15 exciting things to do in Riverside, California with kids!

Just 30 minutes from Temecula Wine Country, one of the largest towns in Southern California’s Inland Empire, Riverside is packed with fun attractions and sights to see! From the vibrant downtown historic district to the beautiful Botanical Gardens and beyond, there are many reasons people choose to visit Riverside.

If you’re planning a little Riverside vacation or just stopping by and not sure how to spend your time, come dive with us as we explore 15 fun things to do in Riverside while you’re there! (Also see our guide to things to do in San Diego, just an hour from Riverside)

Why should you go

As one of Riverside’s landmarks, Mount Rubidoux State Park offers one of the most popular hikes for tourists and residents alike. Many concrete pathways lined with cacti and wildflowers lead to the top of the mountain, where you’ll find the symbolic Peace Tower. Once here you get a magnificent 360 degree view of the entire Inland Empire.

things to do in Riverside

Why should you go

The Mission Inn is a true piece of history located in the historic downtown district of Riverside. With beautiful Spanish Mission architecture and a castle-like setting that is sure to wow you and your family, this is a must-visit in Riverside. If you’re not staying there, you can always take tours led by guides to learn about its history or make reservations at the award-winning restaurant inside.

things to do in Riverside

Why should you go

The California Citrus State Historic Park is a 250-acre state park dedicated to the state’s citrus heritage. Stroll along the paved path that winds through the beautiful surroundings of the citrus grove. On the weekends, you can head to the Sunkist Center’s back porch to enjoy some fresh citrus!

things to do in Riverside

Why should you go

Whether you’re a movie buff or looking to bask in pure American nostalgia, there’s nothing quite like hitting the drive-thru. The Van Buren Drive-In is near the California Citrus State Historic Park and is one of the few drive-ins in the United States still in operation. Here you can find movies throughout the week and plenty of concessions to enjoy while you watch!

Why should you go

In the foothills of Box Springs Mountain are the UC Riverside Botanical Gardens. Here you will find four miles of beautiful trails to walk through several gardens. From the vast rose garden to the North American desert section to the impressive butterfly garden, there is so much to see here!

Why should you go

The Main Street Shopping Center is in Downton and connects a number of historic sites and small shops. The area is very well maintained with an abundance of shady trees, gardens and fountains, perfect for a day of shopping. Once your shopping is done, take a seat at one of the terraces of the many cafés in the area.

things to do in Riverside

Why should you go

You’ll find over 70 aircraft and over a thousand artifacts at the March Air Field Museum. This unique open-air museum features aviation artifacts from the past 100 years, including bombers, spy planes, helicopters and more! You can get up and close with these artifacts and enjoy one of the docent-led tours.

Why should you go

Although only 60% complete at this point, the plan is for the Santa Ana River Trail to run 110 miles between Huntington Beach and the San Bernardino National Forest. We recommend taking bikes if you can and stopping at some tourist spots, such as Fairmount Park and Martha McLean-Anza Narrows Park. It’s a great way to get away from the city for a bit!

things to do in Riverside

Why should you go

Admire more than 1,500 works of art and temporary exhibitions at the Riverside Art Museum. From watercolors to lithographs to posters and beyond, there are so many mediums to enjoy while you’re here. In addition, every first Thursday of each month, the museum participates in the local art walk.

Why should you go

You’ll find an abundance of outdoor spaces to explore at Fairmount Park. Cycle around Lake Evans, play tennis or explore the historic boathouse. In May, the roses in the park are in full bloom, ideal for photographers looking for natural inspiration!

things to do in Riverside

Why should you go

The Riverside Metropolitan Museum dates back to the 1920s and has a collection of artifacts from across the region. Enjoy three different collections, covering anthropology, natural sciences and history. The museum is also responsible for the Heritage House, which is a turn-of-the-century Victorian estate that gives patrons a glimpse into life in the 1800s.

things to do in Riverside

Why should you go

For comedy, music and live entertainment, the Fox Performing Arts Center is the place to go. The venue opened in 1929 and had its first renovation in 2007. No matter what type of entertainment you enjoy, you’ll be sure to find something to enjoy here!

things to do in Riverside

Why should you go

With 1,500 acres of outdoor expanse, Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park is packed with expansive running trails, hiking trails, and biking trails for exploring nature. You’ll see plenty of wildlife in the area, but be sure to watch out for rattlesnakes! If you have children, go to the Ameal Moore Nature Center at the park entrance!

things to do in Riverside

Why should you go

About three miles from California Citrus State Historic Park is Castle Park, a popular amusement park filled with carnival rides, a water park and, of course, mini-golf. After a round of golf, be sure to visit Ride Park, which features over 20 rides, including a spinning train and flying saucers!

things to do in Riverside

Why should you go

Box Springs Mountain is adjacent to UC Riverside and gives people the opportunity to get away to nature as soon as they get out of their car. There’s no better way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city than to soar 3,000 feet above the valley!

Map of things to do in Riverside, California

Frequently Asked Questions About Things to Do in Riverside

What better way to do in Riverside for a few days?

Mission Inn
Mont Rubidoux Park
California Citrus State Historic Park
UC Riverside Botanical Gardens
Ciné-parc Van Buren
March Field Air Museum
Main Street Mall
Riverside Art Museum

When is the best time of year to visit Riverside?

December to February are the coolest months, and you can’t miss the Mission Inn Christmas lights in December!

If you liked our list of things to do in Riverside, you might also like:

[12 AMAZING] THINGS TO DO IN ENCINITAS, CALIFORNIA!

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