Named for its location beside the Santa Ana River, Riverside is the most populous city in the Inland Empire and is located about 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. Founded in the 1870s and known for being the birthplace of California's citrus industry, Riverside is a perfect tourist attraction around the year due to the great weather.
Whether you are a history buff, an outdoor junkie, or a foodie, Riverside has you covered with an assortment of activities that the city has to offer. While you can easily spend a week at Riverside having fun but if you are just in the city for a weekend, here is a list of some of the best places to visit next time you are in Riverside.
California Citrus State Historic Park
Opened in 1984 and spanning about 250 acres, California Citrus State Historic Park tells you the story of how the citrus industry came into being and dramatically impacted the lives of everyone in Riverside and Southern California. The citrus economy began in 1873 when the US Department of Agriculture sent two little navel orange trees to Eliza Tibbets in Riverside. The trees thrived due to the healthy soil and suitable weather in Southern California. The locals loved the sweet seedless fruit and the trees started popping up all over the state.
One of the original two trees still lives today and visitors can easily notice it with its plaque sign. The park offers free guided tours and visitors can taste some samples of freshly grown California oranges. The park is also home to an amphitheater and several picnic areas which can be rented for a small fee.
Opened to the public in 1976, Castle Park is a great place to spend time with family and friends, especially if you have kids. The park offers 27 amusement rides and a water play area called the Buccaneer Cove featuring water slides spanning four stories. Some of the most popular rides include Dragon's Tower, Merlin's Revenge, and Screamin' Dragon. Castle Park also features more than 200 fun arcade games. Another thing visitors would not want to miss is "Anthony the Magic Show" by Anthony Hernandez.
Riverside Metropolitan Museum
Opened in 1924, Riverside Metropolitan Museum contains over 200,000 artifacts covering a variety of subjects like anthropology, natural history, and indigenous culture aimed at educating visitors about the culture and history of the area. The museum made its way to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987 and in 2004 acquired the historic Harada house - the site of the Civil Rights property ownership dispute in 1916. If you are interested in the history of Riverside, this museum is a must-visit.
Spanning over 160 acres, Mount Rubidoux is popular among tourists and locals alike due to its paved routes that take you to the mountain top. The place is also home to the first Easter Sunrise Service in America. The 3.5 miles uphill walk can be tedious so make sure to pack your hiking gear and some water. The route features some wildflowers and cacti and the city views from the top are some of the best in Riverside.
March Field Air Museum
Established in 1979, the museum is currently operated as a non-profit organization with over 80 aircraft on display. The museum aims to preserve the history of the aviation industry through 30,000 artifacts. The collection includes cargo airplanes, bomber planes, and helicopters. Visitors can step through a World War I trench and see SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest manned aircraft of its time. If you take fun in the world of Aviation or are interested in taking pictures with planes, this place is a must-visit.
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