15 Fun & Best Things to Do in Riverside, California

15 Fun & Best Things to Do in Riverside, California

Riverside, California, was established in 1870 and named for its proximity to the San Ana River. Riverside County is east of Los Angeles County and Orange County. It typically doesn’t get the identical press as these different well-known Southern California areas.

However, the City of Riverside and its surrounding county boast greater than 100 historic websites, parks, and museums. You’ll additionally discover enjoyable water and amusement parks, distinctive theaters, scrumptious eating places, and historic motels.

Although Orange County would possibly sound just like the place the place the Southern California citrus business acquired its begin, that title truly belongs to Riverside, which constructed a complete metropolis from the financial prosperity of the citrus business.

If you wish to know what’s Riverside, California, recognized for, all you must do is consider an orange!

The County of Riverside is the fourth-largest county within the state. Visiting the City of Riverside means entry to countless acres of nature areas, parks, mountaineering alternatives, and all kinds of out of doors venues. You’ll additionally discover some venues with unimaginable structure.

Visit the Fox Performing Arts Center, a Spanish Colonial Revival model constructing, or the well-known Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, the most important Mission Revival constructing within the nation. Whether inside a lovely constructing or outdoors below the fantastic California solar, Riverside provides a lifetime’s price of adventures.


  • Most important landmark – California Citrus State Park
  • Best park – Whitewater Preserve
  • Best free exercise – Lake Hemet
  • Best exercise for youths – The Cove Waterpark
  • Best exercise for adults – UCR Botanic Gardens
  • Best meals – Anchos Southwest Grill & Bar
  • Best nightlife – Downtown Experiment
  • Best all-around lodgingMission Inn

15 Best & Fun Things to do in Riverside, California

1. Visit the Mission Inn Museum

Address: 3696 Main St, Riverside, CA 92501

Is Riverside, California, price visiting? Well, sure, it’s – even when the one place you go is the Mission Inn.

The Mission Inn Museum is an unimaginable property and nationwide historic landmark that provides guided interpretive excursions, academic packages, and free museum displays.

Expect to spend about two to a few hours on the museum to see every part. If you’re good in your ft, take into account this 75-minute walking tour as probably the greatest issues to do in Riverside, California.

Even the locals will comment that they realized one thing they didn’t know after they take a tour of the inn and museum.

Riverside is an space wealthy with historical past, however it’s typically forgotten within the hustle and bustle of Southern California. Everything within the area appears to maneuver at a ridiculous tempo, and also you’ll benefit from the momentary lull of strolling all through the Mission Inn Museum.

The docents have a wonderful repute as educated, beneficiant, and enthusiastic guides, so if you happen to’re serious about getting essentially the most out of your go to, take into account a guided tour.

The strolling tour is definitely understood by younger guests, too, so when you’ve got youngsters within the six to seven-year-old vary, undoubtedly ebook a tour.

If you wish to keep in essentially the most stunning lodge in Riverside, you can too keep on the Mission Inn Hotel. You’ll love the model and class of the historic lodge and the luxurious really feel of the rooms, in addition to the high-quality eating choices!

For a aspect quest, take a Riverside Scavenger Hunt.

See Related: Most Famous Landmarks in California to Visit

2. Visit Mount Rubidoux Park

Address: 4706 Mount Rubidoux Dr, Riverside, CA 92501

Mount Rubidoux is a mountain that rises to the west of downtown Riverside. The space exists not solely as a metropolis park but additionally as a landmark for the area. During the Fourth of July celebrations, fireworks are launched from a hillside at Mount Rubidoux Park.

Visitors searching for issues to do in Riverside, California, will see a number of markers and small memorials all through the park, with essentially the most outstanding a cross devoted to the priest who introduced Catholicism to California, Father Junipero Serra.

In retaining with its Catholic roots, the neighborhood holds a (now non-denominational) Easter dawn service annually and has for greater than a century.

