What outsiders really think about Escondido

Published Wednesday, July 27th, 2011 by Dave Woods

One of the most frustrating things I encounter is when outsiders to Escondido — people who live in other parts of San Diego and have probably never even set foot in our community — choose to make a snarky comment about Escondido, either online or in the real world.

Some of these people are hopeless cynics, and there's no changing their behavior. But most are very reasonable folks, and they are simply repeating what they've "heard" about Escondido.

Hmmm... Have you ever stopped to wonder where they might have heard such things about our community? The media contributes heavily by sensationalizing certain topics, that's for sure. But I think there's a bigger and more unfortunate cause for their misconceptions... I believe their negative thoughts about Escondido come primarily as a result of our own negativity in some online forums, our own lack of self-appreciation, and our "yeah, Escondido is just OK" attitudes.

So what happens when these more reasonable outsiders actually come to Escondido and discover it? The answer may shock you. Here are a few examples:

Every single time I’ve gotten the chance to share Escondido with a visitor who has never seen it before, their review is glowing. On multiple occasions, I’ve heard these visitors describe the city as "much nicer than I expected."

In fact, a couple years ago on the Fourth of July, walking down Maple Street through downtown towards Grape Day Park, my parents and I passed by a perfect stranger who was commenting to her friends that "this is so nice around here, I didn't know there was anything like this in Escondido."

One of my favorite Escondido compliments came at our first-ever Think Grand Event back in March. At that event, I had an opportunity to talk to a Coronado resident who actually told me that he didn't really care for Coronado and would, in many ways, prefer to live in Escondido. No, I'm not kidding. The reasons he cited generally had to do with those same "heart and soul" reasons I noted in Pep Talk article #2.

But perhaps the highest praise for Escondido came from a Point Loma resident and former co-worker of mine who saw Escondido for the first time by attending a conference at the Center for the Arts. Upon seeing Downtown Escondido, she compared it to the amazing neighborhoods in Uptown San Diego, places like Bankers Hill, Hillcrest, and North Park. She went even further by describing Grape Day Park and the Center for the Arts as a "miniature Balboa Park." Suffice it to say, she was thoroughly impressed.

Amazing compliments, to say the least. If outsiders can see how great our community is once they truly discover Escondido, how come we often can’t see it ourselves?

I think this proves once again that the real problem lies not with Escondido itself, but with our hearts and minds.

In the next and final Pep Talk article, it's time for a game plan — a step-by-step guide for ending the Inferiority Complex once and for all...

Join the discussion! 1 comment so far...

  1. Even though I wrote the article, I'll add another "outsider's" perspective — my own.

    I feel fortunate to have lived outside Escondido for a period of about five years. First, I lived in the San Luis Obispo area for college, and I then lived near La Jolla after college. Both regions opened my eyes to a diversity of neighborhoods, people, businesses, etc. The experience gave me a point of context to compare Escondido against, and it gave me a newfound appreciation for Escondido.

    We really do have a lot to be proud of here folks, we just need to get out and appreciate it. For example, our downtown might not have the vibrancy and "hours of operation" of a San Luis Obispo or San Diego's Little Italy (not yet, anyway), but it fundamentally does rival and even exceed these towns / neighborhoods in potential. The foundation and history are both here in Escondido, we just need to celebrate it and build upon it.

    Comment by Dave Woods on August 2, 2011 at 9:20 PM

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