Ramona's notoriety comes from being a rural, remote town where its agricultural history remains very much alive. Located just over 35 miles from the city of San Diego, Ramona lies east of Poway and west of Julian, making it the gateway to both northern and eastern San Diego county. People who enjoy a slower pace of life and a good view of the stars at night tend to gravitate toward Ramona.
Restaurants & Nightlife
Although Ramona has a rural reputation, the downtown area surrounding Main Street has plenty of options when it comes to getting a bite to eat in town. Most eateries conduct business on Main Street, making them centrally located and convenient for all residents.
If you want Thai food in the heart of rancher country, head down to Thai Time on Main Street near the intersection with South Kalbaugh Street. Thai Time serves up traditional Thai favorites such as pad thai, featuring rice noodles stir fried with bean sprouts, green onion, egg and ground peanuts. Take advantage of the lunch specials, and enjoy one of the signature desserts while you're there, such as coconut ice cream.
Burger lovers will want to check out Up The Hill Grill on the corner of Main Street and 13th Street. Featuring burger shop fare with a unique twist, Up The Hill Grill dishes out delectable and savory treats for a price that can't be beat. Sample the fried avocado for a decadent appetizer that will put an end to any hunger pangs you may have, or the ever-popular bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers. Up The Hill Grill has something for everyone. You can dine indoors or take a seat at one of the outdoor patio tables for a dining experience tailored to your preferences.
For something aside from the usual Starbuck's, head to Packards Coffee Shop for a nosh and an eye-opening beverage. Situated on Main Street between Sixth Street and Seventh Street, Packards features craft coffee and crepes that leave locals lusting for more. Visit this mom-and-pop coffee shop and have a bagel and a cappuccino to get your morning off to a great start.
If you like the nightlife, you won't be disappointed in what Ramona has to offer. Although the area does not have night clubs galore with lines wrapping around buildings, it does have a few great spots to grab a drink and watch a show.
Molly Molone's Sports Bar on Main Street near 13th Street has everything you could want in a bar: affordable drinks, friendly service, big screen TVs showing the sport of the moment, billiards and even live music acts. Come in for Margarita Monday and enjoy steep discounts on margaritas made with a generous pour all day and night.
When it comes to live music in town, Ramona Mainstage has it. A remodeled theater building-turned-music-venue, Ramona Mainstage features live shows from big names and local bands alike. Enjoy a pitcher of craft beer on the patio and head inside to hear your favorite music act playing in a spacious concert space big enough to house hundreds.
History & Culture
Ramona had its beginnings as an expansive single farm, with the first residence — now serving as the town's museum — being built in the late 19th century. Since then, Ramona has evolved into a little city that keeps tight ties with its agricultural heritage.
The Guy B. Woodward Museum houses the history of the area and offers tours each weekend afternoon, or during weekdays by appointment. Located in the first home built in Ramona, this museum offers a fun experience to any history buff. Parking and admission both come at a small fee upon entering the museum grounds, but the unique experience makes it well worth the minor cost.
Each year, Ramona hosts a horseshoe tournament as part of its annual Ramona Country Fair. If you have a knack for playing horseshoes, fill out an application to become a part of the fun at the fair.
Ramona's location and layout do not make for easy public transit or pedestrian commuting. A bus system does service the area and carries passengers from downtown Ramona to nearby Escondido, but it does not have a regular timetable and provides only on-demand service, which may not be reliable for commuters who need a lift after hours.
Most residents in Ramona opt to drive, as Uber does not offer service to the area and taxi cab companies can be hard to come by. Although the downtown area can be walkable, most people reside further back from the main drag. Main Street in Ramona becomes Highway 67, making it very accessible for vehicle traffic trying to get south to San Diego.
Cost of living in Ramona compares favorably with that of the city of San Diego, with the average rental costing around $1,100 per month — around $250 less than San Diego's average rental. The cost of gas does come in around 11 percent higher than the national average, but remains on par with San Diego's average price per gallon. A glass of beer in a bar here will run about $3.50.
Most locals head to a major chain store in town to take care of their shopping needs for gifts, clothing and home goods, but a few niche stores do exist to cater to people with specific needs. Located on Main Street near the Seventh Street intersection, Squash Blossom Trading Company offers unique items for antique enthusiasts in a well-organized store, making it the favorite antique shop among locals.
Kirk's Bike Shop on Main Street has been selling and servicing bicycles since 1977. The shop has stayed in business because of the exemplary customer service of the staff there, including owner Kirk, who will gladly show you the art of riding a bicycle built for two before selling you one. If you're looking to branch out from your cycling routine and try a tandem bike, Kirk's has what you need to get going with a friend.
Bookstores have become a rarity, particularly those that are small businesses rather than chains. However, Ramona has one: Unicorn Books and Gifts. Featuring a one-of-a-kind assortment of new and used books as well as novelties and gifts, Unicorn makes local bookworms smile. You can even take classes in Reiki and tarot card reading, or attend one of the book signings when an author comes through town. Unicorn Books and Gifts opens its doors for business seven days a week, so come on down when you have free time and browse the stacks for yourself.
If you love fresh produce and you live in Ramona, you will be one happy customer at San Diego Organic Farms on Hanson Lane. Open to the public each Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, San Diego Organic Farms can be a wonderful place to find organic fruits and veggies for a bargain. San Diego Organic Farms also operates a CSA program, where you can sign up to receive a huge box of organic produce each month for a price that won't gouge a hole in your wallet. Come on down and see why locals love San Diego Organic Farms.
People who love nature will have a great time exploring Dos Picos County Park, which features full-service camping facilities for tent and RV camping including restrooms with showers, extensive hiking trails for fitness enthusiasts and picnic areas. Day-use parking comes at a small fee, or you can get a steep discount on a family parking pass for annual use.
If you prefer a more cozy park experience, head over to Collier Park on E Street. A small neighborhood park, Collier Park has a grassy area and two shaded playgrounds as well as a tennis court, outdoor grills and picnic tables so you can bring the family down for a barbecue and a day of leisure. It also has a garden dedicated to native flora, so you can get in a bit of education during your day of play. The park opens at 8:00 a.m. each day and closes at sunset, and parking will cost you nothing.