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11 Cool Things To Do In Riverside You Haven't Thought of Yet

11 Cool Things To Do In Riverside You Haven't Thought of Yet

While in Riverside, make it a point to do these cool things to make your trip memorable.


5 min read

February 28, 2024

For an all-encompassing experience of Golden State’s Inland Empire, Riverside is calling your name. Being there feels like flipping through the region's resume—and there’s no shortage of achievements either. To name a few, this place is where the first-ever public screening of Gone With the Wind took place, SoCal’s first polo field and golf course was opened, and, of course, the oranges. Riverside practically gave birth to California’s citrus industry, an entire empire built around the sweet and zesty navel orange. But all of this doesn’t even begin to cover all the fun things to do in Riverside—you’ll have to keep reading for that.

Fun Things to Do in Riverside 

If you went to the movies and didn't eat popcorn, did you really go to the movies? Make sure you stock up!

1. See a Drive-In Movie 

Is there anything more romantic than taking your S.O. to a retro drive-in movie? Put that theory to the test twice at the Van Buren Drive-in Theatre—each ticket gets you two movies instead of one. The audio from the film is broadcast over FM so that each guest can listen from the inside of their car. Bring pillows, cozy up, and let the motion pictures whisk you to a galaxy far, far away.

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2. Take Your Kids to Castle Park

Ever since opening its doors in 1976, Castle Park has been a funhouse for both the young and the young at heart. Armed with 27 different types of rides—including a drop tower, roller coasters, a water log slide, and a merry-go-round—this amusement park is a perfect remedy for a long afternoon. Castle Park even features more than 200 arcade games for all ages, so you can just spend the entire day having fun; wave those daily stresses goodbye.

California Citrus State Historic Park is an open-air museum interpreting the historic cultural landscape of the citrus industry.

3. Squeeze in a Visit to California Citrus State Historic Park

‘Orange’ you glad we mentioned this one? California Citrus State Historic Park is the place to go in Riverside if you want to hear all about, you guessed it, the citrus industry. Groves of oranges, lemons, and grapefruit cover most of your peripheral vision, as the near-perfect weather soothes every bit of your soul. You can even join a free guided tour to sample the famed, freshly-grown California oranges—see their a-peel for yourself.

4. Tee Off at Oak Quarry Golf Club

Home to an 18-hole championship-level golf course, taking a swing at Oak Quarry Golf Club is one of the best things to do in Riverside if you’re a fan of the sport. The golf course is one of SoCal's finest boasting several practice areas, a 7,200 square-foot clubhouse, and a restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch. Practice your swing, unwind, and watch the hues roll in from the neighboring hills.

The Riverside Live Steamers was established in 1966 by a group of local railroad enthusiasts to maintain the city's train and railroad.

5. See the Riverside Live Steamers 

As far as Riverside attractions go, this one is more of an acquired taste; but if you are at all into trains, then this place is for you. The Riverside Live Steamers (RLS) maintains a railroad track exclusively used for miniature steam locomotives. It was built by a man named Joe Hunter, who loved steam locomotives so much that the thought of newer technology making them obsolete scared everything out of him. His solution? Buying 40 acres of land and constructing a 4,300-foot railroad with a steam locomotive and three cars, which now you can tour.

Awesome Things to do in Riverside County

6. Attend a Performance at Ballet Folklórico de Riverside 

Ballet Folklorico de Riverside is an authentic Mexican-style dance company that puts on spectacular performances all throughout the year. Founded in 1977 by Ana de la Tejera, the company aims to preserve Mexican culture through songs, dances, and flowery costumes. Now consisting of more than 75 members, Ballet Folklorico de Riverside holds four performances a year for the Calabaceado Festival, Dia de Los Muertos, Cinco de Mayo, and the annual UCR showcase. And let us tell you that these performances are truly something—outstanding performers showcase their routines with mind-boggling expertise; this is a chance to appreciate the art of dance in a whole new way.

The Mission Inn Museum features exhibitions examining the hotel’s history and lasting impacts on the Riverside community and beyond.

7. Visit the Mission Inn Museum 

Consider yourself a bit of a fine-art connoisseur? Plan a visit to the Mission Inn Museum; it’s one of the top things to do in Riverside. Frank Miller—founder and owner of Mission Inn—left behind a variety of artifacts that range from strange to historic. Renowned for his keen eye for detail and valuables, Miller collected everything from upscale aviation trinkets, heirlooms, and art pieces to (strangely enough) marketing records and chronicles. To see all of this up-close, hop on the museum tour and cruise the exhibits of key Riverside events, historic milestones, and other creative achievements.

8. Get Your Photo Fix at the California Museum of Photography

The UCR/California Museum of Photography consists of an array of exhibits for photography aficionados, no matter the form. With support from the University of California, the museum has been able to compile thousands of images from photographers around the world—it’s safe to say there's no shortage of creative fuel to be gained here. If you're interested in exploring deeper, there's an exhibition that focuses on the impact of photography on history and culture. And film buffs will be happy to know that motion pictures are a major component of the museum with an array of local and international talent showcased regularly.

Surrounded by the San Gorgonio Wilderness, the Whitewater Preserve is a fantastic place to relax, hike, and cool down.

9. Scout for Rare Plants at the Whitewater Preserve 

Created to protect the environment around the Whitewater River, the 2,850-acre Whitewater Preserve is a slice of rustic bliss. Diverse riparian plants like the southwest willow flycatcher and Bell's vireo dot the area, creating a nice little adventure scouting for these beauties. Not to mention, you'll be surrounded by the San Jacinto and San Bernardino Mountain Range as well as the San Gorgonio Wilderness the entire time. There's also plenty of animal sightings around the area, including bighorn sheep, deer, bear, and the endangered fringe-toed lizard. Trek the preserve's numerous trails and relish in your time alone with nature's wonders.

10. Shop at the Riverside Certified Farmers Market 

Nestled in the heart of Riverside, this farmers market is the place to go to get your hands on homegrown goods, fresh-baked bread, and other specialty foods. Popular picks include the hummus from Mom's Specialty Food and the decorative plants from Dignan Growers. But if those aren't what you're looking for, there's still plenty to explore—just make sure to come to Main Street any Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Slipping and sliding your way through summer is our definition of fun. Meet ya at the bottom of the slide!

11. Splash around in the Cove Waterpark 

A Jurupa Valley family-favorite, the Cove Waterpark is exhilarating in more than one way. The park contains all sorts of rides and attractions—waterslides, a lazy river, and a FlowRider—and hosts a number of fun competitions, open to the public. If any of that interests you, pack your preferred mineral-based sunscreen, a cute swimsuit from your favorite brand, and head on over.

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