Lavish and elegant, Riverside’s Mission Inn Hotel & Spa combines Old World romance with the splendour of Southern California’s citrus-growing era. From its modest start in 1876 as an adobe guesthouse, the Mission Inn grew into a veritable castle of turrets and ornate tile domes, archways, and lush garden courtyards. For more than a century, its grandeur has drawn glitterati and big names, from Hollywood royalty (Cary Grant and Barbra Streisand) to Albert Einstein and American presidents. In fact, Richard and Patricia Nixon were married at the inn and Ronald and Nancy Reagan honeymooned there.
For all of its grand architecture and history (which you can learn about on walking tours), the Mission Inn has plenty of contemporary comforts too, with a full-service spa and several restaurants. And its downtown Riverside location puts you within easy reach of art museums, galleries, and events at the Fox Performing Arts Center, located in a restored 1929 theatre.
With its inviting destinations and uncrowded wilderness, this region feels like an insider’s secret amid the bustling excitement of Southern California.
Mount San Gorgonio—nicknamed “Old Grayback”—is the tallest peak in Southern California, at 11,502 feet/3,506 meters.
Surprising alpine scenery around Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear beckons, with pine-scented trails in summer and winter sports when the snow flies. If you’re into action, get the adrenaline rush of seeing the world’s best NASCAR racers compete at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. For a dreamier escape, float in a hot-air balloon above rolling Temecula Valley wine country.
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