Top 10 Places to Visit in Riverside: Must-See Attractions and Hidden Gems

Are you ready to uncover some of Southern California’s best-kept secrets? In the idyllic city of Riverside, there’s more than just a river running through it. This sun-drenched terrain offers an exciting blend of cultural, historical, and outdoor attractions that will satisfy any traveller’s thirst for adventure. From towering architectural marvels to hidden oasis tucked away from the hustle, our guide to the top 10 destinations in Riverside will steer you towards unmissable spots and secret gems in this golden corner of the Golden State. So dust off your travel shoes, pack your bags and dive into our curated list!

Riverside is home to a variety of attractions and landmarks worth visiting. Some popular spots include the Mount Rubidoux Trail, March Field Air Museum, Van Buren Drive-In Theatre, Mission Inn Museum, and The Cheech art museum. Additionally, downtown Riverside features historical landmarks like the Mission Inn and Mt. Rubidoux, which is both a hiking location and historical landmark. Visitors may also enjoy exploring the city’s speciality museums, architectural buildings, points of interest & landmarks, monuments & statues, and hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

Places to visit in Riverside

Premier Riverside Attractions

Riverside, California is a vibrant city that boasts an array of premier attractions, both well-known and hidden gems. Whether you’re a history buff, nature enthusiast, or art lover, Riverside has something for everyone. Let’s dive into some of the top-notch attractions that you cannot miss during your visit.

One must-visit attraction is the Mission Inn Museum, which stands as a testament to Riverside’s rich heritage and architectural significance. The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa itself is a stunning landmark constructed in 1876 and expanded upon until the early 20th century. The museum housed within the Mission Inn provides visitors with fascinating insights into its history and the influential figures who have graced its halls.

For those eager to explore the museum’s extensive collection, guided tours are available. These tours offer a comprehensive experience led by knowledgeable docents who share captivating stories about the architecture, artifacts, and historic moments associated with the Mission Inn. From learning about the inn’s connection to U.S. presidents to uncovering its role in Hollywood history, each tour unveils new layers of the Inn’s grandeur.

Picture yourself strolling through beautifully decorated courtyards adorned with colorful tiles and fountains while hearing tales of famous guests like Amelia Earhart or Albert Einstein who once walked these very paths. As you enter luxurious rooms filled with antique furniture and exquisite artwork, you can immerse yourself in the ambiance of days gone by.

From Spanish Gothic-style chapels to breathtaking gardens reminiscent of European landscapes, the Mission Inn truly transports visitors to another era. Allow yourself to get lost in its splendor while learning about its evolution from a small adobe boarding house to an internationally renowned historical site.

Now that we’ve explored one of Riverside’s premier attractions, let’s shift our focus specifically to the Mission Inn Museum and its engaging tours.

Mission Inn Museum and Its Tours

The Mission Inn Museum within the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa offers an immersive experience into the history and enchantment of this Riverside gem. Boasting both permanent and temporary exhibits, it provides a deeper understanding of the significance of the Mission Inn and its impact on the local community.

The museum’s permanent exhibits take visitors on a captivating journey through time, showcasing artifacts, photographs, and stories that bring Riverside’s history to life. Discover the vision behind the inn’s creation by exploring its original architectural blueprints, learn about its evolution over decades, and delve into the lives of the individuals who played pivotal roles in shaping its legacy.

In addition to the permanent exhibits, the museum also features engaging temporary exhibits that offer unique perspectives on art, culture, and history. These displays keep the experience fresh for return visitors and provide them with new insights into various aspects of Riverside’s vibrant past.

And if you’re truly captivated by the history and allure of the Mission Inn, you can take your visit one step further by participating in the Mission Inn Foundation Docent Training Program. This program offers an exclusive opportunity to become a docent at the museum, immersing yourself in even greater knowledge about the inn’s heritage. By joining this program, you’ll acquire in-depth expertise about every nook and cranny of this magnificent landmark while sharing your passion with future visitors.

Whether you choose to explore the museum independently or join one of their guided tours led by passionate docents, a visit to the Mission Inn Museum promises an extraordinary experience filled with history, beauty, and captivating stories.

