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Escondido, California
City of Escondido
Mark Skovorodko Photography - Dixon Lake Escondido Sunrise Aerial.jpg
Mark Skovorodko Photography - Escondido City Hall.jpg
Mark Skovorodko Photography - Daley Ranch Mountain Biking Escondido.jpg
Mark Skovorodko Photography - Escondido Historic District Neighborhood.jpg
Mark Skovorodko Photography - Downtown Escondido Aerial.jpg
Clockwise: Dixon Lake; Daley Ranch; Downtown; Old Escondido Historic District; City Hall
Flag of Escondido, California
Official seal of Escondido, California
Official logo of Escondido, California
"City of Choice!"
Location of Escondido in San Diego County, California
Location of Escondido in San Diego County, California
Escondido, California is located in California
Escondido, California
Escondido, California
Location in California
Escondido, California is located in the United States
Escondido, California
Escondido, California
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  California
County Flag of San Diego County, California.png San Diego
Incorporated October 8, 1888 (1888-10-08)
 • Type Council-Manager
 • Total 37.45 sq mi (97.00 km2)
 • Land 37.34 sq mi (96.72 km2)
 • Water 0.11 sq mi (0.28 km2)  0.48%
646 ft (197 m)
 • Total 143,911
 • Estimate 
 • Rank 4th in San Diego County
38th in California
 • Density 4,060.12/sq mi (1,567.61/km2)
Time zone UTC−8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
92025–92027, 92029
Area codes 442/760
FIPS code 06-22804
GNIS feature IDs 1652706, 2410455

Escondido (Spanish for "Hidden"; Kumeyaay: Eskondiid) is a city in San Diego County's North County region, 30 miles (48 km) northeast of downtown San Diego, 15 miles from the ocean, and 40 miles from the Mexican border. The city occupies a shallow valley ringed by rocky hills. Incorporated in 1888, it is one of the oldest cities in San Diego County. It has a population of 151,038 as of the 2020 census.


"Escondido" is a Spanish word meaning "hidden". One source says the name originally referred to agua escondida or hidden water; another says it meant "hidden treasure".


The Escondido area was first settled by the Luiseño, who established campsites and villages along the creek running through the area. They named the place "Mehel-om-pom-pavo." The Kumeyaay migrated from areas near the Colorado River, settling both in the San Pasqual Valley and near the San Dieguito River in the southwestern and western portions of what is now Escondido. Most of the villages and campsites today have been destroyed by development and agriculture.

Spain and Mexico

Spain controlled the land from the late 18th century to the early 19th century, and established many missions in California to convert the indigenous people. When Mexico gained its independence from Spain, the local land was divided into large ranchos. Most of what is now Escondido occupies the former Rancho Rincon del Diablo ("Devil's Corner"), a Mexican land grant given to Juan Bautista Alvarado (not the governor of the same name) in 1843 by Governor Manuel Micheltorena. Alvarado was a Regidor of Los Angeles at the time, and the first Regidor of the pueblo of San Diego. The southern part of Escondido occupies the former Rancho San Bernardo, granted in 1842 and 1845.

In 1846, during the Mexican–American War, the Battle of San Pasqual was fought southeast of Escondido. This battle pitted Mexican forces under Andrés Pico (brother of then-California-governor Pío Pico) against Americans under Stephen W. Kearny, Archibald Gillespie, and Kit Carson. A park in Escondido is named for Carson.

United States

The city was home to a largely Spanish-speaking population in the first census, taken in 1850 when California became a state. After statehood, non-Hispanic settlers came to Southern California in increasing numbers. The decade of the 1880s is known as the "Southern California Land Boom" because so many people moved to the state.

In 1853, pro-Southern Copperheads proposed dividing the state of California to create a new Territory of Colorado (at this time the territory that would become the state of Colorado was named "Jefferson"). San Diego Judge Oliver S. Witherby suggested placing the capitol of the new territory in Rancho Rincon del Diablo. He envisioned a railroad connecting San Diego to Fort Yuma through an area about two miles (3 km) south of the current Escondido site, heading east through San Pasqual. With a series of deeds in 1855 and 1856, the rancho was transferred from the heirs of Juan Bautista Alvarado to Witherby. He planned to profit from the town that he believed would be established from the dividing point on the railroad below the eastern hills. The proposal for splitting the state and creating the new territory passed in the California legislature, but died in Congress in the run-up to the Civil War. It was effectively killed in 1861 when Congress organized the Territory of Colorado in the area previously occupied by the Jefferson Territory. With Witherby's vision of owning a bustling state capitol unrealized, he set up a mining operation on the rancho instead.

