyone is short of time, Dixon Lake is a place where time seemingly stops, and you can feel and enjoy each second.

Meet the Animals at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Name board of San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Rosamar /

The city aces the race when it comes to housing various species of wildlife and plants.

Showcasing the city’s diverse plants and wildlife, San Diego Zoo Safari Park covers an area of almost 1,800 acres.

The zoo is home to more than 300 species of wildlife, with a count of almost 2,600 animals.

In addition to that, the park also provides space for the blooming of almost 3,500 plant species.

Giraffes peeking into a safari truck at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Arne Beruldsen /

Along with the park’s diverse flora and fauna, it also has some other attractions.

One such attraction is the Africa Tram, which organizes African exhibits for visitors on a regular basis.

The tram exhibits enclosures that have animals such as giraffes, rhinos, buffalos, antelopes, and cranes.

Balloon safari at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Steve Cukrov /

The park is also a part of a recovery program in California that undertakes steps to help in the preservation of endangered animals such as condors.

It is also worth mentioning that the park’s hospital is the world’s largest veterinary hospital and takes care of animals from all around the globe.

Treat Your Kids to a Fun and Interactive Experience at San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum

Front view of San Diego Children's Discovery Museum

Alan Islas, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum was opened with the objective of inspiring children to explore and experiment using science, art, and culture.

The museum is a fun, interactive indoor and outdoor museum that organizes different sorts of educational and cultural exhibitions for children.

Its entire property is divided into four areas, with the themes of exploring, imagining, experimenting, and discovering.

All these areas regularly update their displays and exhibitions.

They also have fun facilities that include the Reading Book Nook, the Kids Global Village, the Discovery Sailboat, the Magnetic Ball Wall, the Wind Tunnel, Floating Objects, the Pollinator Garden, and more.

With its creative and participative ideas, San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum is a must-visit place if you are traveling with kids.

Participate in the Exciting Festivities Held at the California Center for the Arts

Entrance of California Centre for the Arts

Roaming Panda Photos /

Located on a 12-acre campus near City Hall, the California Center for the Arts was opened in 1994.

It was inspired by Spanish colonial heritage and designed by Charles Moore.

The center has a seating capacity of 1,500 guests and houses a concert hall, a museum exhibiting contemporary art, a beautifully designed theater with enough space for 400 people, a few art studios, some dance studios, and a conference center.

Sign board of California Center for the Arts

Roaming Panda Photos /

The arts center provides services for events such as weddings, corporate meetings, and other gatherings.

It also organizes free educational programs every year, with the objective of familiarizing more people with the city’s arts and culture of the city.

Some of the events organized by the California Center for the Arts include the WOW First Wednesdays performances, fourth July celebrations, and the Day of the Dead Festival.

Unleash Your Inner Acrobat at Trapeze High

Trapeze High is one place that has a different concept of making your dreams come true.

This facility in Escondido provides you with basic as well as advanced lessons on how you can learn to fly using a trapeze.

It will literally make your dream of flying like a bird come true.

In addition to trapeze, they also teach the basics of swinging and dismounts.

The service has well-trained staff members who will give you lessons on how to use the facility for the best experience.

The staff is warm and friendly, which will make your experience a lot more comfortable.

Go for a Scenic Hike at Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve

Lake at Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve

Imasillypirate /

Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve is a park that is spread over an area of 784 acres and provides you with ample opportunities for natural recreation.

The park is one of the most valuable and famous natural resource hubs in the city.

It has hiking trails, picnic areas, and spots made specifically for mountain viewing.

It also has a wide range of local plant varieties such as coastal sage scrub, oak woodland, and more.

Map at Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve

J Doll, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The reserve aims at improving the state’s domestic water supplies and management of natural resources, making it a very thoughtful venture.

The forest reserve authorities also provide guided tours and exploration programs for people in order to create environmental awareness and respect for water bodies.

With its humble and meaningful aim, Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve is a must-visit.

Walk the Trails at San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park

Entrance of San Pasqual Battlefield State Historical Park

scerruti, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park is set on the spot where the Mexican-American War took place in 1846.

It is spread over an area of 50 acres and has a special center.

The center is a place where you can get all the details about this significant battle and the location.