  • According to Tripadvisor, the Mission Inn Museum and the March Field Air Museum are two of the top-rated attractions in Riverside.
  • A survey conducted by Visit California found that over 75% of respondents listed hiking trails, such as the Mount Rubidoux Trail and Sycamore Canyon Park, as favorite activities in Riverside.
  • Data from Yelp reviews show that downtown Riverside’s local food and drink scene, boasting establishments like The Salted Pig and Arcade Coffee Roasters, is popular among visitors and locals alike.

Mount Rubidoux Trail for Hikers

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast looking for a thrilling adventure in Riverside, the Mount Rubidoux Trail is an absolute must-visit. This picturesque trail offers breathtaking views and a rewarding hiking experience for all levels of fitness. As you embark on your journey, the trail will lead you through a diverse and captivating landscape.

The Mount Rubidoux Trail spans approximately 3 miles roundtrip, making it an ideal option for hikers seeking a moderately challenging yet enjoyable excursion. The well-marked path begins with a gentle incline that gradually increases in steepness as you ascend. Along the way, vibrant wildflowers and native plants adorn the sides of the trail, providing a burst of color against the backdrop of the majestic surrounding mountains.

As you continue your ascent, keep an eye out for historical landmarks scattered throughout the trail. One such landmark is the Peace Bridge, a charming stone footbridge that serves as a symbol of unity and peace within the community. It offers stunning panoramic views of Riverside’s sprawling cityscape and serves as an excellent spot to take in the beauty of the surroundings or capture memorable photographs.

Imagine standing atop Mount Rubidoux, feeling a sense of accomplishment as you gaze at the awe-inspiring vista before you. The cool breeze brushes against your cheeks, rejuvenating your spirit after an invigorating hike. It’s moments like these that remind us of the wonders nature has to offer right in our own backyard.

As you reach the summit, be prepared to be rewarded with sweeping vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see. From this vantage point, you can admire the vast expanse of Riverside and its neighboring communities while immersing yourself in nature’s embrace.

After exploring Riverside’s natural beauty on the Mount Rubidoux Trail, it’s time to dive into another aspect that makes this city truly remarkable – its vibrant art scene.

Riverside’s Art Scene

Riverside is not just a haven for nature enthusiasts; it also boasts a thriving and diverse art scene that captivates the imagination and fosters cultural appreciation. From traditional galleries to street art, there is something for every art lover to immerse themselves in.

The city proudly hosts the renowned Riverside Art Museum (RAM), which houses an impressive collection of contemporary and historical artworks. Whether you are drawn to paintings, sculptures, photography, or mixed media installations, RAM offers a rich tapestry of artistic expressions waiting to be explored. Additionally, the museum regularly features rotating exhibitions, ensuring that there is always something new and exciting to discover for both locals and visitors alike.

But Riverside’s art scene extends beyond dedicated gallery spaces. Imagine strolling along the streets of downtown Riverside, when suddenly your attention is captivated by stunning murals adorning the sides of buildings – vibrant colors and intricate details merging together to tell stories or convey social messages. These public displays of creativity come alive through the work of talented local artists, turning the city itself into a canvas for captivating street art.

To immerse yourself further in Riverside’s artistic vibe, make sure to explore the bustling arts festivals and events that take place throughout the year. The Mission Inn Festival of Lights Artisans’ Collective showcases the works of talented artisans, providing an opportunity to appreciate and support local talent while finding unique pieces to adorn your own space.

From museums and galleries to street art and vibrant festivals, Riverside’s art scene offers a world of inspiration and creativity waiting to be discovered. It invites you to embark on a journey of cultural exploration and artistic appreciation that will leave you enamored with this hidden gem nestled in Southern California.

Exploring The Cheech Art Museum

When it comes to art appreciation, the Cheech Art Museum in Riverside is an absolute gem. Established by renowned actor and comedian Cheech Marin, this museum showcases vibrant and thought-provoking Chicano art. As you step inside, you’ll be greeted by an artistic explosion of color and culture that celebrates the rich heritage of the Mexican-American community. The museum boasts two floors filled with awe-inspiring artwork that will make you think, laugh, and even shed a tear.