In 1868, Witherby sold the rancho for $8000 to Edward McGeary and John, Josiah, and Matthew Wolfskill. McGeary owned half the rancho, while the three Wolfskill brothers each owned an equal share of the other half. John Wolfskill farmed sheep, horses, and cattle on the rancho for a number of years. Wolfskill had frequent conflicts with the Couts family, owners of the neighboring Guajome, Buena Vista, and San Marcos ranchos, over grazing lands and watering holes.

In October 1883, a group of Los Angeles investors purchased Rancho Rincon del Diablo. This group sold the land to the newly formed Escondido Company in 1884. On December 18, 1885, investors incorporated the Escondido Land and Town Company, and in 1886 this company purchased the 12,814-acre (52 km2) area for approximately $100,000. Two years later, in 1888, Escondido was incorporated as a city; the vote was 64 in favor of cityhood with 12 votes against. Railroads such as the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific were laid in the 1880s. The opening of U.S. Route 395 in 1930 boosted economic growth in Escondido.

Escondido was primarily an agricultural community, growing muscat grapes initially. After a dam was built in 1894-5 to form what is known today as Lake Wohlford, orange and lemon trees were planted in large numbers, as were olive and walnut trees. By the 1960s, avocados became the largest local crop. Since the 1970s, Escondido has lost most of its agricultural land to housing developments.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 37.0 square miles (96 km2). 36.8 square miles (95 km2) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) of it is water. The total area is 0.48% water.

The city is growing at a rapid rate with new communities like Hidden Trails appearing at the east end of East Valley Parkway. The city proper is surrounded by several sparsely populated unincorporated communities. These include Jesmond Dene and Hidden Meadows to the north; Felicita Park to the southwest; and Rincon Del Diablo to the southeast. Residents of these communities have Escondido mailing addresses and zip codes, and their children are sometimes assigned to Escondido schools, but residents of these communities cannot participate in city elections.

The city contains several neighborhoods including:

  • Downtown Escondido centers around Grand Avenue between Centre City Parkway and Palomar Hospital. The city's general plan defines the Downtown Specific Plan Area as approximately 460 acres (1.9 km2) bounded by Centre City Parkway on the west, Hickory and Ivy Streets on the east, Washington Avenue on the north, and Fifth Avenue on the south, with an additional narrow section extending west along Valley Parkway to Interstate 15.
  • Old Escondido is bounded by Escondido Boulevard on the west, Chestnut Street on the east, Fifth Avenue on the north, and Thirteenth Avenue on the south. This area is made up of mostly single-family residential housing.

The Escondido Creek bisects the city. It originates at the Lake Wohlford Dam in the northeast, passes through downtown and leaves the city through the Harmony Grove area in the southwest before eventually emptying into the San Elijo Lagoon. The creek path through the city was developed into a concrete flood control channel in the 1960s. A Class I bicycle path runs along most of the channel's length.

The community of Valley Center is located just north of Escondido. Valley View Casino, owned by the San Pasqual Band of Diegueno Mission Indians, is located in Valley Center.

Natural vegetation types in the Escondido area include chaparral brushland, oak woodland, riparian (stream) woodland, and grassland. The Daley Ranch Preserve north of the city provides a good location to view these natural vegetation types.

Looking southwest across Escondido from the hills near Dixon Lake
Looking southwest across Escondido from the hills near Dixon Lake


Escondido tends to have a typical Mediterranean climate with warm summers and cool wet winters. Owing to its inland proximity it is considerably warmer than coastal cities like San Diego, Carlsbad or Oceanside during the summertime, and cooler in the winter. Yearly precipitation averages around 15 inches (380 mm) and can vary considerably from year to year. Rainfall totals are higher in the hills to the north and east, with 20-24 inches falling in most areas above 2,000 feet elevation, and over 30 inches on Palomar Mountain, 15 miles east. More than 80% of all precipitation takes place from November through March. Snow is virtually unheard of, though occasionally winter and springtime thunderstorms will drop small hail. The climate is mild enough to allow widespread cultivation of avocados and oranges. Escondido is located in a plant hardiness zone 9. The hottest temperature recorded in Escondido was 112º on July 22, 2006.

