Surrounded by rocky hills, Escondido, California, is known as a little jewel hidden within a valley, outside the very populated San Diego! Wondering what to do in Escondido? Just 30 miles (48km) northeast of the city, Escondido offers scenic beauty with plenty to do, yet close enough to the culturally iconic San Diego. You don’t even have to worry about where to stay since this area has some of the best Vrbo vacation rentals and Airbnb Plus homes. Read on to learn about the best things to do in Escondido, CA!
1. San Diego Children's Discovery Museum
Much fun can be found here at the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum! Located in beautiful Escondido, this museum offers some of the most fun things to do in Escondido, for both kids and adults! Many exhibits with regular themes that change frequently will keep your senses stimulated, with visual displays, bright colors, and a lot of learning. The museum has plenty of interactive exhibits all throughout, to keep you entertained for hours, and during the summer months, weekly concerts are also included.
San Diego Children's Discovery Museum
Address: 320 N Broadway, Escondido, CA 92025, USA
2. Queen Califia's Magical Circle
This magical place is a sculpture garden, in Escondido. Featuring international artists, this is where you escape to if you’re looking for a life-like fairy tale. It’s one of the most interesting things to see in Escondido. Queen Califia’s Magical Circle has a maze, with walls made of black, white and glass mosaic tiles, a garden with native plants, phenomenal sculptures and a special golden egg fountain with a 24 foot (7.4 meters) statue of Queen Califia herself, with an eagle. Another very popular site are the totem poles of Native American and indigenous Mexican legends. Everything about this park is magical, mystical and something you have to see in person to believe!
Queen Califia's Magical Circle
Address: Kit Carson Park , 3333 Bear Valley Parkway, Escondido, CA 92025
Website: Queen Califia’s Magical Circle
3. Roynon Museum of Earth Science and Paleontology
Editor’s Note: Establishment is permanently closed.
Mystical isn’t just about queens and totem poles however, the amazing dinosaur exhibits are magical on their own. Winner of Best Museum in San Diego, Roynon’s Museum of Earth Science and Paleontology is a step back to our prehistoric era where we can imagine Dinosaur’s roaming the Earth. Along with Paleontology, you can also learn about Earth’s history, our changing climate and volcano’s. There is something for everyone here, just watch out for those carnivorous dinosaurs!
Roynon Museum of Earth Science and Paleontology
Address: 457 E Grand Ave, Escondido, CA 92025, USA
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4. Dixon Lake
Dixon Lake is a great place to relax and enjoy the Californian, desert-like climate. Known as a great fishing spot, Dixon Lake also has everything you need for picnics, hiking, camping and enjoying nature. Motorboats are also available for rent, at a reasonable rate.
Address: 1700 La Honda Dr, Escondido, CA 92027
Website: Dixon Lake
5. San Diego Zoo Safari Park
This safari is as close to the Serengeti as one could possibly get, outside of Africa! The park is divided into various ecosystems to accommodate the wide range of animals. Over 400 different species are living here, in over 1800 acres (728.4 hectares), ranging from lions, tigers, rhinos, giraffes and much more. This is a great way to see wild animals living in a habitat that is very resemblant to their own. San Diego Zoo Safari Park is just a short distance from Escondido, and if you want to experience a safari, then you won’t want to miss out on this great park - it’s truly one of the best places to visit in Escondido.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Address: 15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd, Escondido, CA 92027, USA
Website: San Diego Zoo Safari Park
6. Altipiano Vineyard and Winery
California is definitely known for its vineyards and wineries, and Escondido has the perfect climate to harvest perfect grapes. Of course, if you’re like me, then the ambiance is just as important as the wine itself, and this beautiful winery does not disappoint! Amazing scenery and a deck that looks out over the vineyard and will leave you feeling like you’re in Tuscany. It’s a beautiful location to relax and reflect over a glass of the perfect Cabernet Sauvignon.
Altipiano Vineyard and Winery
Address: 20365 Camino Del Aguila, Escondido, CA 92025, USA
Website: Altipiano Vineyard and Winery
7. California Center for the Arts
A stunning theater, the California Center for the Arts is absolutely beautiful, with a sound system that will amaze you. The California Center for the Arts has many events to consider, from theater to a plethora of concerts. There is also, a multimedia art gallery, where you will have the opportunity to roam around this lovely building and enjoy various international art exhibits, from paintings to sculptures and everything between!
California Center for the Arts
Address: 340 N Escondido Blvd, Escondido, CA 92025, USA
Website: California Center for the Arts
8. Daley Ranch
A great way to explore true southwestern California, the way you’re supposed to, Daley Ranch has fresh air and rustic ambiance in a gorgeous location. The hiking trails are lovely, offering breathtaking views over Escondido ranch land. Horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking over 20 different trails are just a few of the ways to spend your day here. The Daley Ranch is also rich in history: Robert Daley discovered this valley and an empty house in 1868 and claimed it as his own! And if you’re very lucky, you will find a persimmon tree, here at the ranch!
