Riverside, CA

Traveler: Danielle Gervalis
When: May 2019

Overall Experience

Fifty miles east of Los Angeles lies the perfectly pleasant city of Riverside, California. It was established in the late 1800’s and was the birthplace of the citrus industry in the state. Today it makes the perfect day trip from hectic LA to explore the unique hiking trails, funky art and historic Mission Inn.

Things to Do and Eat

The Mission Inn

Kicking off this post with the most spectacular building in the city, the Mission Inn Hotel and Spa. If you decide to stay in Riverside, you would be remiss if you didn’t stay in this California Castle. Even if you aren’t a lucky guest, you can still take a guided tour of the grounds and/or have cocktails and dinner. The Inn began as a humble abode in 1876 and has since expanded to host 239 guest rooms comprised of an eclectic blend of architectural styles including Gothic, Spanish, Moorish and Mediterranean. The Mission Inn is a national historic landmark and features museum quality treasures from it’s prior owner’s travels around the world.


The Nanjing Bell Рa 3,500 imperial temple bell from the Manchu Temple in Nanjing China 

This fancy locale hosted many famous guests over the years including presidents (Richard and Pat Nixon were married here), actors, and geniuses (Albert Einstein) and has been the setting of books and films, including The Man in the Iron Mask. So do yourself a favor and¬† embrace this iconic building’s impact on popular culture with a stop in the lobby!


Tio’s Tacos

There’s something magical that happens when you combine two amazing things. In this instance, Tio’s Tacos combines artwork and authentic Mexican food. In the front of the house, you can order an array of tacos, fajitas and fresh juice cocktails. In the back courtyard, an extensive treasure trove of artwork made from recycled materials delights guests as they enjoy the fine Californian weather.


The restaurant owner and artist is Martin Sanchez, who emigrated with his family from Mexico, created an elaborate world our of up-cycled discarded items over half an acre! Per the restaurant’s website, Mr. Sanchez was inspired to save the everyday scrape due to the poverty he grew up in. His creativity truly honors the old proverb “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

Tio's Tacos Art Work

Day of the Dead Motorcycle Rider

Riverside Food Lab

This food hall hosts over a dozen food and drink vendors in a hip, industrial space in downtown Riverside. The Food Lab is a vibrant communal space where you can enjoy sample a wide variety of tasty food, enjoy a beer, people watch and listen to live music!

Graffiti Falls

Graffiti Falls is a short, intermediate level hike in an unassuming residential block. While the graffiti part is spot on, the waterfall seems to have dried up long ago. It takes about 10-15 minutes to get to a rock wall of colorful tags and artwork which stands in stark contrast to the surrounding beige rocks and grass. Be extremely careful if you decide to climb the rocks to get an up close and personal look at the murals. It can be very steep and uneven!!

To find the trail, I punched in 3339 Lincoln Rd in the GPS which led right to the trail head (also marked with graffiti) and parked on the side of the road. I spent less than an hour here and didn’t have any issues with parking.

California Citrus State Historic Park

Part citrus farm, part open air museum the California Citrus State Historic Park spans nearly 250 acres of fruit groves. It was established in 1915 as a way to recognize the second gold rush of California. Citrus farms became a booming industry in the state when women’s suffragist, Eliza Tibbets, successfully cultivated two navel orange trees in Riverside, CA which produced an sweet and flavorful fruit!

California Historic Citrus State Park

Beautiful views and sweet orange smells

The park costs $5 to enter for a parking fee and is open daily. It features hundreds of acres to explore, a visitor center and a museum. It’s a perfect place to picnic and enjoy the sweet smelling fruit and palm trees. They even do tastings on weekends!

Mount Rubidoux

Part of the San Bernardino Mountain Range, the 1,331 ft peak of Mount Rubidoux is easily accessible by old and young alike. The paved trail is a little less than a 3 mile loop and takes about an hour to the top and back. It’s a popular trail with lots of people and runners around so I felt perfectly safe as a solo lady hiker.

There are historical markers along the way, including the World Peace Bridge which is modeled after the Alcantara bridge in Spain. The 360 degree views from the top are sweeping in all directions. You get an incredible perspective of Riverside and the mountain range in the distance.

View from the top of Mount Rubidoux

Mount Rubidoux View

For convenient access, I parked at the Ryan Bonaminio Park and walked a few blocks to the well marked trail entrances.

One thought on “Riverside, CA

  1. Pingback: Looking for a day trip from LA? Check out Riverside, CA! – Zolas Blog

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