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2 weeks ago

Riverside: A New Side of Classic California

Riverside, California is distinguished by its unique setting and historic riches.

By Elite Traveler

The downtown neighborhood of Riverside is more than just the heart of the city; it is also the cultural and urban hub of the Inland Empire. With its grid street pattern originally laid out in 1870, the downtown area retains a distinct historic character reminiscent of many older California cities.

With prime examples of Spanish Colonial Revival, Mission Revival, California Bungalow, Beaux Arts and modern architectural style buildings, Riverside is home to more than a dozen historic sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places and over 30 city-designated landmarks. Riverside is perhaps best known for the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa; since its opening in 1876 it has become a historic city icon.

Looking for thrills? Castle Park is an amusement park founded in 1976 that has been expanding ever since. The park has 27 rides suitable for all ages, four championship miniature golf courses, a vast selection of carnival midway games, a water playground, retail shops, a video arcade and more. In addition to providing recreational opportunities, the extraordinary urban open space provides habitats for important wildlife and native plant species.

Feast your eyes on more than 1,400 acres of picturesque natural beauty at Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park, or uncover the area’s unique citrus industry heritage at the California Citrus State Historic Park. Mount Rubidoux, an isolated granite hill rising from the east bank of the Santa Ana River on the western outskirts of the city, is also a must-see.

Mission Inn balances rich history and classic elegance / ©Mission Inn

If you are visiting over the weekend, be sure to check out the Riverside Downtown Farmers Market on Main Street between 5th and 6th, in the arts and culture district of Riverside, where farmers sell their seasonal crops. Open every Saturday, the market provides a unique opportunity to shop for fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, hummus, aged Gouda cheese, fresh-baked bread and other specialty food items.

Many other Southern California attractions are within easy driving distance from Riverside and make for great day trips, like the one- to two-hour drive to Disneyland Resort, Temecula Valley wineries, San Bernardino Mountains or any of the Pacific Ocean beach hotspots.

Where to stay

With its breathtaking Spanish Mission-style architecture, The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa welcomes you to a destination where rich history and classic elegance exist in perfect balance with contemporary luxury and comfort. This iconic AAA Four-Diamond hotel has been welcoming guests since its opening back in 1876.

3649 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside; +1 951 784 0300;

Where to eat

Recipient of the AAA Four-Diamond Award since 1996, the Golden Bacchus Award for outstanding wine selections and, most recently, the Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence, Duane’s Prime Steaks & Seafood restaurant features the finest steaks and the freshest seafood enhanced by fine wines.

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3649 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside; +1 888 326 4448;

Where to fly

Million Air Riverside moved into a 5,000-sq-ft facility located at March Air Reserve Base, in Riverside, California. It has a spacious lobby with a conference room, pilot’s theater, pilot’s planning area, Wi-Fi, Jet-a-Way Café and the best customer service staff in the business.

17405 Heacock Street Moreno Valley, CA 92551;; + 1 951 247 2111;

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