Address: 3024 La Honda Dr, Escondido, CA 92027, USA
Website: Daley Ranch
9. Flightline Safari in Escondido
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
This is not your ordinary zipline! It travels over San Diego Zoo and Safari where you can get a bird’s eye view of the wild animals roaming just below. This is a great experience, and if you really like adventure, you can’t go wrong with this activity. Just imagine soaring above the animals - it’s truly something you don’t want to miss.
Flightline Safari in Escondido
Address: 15500 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido, California 92027-7017
Website Flightline Safari in Escondido
10. San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park
San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park is a memorial that honors the soldiers who fought in California’s bloodiest battle during the Mexican-American War. This well-maintained park has plenty of information about both the war and the 1846 Battle of San Pasqual, including a visitor center that shows a movie. Re-enactments and other history-related presentations are held at the park regularly, allowing visitors to connect even more with local history.
San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park
Address: 15808 San Pasqual Valley Rd, Escondido, CA 92027, United States
Opening hours: Sun: 10am - 4pm (closed from Mon - Sat)
11. Trapeze High
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Fly high with Trapeze High, a flying trapeze school based right in Escondido, California. Their professional and friendly staff teach several courses that will cover all of the basics of trapeze artistry, and they are eager to work with beginners. Regardless of the reasons for wanting to learn, even if you only want a taste of what it is like, Trapeze High is willing to accommodate you. What are you waiting for?
Address: 2470 Melru Ln, Escondido, CA 92026, United States
Website: Trapeze High
Opening hours: Tue- Sun: 9am - 7:30pm (closed on Mon)
12. Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead
Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead is a wonderful museum where visitors can learn about what life used to be like in Escondido, California. Tour the farmstead and garden, and marvel at the simple comforts of times gone by. Inside the main house, there is an assortment of furniture and displays of household items like old plates, kettles, and decorations. To truly enjoy Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead in its full glory, you have to slowly soak in the experience and imagine life before the internet and TV. Don’t miss this incredible museum while in the area - it’s worth the visit.
Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead
Address: 12655 Sunset Dr, Escondido, CA 92025, United States
13.Grape Day Park
Grape Day Park is the oldest park in Escondido and certainly one of the most popular. Its unique playground and climbing equipment are a hit with kids, and the vibrant green grass is the perfect place for a family picnic. Take your time and explore the park. Numerous historical homes and buildings are joined by statues and sculptures, as well as a lovely fountain and a historic train. Taking a stroll around Grape Day Park is truly a cultural and reinvigorating experience. Spend the afternoon relaxing in Grape Day Park.
Grape Day Park
Address: 321 N Broadway, Escondido, CA 92025, United States
Opening hours: 6am - 6pm (daily)
14. Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens should be high on the bucket list of any foodie or beer aficionado visiting Escondido. Their family-style ribs, delicious pretzels, and mouth-watering tacos are firm local favorites – as is their True Craft Burger, with organic beef, miso-maple bacon, and the most incredible sauce and toppings. Make sure to take advantage of their amazing in-house beer, brewed right next door. The interior is classy and simply beautiful, while the outdoor seating area is even better. With a beautiful garden, koi ponds, and a fire pit in the middle, dining at this establishment is a real treat.
Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens
Address: 1999 Citracado Parkway, Escondido, CA 92029, United States
15. Escondido Promenade
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Escondido Promenade is a local shopping mall that covers all of your basic commercial needs. From department stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods or Target to cafés, restaurants, and groceries, you can find what you need here. Located conveniently on 1200 Auto Park Way in Escondido, this mall is super easy to get to. Whether you are shopping with the family or just looking to kill some time and buy some souvenirs, check out Escondido Promenade.
Address: 1200 Auto Park Way, Escondido, CA 92029, United States
Website: Escondido Promenade
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 9pm; Sun: 10am - 7pm
Plenty to do in Escondido
Southern California is just brimming with fun things to do. Yet, if you really want to experience the natural beauty and breathtaking landscape, while enjoying the beautiful Californian climate, then Escondido is simply the perfect place to visit.
Frequently asked questions about the best things to do in Escondido
1. What are the best attractions to visit in Escondido?
If you’re planning a trip to Escondido, be sure to add the following attractions to your itinerary: Dixon Lake, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park, Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead, and Queen Califia’s Magical Circle.
2. What are the best outdoor activities in Escondido?
For outdoor fun, head to Dixon Lake for fishing, picnicking, camping, and hiking. If you’re in search of more trails to explore, check out Daley Ranch, where you can also enjoy horseback riding and mountain biking. For a more relaxed picnic spot, spend the afternoon at Grape Day Park.
3. What are the most popular things to do in Escondido with kids and family?
If you’re on holiday in Escondido with your family, check out San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum for some kid-friendly fun, or book it to Queen Califia’s Magical Circle and take lots of family photos. Other awesome family attractions to visit include San Diego Zoo Safari Park and Roynon Museum of Earth Science and Paleontology.
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