The Absolute Best Things to do in Escondido CA

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Escondido, California is a small city of about 150,000 residents located 30 miles north of downtown San Diego. The warm, temperate climate and beautiful scenery of Escondido mean that there are nearly endless outdoor activities in Escondido. There are also plenty of cultural indoor activities to do year-round. 

Things to do in Escondido: 

1. San Diego Zoo Safari Park

The 1800-acre non-profit wildlife sanctuary boasts over 3000 animals and more than 300 species. There is also an accompanying botanical garden demonstrating the incredible biodiversity of San Diego County. It is one of the largest tourist attractions in San Diego with optional extras like safari tours, ziplines, and “glamping” sleepovers at the park. Admission is $60 and requires reservations for future visits due to COVID. 

2. Welk Theater and California Center for the Arts

Escondido has a vibrant live music, comedy, theater and musical scene thanks to the Welk Theater and California Center for the Arts. Big name artists frequently perform at the Welk Resorts Theater while the California Center for the Arts 1800 seat auditorium often features free community community events. 

Cheap things to do in Escondido

Stone Brewing’s Escondido headquarters/File

3. Stone Brewing

For beer aficionados, Stone Brewing is quintessential San Diego beer. Hoppy and citrusy libations including IPAs and mexican style lagers make this beer tour a truly delicious experience in San Diego. Admission is $3. We think Stone is one of the best breweries in San Diego but there are also plenty of local breweries to explore! 

Vineyards, Wineries and Wine Tasting

Escondido is home to several fantastic wineries for tasting, food and relaxation. Our favorites include Orfila, Cordiano and Deer Park. Deer Park Winery also includes an auto museum featuring convertibles and classic Americana

4. Avian Behavior International

For bird lovers, Escondido offers the Avian experiences at the Avian Behavior International Conversation and Farm. Located near Lake Wohlford, the ABI features owls, hawks, falcons, parrots, ravens, toucans, and other birds as well as other farm animals and reptiles. Book online. 

Top Outdoor and Free Things to do in Escondido:

Whether you are looking for free things to do in Escondido or things to do during COVID, we’ve got you covered with our list. Here some things to do in Escondido for free: 

1. Queen Califia’s Magical Garden

Created by artist Niki de Saint Phalle (born France, 1930-2002), Queen Califia’s Magical garden is America’s only sculpture garden. Located on 12-acres of natural habitat, the garden consists of nine massive sculptures decorated in colorful mosaic tiles. Unfortunately the garden is closed due to COVID restrictions as well as during wet weather so plan accordingly. 

2. Palomar Mountain State Park

At 6,140 feet, Palomar mountain is one of the tallest mountains in San Diego County. In the state park, you’ll find camping, hiking, snow sledding and the Palomar Mountain observatory. Unfortunately, the observatory is temporarily closed due to COVID. 

Free things to do in Escondido

Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge across Lake Hodges, the world’s longest stress ribbon bridge in San Diego County North Inland near Escondido California

3. The Lakes of Escondido – Hodges and Dixon Lake

With plenty of hiking, fishing and camping, Dixon lake is a great, local spot to connect with nature and enjoy things to do outside in Escondido. Lake Hodges is well known for its suspension bridge and great biking trails. Both lakes are open year round!

4. Mission San Antonio de Pala

Founded in 1816, the Mission San Antonio de Pala or “Pala Mission” is one of the oldest attractions in San Diego county and boasts the only completely freestanding campanile, or “bell tower,” in all of Alta California (Spanish colony)

Escondido’s small town charm, beautiful weather and natural beauty also make it a wonderful place to live. A hot market make finding a home for sale in Escondido rather challenging. Fortunately, our real estate agents are prepared to find you the perfect Escondido residence, from bungalows and manufactured homes to expansive ranches and mountain estates. We’ve got you covered when it comes to living in Escondido, CA! If you’re heading up to Escondido, give us a call! 

Things to do in Escondido