The metropolis maintains the park, however the Friends of Mount Rubidoux, a non-profit group of citizen volunteers, additionally works to protect and beautify the realm.

The park covers a complete of 161 acres and has round 3.5 miles of paved roads operating by means of it. Hiking Mt. Rubidoux takes about 45 to 60 minutes. Running the mountain takes about 20 to half-hour.

To go to the park, head to Ryan Bonaminio Park, which is simply subsequent door to Mount Rubidoux Park. The park closes at sundown, and the gate to the paths is locked, so make sure you arrive with sufficient time on your actions.

3. Visit the March Field Air Museum

Address: 22550 Van Buren Boulevard, Riverside, CA 92518

The March Field Air Museum is close to the equally named March Air Reserve Base and opened in 1979. If you might have anybody touring in your party who loves plane or flight, this museum is certainly price a visit.

Not solely is that this high California museum full of unimaginable, uncommon plane, however the guides and staff on the museum are fairly educated in regards to the planes and their historical past, which makes it probably the greatest Riverside, California, tourist attractions.

The museum sits proper subsequent to the airstrip, so generally, you’ll get to see F-35 Lightning II fighter jets flying within the neighborhood!

The museum isn’t enormous, so it doesn’t take notably lengthy to tour, however it does have a wholesome quantity of knowledge inside it, so it’s a wonderful historical past lesson for army buffs and anybody who desires to know extra in regards to the historical past of plane within the United States.

More than 80 plane are on show outdoors the museum and embody an Aero Commander U-9A, a Boeing B-29A Superfortress, and a Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird.

Inside the museum, guests can see a reproduction of the Wright Flyer and a bit from a Boeing B-47 cockpit, which was a part of the set for the 1955 Jimmy Stewart Film “Strategic Air Command.”

The museum generally provides free admission to veterans, so try the museum’s schedule if you happen to’re a veteran otherwise you’re touring with a veteran who would possibly take pleasure in visiting the museum.

Looking for a aspect journey?

Book a San Francisco Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour.

See Related: Best Things to Do in Santa Rosa, California

4. Take a Walk Around Lake Hemet

Address: Mountain Center, Riverside County, California

Lake Hemet sits throughout the San Jacinto Mountains and is locally of Idyllwild.

The lake is in style with locals for its tenting and fishing alternatives, as for the swimming and boating in the summertime. Riverside and the encircling area get fairly scorching in the summertime, so cooling off within the water is a deal with.

An area firm known as White Duck Outdoors lately constructed some “glamping” tents on the lake, so now it’s attainable to camp out at Lake Hemet with only a few additional luxuries you in all probability wouldn’t discover in a daily tent.

Just about all you want is a barbecue and your cooler to benefit from your glamping journey at Lake Hemet.

Tents function two queen-size beds, blankets for all, chairs, lanterns, a picnic desk, and a private fireplace pit. Of course, guests are additionally welcome to camp at Lake Hemet in much less luxurious lodging with their very own primary tent and provides.

Supplies are straightforward to get on the close by Lake Hemet Market, which sits on the entrance to the tenting space.

If you’re assured on the water and also you’re attempting to determine what to do in Riverside, California, take into account renting a pontoon boat, kayak, or fishing boat. You can hire these boats in half or full-day increments, and you’ll even convey your canine on the leases, too.

5. Explore the Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center

Address: 7621 Granite Hill Dr, Riverside, CA 92509

If you’re visiting Riverside with youngsters, you’ll wish to take a couple of hours or a day to go to the Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center. The heart provides studying expeditions for youths and households, and you can too have a good time a birthday on the heart.

The Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center is a beloved location by locals for its big metal dinosaur statues and the dwell animals that dwell on the heart, and there’s at all times a necessity for volunteers to assist on the park. If you’re within the space for an prolonged vacation, you would possibly take into account volunteering on the heart.