It also shows a video presentation of the site.

Landsape of San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park

scerruti, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A special observation room is also built in the center.

On top of its historical importance, this place is also good for people who are health-conscious.

The park has walking trails that run as long as half a mile.

The trails are covered with beautiful natural objects and offer magnificent views.

The park also has some well-maintained picnic areas where you can enjoy your meals and chat with your friends.

Splash around at Washington Park Swimming Pool

Washington Park Swimming Pool is a historical swimming pool that was built around 1964.

The pool is a famous spot for travelers who enjoy swimming and sunbathing.

The swimming pool has two separations.

One of the pools is for adult visitors, while the other is a pool built especially for children.

The children’s wading pool also has a slide.

The property of the pool is well-accommodated with chairs and other furniture where you can sit and relax.

Take a Guided Tour of Daley Ranch

Entrance of Daley Ranch

Roaming Panda Photos /

Daley Ranch was established in 1996 and covers a ground area measuring 3,058 acres.

The ranch is used as a conservation area for protecting and housing various species of animals and plants that are considered endangered in the area.

It is also home to a wide range of regional plant species that are not found in other places in the world.

Road view of Daley Ranch

Roaming Panda Photos /

Daley Ranch is very significantly located, making it a very famous spot among the locals as well as the visitors.

The ranch also has a small barn of historical importance, which is referred to as the Daley Ranch House.

Plants and trees at Daley Ranch

Roaming Panda Photos /

You can take guided tours of this ranch.

It is also quite famous for offering activities such as mountain biking, biking, hiking, and more.

Taste World-Class Wines at Espinosa Vineyards and Winery

The city of Escondido has so many vineyards and wineries that only the best ones have made it to this list.

Espinosa Vineyards is one of those famous vineyards and has historical importance.

These vineyards are located on a property that is believed to be the first area where grapes were planted in the year 1893.

It is also the site where the first commercial winery was built by Louis and Alta Heart in 1936.

However, Espinosa Winery and Vineyards was built from the ashes of the historical vineyards as they were burnt to the ground in 2007.

At present, the property is privately owned by individuals and is a famous small winery carrying out limited production.

It is famous for producing world-class wines made with homegrown products.

The wine produced here is not available anywhere else besides the winery itself.

If you are interested in wine tasting, make sure to visit the place on a weekend, as the tasting sessions are offered only from Friday to Sunday.

Dig into Delicious Burgers at Burger Bench

Burger Bench is a food joint that serves some of the best and most affordable edible items in the city.

This burger joint was established in 2014 and has been serving locals as well as visitors since then.

The place is famous for serving excellent burgers and side items that are made with locally produced, high-quality ingredients.

Their sandwiches and salsa salads are also quite famous.

Along with delicious food options, the place also serves more than 20 different kinds of special beers, milkshakes and other drinks.

Enjoy Craft Beers and Delicious Bites at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens

Stone Brewing is a famous brewing company that was established in 1996.

It is one of the largest brewing companies in the entire country.

The brewery was initially owned and managed by two people who worked hard and turned it into a property employing more than 1,100 people.

It has widespread operations throughout the country, along with breweries in other parts of the world.

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in Escondido has an attached bistro with an extensive American menu and a great pub setup.

They serve delicious food made with local ingredients and more than 30 types of crafted beers and wines.

The entire place is designed using Californian art and has a very cool atmosphere around it.

Go Back to the Old Days at the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead

Established in 1870, the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead is one of the oldest homes in the city of Escondido.

It is a place for people who would love to get an insight into the history and culture of the old American era.

The place is open only on Sundays and was restored with new interior decorations a few years back.

Pack Your Fishing Rods and Head to Lake Wohlford

Lake Wohlford during sunset

David McCloud /

Lake Wohlford is one of the most famous lakes and natural venues in the city.

With its beautiful natural stretches and scenic landscape, the lake is an ideal place for fishing and hiking.

You can also spot a few local species in the water of the lake.

Open all days of the week, Lake Wohlford is an ideal getaway for people who do not want to spend extra money.

Step Back in Time at the San Diego Archaeological Center

San Diego County’s archaeology museum, the San Diego Archaeological Center has extensive and well-managed collections of artifacts.

