Today, we’re going to discover the best things to do in Temecula – an exciting destination that everyone should visit!
In case you didn’t know, life on Earth began in Temecula Valley. The Sky Father united with Earth Mother in this very place. Well, this is the story of creation you’ll hear from the Temecula locals.
The origin of the name Temecula can be traced back to the Pechanga Indians, who used to call the Temecula area “Exva Temeeku”. That phrase can be loosely translated as “sand and place of sun”.
Temecula is a rich combination of history and beauty. It is also the home of some really good wines.
Temecula is one of the most beautiful and most accessible cities in Riverside County. It’s only a short drive from other popular destinations. From San Diego, you’re only an hour away. And you’d only need 1.5 hours to get to Temecula from Los Angeles.
There are lots of things to do in Temecula. We hope this guide helps you uncover some exciting items to add to your Temecula itinerary.
Let’s get started.
- Visit the Wilson Creek Winery
The climate around the Temecula Valley is really well-suited for growing some varieties of grapes, such as Syrah, Sangiovese, Tempranillo and others. Naturally, a lot of top-quality vineyards and wineries have developed in the region.
One of the wineries to add to your list is The Wilson Creek Winery. Its wines have received many awards in the past few years, such as multiple “Wine Enthusiast” awards for a range of its wines.
From a relaxing, beautiful environment, to taste bud satisfaction, Wilson Creek Winery delivers it all.
The winery offers tours where you can learn about the winery and the different wines available. The Wilson Creek Winery is always buzzing with people. Wine tasting is open Monday to Thursday 10am – 5pm, Fridays 10am – 8pm, and Saturday and Sunday 10am – 6pm.
The Winery also has a bar and a restaurant, so you can have lunch or dinner as well.
- Old Town Temecula
Old Town Temecula is a little town located really close to the wineries, so it makes total sense to make a stop here when you’re going to check out the wineries.
Old Town Temecula has a community theater, cafes, bars, shops, and a very busy Farmers Market event on Saturdays. You can also get a glimpse into the historical and cultural heritage of Temecula – there are lots of restored old style buildings, carriages on the streets, and other historical things to see.
There is a large number of high-quality places to eat to suit every budget – just walk the streets and you will see the options.
Old Town Temecula also has a well-known Temecula Duck Pond Park where you can see the ducks and explore the war-time memorials.
Lots of festivals happen in Temecula during the year, and you might just be lucky enough to join in the fun as the local residents and tourists experience these events.
- Old Town Temecula Farmers Market is Your Next stop
Right in the heart of Old Town Temecula is the Temecula Farmers Market. It gets very busy on the weekends, but even during the week it’s a great place to buy your fruit and vegetables and other delicious food.
There are also several arts shops at the Market. You can purchase any artwork that catches your eye. There are paintings, beautifully crafted objects, artifacts, and other design works.
Even if you’re not buying any artwork, fruits or vegetables, you might enjoy browsing the Market and admiring the goods.
Old Town Temecula Farmers Market is just a short walk from the famous Temecula Valley Museum. You could also walk to the Sam Hicks Monument Park from there.
- Visit the Temecula Valley Museum
If you’re curious about the historical and cultural heritage of Temecula, here’s another recommended destination for you.
If you take a stroll down Old Temecula Town, you will see that Temecula has a lot of history to tell.
The best place to learn about this history is the Temecula Valley Museum. Although it may be smaller than other museums you’ve seen, there’s a lot of history in it. Almost everything you want to know about Temecula is there.
There is no required entry fee and it’s a nice place for kids. There are areas dedicated to children like an interactive playroom with lots of attractions for kids.
With proper supervision, kids are allowed to touch many things. The display of exhibits is well-coordinated and easy to navigate. You can also buy some things from the gift shop.
Since the Temecula Valley Museum is right at the center of the Old Town, you can easily make your way towards other attractions.
Some of them are the Chapel of Memories and the famous Temecula Farmers Market we talked about earlier. It is also close to the Sam Hicks Monument Park and some famous wineries in case you’d like to taste some wines.
- More Than Your Average Wine-tasting Experience at Leoness Cellars
Imagine being able to see a 20-acre vineyard from the top of a hill. That’s exactly what Leoness Cellars offers.
The Cellar itself rests on top of a magnificent hill with a beautiful view. Here, you can explore the different styles of wine. There’s good food and the wine pouring is generous. Online reviews are ravingly positive – many reviewers say that it’s one of the best wineries to get a wine tour.
Leoness Cellars dates back to 1972 when the founder Gary Winder started growing organic citrus and avocados in the area. He quickly built a great reputation in the area for his high quality produce and farming techniques.
In 1989 he partnered up with Mike Rennie and together they set up their current vineyard operations.
Leoness Cellars have a gift shop where you can purchase wine for takeaway. Other things for sale include souvenirs and various wine accessories you didn’t even know existed.