Climate data for Escondido No 2, California (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 91
Average high °F (°C) 68.8
Average low °F (°C) 43.1
Record low °F (°C) 22
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.03
Source: NOAA


Three lakes are located in or near Escondido, all of which allow boating and fishing:

  • Dixon Lake is located in the north, and is stocked with trout each year.
  • Lake Wohlford is located on the north eastern fringe of the city limits. It is stocked yearly with trout, and sports good catfish, bass, and crappie fishing as well.
  • Lake Hodges is located just south of the city. A part of Lake Hodges is crossed by Interstate 15 via the Lake Hodges Bridge. Often this part of the lake is dry.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 541
1900 755 39.6%
1930 3,421
1940 4,560 33.3%
1950 6,544 43.5%
1960 16,377 150.3%
1970 36,792 124.7%
1980 64,355 74.9%
1990 108,635 68.8%
2000 133,559 22.9%
2010 143,911 7.8%
2019 (est.) 151,625 5.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

In the 2010 United States Census, Escondido had a population of 143,911. The population density was 3,890.7 people per square mile (1,502.2/km2). The racial makeup was 60.4% White (Non-Hispanic White 40.4%), 2.5% African American (2.1% Non-Hispanic black), 1.0% Native American, 6.1% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 25.4% from other races, and 4.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 48.9% of the population.

The Census reported that 141,792 people (98.5% of the population) lived in households, 1,333 (0.9%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 786 (0.5%) were institutionalized.

There were 45,484 households, out of which 18,989 (41.7%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 23,535 (51.7%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 6,082 (13.4%) had a female householder with no husband present, 3,115 (6.8%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 3,121 (6.9%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 343 (0.8%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 9,528 households (20.9%) were made up of individuals, and 4,235 (9.3%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.12. There were 32,732 families (72.0% of all households); the average family size was 3.57.

The age distribution of the population showed 39,778 people (27.6%) under the age of 18, 15,455 people (10.7%) aged 18 to 24, 41,043 people (28.5%) aged 25 to 44, 32,551 people (22.6%) aged 45 to 64, and 15,084 people (10.5%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32.5 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.1 males.

There were 48,044 housing units at an average density of 1,298.9 per square mile (501.5/km2), of which 23,759 (52.2%) were owner-occupied, and 21,725 (47.8%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.2%; the rental vacancy rate was 6.0%. 70,936 people (49.3% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 70,856 people (49.2%) lived in rental housing units.

Arts and culture


Grand Ave Escondido
Central Grand Avenue

Downtown has become more active in the past few years with the opening of restaurants, cafes, and galleries. A satellite location of the Mingei International Museum, a well-known museum of folk art from around the world, occupied the former J.C. Penney building on Grand Avenue from 2003 to 2010. One block off Grand Ave. is Grape Day Park with the civic center and the California Center for the Arts, which features two theaters, a visual arts museum, an educational complex, and a conference center. The Escondido Children's Museum and the Escondido History Center, two independent non-profit museums, are located in Grape Day Park. The Children's Museum features hands-on exhibits and programs for children up to 10 years of age, with an authentically regional perspective on natural and social science. The History Center features the city's original Santa Fe Depot, first library, Victorian house, barn, and blacksmith shop. The Pioneer Room of Escondido Public Library (located in the Mathes Center building next to the Main Library) offers photographs, maps, oral histories, genealogical collections, directories and yearbooks documenting Escondido's history. On Friday evenings a car rally called Cruisin' Grand takes place on seven blocks of Grand Avenue, featuring pre-1970 vintage cars.

The Escondido Arts Partnership, a non-profit art organization established in 1995, created and hosts the Second Saturday Art Walk, involving several galleries and museums in Escondido. It also has a Municipal Gallery including five galleries and five art study spaces. It operates the Betty Woodaman Memorial Art Library, a donated-based art library that offers art books local community, and publishes an annual collection of poetry and art called "Summation".

Parks and recreation


Escondido has fifteen parks.

