Sixty miles east of Los Angeles, you'll find the sweet and zesty city of Riverside, where the California citrus industry was born. But a day spent in the Inland Empire hub is not just about the delicious oranges (and lemons, limes, and grapefruits). Roam around and you'll find a wealth of unique history, architecture and cuisine.
START YOUR DAY RIGHT
Simple Simon’s Bakery & Bistro
Everything is made in-house at this brick-walled, farmhouse-style bistro—breads, cakes, pastries, and hearty chicken apple sausage. Eat breakfast outside on the patio or tuck into a cozy indoor booth for lunch.
LEARN ABOUT ORANGES AND ECONOMICS
California Citrus State Historic Park
In the 1890s, Riverside’s citrus industry spurred Southern California’s economic growth. The city’s navel oranges became so popular that Riverside boasted the country’s highest per capita income. On a ranger-led tour, pay homage by tasting oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits grown on site.
TOUR GRAND ARCHITECTURE
Mission Inn Hotel & Spa
Walk across the plaza and explore the country’s largest and grandest Mission Revival–style building, founded in 1902. Take a guided tour to learn about the venerable hotel’s flying buttresses, stained glass windows, bell tower, circular staircase, chapel, courtyards, and lavish antiques. Hollywood stars and American presidents have slept here.
TASTE CLASSIC FRENCH CUISINE
Le Chat Noir
Julia Child would approve of this old-school French café serving suddenly-cool-again standards—onion soup gratinée, in-shell escargot, rack of lamb—all flawlessly prepared. The airy, multilayered Napoleon is a dessert must.
EXPLORE 100 YEARS OF AVIATION HISTORY
March Field Air Museum
Discover the evolution of flight at this aviation museum, which houses one of the largest collections of military aircraft on the West Coast. For a reasonable $10 admission (as of press time), you can get up close to a replica of the 1903 “Wright Flyer,” attack helicopters, and sleek fighter jets.
GO FROM CITRUS TO CULTURE
Riverside Art Museum
Housed in a 1929 building designed by Hearst Castle architect Julia Morgan, this small-but-mighty museum displays works by Karl Benjamin, Toulouse Lautrec, and Marc Chagall. It also hosts kids art classes, lectures, film screenings, and book signings.