Escondido is a city in California’s North County region, occupying a shallow valley ringed by rocky hills, just north of the city of San Diego and 30 miles (48 km) from Downtown San Diego. Incorporated in 1888, it is one of the oldest cities in San Diego County. Its municipal government set itself an operating budget limit of $426,289,048 for the fiscal year 2010-2011. The city is known as Eskondiid in Diegueño. In 2007, the city ranked #65 by violent crimes per capita and #58 by property crimes per capita among 165 cities in California with populations greater than 50,000. Compared with the 12 largest cities in San Diego County, it ranked 6th in both categories. Its crime rate was lower in both categories than San Diego, El Cajon, and National City; higher in both categories than San Marcos, Carlsbad, Encinitas, and Santee. Escondido had a higher violent crime rate but lower property crime rate than La Mesa and Chula Vista; it had a lower violent crime rate but higher property crime rate than Vista and Oceanside.
Downtown has become more active in the past few years with the opening of restaurants, cafes, and galleries. Every Friday night from April through September, Steve Waldron and a handful of friends host the popular “Cruisin’ Grand”, where the public can show and view hot rods and historic cars. A different car club and/or featured attraction (for example, antique fire trucks, nitro night, midget and sprint cars) is highlighted each week. Cruisin’ Grand also features a DJ, live bands (2-3), hula hoop contests for children, and the awarding of trophies at 8:00pm.
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.
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 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.