  • Daley Ranch is a 3,058-acre (12.38 km2) conservation area acquired in 1996 by the City of Escondido and is managed in perpetuity for the preservation of a biologically unique and diverse habitat area of regional importance. Daley Ranch has over 20 miles (32 km) of hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails. Six distinct trails cover most of the property. Most popular are the Boulder Loop Trail (2.4 miles) which affords views of Escondido, and the Ranch House Loop (2.5 miles), which passes two small ponds and the site of Daley's original log cabin. Several species of oak trees are common, as well as chaparral (brushland). Wildlife include deer, coyote, bobcats, rabbits and hawks. Cougars are sometimes present, but not frequently seen.
  • El Norte Park is a small "green lung" park, off El Norte Parkway in northern Escondido. It features mature trees and a kids playground.
Grape Day Park Escondido
Grape Day Park with the city hall in background
  • Grape Day Park is located behind the Escondido City Hall and the performing arts complex. This park was named after the annual grape day harvest, an event held on the first Saturday after Labor Day from 1908 to 1950. Dogs are not allowed in Grape Day Park.
  • Jesmond Dene
  • Kit Carson: Queen Califia's Magical Circle, the last major international work by French artist Niki de Saint Phalle, is located in Kit Carson Park. De Saint Phalle, a colleague of Salvador Dalí and Jasper Johns, is best known for her Stravinsky Fountain, located in Paris, France. The artist chose Escondido as the site for her final work because it reminded her of Italy.
Lake Dixon Escondido CA
Dixon Lake, just outside Daley Ranch
  • Dixon Lake supplies Escondido with fresh water. Swimming is not allowed, but fishing is, and boats are available for hire. Dixon Lake has about 34 camp sites which look out over the lake, or over Escondido. While entrance to the park is free, the city charges $5.00 (in 2010) for taking a car into the park. However, ample free parking is available outside the gate.
  • Lake Wohlford is in the north east corner of Escondido. The lake has some walking trails around the perimeter, and allows fishing. In addition, the northern shore is home to the Lake Wohlford Cafe, founded in 1949 and prominently featuring locally caught catfish in its menus.
  • Mountain View
  • Rod McLeod
  • Washington Park is an urban park located on the eastern side of central Escondido. It features lighted facilities for baseball, softball, tennis and basketball, a 25-yard swimming pool and water slide, and a smaller children's pool. The park's numerous mature trees create plenty of shady areas and tables are provided for picnics.
  • Westside
  • Frances Ryan Park is a 67 acres (270,000 m2) complex of soccer fields, supported by a concession stand and public restrooms. The park is adjacent to Valley High School in eastern Escondido at the corner of Valley Parkway and El Norte Parkway. As of October 2010, the park features 7 soccer fields, 5 of which have lights for night time practice and play. The park is named for a former teacher at Escondido High School. Dogs are not allowed in Ryan Park.
  • Grove Park was so named to recognize the city's agricultural history. It was built about 2008 (approximate date). It is about 4.5 acres (18,000 m2) in size and is located in the Mission Park neighborhood.
  • Felicita County Park

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park (also called by its former name, "Wild Animal Park") is located near Escondido, in the San Pasqual Valley. It is the sister park to the San Diego Zoo. The Safari Park shows animals in open habitats.

Deer Park Buddhist Monastery

Deer Park Monastery is a Buddhist sanctuary that occupies 400 acres (1.6 km2) in the hills north of Escondido and west of Daley Ranch. It is one of three monasteries in the United States under the direction of a well-known Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh.


Mark Skovorodko Photography - Palomar Hospital Escondido
Aerial view of Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, California

Residents work in a range of industries. Out of the approximately 64,000 employed civilian residents over the age of 16, 15% work in educational, health care and social services; 13% in retail trade; 13% in construction; 12% in professional, scientific, management, administrative, and waste management services; 11% in arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services; 11% in manufacturing; and 11% in other services.

Top employers

According to the city's 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Palomar Medical Center 2,659
2 Escondido Union School District 1,960
3 City of Escondido 1,027
4 Escondido Union High School District 842
5 Bergelectric 802
6 Home Depot 350
7 Nordstrom 320
8 Toyota of Escondido 312
9 Vons 249
10 California Center for the Arts 220

In 2006, Stone Brewing Co. moved its headquarters and brewery from San Marcos, California to a new, much larger facility in the Quail Hills area of Escondido. Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps is also located in the city.


  • The Farmers Market in downtown Escondido is a certified Farmers Market that showcases fresh-picked California-grown fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
  • The Escondido Swap Market has operated over 40 years, and features used and new merchandise and food.
  • Westfield North County, which opened in 1986, is an indoor shopping mall on Via Rancho Parkway in southern Escondido. It features JC Penney, Macy's, and Target.


