Riverside calls to an eclectic range of interests, from the rich and famous of Hollywood and the thrones of power across the world, to lovers of nightlife, arts, architecture and history.
The 59th largest city in the U.S. is an unreal hub of energy in its own right. And it's less than 50 miles to SoCal beaches, if a pit stop or side trip is on the agenda for some surf and beach life.
Riverside is a seven-hour run down the 5 from San Francisco. Turn on XM radio and rock your way over the Bay and taking I-580 east to the 5. Point south and let 'er run all the way past Santa Clarita. That's where you'll start your shake-and-bake around L.A.
Around Santa Fernando, catch I-210 east and keep an eye out for the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Take CA-71 south near San Dimas. You'll grab CA-60 east until you're practically to Riverside. I-215 will be your exit there.
The Days Inn Riverside Tyler Mall is a budget spot that puts you only steps away from Castle Park. The hotel features an outdoor swimming pool and free Wi-Fi. If you're a jet-setter, it's only 13 miles from the Ontario International Airport. A free continental awaits you each morning.
Hyatt Place Riverside Downtown is the spot for contemporary comfort. An outdoor swimming pool is at the ready, and the Wi-Fi is free. There's an onsite happy hour to make some friends over cocktails, and there's a 24/7 market for the late-night munchies on your way in from a night out.
Dynasty Suites is a cool throwback that's recently received a refresh. It's only three miles from city center, and the UC-Riverside campus is nearby if you're looking for another scenic place to stroll, or for shopping and dining in University Village. Wi-Fi is free.
Pacific Cabin Sushi is an all-you-can eat spot with nice-sized cuts of fish. The staff is friendly, and there is plenty to choose from for non-sushi-lovers, too. The location is great for a walk-about downtown when you've had your fill at the Pacific Cabin.
Duane's Prime Steaks & Seafood is the spot for a nice dinner out. Put away the flip-flops and get ready for an experience. Duane's is situated in the Mission Inn, a beautiful location with old Spanish architecture and fine-dining ambiance to suit. The steak is the best in the Inland Empire. Splurge if you must.
Heroes is the spot for casual atmosphere and amazing, flavorful food. The staff is friendly and the drinks are, too. Catch a game -- it is a sports bar -- or just kick back and enjoy a beer and a burger. No surprises here. Just a solid place to satisfy cravings with laid-back style.
The Mission Inn Foundation preserves, interprets, and promotes the cultural heritage of the Mission Inn, and Riverside. It's an unusual kind of place in that it's a nonprofit museum run within a for-profit hotel. But this place has a story to tell and the Foundation takes that seriously. Daily tours of the hotel are available, and friendly guides are on-hand to liven your experience with cool information.
The March Field Air Museum houses some raw power you can feel vibrating through the house even without the engines roaring. The museum shows off more than 70 aircraft and more than 30,000 artifacts. For nearly a century, March Field has been home to aviation pioneers, some famous and some unsung heroes who accomplished equally amazing things.
There aren't many of these old silver-screen experiences left anywhere. Make a night of a double-feature at the Van Buren Drive-In. Wear whatever you want to this movie theater. You get to enjoy it from the comfort of your portable living room. It's a slice of rare modern life viewed through the lens of nostalgia. Gotta do it.
For an easy stroll through a rare collection of beauty, UC-Riverside Botanic Gardens is a prime spot. Sure, the scientist in your life could spend days upon days poring over the experience. But truth is, so could anyone who has an appreciation for natural wonders.
The Riverside Art Museum Currently has a range of art styles and educational programs, and -- fingers crossed -- will be opening a Chicano art and history section of the museum as the Cheech Marin Center. Explore your creative side with a walk through the RAM.