Living in Escondido Pros & Cons

North San Diego County's rolling hills are home to a secret sanctuary just a short drive from tourist attractions and big city amenities.

Home to a population of 150,000 people, Escondido is situated some 30 miles inland. The charm of Escondido is oblivious to most outsiders, and locals will tell you how it is both idyllic and affordable.

But is Escondido truly the idyllic escape it promises to be? Discovering it for yourself is the only way to find out.

From scenic neighborhoods that will take your breath away to affordable homes where you will finally feel at ease, our local experts can help you find Escondido's low-key charms. Call us today if you're ready to leave the hustle behind and find a place that rekindles your sense of wonder.

Pros and Cons of Living in Escondido

Pros Cons
Affordable Housing Inconvenient Location
Things to Do Traffic Congestion
Cultural Riches Crime
Dining Options  

Pros of Living in Escondido

Affordable Real Estate

Escondido real estate dispels the myth that choosing a lower cost of living implies forgoing luxury, comfort, or great schools. Here, you can discover elegant condos, planned communities, and custom estates. Escondido homes for sale go for 20% - 30% less than comparable properties in popular areas of San Diego and Orange County.

The numbers depict an intriguing picture:

  • Median home value: $450,000 (compared to $650,000 in San Diego)
  • Median rent: $1,500 for a 2-bedroom apartment (compared to $2,000 in San Diego)
  • Groceries: 10% lower than the national average
  • Utilities: 15% lower than the national average
  • Gas: 10% lower than the national average

Of course, there are trade-offs to living in a more affordable city. Escondido is smaller and less glitzy than San Diego, and there are fewer employment options here.

Things to Do in Escondido

Given the array of things to do in Escondido, the city deserves its slogan “The City of Choice”.

Here are a few things to do in Escondido:

  • Hiking and biking: Mountains and valleys surround Escondido, giving it a fantastic location for hiking and biking.
  • San Diego Zoo Safari Park: located just outside of Escondido, this park offers a great spot to see animals from all over the world.
  • LEGOLAND California: This family-friendly theme park features over 60 rides, performances, and attractions based entirely on LEGO bricks.
  • Parks and beaches: Escondido is home to several parks and beaches where outdoor aficionados can swim, sunbathe, or go surfing.

Cultural Riches

At first glance, Escondido may appear to be a quiet suburb. But when you dig a little deeper, you'll find a thriving cultural scene that rivals cities ten times its size. The primary hub of art for this community is the California Center for the Arts in Escondido.

Two theaters, an indoor/outdoor performance arena, and an art gallery are all part of the impressive complex. For live performances, music lovers throng to longtime favorite, The Coach House, a small performance venue showcasing major touring bands from various genres.

History buffs can learn more about Escondido's past at the Junipero Serra Museum. Explore your imagination with books and take a break from the world at the Escondido Public Library which also plays host to live performances, craft classes, and reading activities.

Where to Eat

Escondido boasts a thriving food scene that offers options for all palates. Foodies have a wide range of dining options, from fast food restaurants to fine dining venues.

Here are a few of the popular restaurants in Escondido:

  • Popular Mexican restaurant Cocina del Charro serves up classic fare including tacos, burritos, and enchiladas.
  • Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens is a brewery and restaurant that serves American comfort food and has a large selection of beers on tap.
  • With a focus on using fresh, seasonal ingredients, Zazen Modern Asian Kitchen dishes out modern Asian cuisine. The menu includes foods from China, Japan, Korea, and Thailand.

Given the abundance of new restaurants and bars opening seemingly every month, it's understandable why foodies "in the know" consider Escondido's food scene to be the heartbeat of the city.

Cons of Living in Escondido

Inconvenient Location

Escondido's location 30 miles inland from the ocean might make it difficult for residents to access the beach or other coastal attractions. Moreover, Escondido is not close to any major thoroughfares, which might make it taxing to get to other areas of the county or state.

When traffic is not at its busiest, it takes 35 to 40 minutes to travel from Escondido to coastal communities like Encinitas, Oceanside, and Del Mar. And depending on the time of day, the majority of the city's top attractions, such as SeaWorld, the zoo, and beaches, are within a 30 to 50 minutes drive.

Only a few Escondido locals commute to coastal cities regularly; for many, the journey would be unfeasible. Escondido's city limits feature nearly 80,000 jobs in industries including manufacturing, healthcare, and tourism.

The Traffic Conundrum

While Escondido's location provides easy access to popular sites, it also creates commuting challenges for many inhabitants owing to the unfavorable traffic in the city. Because the I-15 freeway is Escondido's sole major interstate connection, it experiences heavy traffic during rush hour and on weekends.

Escondido's lack of alternate north-south routes exacerbates traffic on I-15. Accidents and closures have a larger negative effect. East-west mobility is likewise constrained, as the two main thoroughfares, Valley Center Road and East Valley Parkway are both prone to traffic jams.

Since there are few options for public transportation, many people depend on their cars to get to work, school, and run errands. Local flights are available at Palomar Airport. However, catching a flight at the San Diego International Airport (SAN) means driving into Downtown, adding to the region's traffic problems.

The combination of these factors decreases average speeds on Escondido highways by 50% during peak hours.

Crime and Safety

A crime rating of C+ is an indication that Escondido has a higher-than-average crime rate relative to its population of 150k. According to recent reports, the violent crime rate of 21.5 per 100,000 people is higher than the national average of 22.7 per 100,000 people.

Meanwhile, the property crime rate of 32.7 per 100,000 people is higher than the national average of 34.4 per 100,000 people. A multitude of factors including gangs, poverty, drug addiction, and the lack of opportunities fuels the crime rate.

Crime and safety summary:

Statistic Value
Crime Rate (per 1,000 residents) 21
Chance of becoming a crime victim 1 in 47
Crime rate compared to California's average Higher than 57% of cities and towns
Similar crime rate to Anaheim, San Diego
Crime rate compared to the U.S. average (2020) 1.3 times smaller

Note: The table provides a general comparison using the latest available data.

That said, the high crime rate in Escondido is cause for concern. To tackle the menace, the city is implementing measures such as drug rehabilitation, community policing, economic empowerment, and visible police presence.

Moving to Escondido, CA - The Verdict

Escondido certainly has its pros—affordable housing, outdoor activities, dining options, and a vibrant cultural scene—but no place is perfect. After all, the city suffers from high crime rates, an inconvenient location inland, and significant traffic problems. Even so, many residents are more inclined to consider the pros over the cons.

Are you looking for hiking trails and excellent dining in Escondido? Or maybe you prefer an art scene that punches above its weight class? Call us today. Come discover this hidden valley's treasure and see what living in the right place can do for your outlook on life.

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