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El Cajon - East Count City Known As "The Box"

El Cajon has over 95,000 residents and is the seventh-largest city in San Diego County. Located in a valley surrounded by mountains, el cajon means "the big box" in Spanish. Located 16 miles from the ocean, El Cajon has summer temperatures that are warmer, and cooler winter temperatures compared to the coastal cities of the county. El Cajon is bordered by San Diego and La Mesa on the west, Spring Valley on the south and Santee on the north.

El Cajon downtown
Downtown El Cajon has experienced a renaissance in recent years.

Living here gives residents easy access to the coast and the mountains. Lower home prices translate into a lower cost of living. For visitors, a vibrant downtown local restaurants make El Cajon a cool place for a day trip.


Historically, the area was once part of the Mexican land grant made in 1845 to María Antonia Estudillo. A portion of the western boundary of the city follows the eastern boundary of a similar land grant, made to the Mission San Diego de Alcala. El Cajon was incorporated as a city in 1912.

Real Estate Market

Compared to the coastal cities, the home prices in here tend to be a little lower. El Cajon is comprised of three zip codes. In May, 2015, the median price for a single-family home in 92019 was $449,500. In the 92020 zip code, the median price was $540,000. In the 92021 zip code the median price was $435,000. At the higher end, there are homes listed for over $2 million. On the low side, there are condos listed in the mid-$100,000s.

houses in El Cajon
El Cajon is the seventh-largest city in San Diego County.

Downtown District

El Cajon's downtown area has seen a cultural renaissance in the past decade. There is an emergence of an active art, design and heritage district. Everywhere you look there are new unique businesses opening doors, and arts events are a customary part of life. The East County Performing Arts Center (210 E. Main St.) seats over 1,000 for live performances ranging from opera to ballet, pop music headliners to classic crooners. These new cultural assets are becoming more important to the local economy.

Duck pond in El Cajon
Ducks enjoy the pond at the El Cajon Performing Arts Center.

Restaurants and Cafes

For dining, there are plenty of options in El Cajon. Over 270 restaurants are listed on for the city. Like most of the county there are great Mexican restaurants including: On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina (103 Fletcher Pkwy.), Estrada's (569 N. 2nd St.), Colima's (339 W. Main St.) and Tacos El Gordo (1275 Broadway. Many other cultures and styles are represented here for dining: Arrivederci Ristorante (2963 Jamacha Rd.), Ali Baba (421 E. Main St.), Chen's Golden Palace (530 N. 2nd St.), Hooley's Irish Pub (2955 Jamacha Rd.) and Wrangler Family Barbeque (901 El Cajon Blvd.) For live music there is the Downtown Café Bar & Grill (182 Main St.), The Blarney Stone Pub (388 N. Second) or Cat Daddy's (518 E. Main St.).

Taylor Guitar tech in El Cajon factory
Putting the final touches on a guitar at the Taylor Guitars factory in El Cajon.

Home of Tayler Guitars

Taylor Guitars manufacturing is located here employing over 300 people, making it one of El Cajon's largest employers. Taylor Guitars is a leading maker of acoustic guitars for the mid-price and high-end market. The company occupies a 143,000-square-foot complex that produces over 40,000 instruments a year. The company's guitars, prized for their tone and ease of play, are owned by many celebrated musicians, including Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, and Bonnie Raitt. The privately-held firm is run by co-founders Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug. A free, guided tour of the Taylor factory is given every Monday through Friday at 1 p.m. To take the tour, no appointment is necessary. Simply check-in at the receptionist desk in the lobby of their main building (1980 Gillespie Way) at least ten minutes before 1 p.m. The factory tour takes you through the steps of guitar construction. From wood selection to final assembly, you will experience each process as a guitar evolves from raw wood into a finished instrument. The tour lasts approximately one hour and 15 minutes and is a good reason to visit El Cajon.

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map link - El Cajon, CA


Albert Van Zanten Park
1495 Greenfield Dr.

Bill Beck Park
Pierce & Wagner

Karl Tuttle Park
379 Chase Ave.




San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Dr.

Grossmont College

8800 Grossment College Dr.

Cuyamaca College
900 Rancho San Diego Pkwy.


El Cajon Valley High School
1035 East Madison Ave.

Granite Hills High School
1719 East Madison Ave.

Grossmont High School
1100 Murray Dr.

Valhalla High School
1725 Hillsdale Rd.


Cajon Valley Middle School
550 E. Park Ave.

Emerald STEM Magnet Middle School
1221 S. Emerald Ave.

Greenfield Middle School
1495 Greenfield Dr.

Hillsdale Middle School
1301 Brabham St.

Los Coches Middle School
9669 Dunbar Ln.


Anza Elementary
1005 South Anza St.

Avocado Elementary
3845 Avocado School Rd.

Blossom Valley Elementary
9863 Oakmont Terrace

Bostonia Elementary
1390 E. Broadway

Chase Elementary
195 E. Chase Ave.

Crest Elementary
2000 Suncrest Blvd.

Flying Hills Elementary
1251 Finch St.

Fuerte Elementary
11625 Fuerte Dr.

Jamacha Elementary
2962 Jamul Dr.

Johnson Elementary
500 W.Madison



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