One of the best actions for young children is the rock accumulating exercise within the dinosaur space. Children will obtain invaluable classes on rock accumulating, minerals, and fossils as they be taught enjoyable info about geology.

Older youngsters can take part within the California rockhound journey on the park with discussions on magma, wind erosion, and geologic stress.

The discovery heart isn’t only for very younger youngsters, both.

If you’re trying to find an out of doors exercise that you are able to do with youngsters, the invention heart is the proper place to mix enjoyable and studying. Kids gained’t even notice they’re getting an schooling in regards to the native geology and town’s historical past

See Related: Best Things to Do in California

6. See the Beauty of the University of California Riverside Botanic Gardens

University of California Riverside Botanic Gardens

Address: 1 Botanic Gardens Dr, Riverside, CA 92507

The UC Riverside Botanic Gardens sit on the east side of the University of California, Riverside campus and are the perfect place to get away from the traffic and hustle of Southern California. Riverside has some peaceable and tranquil areas, and the college’s botanic gardens are among the greatest.

The UC Riverside Botanic Gardens cowl 40 acres of rolling hills, and guests can wander alongside 4 miles of trails or just loosen up on one of many benches located close to the gorgeous vegetation.

The college calls its gardens a “dwelling plant museum,” which boasts greater than 3,500 species of vegetation and 1000’s of specimens from locales with Mediterranean climates, in addition to California.

The UCR Botanic Gardens are comprised of a number of themed gardens just like the Butterfly Garden with its many flowering shrubs, the South African Garden with native African bulbs and wildflowers, and the Herb Garden with its wonderful number of fragrant, medicinal, and culinary vegetation.

Visitors also can wander by means of the Iris Garden with its 150 various kinds of bearded irises and Lilac Lane, which is throughout the Chancellor’s Canyon and options blooms within the winter.

During the summer time, the gardens open their doorways at 8:00 am and shut at 2:00 pm, however be sure to succeed in the gardens by 1:00 pm earlier than they shut the doorways to new guests.

7. Get Wet at The Cove Waterpark

Address: 4310 Camino Real, Riverside, CA 92509

One of the perfect adventures in Riverside for the entire household is The Cove Waterpark, which options all kinds of enjoyable water options, swimming pools, and slides.

The waterpark is open all through the summer time and has sections for kids to adults. The youngest youngsters will benefit from the Lil’ Mates’ Lagoon, which is a big aquatic play construction with a shallow pool, small waterslides, and spray options.

Slightly older youngsters (and adults too) may have enjoyable on the Crow’s Nest Slides, which function 180 ft of slippery slides that vacant out right into a lagoon.

The Ne’er Endin’ River is one other enjoyable set up, which permits youngsters to drift on a lazy river round Shipwreck Island and by the opposite swimming pools across the park.

Overall, the park is greatest for fogeys and their young children. Anyone 10 years previous and below will in all probability take pleasure in all of the enjoyable and goofy pirate-themed water options on the park. Teenagers and adventurous adults would possibly want slightly extra pleasure than the park can present.

The park tends to get crowded proper when it opens, so that you would possibly wish to wait a couple of hours earlier than heading out. The strains begin to get shorter later within the day, which is nice once you’re visiting with small youngsters who don’t like ready.

Either means, if you happen to’re traveling with kids, don’t miss out on this family-friendly amusement park!

For extra water-related actions in California, ebook a Monterey Bay Whale Watching Tour.

See Related: Free California Travel Guide: Printable Guide to Travel

8. Wander Through California Citrus State Historic Park

California Citrus State Historic Park Scenery
picture by Ian D. Keating is licensed below CC BY 2.0

Address: 9400 Dufferin Ave, Riverside, CA 92503

Although you would possibly assume Orange County has all of the oranges in Southern California, it’s truly Riverside that lays declare to the most important citrus business within the state.

