Menifee and Sun City Day Tripping
Southwestern Riverside County, especially the area around Menifee and Sun City, is growing rapidly, and has a lot more to offer than just the strip malls and housing developments you can see from the freeway.
While many peoples’ first impulse for a day trip from the southwest corner of the Inland Empire is to head for the cooler weather at the coast, there’s a lot to do within an easy (less than a 1 ½ hour) drive. Now that the hottest days of the summer are behind us, it’s time to explore a little closer to home.
Escape to Higher Elevations
If you’re after those cooler temps and don’t want to battle the traffic all the way to coastal Orange County, there are two great options to the east in the San Jacinto mountains - Idyllwild and Mount San Jacinto.
Idyllwild is a classic mountain town, and if you’re after a winding road trip to the pines, this is a great opportunity to “stretch the legs” of your sports car or motorcycle. When you’re ready to literally stretch your legs, you can stroll through the center of town, and find several great places to grab a bite to eat before you head back down the mountain. Check out Lumber Mill Bar & Grill, Red Kettle, or Idyllwild Brewpub.
Reaching Mount San Jacinto is a different kind of adventure. You can enjoy the spectacular views as you travel in the world’s largest rotating tram car from the desert floor in Palm Springs to Mountain Station at 8,516 feet via the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. This is also a great trip in the winter, if you’re in need of a quick fix of cold temperatures and snow.
Step Back in Time
Just a few minutes away in Perris, you can step back in time and ride the rails at the Southern California Railway Museum. The museum is open daily, and you can explore the West’s largest collection of railway locomotives, passenger and freight cars, streetcars, interurban electric cars, buildings and other artifacts dating from the 1870’s. On the weekends, you can ride an excursion train or a historic streetcar. If you’re really adventurous, you can even arrange to operate a diesel locomotive or an electric trolley.
Embrace Chicano Culture
Just to the north in the city of Riverside, you’ll find the Riverside Art Museum - home to the Cheech Marin Center for Art and Culture. The Museum has many great exhibits, but the collection of actor and comedian Cheech Marin, one of the world’s foremost collectors of Chicano art, can’t be missed. The over 60,000 square foot Center houses hundreds of paintings, drawings, photographs, and sculptures by artists including Patssi Valdez, Sandy Rodriguez, Carlos Almaraz, Frank Romero, Judithe Hernández, and Gilbert “Magú” Luján.
The Museum and Cheech Marin Center are in Riverside’s downtown core, so be sure to check out everything else that is going on in this quaint, Inland Empire town.
So Much More
We’ve just scratched the surface on what’s available close by. You can also visit Old Town Temecula for dining, shopping, and antiques. Visit the nearby casinos and resorts at the Pechanga and Pala Indian Reservations. And of course, just east of Temecula is one of California’s largest wine growing regions, full of vineyards and tasting rooms. Get out there and explore some of these great places nearby!