Located just 40 miles east of Los Angeles, this Inland Empire town is quickly becoming a hot destination thanks to its central location and reasonable prices. Get your shop on at Ontario Mills Mall, Southern California’s largest outlet center, where you’ll find designer labels at rock-bottom prices. If the outdoor life is more your speed, you’ll love the tranquility of Cucamonga-Guasti Park.
Did we say speed? Ontario’s got that covered, too. Ontario Motor Speedway is the first and only facility to play host to IndyCar Series, NASCAR, FIA, and NHRA races. The Ontario Convention Center attracts trade show attendees and concert-goers alike, so lodging and dining opportunities abound. This town truly has something for everyone.
Ontario may seem like a long drive for a road trip from the Bay Area, but hop on the freeway, crank up the tunes, and the 6 hours will fly by faster than the scenery on I-5. Hop on US 101-S and stay left to take I-80 E toward Bay Bridge/Oakland. Exit right onto Interstate 580 E toward CA-24/Hayward /Stockton.
Continue on I-580 E for about 58 miles total before merging onto I-5 S for a long, straight shot until you hit Exit 161A for I-210 E toward Pasadena. Continue on I-210 E for about 24 miles – watch out for the fork to the right with signs for I-210/San Bernardino/Ventura/CA-134. Hit the signal and hop into the left lane to ease to I-210 E.
You’re getting close, so now’s the time to snap out of driving mode and get amped to reach your destination. After about 15 miles, make sure you’re in one of the right two lanes – Exit 22 is coming up soon. You’ll take it to merge onto I-10 E toward San Bernardino.
Once you hit the 10, you’re just 9.8 miles from Ontario. Exit 51 for CA-83/Euclid Ave toward Ontario/Upland will get you right where you want to be.
The Fairfield Inn is a solid value for the area and features a heated outdoor pool with stunning mountain views, free Wi-Fi and HBO, and a continental breakfast with delicious Belgian waffles or Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches to go. This centrally-located hotel is just a five-minute drive from the Ontario Convention Center and a quick jaunt anywhere else in town. The staff at the Fairfield Inn are crazy accommodating, so your stay is guaranteed to be a pleasure.
This elegant hotel features green marble throughout and Queen Anne design touches. Located about half-a-mile from the airport, you’ll be a quick drive from all major attractions. Guests rave about the Azure Hotel & Suites’ excellent on-site restaurant. Many rooms overlook the year-round outdoor pool, and all are equipped with a coffee machine to get your day started right.
This is the clear choice for travelers who want to save their dollars for a big-time shopping spree. Ontario Mills Mall is just three miles away. It’s the best bargain in town, featuring value prices and an impressive 8.7 rating. The apartment-style suites have fully-equipped kitchens, but the daily morning breakfast buffet is a real treat – and included in the cost of your room. This gem has free Wi-Fi, a gym and sport courts, and welcomes pets.
Panda Inn has been described as one of the best Chinese restaurants in the Inland Empire. Their menu is extensive and authentic, but the #1 draw is that there’s a vegan and/or vegetarian-friendly option for almost everything. The knowledgeable, accommodating staff make this a fantastic pick if anyone in your party has special dietary needs. It’s moderately priced, but nice enough to take a date. Open daily.
This is the spot locals have on speed dial. Pizza Pirates serves ooey-gooey, cheesy pizza topped with everything from classic pepperoni to California veggie. The rest of the menu is sparse, but their huge buffalo wings definitely hit the spot. This budget-friendly place is great fun for families and they offer delivery to local hotels. Fast, friendly service and great prices make this a winner. Open daily.
Not to be confused with Graber Olive House, Olive Grill has a menu that’s part American diner, part healthy vegetarian, and part Korean BBQ. They somehow manage to get it all just right, but if you’re looking for suggestions, the Korean BBQ sandwich is not to be missed. The restaurant is tucked away in an industrial area, but it’s well worth the effort to find it. This is where the locals stop for a quick weekday lunch. Unfortunately, they are not open for dinner or on weekends.
Ontario is a hot destination for race fans, and K1 Speed Ontario is your chance to get behind the wheel for your own high-octane adventure. Compete on one of two professionally-designed courses at their state-of-the-art indoor facility. Their high-performance go-karts are like nothing you’ve experienced before! Daredevils can enjoy special weekday rates Monday through Thursday.
This local mainstay has been in business since 1894, but you could almost drive right past it. You’ll be glad you stopped. Tours are offered throughout the year, but fall is the best time to visit for a first-hand look at the grading, curing, and canning of world-famous Graber olives. Their gift shop is a charming delight that features gourmet food, unique accessories, and locally-made gifts.
This one is for the history buffs among us. The charming Museum of History and Art is housed in a historic building that sets the scene for an in-depth education on the farming culture, historical significance, and art of the region. A unique exhibit on Route 66 and the development of US highway infrastructure is a highlight, and the museum attracts a revolving calendar of regular artist exhibits.
Ontario isn’t far from Disneyland, but the down-to-earth fun at Scandia Amusement Park is just as awesome and the lines are shorter. The southern-most outpost of this small chain of Scandinavian-themed family fun centers is a screamin’ good time, with two roller coasters and 12 other amusement rides, plus bumper boats, batting cages, mini golf, and more! The perfect place to bring the kids – or act like one – for an afternoon.
This low-key destination is a welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle of other Ontario activities. The park features two large lakes for fishing, a swim complex, a water play park for younger children, and bucolic picnic areas that are the perfect spot to enjoy a take-out lunch. It’s all situated on a 150-acre oasis right inside the city limits.