However, Riverside has skilled immense change and progress over the previous half-century, which has led to a discount of the citrus bushes and groves that helped construct Riverside so many many years in the past.

The California Citrus State Historic Park is a crucial reminder of Riverside’s roots, and its 300 acres assist inform the story of the citrus business and the way it influenced the event of the area. You’ll wish to put aside at the least a couple of hours to discover this park and outside museum.

Entrance to this open-air museum and customer heart is free, and parking is an reasonably priced $5 per automotive. You can be a part of a guided tour of the park, the place you’ll be taught in regards to the historical past of the citrus business and study horticulture and citrus groves.

If you have already got an curiosity in horticulture and vegetation, you gained’t wish to miss visiting the California Citrus State Historic Park as a result of it options a number of uncommon types of bushes, like finger limes. If you’re serious about touring the park, purchase an advance ticket earlier than you arrive so that you assure your self a spot.

9. Explore the Phenix Technology, Inc. Firefighter History Museum

Address: 3453 Durahart St, Riverside, CA 92507

Do you might have a firefighter within the household?

Are you curious about seeing the tools and historical past of firefighting? You would possibly put the Firefighter History Museum in your listing, which is housed throughout the manufacturing headquarters of Phenix Technology.

The museum is dwelling to an enormous everlasting assortment of firefighting memorabilia.

When you go to the museum, be sure to have a dialog with the proprietor or one of many staff, who’re extremely educated about nearly every bit of memorabilia within the museum, from the helmets to the pictures.

The museum isn’t giant, however it’s a wonderful place to be taught one thing distinctive.

Even although the museum is housed within the manufacturing headquarters of a personal firm, it’s by no means an commercial for Phenix. Rather, the museum is a labor of affection by the museum’s staff, who clearly take pleasure in sharing details about the historical past of firefighting.

Some of essentially the most attention-grabbing items of memorabilia within the museum are the 18th Century helmets utilized by European firefighters.

Be positive to look carefully in any respect the cabinets and shows, too. The museum is full of an unimaginable quantity of historical past, in addition to invaluable placards and details about all of the items of previous firefighting tools.

Want to entry extra museums in California?

Get a GoCity ALL-Inclusive Pass.

See Related: Best & Fun Things to Do in San Diego, California

10. Pay Respects on the Riverside National Cemetery

Address: 22495 Van Buren Boulevard, Riverside, CA 92518

Riverside National Cemetery is a somber and essential technique to keep in mind those that have served their nation. The cemetery covers 1,250 acres and has greater than 1 / 4 of 1,000,000 graves. The cemetery was established within the mid-Nineteen Seventies and first opened for burials on Veteran’s Day, 1978.

The first individual buried on the cemetery was Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sergeant Ysmael Villegas, a US Army soldier killed in motion over the past months of World War II. Since that point, the cemetery has served as a spot of peace for guests honoring their family or searching for a quiet place for reflection.

In addition to the graves, the cemetery has a handful of memorials, together with the Prisoner of War & Missing in Action Memorial and the Medal of Honor Memorial.

The grounds on the Riverside National Cemetery are fantastically stored, and it’s a invaluable and rewarding place to go to whether or not you understand somebody who was laid to relaxation on the cemetery otherwise you’re simply searching for to honor the fallen.

If you go to Riverside in the summertime, preserve a watch out for the concert events given on the property. Bands play songs that honor every department of the army. The occasions additionally provide wonderful help to guests with disabilities. Admission to the cemetery is free, and it’s probably the greatest free issues to do in Riverside.

11. Visit the Van Buren Drive-In Theatre

Address: 3035 Van Buren Boulevard, Riverside, CA 92503

When you’ve had your fill of mountaineering, boating, and outside adventures, take into account a soothing night in your automotive on the Van Buren Drive-In Theatre.

The theater routinely welcomes new blockbusters to its display screen, which suggests probably the greatest occasions to go to is in the summertime when manufacturing firms launch all of the big-budget movies.

