Sparking a city renaissance in Escondido

Posted at 4:24 PM, Jul 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-29 19:24:46-04

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) — Escondido has undergone a renaissance starting right on Grand Avenue. There’s a spirit of nightlife, food, art, and family fun.

“It's a really exciting time to be in Escondido we've done so many improvements to Grand Avenue we're just getting started,” said Jennifer Schoeneck, the city’s Deputy Director of Economic Development.

She says the city is seeing a surge in applications for space on Grand Avenue.

“We just completed phase one of construction that completed sidewalk widening eliminated the center median and added more parking to downtown.”

Schoeneck says there’s also a lot of buzz around the old Palomar Hospital site, which is approved for 500 housing units. So far, the city’s efforts are going well to bring a Costco to the old Sears building at North County Fair.

“So we're going to see the city morph into something really exciting over the next several years.”

There is a dizzying number of new and established restaurants on Grand. From tamales to authentic French croissants, smoked salmon, pizza, Salvadorian, sushi, lattes, wine, and breweries. And we hear the mayor's favorite spot for hush puppies.

“Really what I like to tell restaurant owners is that the people in Escondido are used to traveling over 30 minutes or more to their favorite restaurants in some cases. And so why not locate your restaurant here on Grand Avenue where people are.”

There are other city highlights as well, such as the Escondido Performing Arts Center, open since 1994. The cultural center attracts top-notch theater productions and musical acts.

And Escondido is home to the only Niki de Saint Phalle Sculpture Garden in the United States – Queen Califia’s Magical Circle in Kit Carson Park.

Daley Ranch provides over 20 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, in addition to beautiful views overlooking the city. The ranch is over 3,000 acres dedicated to the preservation of the area’s habitat.

But there’s no question that the heart of the rebirth starts with the newly reimagined Grand Avenue, even if the old cars that take part in cruising the street on Friday nights predate the 1970s.

“So excited to see phase one. Finally, complete Phase two will start in January of 2023. And we're really looking forward to that.”