20 Things To Do In Riverside CA
Sitting just 60 miles east of Los Angeles, Riverside is the biggest city of the Inland Empire and a great example of what this area can offer. Offering a perfect break from the big-city thrills offered by Los Angeles, the city boasts a myriad of local attractions, ultra-modern cuisine joints, numerous museums, and a wide range of outdoor adventures.
The hub of California’s citrus-growing industry, Riverside suit’s all adventure tastes. In this detailed guide, we will help you discover the best things to do in Riverside. Whether you are an indoor or outdoor person, our list of Riverside attractions should work for you.
Top-Rated Things to Do in Riverside
1. Mount Rubidoux Park
A major landmark in Riverside, Mount Rubidoux is home to some of the most popular hikes for tourists and residents. Several paved routes take tourists to the mountain top, and it’s approximately 3 to 4 miles from the trailhead to the summit. One of the top-rated Riverside activities, a hike to the mountain top gives you a 360-degree view of the entire Inland Empire.
The route is lined with wildflower and cacti, as well as a wide range of historical markers that represent Riverside’s past. At the top of Mount Rubidoux, a symbolic peace tower spans the hiking trail, and a huge US flag waves proudly in the air.
2. Mission Inn
One of the best things to do in downtown Riverside, Mission Inn boasts the appealing Spanish Mission architecture and sets the tone for the rest of downtown Riverside. Taking up an entire block with a castle-like presence, the building carries a history that spans more than a century and can be felt within the stylish décor and walls.
Arrive in style in a Riverside limo service and enjoy a 75-minute docent-led tour of the Mission Inn Museum. The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa allows guests to continue the legacy of overnight visits, with visitors enjoying a stay in the uniquely decorated rooms.
3. March Field Air Museum
Spanning an aviation timeline of more than 100 years, the March Field Air Museum features thousands of artifacts and over 70 aircraft. A perfect destination for those wondering what to do in Riverside, the museum has bombers, spy planes, unmanned aircraft, and helicopters that can be explored with an affordable admission fee.
More aircraft can be seen within the museum’s interior, alongside numerous historical artifacts and interpretive exhibits. While exploring the airplanes, you can always take a peek at the neighboring Riverside National Cemetery, where veterans who meet the minimum active duty requirements are laid to rest.
4. California State Citrus Historic Park
A 250-acre state park dedicated to the state’s citrus legacy, the California State Citrus Historic Park – also known as the Gold Rush of California – features colorful citrus groves that encompass half of the historic site.
Appearing on lists of top-rated things to do in Riverside CA, the park features a visitor center that tells the story of the citrus industry in California with exhibits and interpretive displays. The park offers visitors guided tours of the grove on weekends and also allows fresh citrus sampling on the Sunkist Center.
5. Van Buren Drive-in Theater
A personal favorite for friends and families, the Van Buren Drive-In Theater sits on the historic Arlington district of Riverside, just next to the California State Citrus Historic Park.
One of the few thriving drive-in theaters in the state, Van Buren retains its novelty while showcasing the newest in blockbuster entertainment. Movies play from Thursday to Monday, with admission fees that undercut big movie theater chains.
6. UC Riverside Botanic Gardens
In the foothills of Box Springs, on the University of California, Riverside Campus, botanic gardens welcome tourists into a lush environment. A top-rated destination for people looking for Riverside things to do in nature, the botanic gardens feature 4 miles of trails that allow visitors to explore 40 acres encompassed by gardens.
The gardens feature well-placed benches for resting and interpretive information along the way. For more information on the plants available in the Botanic Gardens, as well as their history of use, you can use docent-led tours.
7. Fox Performing Arts Center
If you are trying to figure out what to do in Riverside CA with a group of friends, Fox Performing Arts Center might be an ideal destination. Arrive in a Riverside party bus rental and take your position inside the theater to enjoy festivals, comedy, and live music.
Constructed in 1929 in a Spanish Colonial Revival style, the art center first opened its doors as a vaudeville and cinema theater house. A renovation conducted in 2007 transformed the historic theater into a modern centerpiece of entertainment.
8. Fairmount Park
Adjacent to Mt. Rubidoux Park, Fairmount Park offers an abundance of open space for visitors and the locals to explore. Its scenic bike trail circles Lake Evans, a major defining water feature, and connects other amenities in the park, like playgrounds, a bandshell, tennis courts, and the historic boathouse where pedal boats can be rented.
The decorative wrought-iron fence encloses one of the eye-catching features at the park – a big rose garden on the southern park of Lake Evans. One of the most pleasant places to stroll, the garden also offers visitors a perfect opportunity for photographs and hosting special occasions.
9. Main Street Mall
If retail therapy is on your list of things to do near Riverside CA, there is no better place to explore than the Main Street Mall. The main downtown pedestrian corridor connects small shops, historic sites, and offers a chance to taste the local flavors.
Landscaped with gardens, an abundance of shade-producing trees, and fountains, the Main Street Mall offers numerous opportunities to take a seat and enjoy your day. The Main Street Mall also features a wide range of cultural and historical attractions, including the California Museum of Photography.
10. Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park
Encompassing approximately 1,500 acres near downtown Riverside, Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park is home to a sprawling network of trails, open space, and wildlife. Arrive in a California limo service and enjoy mountain biking, hiking, and running as you explore the park.