Adults are $10, youngsters are one greenback, and admission charges pay for 2 motion pictures which suggests it’s one of the cheap issues to do in Riverside, California, with youngsters.

The audio for the films is broadcast on an FM radio, which suggests you’ll tune your automotive to the suitable station to listen to the audio from the movie. It helps to have a automotive with sound system.

If your automotive doesn’t have an FM receiver, you can too convey a battery-operated radio to listen to the film. It may not sound as spectacular, however you’ll nonetheless benefit from the expertise. The theater has a snack bar with all of the anticipated film treats like popcorn, sweet, and nachos.

One of the distinctive options of the theater is that they permit folks to convey their very own snacks, that are normally off-limits in terms of conventional theaters. The theater is open, rain or shine, and gained’t normally shut until there’s a severe downpour!

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Oakhurst

12. Stroll Through Fairmount Park

Address: 2601 Fairmount Blvd, Riverside, CA 92501

Much like Riverside National Cemetery, Fairmount Park and its beautiful rose backyard is one other one of many area’s most great locations to go to in Riverside, California, once you need some peace and quiet.

The rose backyard is a well-liked venue for weddings and is in a handy location close to the 91 and 60 freeways. Although you’ll be able to stroll by means of the park’s venues in only a few hours, it’s straightforward to spend a complete afternoon exploring the grounds.

You’ll discover a playground for the youngsters, tennis courts, benches, shelters for hanging out, and a pond with geese and small wildlife.

The park is subsequent door to a rustic membership and golf course and is kind of pastoral and open. On a scorching day, you’ll discover shade bushes which are excellent for taking a while to relaxation throughout a day spent sightseeing.

You’ll discover trails that wind their means all through the park, in addition to splash pads, garden bowling, basketball courts, and numerous athletic fields.

The Universal Playground at Fairmount Park is a must-see when you’ve got youngsters and it’s a scorching day. The splash pad is a delight in the summertime, and also you’ll additionally discover sensory options for visually impaired guests.

13. Visit the Fox Performing Arts Center

Address: 3801 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, CA 92501

Like the Mission Inn, the Fox Performing Arts Center is a small theater that’s price visiting due to its stunning structure and preservation.

The theater has an old-school attraction to it, and nearly each seat in the home has a fantastic view. Don’t pay for the VIP tickets until you actually wish to; you’ll have a fantastic view even within the “low-cost” seats.

The theater first opened in 1929 and was ultimately designated a historic landmark by the City of Riverside. The theater was closed for a few years after it shut its doorways within the late Nineteen Nineties however would reopen within the 2010s to welcome new music, efficiency, and comedy acts.

If you’re not serious about seeing a present, driving by the theater for a take a look at the façade is a worthwhile funding of time.

The theater is photogenic, and it’s a lovely illustration of Spanish Colonial Revival Architecture. If you determine to see a present on the theater, you’ll discover that the venue books all kinds of performances.

Popular genres embody Latin music, stand-up comedy, rock performances, and dance music performances. Technically, you should purchase your tickets on the door, however you would possibly discover it extra handy to purchase tickets on-line earlier than you arrive. You by no means know when the theater will promote out earlier than opening evening.

See Related: Best Road Trips in the USA

14. Hike Through Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park

Address: 400 Central Ave, Riverside, CA 92507

Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park is a big and expansive space with ample alternatives for path driving, so if you happen to’re eager on mountain biking, you’ll wish to put Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park in your listing.

However, you don’t completely want a bicycle to benefit from the park. You’ll discover the hills a wonderful place for getting a severe exercise on foot, too.

Staff from the property’s Nature Center lead-free hikes each first Saturday of the month, so present up at 9:00 am if you happen to’d like to hitch.

The Ameal Moore Nature Center provides free family-friendly occasions on each second Saturday of the month, which normally options arts & crafts and hikes. Park employees holds its Citizen Science Initiatives each third Saturday of the month, which provides wonderful studying experiences for youths.

