A notable community in the San Diego area, Escondido is one of the oldest cities in San Diego County, having been founded in 1888. It is a larger community as well, with a population estimated at nearly 150,000. It is located about 30 miles north of the downtown San Diego area and is a popular suburban spot for those looking to get a bit farther out from the city. The community’s median annual household income is below $50,000.
The city’s top employers by number include the Palomar Medical Center, the Escondido Union School District, and the North County Transit District, all of which have almost 500 employees or more. The community is served by the Escondido Union, the Escondido Union High and the San Pasqual Union school districts, with 19 elementary schools, five middle schools and seven high schools.
The name Escondido means “hidden” in Spanish. It was first settled as part of the Rancho Rincon del Diablo, a Mexican land grant in the first half of the 19th century. In 1883, a group of investors from Los Angeles purchased the rancho and began developing it as a city. It was originally an agricultural community known for its muscat grapes growing in the area, as well as oranges, lemons, walnuts, and avocados. Today the community’s economy is more commercial and retail-based.
The community is a popular destination and has many attractions to enjoy, including three lakes for boating, fishing and swimming: Dixon Lake, Lake Wohlford and Lake Hodges. Other attractions include the Mingei International Museum, Grape Day Park, which includes a civic center and the California Center for the Arts with two theaters, a museum and a conference center, the 3,000-plus-acre Daley Ranch, the Escondido Children’s Museum, the Escondido History Center and the Escondido Public Library. The community is also home to Deer Park Monastery, a Buddhist sanctuary that holds a variety of events throughout the year. In Valley Center, just north of Escondido, is the Valley View Casino.