Tucked away in the mountains 30 miles northeast of San Diego, the aptly named Escondido—which translates to "hidden" in Spanish—provides a desirable setting for group gatherings, given its pleasant weather. Meeting professionals will find that, when sourcing meeting venues in Escondido, having the option of incorporating the outdoors in the form of golf tournaments, winery tours and parks in their itineraries is a big plus.
Located 11 miles away in Carlsbad, the McClellan-Palomar Airport is the closest to Escondido, while the San Diego International Airport is a bit further at 27 miles. As for places to stay there is a mix of affordable hotels from well-known chains, such as the Best Western Escondido Hotel and the Comfort Inn Escondido, to the more independent Welk Resort Center and the Castle Creek Inn Golf Resort & Spa.
While most of the major meetings happen at the San Diego Convention Center, there are several Escondido meeting venues with ample function space. The California Center for the Arts is a grand complex complete with a 404-seat theater, 1,523-seat concert hall, art museum and conference center featuring a 9,000-square-foot ballroom. Belle Marie Winery and Chateau Dragoo cater to indoor and outdoor events with several spaces, including a 5,000-square-foot barrel room, 3,000-square-foot Chateau Cave, 3,000-square-foot, bi-level Chateau Knights Court and two 1,000-square-foot private tasting rooms. Sporting spectacular views, The Vineyard Escondido has a restaurant and banquet facility with an outdoor patio regularly used for cocktail receptions.
When it comes to group reservations, there are many dining venues in Escondido that are happy to accommodate. Tango Restaurant & Lounge specializes in modern California cuisine with signature items including Grilled Pacific Swordfish served with cilantro salsa, roasted ancho chili, green bean jicama salad and citrus beurre blanc. Brigatine Seafood Restaurant, another popular North County spot, boasts a nautical-themed dining room where guests can order Sourdough Encrusted Mahi Mahi, Calamari Dore or the catch of the day. Colleagues can enjoy a casual evening under the stars at the Stone Brewing Co.'s bistro, which features an outdoor patio and one-acre beer garden. There are 32 craft and specialty beers on tap along with scrumptious plates like the 3 BBQ Duck Taco.
Deciding what to do might be a challenge with so many choices. The original Golden Door spa was founded in Escondido. Connecting with nature can also be done at the 3,058-acre Daley Ranch, a conservation area with more than 20 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails. Animal lovers can take a walk on the wild side at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, home to enthralling exhibits, such as Lion Camp and Elephant Overlook.
Interested in planning an event closer into the city? Find more on Cvent.com about venues in San Diego and meeting planning San Diego.