Escondido offers numerous ways to pass the day
BY BRIANNE BROWN | PHOTOS BY Katherine Zimmer
SPANISH FOR “HIDDEN,” the city of Escondido is slowly emerging from its hiding spot. The North County inland community is easily accessible from both the I-15 and Highway 78, and a day there could take you anywhere from Lake Hodges at the southwestern edge of town to Bates Nut Farm in the northeast. Whatever your pleasure—be it shopping, dining, hiking, wine or beer tasting or family entertainment—Escondido delivers unforgettable and interesting experiences for all ages.
Brews and Vino
Escondido is home to Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens. Here, craft connoisseurs can not only go behind-the-scenes to see how favorite brews like Arrogant Bastard or Ruination IPA are made, but they can also experience a guided tasting. Other craft breweries are popping up in town, too; local favorites include Plan 9 Alehouse, Escondido Brewing Company and Jacked Up Brewery.
For those who are more oenophile than beer lover, Escondido offers plentiful opportunities to taste—both in vineyard and urban settings—and discover a new favorite wine at one of 17 wineries in the area. Orfila Winery on the eastern part of town overlooks the beautiful San Pasqual Valley. Urban hotspot SIP Wine & Beer exudes a modern, fresh vibe and artisan snacks to nosh on while you sip and people-watch.
Exuding a “Main Street, USA” vibe, historic and eclectic Grand Avenue is a grand place to pass the day. Dotted with antique shops, art galleries and fabulous dining options, the thoroughfare provides countless opportunities to pause while you meander through town. Check out The Grand Tea Room, a full-service tea room and gift shop or stop into Cute Cakes Bakery & Café for a sweet treat. Grand Avenue is also home to several restaurants with international appeal: A Delight of France, O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub, Swami’s Café and Filippi’s Pizza Grotto are sure to appeal to any palate.
Don’t miss Friday night’s Cruisin’ Grand, an April–September favorite where car enthusiasts can gather to admire the 500+ classic, vintage and muscle cars that line the street. The weekly event draws record crowds, and local eateries and retail shops stay open late to accommodate visitors.