Out and About in El Cajon
El Cajon is frequently overshadowed by San Diego, its larger neighbor to the west. But El Cajon, California is worth another look, as it’s a unique corner of San Diego County and has a lot to offer. While it’s true that it can get pretty toasty in the summer, El Cajon’s inland location offers warm, dry winters and frequently has clear, sunny skies when the coast has cloudy, misty, marine-layer days.
Enjoy a Free Car Show
El Cajon is home to one of the county’s largest, regularly occurring car shows - the Cajon Classic Cruise. Wednesday evenings from 5:00 - 8:00 pm, from Spring through Fall, you can drive on over to Main Street in the downtown area, centered on Magnolia Avenue, and enjoy plenty of great cars. Whether you want to show off your own ride, or just admire everyone else’s, the event is free, and no registration is required. There are local businesses open to grab a bite, and there are large parking lots nearby. You’re sure to have a great evening!
Enjoy Some Middle Eastern Food
Home to Little Baghdad, El Cajon has one of the United States’ largest populations of immigrants from the Middle East, and that means you can score some great food from the region. Serving the community for two decades, the Ali Baba Family Restaurant is a perennial favorite. Tannour bread, freshly made on site, and big portions keep people coming back. Ali Baba is just east of downtown El Cajon and has its own parking lot. Visit their website for a takeout coupon.
Check out Some Planes, Go for a Ride, or Learn to Fly
El Cajon is home to the Gillespie Field Airport and is home to the Gillespie Field Annex of the San Diego Air and Space Museum. They have classic aircraft on display at this location, where a lot of the museum’s restoration activities occur. The price is right at $5 for adults.
If you’re up for something more exciting, you can take an aerobatic flight and be an aviator for a day at Sky Combat Ace. Ride along and enjoy the views with a casual “Operation Recon” experience or fly the plane in a dogfight over San Diego County with an SCA trained fighter pilot.
If all of that aircraft viewing and flying, has you stoked for a pilot’s license, there are several flight schools located at Gillespie Field where you can earn your wings.
Learn about Native and Drought-Tolerant Plants
Just a few minutes from downtown El Cajon, you’ll find The Water Conservation Garden on the Cuyamaca College campus. The garden features many demonstration garden spaces where you can learn how to incorporate many native, drought-tolerant plants into your landscape. They have all different garden styles on display, so whether you want to plant a butterfly garden, a cactus & succulent garden, or a water-wise victory garden, you’ll find lots of inspiration.
This is just a small sample of what El Cajon, CA has to offer. For more information, check out the city’s guide to local attractions, and plan a great day in San Diego’s East County.