One of the highlights of exploring the Cheech Art Museum is the opportunity to engage with art that reflects real-life experiences and challenges faced by Chicano artists. From politically-charged pieces addressing social injustices to introspective works capturing personal journeys, each artwork tells a unique story. The museum’s collection spans various mediums, including paintings, sculptures, and mixed media installations – all crafted with incredible skill and attention to detail.

As you wander through the museum, take your time to absorb the immersive experience it offers. Marvel at the talent and diversity of artists who have infused their heritage into their creations. Their masterpieces not only showcase aesthetics but also raise awareness of cultural identity, history, and social issues. It’s truly a transformative experience that allows you to connect with art on a deeper level.

One notable exhibit you might encounter during your visit is a mural that depicts the struggles and triumphs of migrant workers in America. The vibrant colors and intricate details transport you to another world, inviting empathy and understanding for individuals whose stories are often overlooked. It’s a powerful reminder of the impact art can have in shedding light on important societal narratives.

Aside from the captivating artworks themselves, visiting The Cheech also offers additional perks. You can explore a gift shop filled with unique items inspired by Chicano art – a perfect place to find a treasured memento or gift. The museum staff are known for their friendly and helpful nature, providing insights into the artwork and enhancing your overall experience.

So, whether you are an art enthusiast, someone interested in learning about the Chicano culture, or simply seeking a stimulating adventure, a visit to The Cheech Art Museum should be high on your list when exploring Riverside. Prepare to be inspired, moved, and enlightened by the artistic brilliance that awaits you within its walls.

Now that we have explored the vibrant artwork at The Cheech Art Museum, let’s turn our attention to another fascinating art destination in Riverside – the Riverside Art Museum.

  • The Cheech Art Museum in Riverside offers a transformative experience for art enthusiasts and those interested in learning about Chicano culture. Its vibrant and thought-provoking collection showcases unique stories, raises cultural awareness, and sheds light on important societal narratives. The museum staff are friendly and helpful, making the overall experience enjoyable. The gift shop contains unique items inspired by Chicano art, making it a perfect place to find a treasured memento or gift. Visiting The Cheech should be high on anyone’s list when exploring Riverside.

Riverside Art Museum Highlights

Nestled in downtown Riverside, the Riverside Art Museum (RAM) is a captivating hub for contemporary art enthusiasts. Housed in a stunning historic building with beautiful architecture, this museum offers a diverse range of exhibits curated with great care and thoughtfulness.

As you enter RAM, you’ll immediately notice its welcoming atmosphere and well-lit galleries designed to showcase artworks in their full glory. The museum prides itself on championing local artists while also featuring renowned national and international talents, ensuring a dynamic blend of creative expressions.

One of the highlights of visiting RAM is the opportunity to witness ever-changing exhibitions that explore various themes and artistic movements. From thought-provoking installations and abstract paintings to photography collections capturing raw emotions, each exhibit brings something unique and evocative to the table. The museum provides a platform for artists to share their perspectives on contemporary issues through their work.

During your visit, make sure you take advantage of the informative guided tours offered by RAM. These tours offer invaluable insights into the artwork on display, providing context and enriching your understanding of each piece. It’s an opportunity to delve deeper into the creative process and uncover hidden meanings behind the brushstrokes or sculptural forms.

One memorable exhibition at RAM showcased contemporary artists embracing innovative techniques to address environmental concerns. Through their artwork, they aimed to raise awareness about sustainability and the impact of human activities on the planet. One particular exhibit featured a visually striking installation made entirely from recycled materials, serving as a powerful statement about waste and consumption.

Apart from its remarkable exhibitions, RAM also offers engaging workshops and educational programs suitable for all ages. Whether you want to try your hand at creating art yourself or participate in interactive discussions led by artists, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. These activities foster creativity, nurture artistic skills, and encourage exploration of different mediums.

Just like an artist’s palette with a vast array of colors at their disposal, the Riverside Art Museum presents a diverse collection of artworks that will stimulate your senses and ignite your imagination.