From 1964 to 1968, the San Diego Chargers held training camp in Escondido.

In 1981, Escondido National Little League became the 19th team to make it to the Little League World Series from the state of California. The team was first District 31 champions, then District 8 champions. They then won the Southern California Divisional Tournament at Youth Athletic Park by beating San Bernardino Civitan 3–2 in the quarterfinals, then beating Granada Hills American 5–1 in the semifinals and then beating Ladera National 7–5 in the finals to earn a trip to the Western Regional. At the Western Regional in San Bernardino, the Escondido team won four straight games to earn the trip to Williamsport.

In October 2010, Merritt Paulson, owner of the AAA Portland Beavers franchise, announced that the team was being sold to the North County Baseball ownership group, led by Jeff Moorad, part-owner and CEO of the Beavers parent team, the San Diego Padres. The ownership group discussed building a stadium in Escondido to become operational for the 2012 baseball season at the earliest. In December 2010, the Escondido city council voted to go ahead with the ballpark. The stadium was slated to open in April 2013. However, the plan to move the team fell through in late 2011.

The San Diego Sabers of the United States Premier Hockey League play at the Iceoplex in Escondido.


Escondido is served by the Escondido Union School District, the Escondido Union High School District, and the San Pasqual Union School District. These three public school districts serve the City of Escondido and the Unincorporated communities such as: Jesmond Dene, North Ridge, Hidden Meadows, Deer Springs, San Pasqual Valley, Del Dios, Elfin Forrest, East Canyon, Cloverdale, and Lake Wolford. The city has 19 elementary, seven middle, and seven high schools. Escondido Adult School was established in 1968 by the Escondido Union High School District. Escondido Adult School is a provider of adult education services in Escondido and its surrounding communities. Escondido Adult School offers adult education services for adults in the areas of: high school diploma, GED, HISET, adult basic education, ESL, parenting classes, community education courses, and career technical education courses. Escondido Adult School also offers a robust selection of short-term medical training courses such as: Certified Nurse Assistant, Certified Home Health Aide, Medical Assistant, Pharmacy Technician, Phlebotomy, Medical Billing and Coding, CPR/BLS training and certification, and Veterinary Assistant. Escondido Adult School is a member of the Education to Career Network of North San Diego County. ETCN is one of 71 consortiums in the State of California and is funded by the California Adult Education Program.

Public Post-Secondary schools: Escondido Adult School and Palomar College-Escondido Campus

Public high schools:

  • Escondido High School
  • Orange Glen High School
  • San Pasqual High School
  • Classical Academy High School
  • Escondido Charter High School
  • Valley High School
  • Del Lago Academy: Campus of Applied Science
  • Balboa School

Middle schools: Classical Academy Middle School Bear Valley Middle School Del Dios Middle School Heritage Junior High School Hidden Valley Middle School Mission Middle School Rincon Middle School

Elementary schools

  • Bernardo Elementary
  • Central Elementary
  • Classical Academy
  • Coastal Academy
  • Conway Elementary
  • Farr Avenue Elementary
  • Felicita Elementary
  • Glen View Elementary
  • Heritage K-8 Charter
  • Juniper Elementary
  • L. R. Green Elementary
  • Lincoln Elementary
  • Miller Elementary
  • Nicolaysen Community Day
  • North Broadway Elementary
  • Oak Hill Elementary
  • Orange Glen Elementary
  • Pioneer Elementary
  • Reidy Creek Elementary
  • Rock Springs Elementary
  • Rose Elementary

There is a wide range of API scores for Escondido schools, reflecting the demographic diversity of the city. As of 2009, two elementary schools in the district scored above the 80th percentile of all schools in the state, and nine elementary schools scored below the 20th percentile.

The Escondido Public Library system consists of the Main Branch, the Pioneer Room, Computer Center, and a bookmobile.

Westminster Seminary California is located in Escondido. In 2013 John Paul the Great Catholic University relocated its main campus to Escondido.


Santa Fe train station, Grape Day Park
Historic railroad station


Mark Skovorodko Photography - Escondido Highway 15 Aerial
An aerial view of Interstate 15 approaching the Route 78 interchange in Escondido, California.

Two highways serve Escondido: Route 78 and Interstate 15. Route 78 enters from the west as a freeway which ends at Broadway. The highway follows surface streets and leaves the city heading east into the San Pasqual Valley.

