18 Best Things To Do In Riverside, California

things to do in riverside california
| 7 min read

If you’re ready to enjoy California, in an authentic and leisurely style, consider stopping by Riverside. It’s the perfect break from big-city thrills, right outside Los Angeles. One of the largest cities in the Inland Empire area, it boasts a myriad of museums, including the Museum of Riverside and the Riverside Metropolitan Museum, which cover culture and natural history. Riverside also features outdoor adventures, food, and local attractions, made for every taste. If you’re ready to live in the sunshine, take a look at these fan favorites. Learn about spots to hike, tan, and explore, in historic Riverside, and maybe even indulge in a taco and margarita, along the way. You can also book some of the best Vrbo or Airbnb rentals here.

There is no shortage of fun things to do in Riverside, California! Read on to find out the best ways you can spend your vacation here.

1. Learn how to ice skate or play hockey at LA Kings Icetown

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

If you’re in the mood for some ice skating, then LA Kings Icetown has you covered. This venue offers not only a rink for some ice skating fun but also an opportunity to play some sports like hockey.

Even if you’re not that confident in your skills, LA Kings Icetown offers free ice skating lessons that teach you the basics so that can safely try free skating. And if you have a kid who’s interested to learn hockey, there are also free beginner hockey lessons being held.

LA Kings Icetown

Address: 10540 Magnolia Ave # A, Riverside, CA 92505, United States

Website: LA Kings Icetown

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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2. Have a lovely meal at The Old Spaghetti Factory

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Have you tried our Factory Family Feast meals!? Choose one of three delicious Italian favorites for $39.95, available...

Posted by The Old Spaghetti Factory on Tuesday, March 9, 2021

The Old Spaghetti Factory is a chain of family-owned restaurants that have been serving Italian-American-style cuisine since 1969. The restaurant’s menu is composed of a variety of appetizers, salads, pasta, sides, chicken, and desserts that are sure to take you on a delicious trip through your taste buds.

These restaurants also offer catering services for special occasions including weddings, corporate meetings, birthdays, and private events. There are also interactive dinners as well where customers are treated to a murder mystery show while enjoying their meals.

The Old Spaghetti Factory

Address: 3191 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, CA 92507, United States

Website: The Old Spaghetti Factory

Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 11:30am - 9:30pm; Fri - Sat: 11:30am - 10pm

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3. Get spooked at Gothic Hills Cemetery

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

It looks like rain here in Riverside but it's moving away from us here at Gothic hills cemetery. Stay tuned to social media for breaking weather closures.

Posted by Gothic Hills Cemetery on Monday, October 18, 2021

Gothic Hills Cemetery is a spooky place that the whole family can enjoy. The decorations and themes of this Riverside tourist attraction were carefully chosen and placed so that it’s not too scary for little kids, while still retaining its spooky, Halloween vibes. Open year-round, this attraction has showcased Halloween-esque designs for various other holidays like Christmas.

And to top it all off, there is no entrance fee so you may enter and experience this attraction at your leisure–though do note that giving donations is encouraged.

Gothic Hills Cemetery

Address: 11109 Middleborough Rd, Riverside, CA 92503, United States

Website: Gothic Hills Cemetery

Opening hours: Fri - Sun: 6pm - 10pm (closed from Mon - Thu)

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4. Swim and splash at The Cove Waterpark

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Come to the Cove Waterpark today and enjoy some fun in the sun before school starts!

Posted by The Cove Waterpark on Wednesday, July 26, 2017

You can never go wrong with a visit to The Cove Waterpark when you’re with the whole gang in Riverside. This popular amusement park features an array of fun activities such as racing slides, wave pools, lazy rivers, and even surfing pools.

Lil’ Mates’ Lagoon, which has sprayers, a tipping bucket, and small slides, is for the kids and the kids-at-heart. The Crow’s Nest Slides is a playground for big boys and girls. If you’re an experienced water adventurer, try the Riptide Reef FlowRider too!

The Cove Waterpark

Address: 4310 Camino Real, Riverside, CA 92509, United States

Website: The Cove Waterpark

Opening hours: Sat: 11am - 6pm; Sun: 12pm - 6pm (closed on Mon - Fri)

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5. Get to know the flora and fauna at UC Riverside Botanic Gardens

UCR Botanic Gardens
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Rick Sidwell used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Those who enjoy a walk in the park, amidst beautiful plant life, are going to have a blast at the breathtaking views at UC Riverside Botanic Gardens. This 40-acre (16.18-hectare) botanical garden is home to over 3,500 species of plants not only in the US but in the entire world.

Its collections include the Iris Garden, Lilac Lane, Rose Gardens, Herb Garden, and a cactus garden, among others. There are collections divided by their geographical origins, too, including the Australian Section and the Sierra Foothills Section. There are wild animals living in the gardens as well.