Riverside Outdoor Activities

Riverside, with its picturesque landscapes and favorable climate, offers a plethora of outdoor activities that cater to all interests and age groups. Whether you’re an adventure seeker or someone who enjoys a leisurely stroll amidst nature, Riverside has something for everyone.

One must-visit attraction in Riverside is the stunning Mount Rubidoux Park. This idyllic park is perfect for a rejuvenating hike or a leisurely walk. As you ascend the trail, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the city and the surrounding mountains. The park also houses the iconic Peace Tower, a monument commemorating World War I peace efforts.

Another popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts is Fairmount Park. This expansive green space offers a multitude of recreational activities such as biking, fishing, picnicking, and even paddle boating on Lake Evans. With lush trees, serene walking trails, and beautifully landscaped gardens, Fairmount Park provides a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

For those seeking a more adrenaline-pumping experience, Santa Ana River Trail is not to be missed. Stretching over 30 miles along the Santa Ana River, this trail offers opportunities for biking, hiking, and horseback riding. Immerse yourself in nature as you traverse through diverse ecosystems and enjoy scenic views of the flowing river.

While Riverside is known for its natural beauty, it also boasts unique entertainment options such as the Van Buren Drive-In Theatre.

The Unique Van Buren Drive-In Theatre

Step into a nostalgic world where movie magic meets outdoor charm at the Van Buren Drive-In Theatre. Located in Riverside, this unique venue takes movie-watching to another level by providing an old-school drive-in movie experience that’s hard to find nowadays.

Imagine pulling into the spacious parking lot as dusk settles in, finding a comfortable spot in your car or setting up chairs outside, and tuning into the designated radio frequency for the movie’s audio. As darkness envelops the surroundings, the large outdoor screen comes to life, offering a larger-than-life cinematic experience.

The Van Buren Drive-In Theatre showcases a mix of classic movies, recent releases, and family-friendly favorites on its multiple screens. Whether you’re watching a blockbuster hit or a cult classic, the atmosphere is electric as people enjoy films under the starry night sky.

Families and friends can bond over popcorn and snacks from the theater’s snack bar while immersing themselves in an enchanted cinematic experience. It’s an opportunity to create lasting memories while enjoying the magic of movies in a truly unique setting.

Now that we’ve explored Riverside’s outdoor activities and the charm of the Van Buren Drive-In Theatre, continue reading to discover more must-see attractions and hidden gems in this vibrant city.

Hiking Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park

Located in the heart of Riverside, Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park offers a breathtaking escape into nature for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. This hidden gem boasts over 1,500 acres of preserved open space, making it the ideal destination for hiking enthusiasts seeking a serene and picturesque adventure.

As you embark on your journey through Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park, you’ll be greeted by picturesque landscapes filled with lush greenery, scenic vistas, and diverse wildlife. Trails wind through beautiful sycamore groves, revealing stunning views of the canyon below. The park offers trails for all skill levels, catering to both beginners and experienced hikers.

For those seeking a leisurely hike, the Creekside Trail provides a peaceful stroll alongside the tranquil Santa Ana River. On the other hand, if you’re up for more of a challenge, the Two Trees Trail rewards you with panoramic vistas of the city skyline from its highest point. Every trail within the park holds its own unique beauty and surprises, ensuring that every hiker can find their perfect adventure.

                                **Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park**
Location Riverside, CA
Size 1,500 acres
Trails Suitable for all skill levels
Highlights Lush sycamore groves, scenic vistas, diverse wildlife
Popular Trails Creekside Trail, Two Trees Trail
Recommended Equipment Comfortable hiking shoes, water bottle

After immersing yourself in the tranquility of nature at Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park, it’s time to explore another delightful aspect of Riverside – its vibrant dining scene.

Dining Experience in Riverside

Riverside is home to an array of culinary delights that cater to a variety of tastes and preferences. From local favorites to international cuisines, this city has something to offer every food lover.

One prominent dining establishment that showcases the culinary prowess within Riverside is The Salted Pig. This gastropub combines delectable cuisine with an impressive craft cocktail menu, creating a truly unforgettable dining experience. As you step into the cozy and inviting atmosphere, you are greeted by the aroma of sizzling meats and tantalizing flavors.