Mark Skovorodko Photography - Escondido Transit Center Aerial
Escondido city buses entering and departing the Escondido Transit Center.

The North County Transit District (NCTD) operates local bus service, with the Escondido Transit Center serving as a hub. The transit center has connections to both the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System and the Riverside Transit Agency.

Mark Skovorodko Photography - Escondido Sprinter Light Rail
The Sprinter light rail train preparing to depart the platform at the Escondido Transit Center.

The Sprinter light rail line, operated by NCTD, links the transit center to Oceanside using the existing 22-mile (35 km)-long Escondido Branch trackage of the San Diego Northern Railroad. The rail line opened in 2008, making Escondido one of the first cities in the United States to operate Siemens Desiro class diesel multiple units manufactured in Germany. At the Oceanside Transit Center, the Sprinter connects to three commuter rail lines (the Coaster, Orange County and Inland Empire-Orange County lines) and is also served by Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner.

The California High Speed Rail Authority listed Escondido as a stop along the proposed high-speed rail system running from Southern to Northern California.


San Diego Gas & Electric is the electric utility for the city. The City of Escondido Water Utilities serves most customers within the city while Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District serves potable and recycled water to the greater Escondido valley and some portions of the incorporated city.

Notable people

  • Anacani: featured singer with the Lawrence Welk orchestra
  • Tom Anderson: co-founder of MySpace
  • Lester Bangs: rock music critic
  • Texas Rose Bascom: movie actress, "World's Greatest Female Trick Roper," National Cowgirl Hall of Fame inductee
  • Billy Bevan: silent and talkies movie actor, born Orange, New South Wales, Australia 1887; died Escondido, California 1957.
  • Ken Block: rally car driver, and founder of DC Shoes
  • Harold F. Blum: physiologist who first explored sunlight-induced skin cancer
  • Sam Brannan: California's first millionaire
  • E. H. Bronner: soapmaker
  • Ray Conniff: bandleader and arranger
  • Joe Coscarart, former Boston Braves infielder
  • Pete Coscarart: former Brooklyn Dodgers infielder
  • Gavvy Cravath: former right fielder for the Philadelphia Phillies
  • Richard Denning: actor, An Affair to Remember, Creature from the Black Lagoon; died in Escondido
  • Olga Diaz: politician, former city council member and coffee shop owner, lives in Escondido
  • Caitlin Glass: voice actress and ADR director
  • Steve Hendrickson: former Chargers football player
  • Brittany Hogan: 2005 Miss California, first runner-up Miss USA 2005
  • George Horine: held world record in the high jump; won an Olympic bronze medal
  • Randy Johnson: Major League infielder, special assistant to Oakland A's GM Billy Beane; graduate of Escondido High School
  • Jacque Jones: former baseball player for the Minnesota Twins
  • Jovan Kirovski: forward for the L.A. Galaxy MLS team
  • Elisabeth Kübler-Ross: founder and resident of the "Shanti Nilaya" (Home of Peace), retreat in Escondido in the late 1970s and early 1980s
  • Caleb Lieurance: philosopher from Westmont College; pianist, kazooist, and slide-whistle player
  • Jim Londos: professional wrestler
  • Shannon MacMillan: professional soccer player and graduate of San Pasqual High School
  • Anthony Menconi: marine engineer from California Maritime Academy
  • Haley Moore: amateur golfer
  • Deborah Jeane Palfrey: the so-called D.C. Madam
  • Robbie Peralta: MMA UFC fighter
  • Pamela Radcliff: historian and professor at the University of California at San Diego and an authority on the history of modern Spain.
  • Mark Redman: professional baseball player and graduate of Escondido High School
  • Steve Reeves: bodybuilder, Mr. Universe, and actor, Hercules; died in Escondido
  • Travis Ryan: lead vocalist of Cattle Decapitation
  • Brett Salisbury: college football quarterback, member of Escondido's 1981 Little League World Series team, and younger brother of Sean Salisbury.
  • Sean Salisbury: former NFL quarterback and ESPN anchorman, and graduate of Orange Glen High School; older brother of Brett Salisbury
  • Brian Simnjanovski: punter for the Berlin Thunder, New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL teams
  • Randy Vasquez: actor
  • Eric Weddle: free safety for the NFL San Diego Chargers; resides in Escondido
  • Harold Bell Wright: author in the 1920s and 1930s
  • Andrea Zittel: contemporary artist, graduate of San Pasqual High School

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