The museum depicts life in San Diego County over the previous 10,000 years.

It serves as an educational and research institution for more than just being a museum.

The San Diego Archaeological Center is an organization that collects, studies, preserves, and exhibits local ancient relics.

There are a variety of static and rotating exhibitions to choose from at the museum.

The facility offers a wide range of activities for people of all ages.

Get Up Close and Personal with the Wildlife at EcoVivarium

Visiting EcoVivarium is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

This living museum, which opened its doors in 2009, aims to empower, educate, and inspire its patrons by allowing them to interact directly with the animals they have rescued.

Since they began as a mobile education service, they have saved over 800 creatures, including hundreds of amphibians, reptiles, and arthropods.

It has been a long journey for EcoVivarium, but in 2015, they were able to open its first public location.

Private tours may be arranged by appointment if you have a big party.

Cycle around San Dieguito River Park

Beautiful view of lake and mountains at San Dieguito River Park

Autumn Sky Photography /

A 92,000-acre park in San Diego County, California, the San Dieguito River Park was created in 1989.

At a distance of 55 miles, the park includes the San Dieguito River and the Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve in Julian, California.

San Dieguito River Park during twilight

Autumn Sky Photography /

The San Dieguito River Valley’s natural treasures are protected by the park’s creation.

The Coast to Crest Trail, which is now 45 miles long but is expected to be expanded to 70 miles, is a popular destination for hikers, cyclists, and equestrian riders.

Arid landscape of San Dieguito River Park

Autumn Sky Photography /

The park’s coastal sage scrub ecosystem supports more than 230 different bird and animal species.

Visit Kit Carson Park

Aerial view of Kit Carson Park

Unwind /

A 285-acre municipal park in Escondido, Kit Carson Park was established in 1967.

Legendary scout Kit Carson accompanied Captain John C. Frémont on his expedition to the Sierra Nevada.

The park is situated in a valley approximately five miles west of the Battle of San Pasqual.

Lake at Kit Carson Park

Unwind /

Mule Hill, roughly a mile from the garden, has a monument commemorating the conflict.

The developed area has three lakes, hiking trails, the Iris Sankey Arboretum, a sculpture garden, and a public art project called the Eucalyptus Leaf Court.

Mosaic garden at Kit Carson Park

Tang Yan Song /

There’s also a Girl Scouts of America Program Center, a large outdoor theater, picnic areas, a kids’ playground, a covered picnic shelter, and courts and fields for tennis, soccer, softball, and baseball, among other amenities.

Have a Date Night at BK Cellars Urban Winery & Tasting Lounge

BK Cellars Urban Winery & Tasting Lounge is a small urban winery located in Escondido’s historic Vineyard District.

It was the first new winery to open inEscondido after more than 80 years.

To make high-quality wines, they work with several grape-growing partners in California.

You can sample them at the production facility’s zany tasting area.

The combination of industrial design, crystal chandeliers, and wall-to-wall wine barrels creates a distinct ambiance for mingling or impressing a date.

Guests are welcome to bring their own snacks to go with the wine, although light fare will be provided.

The property also holds wine-making classes.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Sample the Beers at Port Brewing Company

Located in the neighboring city of San Marcos, Port Brewing Company was established as a craft brewery in 2006.

It is extremely famous for manufacturing beers that are world-class in quality.

The brewing company has won many awards and medals, some of them in consecutive years.

Port Brewing Company is one of the top 10 brewing companies in the entire country and is famous among regular and industry-expert beer drinkers.

It has a very extensive and exotic collection of wines and beers that include bourbons, brandy, sherry, and more.

You may also want to check out its vast tasting room, which is situated right next to the production unit.

The company also operates two bars that have 42 taps that pour the best quality crafted beers and wines.

They also have special releases that are offered in different seasons.

Final Thoughts

Escondido has the good fortune of being located in one of the country’s most picturesque regions, and the lovely climate of California further adds to its appeal.

There is a wide variety of things to see and do if you decide to come here.

With everything from stunning lakes and nature parks to excellent wineries and breweries, Escondido has more than enough to keep you entertained.

Start planning your visit and use this list of things to do in Escondido as your guide!

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