The menu at The Salted Pig features a range of mouthwatering dishes, including savory pork belly tacos, juicy burgers made with high-quality ingredients, and innovative salads boasting a burst of fresh flavors. Pair your meal with one of their expertly crafted cocktails or choose from their extensive selection of craft beers to elevate your dining experience.

Whether you’re seeking a casual brunch spot or an elegant dinner destination, Riverside offers a diverse range of dining experiences for every occasion and palate.

The Salted Pig: Food and Craft Cocktails

If you find yourself in Riverside and are craving a delightful dining experience, look no further than The Salted Pig. Tucked away in downtown Riverside, this gem is known for its exceptional food and craft cocktails that will tantalize your taste buds.

The menu at The Salted Pig offers a range of options to suit various palates. From juicy burgers and flavorful sandwiches to mouthwatering ribs and delectable seafood, there is something for everyone. Each dish is carefully crafted using high-quality ingredients, ensuring a burst of flavors with every bite.

One highly recommended item on the menu is their famous Salted Pig Burger. Picture this: a juicy beef patty cooked to perfection, topped with melted cheese, crispy bacon, caramelized onions, and their signature salted pig aioli, all nestled between two fluffy brioche buns. It’s a true explosion of flavors that will leave you wanting more.

As you indulge in the culinary delights, don’t forget to complement your meal with one of their craft cocktails. The talented mixologists at The Salted Pig take pride in concocting creative and refreshing drinks that perfectly complement the vibrant flavors of the dishes. From handcrafted margaritas to unique seasonal creations, there is always something new to try and savor.

Beyond the scrumptious food and drinks, The Salted Pig also boasts a welcoming and cozy atmosphere. Whether you choose to dine indoors or enjoy the California weather on their outdoor patio, you’ll be greeted with friendly service that enhances your overall experience.

It’s important to note that The Salted Pig can be quite popular, so making a reservation is highly recommended, especially during peak hours. This ensures you secure a table and avoid any potential wait times – after all, good things tend to attract crowds!

So whether you’re looking for a place to celebrate a special occasion, enjoy a romantic date night, or simply treat yourself to a memorable meal, The Salted Pig is the perfect destination in Riverside. Prepare to indulge in an unforgettable dining experience that will leave you with lasting memories.

Coffee Break: Arcade Coffee Roasters Review

Are you a coffee enthusiast on the hunt for the perfect cup of joe? Look no further than Arcade Coffee Roasters in Riverside. This local gem is a must-visit for any caffeine aficionado seeking a unique and exceptional coffee experience.

Located in downtown Riverside, Arcade Coffee Roasters stands out with its commitment to sourcing and roasting specialty beans from around the world. The moment you step into their inviting space, you’re greeted by the enticing aroma of freshly brewed coffee – a sensory experience that sets the stage for what awaits you.

What sets Arcade Coffee Roasters apart is their meticulous attention to detail and their dedication to the craft of coffee. They carefully source beans from sustainable farms, ensuring high quality and supporting ethical practices in the industry. Their skilled baristas then expertly roast these beans in-house, bringing out nuanced flavors and aromas that truly elevate your cup of coffee.

Whether you prefer a classic espresso-based drink or fancy experiencing something new, Arcade Coffee Roasters has you covered. Their menu features an impressive range of delightful options, from lattes and cortados to pour-over coffees and cold brews. Each drink is crafted with precision, showcasing the complex flavors inherent in their thoughtfully sourced beans.

As you savor your chosen brew, take a moment to soak in the atmosphere at Arcade Coffee Roasters. The modern and minimalist design creates a stylish yet cozy ambiance, making it an ideal spot for catching up with friends or finding some solitude while enjoying your favorite drink. The friendly and knowledgeable staff adds to the welcoming environment, providing excellent service and recommendations based on individual preferences.

Whether you’re a coffee connoisseur or simply someone who appreciates a good cup of coffee, Arcade Coffee Roasters is an experience worth seeking out in Riverside. Prepare to be delighted by the meticulous craftsmanship, exceptional flavors, and warm ambience that this local gem has to offer.