UC Riverside Botanic Gardens

Address: 1 Botanic Gardens Dr, Riverside, CA 92507, United States

Website: UC Riverside Botanic Gardens

Opening hours: Tue - Wed: 9am - 12pm; Thu - Fri: 9am - 2pm; Sun: 8am - 12pm (closed on Mon & Sat)

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6. Snap a few photos at Peace Tower

Frank Miller Peace Tower and Testimonial Bridge
Source: Photo by Flickr user Daniel Orth used under CC BY-ND 2.0

A place in Riverside that offers nothing else to do but relax, take photos and admire the sheer beauty of what surrounds you is Peace Tower. This historical tower sits atop Mount Rubidoux and is connected to a bridge that is a copy of a famous bridge in Alcantara, Spain. This landmark was dedicated to Frank Miller, owner of Riverside’s Mission Inn.

This Riverside attraction is easily reachable when you hike along Mount Roubidoux Drive. A picnic with your crew or just simply sightseeing is a must here!

Peace Tower

Address: Riverside, CA 92501, United States

Opening hours: 6am - 10pm (daily)

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7. Take the little ones to Castle Park

1915 Autocar Castle Park Riverside CA Calliope Tuck 3
Source: Photo by Flickr user Jack Snell used under CC BY-ND 2.0

When the little ones haven’t had their fun in Riverside yet, take them to Castle Park for the ultimate amusement park experience! It’s a theme park and a water park all in one. Buccaneer Cove is filled with interactive amenities like spray cannons, slides, and tunnels.

This family-friendly amusement park also features carnival games, miniature golf courses, and fun rides, one of which is the Screamin’ Demon. It is a spinning rollercoaster with nerve-wracking turns and drops. The all-new Rockin’ Tug is a tug boat that will rock and whirl the entire family. In addition to the water playground, there’s plenty more fun and adventure waiting for you at this fun place to go in Riverside.

Castle Park

Address: 3500 Polk St, Riverside, CA 92505, United States

Website: Castle Park

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8. Hike the trails at Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park

Sycamore Canyon Entrance
Source: Photo by Flickr user Matthew Mendoza used under CC BY-SA 2.0

One of the best places to visit in Riverside, if you’re one to enjoy nature hikes, is Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park. Located inside the park is Ameal Moore Nature Center, where you can sign up for guided walks and other interactive naturalist programs.

There are numerous trails surrounding the park and connecting it to the communities all around the city. If you’re a beginner hiker, the moderate trails at Sycamore Canyon are ideal for you. Riding a bike with the little ones and going on a bird-watching spree are some of the other activities you can do at the park as well.

Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park

Address: 400 Central Ave, Riverside, CA 92507, United States

Website: Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park

Opening hours: 5am - 8pm (daily)

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9. Take a leisurely hike at Mount Rubidoux Park

MR 40
Source: Photo by Flickr user Brian Altmeyer used under CC BY 2.0

Whether you’re hoping for a sunset walk with friends or an afternoon stroll with your favorite pup, this hike provides relaxation for all. This path in the city park is paved, making it the perfect way to destress while looking at the natural Southern California landscape. The view from the top is a fan favorite and gives you the perfect photo-op.

Mount Rubidoux Park

Address: 4706 Mount Rubidoux Dr, Riverside, CA 92501

Website: Mount Rubidoux Park

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10. Check out the Fox Performing Arts Center

Downtown Riverside, California
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ken Lund used under CC BY-SA 2.0

If a hike isn’t your scene, consider checking out the Fox Performing Arts Center, nestled in bustling downtown Riverside. From concerts to Broadway shows, to magicians, this venue accommodates it all. Locals and visitors alike love the quality of service, in-house bar, and reasonable prices, for a range of performances.

Fox Performing Arts Center

Address: 3801 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, California 92501

Website: Fox Performing Arts Center

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11. Get your Vitamin C fix at California Citrus State Historic Park

California Citrus State Historic Park
Source: Photo by Flickr user Daniel Orth used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Once you’ve got your fill of art and sun, why not go orange-picking in a tree-lined, sweet-smelling oasis? California Citrus State Historic Park dedicates itself to preserving the agricultural landscape and citrus industry that made the state famous. Citrus trees and citrus groves abound in this open-air museum and park. Not to mention that the beauty of the park itself creates the perfect opportunity for a photo op!

The tours are free and offered on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, at 10:30 am, 12:00 pm, and 2:00 pm. Learn from native Californians and leave with a full bag of delicious, freshly picked oranges.

California Citrus State Historic Park

Address: 9400 Dufferin Ave. Riverside, CA 92504

Website: California Citrus State Historic Park

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12. For your pick of food favorites, in a Spanish style mansion, visit the Mission Inn Hotel and Spa

Mission Inn
Source: Photo by Flickr user Daniel Orth used under CC BY-ND 2.0

An awe-inspiring sight, the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa is a great stop for every kind of visitor. Swing by to sip a margarita in the courtyard restaurant Las Campanas and doze underneath a ceiling of palm trees. Or, maybe stop in for tea time in the signature Mission Inn Restaurant, after booking a few spa treatments. Consider indulging in a champagne brunch, hosted every Sunday from 9:30 am to 2:00 pm.

The options are endless, including just a tour around the historic hotel to snap a few pictures and whisk yourself away to an imaginary Latin American city for the afternoon.