The space across the park can get fairly scorching, so be sure to convey some water, sunglasses, sunscreen, and different protecting gear as wanted.

The park could be very a lot linked to the wilderness, so chances are you’ll encounter coyotes and rattlesnakes, too. Always pay attention to your environment when visiting this wild park!

15. Explore the Whitewater Preserve

Address: 9160 Whitewater Canyon Rd, Whitewater, CA 92282

Looking for day journeys from Riverside?

Whitewater Preserve covers a tremendous 2,851 acres and is nestled throughout the San Gorgonio Wilderness. The street to the protect is lengthy and winding, however the vacation spot is nicely well worth the time it takes to succeed in the park.

The park is privately owned and funded, however the surrounding wilderness is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

Within the protect, the Whitewater River flows year-round, and the realm is dwelling to endangered species and migrating birds. Birdwatching is in style with guests, and alternatives exist for wildlife and wildflower viewing.

The space additionally provides alternatives for mountaineering, in addition to devoted areas for picnicking. Dogs are welcome on the Whitewater Preserve however should stay on a leash.

Admission is free to the protect, and parking is free, too. The park is definitely nearer to Palm Springs than it’s to the City of Riverside, so some vacationers will pair their go to to Whitewater Preserve with a drive or ride through Palm Springs, too.

There are 5 trails to take pleasure in within the park, and the three.5-mile loop path is definitely conquered by older youngsters and canine. Just be sure to look fastidiously whereas mountaineering, as the paths aren’t at all times straightforward to discern throughout the bush.

See Related: Best Things to Do in Malibu, California

Getting round Riverside, California

The solely technique to conveniently travel around Riverside, California, is by automotive. Like most of Southern California, the general public transportation system in Riverside isn’t notably handy for vacationers.

Getting round Riverside is feasible with a bicycle or on the bus, however it’s merely simpler to find a rental car when touring from outdoors the area.

Some neighborhoods and Downtown Riverside are walkable, technically, however vacationers will profit from gaining access to a automotive when touring any additional than a fast stroll from the lodge to a close-by restaurant.

Seeing all Riverside has to supply means getting round by automotive. If you don’t have a automotive, at the least you’ll be able to take part in a bar crawl on foot.

For vacationers notably set on utilizing different technique of transportation, rideshare firms like Lyft and Uber function regionally, and town can be dwelling to taxicab firms.

Amtrak additionally operates prepare routes that run by means of Riverside, and the Metrolink system of trains can be obtainable for vacationers.


What are some enjoyable issues to do in Riverside, California?

Bring your mountaineering sneakers, mountain bikes, or operating apparel once you go to Riverside. Many of the perfect sights are the parks and nature areas like Mount Rubidoux Park and the Whitewater Preserve.

A stroll round Downtown Riverside is one other technique to benefit from the outside if you happen to’re not too eager on the wilderness.

What are the perfect vacationer sights in Riverside, California?

The Mission Inn Museum and the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa stand out as Riverside’s most stunning sights. Filled with native historical past and class, take the chance to go to and keep at this outstanding property.

You can launch a enjoyable and entertaining Riverside trip once you keep on the Mission Inn.

What are some issues to do in Riverside, California, when it’s raining?

Many of Riverside’s greatest actions are outside as a result of Southern California doesn’t get a variety of rain. However, there are a couple of showers now and again, notably within the late winter and early spring.

The greatest locations to go to when it’s raining in Riverside are the museums, in addition to among the metropolis’s greatest eateries.

What is the perfect factor to do with youngsters in Riverside, California?

Small youngsters will adore The Cove Waterpark, and it’s a beautiful technique to benefit from the summertime in Riverside.

If you’re spending the summer time within the metropolis, undoubtedly decide up a summer time cross. The Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center is one other wonderful place to take youngsters for studying and enjoyable.

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