One of the best things to do in Riverside this weekend, a visit to the park will allow you to enjoy the view of a wide range of wildlife, including rattlesnakes, and rare and native plants like the Fremont cottonwood and scarlet monkeyflower.
11. Riverside Art Museum
Less than 2 blocks from the historic Mission Inn, Riverside Art Museum offers a display of rotating exhibits supplemented with a collection of more than 1,500 artworks. If you love art, a visit to the museum should be on your list of things to do in Riverside county.
Stretching across a wide range of mediums and genres, something new is always on display at the museum. Members of the military, together with their families, receive free admission to this Blue Star Museum.
12. Box Springs Mountain Preserve
Adjacent to the Riverside Campus, Box Springs Mountain Preserve provides an excellent opportunity for visitors to walk right into nature the moment they step out of their car. The welcome escape is easily accessible from downtown, and the often-steady stream of traffic nearby dissipates the further one heads up one of the trails leading to the top of the 3000 feet mountain.
Though rugged, the “M” trail is a personal favorite for hikers. Although it will test your legs, the trail delivers a 360-degree view that encompasses Riverside and Moreno Valley.
Related Post: Things To Do In Moreno Valley
13. Riverside Metropolitan Museum
Opened back in 1924, Riverside Metropolitan Museum is home to Native American Artifacts donated by the widow of Cornelius Earle Rumsey. Today, however, the museum carries three main collections that focus on culture, history, and nature.
One of the best things to do in Riverside California, a visit to the museum gives you access to an extensive archive that includes scores of photographs, documents, and ephemera from Riverside’s history.
14. California Museum of Photography
If you love photography, a visit to the California Museum of Photography should be on your list of top-rated things to do in Riverside today. The museum carries an array of exhibits dedicated to photography art in all its forms.
With support from the University of California, the museum has managed to amass thousands of images from photographers from all parts of the world. The exhibits explore the impact of photography on culture and history. In addition to showing photographs, the museum also hosts special events like performances, workshops, and lectures.
15. Whitewater Preserve
Created to protect the fragile environment around Whitewater River, the preserve is approximately 2,851 acres and offers some of the fun things to do in Riverside. The area around the river is home to one of the most diverse riparian habitats that include rare plants like the Bell’s vireo and Southwest willow flycatcher.
The San Bernadino Mountain range, the San Gorgonio Wilderness, and the san Jacinto Mountain Range frame the picturesque Whitewater River. Animal life in the region includes deer, bear, the endangered fringe-toed lizard, and the bighorn sheep.
16. Castle Park
A family-friendly amusement park, Castle Park has been attracting out of town visitors since 1976. The park carries 27 different types of rides, including a drop tower, roller coasters, a merry-go-round, and a water log slide.
The park also has 4 championship miniature golf courses, retail shops, a water playground, and a massive selection of carnival games. Lastly, this park carries more than 200 fun arcade games ideal for any age-group.
17. Heritage House
Built back in 1891, Heritage House is one of the oldest houses in Riverside and is owned by the Metropolitan Museum. A top-rated destination for people looking for things to do in Riverside, the house is a good example of the Victorian-Style architecture.
Admission to the Heritage House is free. However, the museum appreciates a $5 donation from those who visit the house.
18. Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center
An educational attraction nestled deep in the hills around the Jurupa Valley, Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center (JMDC) is home to some of the most fun things to do in Riverside. The destination boasts 9 acres of immaculately manicured botanical gardens.
Inside the gardens, ten large dinosaur statues are sure to capture the visitor’s imagination. JMDC also has a collection of live animals, including goldfish, turtles, and tortoises.
19. Gourmet Detective
Gourment detective puts on interactive and elegant murder mystery dinners at the Flabob Airport Café and the Hyatt Place in Riverside. The visitors enjoy delicious meals while the trained professionals act out thought-provoking and entertaining mysteries.
As the night continues, the victims, innocent parties, and perpetrators in the crime become clear. Repeat guests are always in for surprises since the mystery changes regularly.
20. Oak Quarry Golf Club
Home to a championship-level 18-hole golf course, the Oak Quarry Golf Club was established back in 2000. The golf club has several practice areas, a 7,200square-foot clubhouse, and a restaurant that serves both breakfast and lunch daily.
The elegant clubhouse features space for corporate meetings, weddings, and a wide range of special events. The destination also has onsite shops where the golfers can purchase all types of custom gear and merchandise.
Q: What Can You Do for Free in Riverside?
A: Riverside has a wide range of free attractions. These include:
- Whitewater Preserve
- Mount Rubidoux Park
- Fairmount Park
- Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center
Q: What is There to Do in Riverside CA This Weekend?
A: Some of the things to do in Riverside this weekend include:
- Go golfing at the Oak Quarry Golf Club
- Explore Fairmount Park
- Enjoy a mystery dinner at the Gourmet Detective
- Watch a movie at the Van Buren Drive-In Theater
Q: Is Riverside Dangerous?
A: At a crime rate of 37 per 1000 residents, Riverside is considered to be relatively dangerous. However, since one’s chance of becoming a victim of either property or violent crime is one in 27, it is wise to assume that the city is relatively safe.
Limo Find Overview
Riverside has a large collection of fun tourist attractions, wedding venues, a delectable food scene, numerous shopping malls, and numerous outdoor entertainment venues. This makes it a popular destination for tourists. In this detailed guide, we have outlined top-rated things to do in Riverside.