"The Road to Escondido" is a Grammy-winning blues album by Eric Clapton and J.J. Cale that tips its hat to the city where the two artists have crossed paths.
Escondido sits in a shallow valley hemmed by rocky hills in the heart of northern San Diego County. A hundred miles south of Los Angeles and 30 miles north of San Diego, it is home to over 143,000 people across an elongated area of 37 square miles. But first, you need to find an apartment up in the hills, by the lake, in golf central, or in downtown? Decisions, decisions.
Finding an Apartment
What's it Cost?
With the California beaches just 30 miles away, Escondido apartments and house rentals are not for the faint of heart, especially if you venture to the scenic northern and southern parts of the city. The cost of living is 27% higher than the national average, but still cheaper than the rest of San Diego County.
Bring the Pets
Heres the good news: there are plenty of pet-friendly apartments in Escondido. If you want to relocate with Fluffy or Rutherford, you'll probably have to plunk down a higher security deposit, but no more than the maximum under California law (more on that later!).
Securing the Deal
The landlord will usually require the contact details of your current and former employers and landlords, your social security number, drivers license number, bank account numbers, and credit account numbers for credit references. The rental application might include your authorization granting him a copy of your credit report. Be smart and ask for a copy of the document, as well. In case of a rental application screening fee, you cant be charged more than $44.51, and the landlord must give you a receipt itemizing the expenses. For a security deposit, the legal maximum is equivalent to two months rent for unfurnished units and three months rent for furnished residences.
Communities in Escondido are as varied as its terrain. The farther you move from the center of the city, where the downtown is, the more expensive it generally is.
Downtown: With cafes, restaurants and galleries mushrooming in recent years, the bustling urban center has become a playground not just for the locals, but for the residents of neighboring cities, too. The famous California Center for the Arts rules the cultural roost from the expansive Grape Day Park, site of the yearly Bacchanalian harvesting of vino. Hot rods and vintage wheels hit the main drag every Friday night of late spring to summer, a big to-do for the city. If the string of shops and boutiques - several selling artisan crafts and jewelry - isn't enough to satisfy your retail fix, then the massive Escondido Promenade just minutes away should suffice.
Old Escondido: The only historic district in North San Diego County. From stately Victorian mansions and cozy Craftsman bungalows, to elegant Art Deco homes, the architectural gems date as far back as the mid-1880s. If you like living in a storybook, be ready to pay a little more than a place in downtown, which is within walking distance.
Jesmond Dene: Head to the hilly northern tip of Escondido where the great outdoors is calling. Navigate the 10-mile bicycle loop or tee off at any of the golf courses nearby, including the next door town of Hidden Meadows. Accessibility-wise, Interstate 15 on the western border links you with the rest of Southern California, but be sure to have plenty of gas money for the 5-mile trips downtown, where the shops are.
Country Club Lane: Open spaces up north, fairways nearby, and spacious apartment villas - the name says it all.
San Pasqual: This neighborhood, laid out in a winding maze of cul-de-sacs and Mediterranean-style homes at the southern end of Escondido, overlooks the San Pasqual Valley. The suburban highlife includes regular jaunts to the Westfield Shopping Mall, time at the Kit Carson Park, and wine tastings at the popular Orfila Vineyards.
Kit Carson: Anchored by its namesake park. Rent here is more affordable than the adjacent San Pasqual community.
Vineyard, aka Harmony Grove: If you don't mind living near clusters of mobile homes, you might want to take a second look at this area, bound by I-15 to the east and 78 to the north. When all the traffic gets to you, cruise down to Elfin Recreational Reserve.
North Broadway: Just north of downtown, the rentals here cover a wider price rang. Go east along El Norte Parkway, and the area becomes more densely populated.
Eureka Ranch: This is a neighborhood in the northeastern fringe of the city, with Lake Dixon nearby for camping and fishing.
Lake Hodges: Scenes of mountains and the lake make this a prime residential enclave in the southern edge of Escondido. Spacious single-story ranch and luxurious Tuscan homes in this area.
Living in Escondido
Like most Californians, Escondido residents get around in cars. The local bus system Breeze covers the city, while the light rail line called the Sprinter runs along a 22-mile section of Highway 78, making more than a dozen short stops along the way. And 511, a 24-hour free phone and web service, is a great resource for up-to-the-minute traffic news, public transportation service schedules, carpool referrals, and advisories for bikers in the San Diego region.
One thing Escondido locals don't have is the option to get bored, not when you have 15 parks, 6 golf courses, a weekly farmers market known among the regions gourmets, thrift stores lining Escondido Boulevard, and countless restaurants and cafes to enjoy. The Center for the Arts and the neighboring San Diego Zoo Safari Park are also favorite haunts.