Nestled in Southern California, Riverside beckons with a myriad of attractions that showcase its rich history, diverse culture, and stunning natural beauty. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, a foodie, or an art lover, Riverside has something unique to offer. Let’s dive into the top things to do in Riverside, California, and discover the hidden gems that make this city a captivating destination.
1. Riverside’s Mission Inn Hotel & Spa: A Glimpse into History Begin your journey at the iconic Mission Inn Hotel & Spa. This grand structure, reminiscent of Spanish colonial architecture, is a historical treasure that has hosted celebrities, presidents, and dignitaries over the years. Explore the captivating interior, adorned with artifacts from around the world, and stroll through the picturesque courtyards that transport you to a bygone era.
2. Mount Rubidoux: Nature’s Sanctuary For nature lovers, Mount Rubidoux is a haven of tranquility. This scenic hill offers hiking trails that lead to a summit boasting panoramic views of the city and beyond. Perfect for a sunrise hike or a leisurely afternoon stroll, Mount Rubidoux provides an escape from the urban hustle, allowing you to connect with nature and recharge.
3. Explore Riverside’s Arts and Culture Scene: Riverside’s cultural landscape is a tapestry woven with vibrant arts and diverse heritage. The Riverside Art Museum showcases both contemporary and historic artworks, celebrating local and global talent. The Fox Performing Arts Center hosts an array of events, from Broadway shows to concerts, offering a taste of entertainment for every palate.
4. Fairmount Park and Lake Evans: Serenity Amidst Urbanity Fairmount Park is a verdant oasis that houses Lake Evans, providing a serene escape within the city. You can rent paddleboats or enjoy a leisurely walk around the lake’s edge. The park also features picnic areas, playgrounds, and even a small zoo, making it an ideal spot for family outings.
5. California Citrus State Historic Park: A Taste of Citrus Heritage Delve into Riverside’s citrus heritage at the California Citrus State Historic Park. This living museum takes you on a journey through the region’s citrus history, allowing you to pick your own fruit during the harvest season and learn about the vital role citrus played in shaping Riverside’s identity.
6. Culinary Adventures: A Foodie’s Paradise Riverside’s culinary scene is as diverse as its population. From farm-to-table delights to international cuisine, the city caters to all taste buds. The Riverside Food Lab, a trendy food hall, offers a fusion of culinary experiences, while the downtown area boasts a range of cafes and restaurants, perfect for indulging your palate.
7. University of California, Riverside Botanic Gardens: Blossoming Beauty Escape into a world of botanical wonder at the UC Riverside Botanic Gardens. Spanning over 40 acres, these gardens house an impressive collection of plant species from around the globe. Take a leisurely walk along meandering paths, revel in the tranquility of themed gardens, and experience the ever-changing beauty of nature.
8. March Field Air Museum: A Skyward Journey For aviation enthusiasts, the March Field Air Museum is a must-visit. Explore the captivating history of flight through an extensive collection of aircraft, artifacts, and interactive exhibits. Learn about the crucial role March Air Reserve Base played in aviation history and get up close to vintage aircraft that once graced the skies.
9. Riverside Metropolitan Museum: A Voyage through Time Dive deeper into Riverside’s history and culture at the Riverside Metropolitan Museum. This museum offers a captivating array of exhibits that chronicle the city’s past, from its Native American roots to its development into a thriving urban center. Explore artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays that bring the city’s story to life.
10. Riverside National Cemetery: A Tribute to Heroes Pay your respects and reflect at the Riverside National Cemetery, a place of honor for veterans and their families. The meticulously maintained grounds provide a solemn atmosphere for remembering those who have served their country. The Avenue of Flags, patriotic memorials, and serene landscapes make this cemetery a place of both reverence and beauty.
11. Box Springs Mountain Reserve: Hiker’s Paradise Outdoor enthusiasts will relish the opportunity to explore Box Springs Mountain Reserve. With a network of trails ranging from easy to challenging, this reserve offers stunning vistas, diverse plant life, and a chance to observe local wildlife. Hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding are all popular activities in this natural playground.
12. Riverside Dickens Festival: A Literary Journey Step into the pages of Charles Dickens’ novels at the annual Riverside Dickens Festival. This unique event transforms downtown Riverside into Victorian-era London, complete with costumed characters, live performances, and an enchanting market. Immerse yourself in the world of Dickens and experience the charm of his timeless tales.
13. The Parent Navel Orange Tree: Birthplace of a Citrus Empire Visit the Parent Navel Orange Tree, a living testament to Riverside’s citrus legacy. This historic tree is the progenitor of the navel orange industry in California and played a pivotal role in shaping the region’s economy. Stand beneath its branches and marvel at the origin of a fruit that has left an indelible mark on the city’s history.
14. Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park: Nature’s Playground Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park offers a diverse landscape that beckons adventurers and nature lovers alike. With miles of hiking trails, sprawling hills, and seasonal waterfalls, the park provides an escape into the natural beauty of Riverside. Keep an eye out for native wildlife and relish the opportunity to reconnect with the great outdoors.
15. Fox Entertainment Plaza: Retail Therapy and Entertainment Indulge in some retail therapy at the Fox Entertainment Plaza, a modern shopping and entertainment complex in downtown Riverside. Explore a variety of shops, dine at trendy restaurants, and catch a movie at the theater. This plaza offers a blend of leisure, shopping, and entertainment, making it a hub for local activity.
16. Riverside Ghost Walk: Uncover Haunting History For those intrigued by the supernatural, the Riverside Ghost Walk is a spine-tingling experience. Join a guided tour through historic areas of the city while hearing eerie tales of the paranormal and unexplained. This unique tour offers a fresh perspective on Riverside’s history and a glimpse into its mysterious side.
17. Diamond Valley Lake: Fishing and Boating Haven If you’re a fan of fishing or boating, Diamond Valley Lake is a haven of aquatic recreation. This reservoir offers ample opportunities for angling, boating, and picnicking against a backdrop of serene blue waters and rolling hills. Whether you’re an experienced angler or a novice boater, the lake provides a peaceful escape.
Conclusion: Riverside, California, is a treasure trove of experiences that cater to a diverse range of interests. From its historical landmarks to its natural havens, cultural attractions, and culinary delights, this city offers a kaleidoscope of opportunities for exploration and discovery. Whether you’re a local seeking new adventures or a traveler discovering Riverside for the first time, the city’s charm is sure to leave an indelible mark on your heart and memories that will last a lifetime.