Mission Inn Hotel and Spa

Address: 3649 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, CA 92501

Website: Mission Inn Hotel and Spa

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13. Picnic underneath a canopy of swaying trees in Fairmount Park

Fairmount Park
Source: Photo by Flickr user Daniel Orth used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Tuckered out from sightseeing? Then, stop by Fairmount Park for a scenic picnic with the potential for live music. Featuring jasmine trees and palm trees, Lake Evans, and balmy weather, Fairmount Park is a fantastic place to relax and unwind. No wonder it was declared a Riverside cultural landmark! An easy place to sunbathe or relax in the shade, give yourself a much-needed break and check out Fairmont Park. It also features tennis courts, boat rentals, a snack bar, and a playground. Water activities on Lake Evans are available as well. 

Fairmount Park

Address: 2601 Fairmount Blvd, Riverside, CA 92501

Website: Fairmount Park

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14. Enjoy a moment of tranquility at Whitewater Preserve

Whitewater Nature Preserve, CA
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user inkknife_2000 (7.... used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Locals and visitors alike love a pit stop at Whitewater Preserve in Southern California. Located near Palm Springs, this site was created with the aim to protect the area surrounding Whitewater River. From hiking to the top of the 500-foot (152.4-meter) hill to relaxing in an inner tube, floating down the lazy creek, there is a wide array of recreational opportunities in this natural wonder. Pro-tip: Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and swimsuits! Folks love to jump into the water, but the California sun is famous for a reason. 

Whitewater Preserve

Address: 9160 Whitewater Canyon Rd, Whitewater, CA 92282

Website: Whitewater Preserve

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15. Escape the heat at the Riverside Art Museum

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user [Unknown] used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Not in the mood to bask in the sunshine? Enjoy the varied art of the Riverside Art Museum. Families will particularly enjoy the dinosaur exhibit. For the rest of the art junkies, take special note of the Hispanic artists, so valuable to the California region.

Riverside Art Museum

Address: 3425 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, CA 92501

Website: Riverside Art Museum

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16. Go back in time at Heritage House

Heritage House - Riverside, California
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mliedel used under CC BY-SA 3.0

An impeccably preserved home from the 1800s, Heritage House will take you back to a calmer time. Take a tour of this beautiful wonder and marvel at its permanent collection of artworks. Learn exactly what it was like to live in Riverside during the turn of the century. This museum is open Friday through Sunday, from 11:30 am to 4:00 pm. If you’re wondering what to do in Riverside on a calm weekend afternoon, a visit to Heritage House can make for an interesting day activity.

Heritage House

Address: 8193 Magnolia Avenue Riverside, CA 92504

Website: Heritage House

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17. Learn about the California desert at the Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center

Mount Jurupa
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Scottthezombie used under CC BY-SA 4.0

For children and adults alike, the Discovery Center will help you learn about cacti and the natural beauty of California, away from the coast. And the best part? Admission is free and you can explore all nine acres (3.6 hectares) of this amazing place.

Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center

Address: 7621 Granite Hill Dr, Jurupa Valley, Riverside, CA 92509

Website: Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center

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18. Explore the military history of California at the March Field Air Museum

March Field Air Museum, Riverside, CA
Source: Photo by Flickr user Alan Wilson used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Have you always wondered what army planes look like, up close? Are you interested in the rich history of California’s military? Now’s the chance to get up close and personal. Located near the March Air Reserve Base, this museum offers a guided experience that will last about two to three hours and will put you face-to-face with these iron birds. In addition to exhibit hangers, the March Field Air Museum also features venues for private parties and special events.

March Field Air Museum

Address: 22550 Van Buren Blvd, March Air Reserve Base, Riverside, CA 92518

Website: March Air Reserve Base

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An off-the-beaten path Californian experience for every taste

Downtown Riverside, CA
Source: Photo by user Daniel Orth used under CC BY-ND 2.0

If you’re looking for a place to live the California lifestyle of relaxation, fine dining, and sunshine, Riverside is it. And while you’re nearby, there are a couple of lofts for rent near Riverside you can check out for your stay.

With a range of activities for every person, there’s no way to go wrong with a visit to this getaway town in the valley.

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Frequently asked questions about best things to do in Riverside, California

  • What are the top attractions to visit in Riverside?

    A city in California you shouldn’t forget to stop by, Riverside, offers many things to do, from visiting museums to exploring nature reserves. Some of the best attractions here include Mount Rubidoux Park, March Field Air Museum, and Whitewater Preserve.

  • What are the best outdoor activities in Riverside?

    One of the best and relaxing outdoor activities here is hiking at Mount Rubidoux Park that overlooks California’s beautiful landscapes. Other must-try activities include visiting Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center to learn about California’s desert and having a picnic under a shade of a tree in Fairmount Park.

  • What are the most popular things to do in Riverside with kids?

    For popular child-friendly activities, you should visit the Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center and California Citrus State Historic Park. Other options for older kids are swimming at Whitewater Preserve and going back in time at the Heritage House.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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