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If youíre looking for a new San Diego home in a moderately priced, family-friendly area, with lots of down-home downtown charm, plus an active arts district, located only a few trolley stops from downtown, look to El Cajon.
El Cajon lies in a valley nestled just below the San Diego foothills, just 15 minutes from downtown San Diego. Dubbed "the Box" in Spanish due to its surrounding mountain ranges, El Cajon once served as pasturelands for the cattle from the San Diego Mission.
Today, El Cajonís 100,000 population enjoys close proximity to downtown, moderate home prices and views of surrounding rolling hills. It is a vibrant community, home to a variety of art galleries, photography studios, and the East County Performing Arts Center.
El Cajonís diverse business community includes a downtown that bills itself as "East County's Cultural Zone", Parkway Plaza, a leading shopping area with over 200 stores and restaurants as well as a number of light manufacturing companies. The area is also home to the El Cajon Speedway and two community colleges.
Downtown has been certified by both the California Main Street and the National Main Street programs. Anchored by the busy East County Performing Arts Center, downtown now features 13 restaurants, specialty shops, and hosts the highly successful El Cajon Classic Cruise--the largest weekly car show in Southern California. Weekly Concerts on the Green also attract diners and shoppers.
Rea Avenue is the area's designated art district and offers a concentration of galleries, museums and art attractions including the Olaf Wieghorst Museum and Art Center (Wieghorst is one of Americaís foremost Western painters). Westfield Shoppingtown Parkway is a large regional mall, located near downtown, containing 200 stores and a cinema. Downtown is reachable via I-8, Highway 94 or the San Diego trolley.
El Cajon real estate is comprised of mostly middle class neighborhoods surrounded by gently rolling hills. El Cajon homes are affordable by southern California standards: median home prices are currently $500,000, with condos beginning in the low- to mid- $100,000s and single family homes from the mid-$300,000s, ranging up to $1.6 million.
El Cajon boasts nine parks, four swimming pools, recreation centers and four public golf courses. Activities include a summer Farmers Market, an annual bike race, and the Aerospace museum. The Mother Goose Parade, held annually for more than 50 years on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, has grown into the largest parade in San Diego County and one of the biggest parades in the country.