It will take you only 20 minutes to get here from Old Town Temecula. Right next to Leoness Cellars, there are other wineries within a couple of miles, so you can visit more than one winery in one go.
You also have the options to stay overnight – there are numerous hotels like The Vine House Bed and Breakfast and Ponte Vineyard Inn.
- View the Whole of Temecula From a Hot Air Balloon
Seeing the Temecula Valley from a hot air balloon is an amazing experience (unless you’re scared of heights).
You can enjoy the stunning scenery underneath, and get a bit of an adrenaline rush. Most rides last 60-75 minutes and usually there are 6 – 15 people onboard.
The prices of the hot air balloon rides vary depending on the day and the operator. The usual price is around $200 – $300 and sometimes includes a glass of locally-made champagne or wine.
Some of the more established local hot-air balloon operators include Compass Balloons and California Dreamin’.
In case you’re visiting Temecula for a special occasion, you can ask the hot air balloon operators for a special booking. You can book out the whole balloon for your group. They frequently customize their packages for special occasions such as birthdays and wedding anniversaries.
- Use the Jeep Tour to Explore More Wineries With Less Stress
Jeep tours are a popular option to explore the region’s wineries.
If it’s your first time in Temecula and you’re looking to visit the wineries, you could get overwhelmed by the sheer number of them. Jeep tours can help you there and can take you from winery to winery, on a predetermined itinerary.
Or perhaps you want to enjoy a glass of wine at each winery – that can quickly put you above the allowed blood alcohol limit. Jeep tours can help you with that as well – you can sample as many wines as you want without worrying about having to drive later.
This is what Jeep and wine tours are for. When you go on a Jeep wine tour, which is often open-air, you can enjoy the view of the surroundings without having to worry about driving.
During the tour, you’ll stop at the selected wineries. This is often better because the local tour operators know what wineries are worth going to.
For the group sizes, there are various options available – some tours require you to book the whole jeep. And some others allow singles to join on their tours – up to a maximum of 6 people will usually be on the tour.
You could also arrange for the tour operators to pick you up from your accommodation.
- Play Some Games at the MindTrap Escape Room
Wineries and museums are not the only interesting things about Temecula. If you’ve explored these places, you should make a stop at the MindTrap Escape Room.
The MindTrap Escape Room is a puzzle center with multiple activities such as trying to escape from a room, or trying to solve a mystery puzzle.
The activities and puzzles vary in difficulty, target age, and theme. There are various themes such as Medieval, Investigation and Zombies.
The MindTrap Escape Room has these types of activities both indoors and outdoors.
The games here are tailored towards people of ages. Kids-specific puzzles aim to educate the children in certain skills and knowledge.
With several mind games, puzzles, and codes that have to be solved together, families can spend some time bonding and having fun.
MindTrap Escape Room is only a mile away from Old Town Temecula and the Pennypickle’s Workshop, which we’ll talk about next.
- Take Your Kids to the Pennypickle’s Workshop
It’s cool that you’ve been having fun. Let your kids have some too!
The Pennypickle’s workshop is a museum designed specifically for children. If you want your kids to have an experience they won’t forget in a hurry, take them there. You should budget at least 2 hours for this visit.
The workshop includes a treasure hunt, a walk through a glow, interesting games, and more. It’s also an opportunity for your kids to learn a little chemistry. Right in the museum, there’s a gift shop where you can buy lots of cool things to take home.
The museum is right at the center of Old Town Temecula, you can drop your kids off and go explore other adult adventures.
- Don’t leave without seeing the Pechanga Resort and Casino
If you’re in Temecula, there’s no point leaving without visiting this famous casino.
The Pechanga Resort and Casino is about 4 miles from Old Town Temecula (a 15-20 minute drive).
The Pechanga resort has been voted as the “best casino in California” and “best casino west of Vegas”. You can stay at the resort through your whole Temecula vacation – there are 1,100 guest rooms.
From there, you can tour the city and the surrounding valley comfortably. The resort has everything you need. From luxurious guest rooms and suites to grand-style casinos, five-star restaurants, spas, and more.
One interesting place to see in the resort is the Pechanga Theatre. Various concerts, musicals, and performances are held here. The sound and lighting system is top-notch and visitors can enjoy beverages and other forms of refreshments during their shows.
Age restriction for the casino is 21 and older. For concerts, guests 17 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Pechanga Resort comes with a luxurious feel and is one of the best places to consider for your getaway with your family and friends.
There’s a golf course for lovers of golf. You definitely should add this to your list of things to do in Temecula.
Over to You – What Will You Choose To Do in Temecula?
There are many excellent activities you can choose during your trip to Temecula.
Picturesque wineries that can easily rival the Santa Barbara wineries, lots of green open spaces, history, museums, bars, pubs, parks and more – you can find all that in Temecula (and more!).
We hope that our list of things to do in Temecula has helped you find some new ideas and get ready for your trip.
Temecula is waiting to reveal itself to you – so what are you waiting for?