Riverside is the county headquarters and largest city in Riverside County, California. It is part of the metropolitan region of the Inland Empire.
This city is one of Southern California’s many lovely cities. With one of the excellent climates in the country and a plethora of attractions within walking distance, it is one of the most attractive tourist destinations, even without a car.
You can visit its many museums, fabulous centers, historical sites, and botanical gardens to get close to nature.
You will meet some great anecdotes that back up some of the city’s historical places as you travel the city, and these will make your tour more enjoyable.
This guide will show you some of the most renowned Riverside attractions to make your visit worthwhile even without a car.
List of Contents
- 1. Riverside Botanic Gardens
- 2. Whitewater Preserve
- 3. California Museum of Photography
- 4. Heritage House
- 5. Fairmount Park
- 6. Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park
- 7. Fox Performing Arts Center
- 8. Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center
- 9. Castle Park
- 10. Riverside Metropolitan Museum
- 11. March Field Air Museum
- 12. Lake Helmet
1. Riverside Botanic Gardens
The Botanic Garden is a place to meet a diverse range of botanical collections, including flower, shrub, grass, and tree collections.
Under the geographical collection section, you can see some desert plants from other places, such as South Africa and Australia.
It is a fantastic site to visit if you enjoy nature, hiking, and seeing plants from different parts of the world. In addition to dense woods and thick tropical canopies, there are also Mediterranean and barren desert landscapes.
If you’re looking for an ideal location for relaxing and appreciating nature in its totality, this is the place.
Overall, a lovely location for taking photographs or just relaxing and eating lunch. I’d recommend this site, especially if you want to travel with your children or the entire family.
2. Whitewater Preserve
Whitewater Preserve is a breathtaking 2,851-acre wilderness with miles of beautiful trails and a year-round whitewater river.
There are numerous hiking pathways, allowing you to create the hike of your dreams.
It has no litter or graffiti in sight.
Visitors to this area can explore the area’s wildlife paths while also taking in the scenery.
This preserve has rare plants such as the Bell’s vireo and the Southwest willow flycatcher.
In addition, there are endangered species such as the fringe-toed lizard. This location is also home to various species, including deer, bighorn sheep, bears, etc.
You can spot even a bighorn sheep high in the mountains. You’ll also have access to table-equipped park seats and restrooms.
There are beautiful scenery and trail markers that are simple to follow.
3. California Museum of Photography
The California Museum of Photography is the most remarkable place to meet “more than a thousand words picture.”
The museum offers a vast collection of photography exhibits, comprising both contemporary and historical photographs in various formats.
Numerous shows here aid in studying the foreign interests shared by photographic products, photography technologies, and popular culture’s ever-growing obsession with the clicked picture.
They are also known to have shown many films throughout history, created by both renowned American and international directors.
If you enjoy photography, this should be on your list of things in Riverside, CA. However, if you are not a big fan of photography, you could opt to view exhibits and movies instead.
4. Heritage House
The Riverside Metropolitan Museum owns the Heritage House established in 1891. This beautiful Victorian-style home is an excellent example of the style. The home was once owned by Mr. and Mrs. James Bettner, who moved to Riverside in the late 1800s when the town’s horticulture industry was booming.
In 1895, when the Bradstreet Index came out, Riverside was the town in the United States with the highest income per person. The Bettners’ carefully preserved historic home shows a lot about their tastes, interests, and income level.
It is a well-kept home with docents who know a lot about it.
The property is in perfect condition and has its original furnishings from when it was constructed. Tour guides are enthusiastic about discussing the home’s history and era’s traditions. The house is a “look but doesn’t touch” zone, but the rooms are not blocked off, so you are welcome to walk around and see its beauty in its entirety, which is a rare chance.
If you love houses or are interested in learning about historical life, you should visit!
5. Fairmount Park
Fairmount Park is a great spot to spend quality time with friends and family because it has many exciting things.
There are lakes in the park, including Brown, Lake Evans, and Fairmount Lake, to enjoy.
I love the activities in its vicinity, including golfing, playing tennis, picnicking, and bowling.
This park is significantly more relaxed than the surrounding urban areas due to the abundance of large trees scattered throughout the grassy areas. It has paddle boats for rent, a rose garden, and numerous play structures for children.
It is one of the most beautiful places in the city. The park offers a long bike route that can take you quite far. Ultimately, it leads to The Art Museum, Boathouse Row, various unique sculptures, etc.
In addition to biking, this location is ideal for Frisbee and jogging. They also offer a functional tiny workout park near the waterfront. It is also the perfect location for taking photographs of the city.
6. Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park
Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park is another excellent location for trekking and taking in the scenery of the wilderness.
Running and hiking are great ways to use the park’s large size and explore the surrounding area.
There are some rear plants in the neighborhood. You can see the Fremont cottonwood and the monkeyflower in this region.
It is a lovely retreat in the heart of the city. Here, it is possible to think you are far from civilization. There are shared pathways for bikers and walkers. It is moderately strenuous and dog-friendly. There is little shade, so you should carry lots of water.
You can also encounter wildlife such as rattlesnakes while exploring this park, so you need to be aware of your surroundings.
It is the ideal place to view the sunset with your significant other or friends.
7. Fox Performing Arts Center
The Fox Performing Arts Center often presents performances and unique occasions. The main theater can accommodate up to 1,650 visitors, and the facility is renowned for screening Gone with the Wind for the first time in 1939. The famous theater hosts three to five concerts every month, including musical performances, dance productions, and comedic skits.
The Fox Performing Arts Center hosts performances for children, adolescents, and families.
I appreciated and enjoyed the talents of musicians and artists who performed here.
It is a stunning jewel that has outlasted comparable places. The current owners have converted it into a three-tiered live theater. We were on the balcony, which gave us a view of the main floor and the stage.
A retail counter selling mementos was available during the spectacular performance. On two floors, there were two refreshments and cocktail bars.
There are numerous restaurants and hotels within a few blocks. We were able to have dinner and beverages before the performance. We took a walk around the area and saw numerous popular businesses with lines out the door. As I saw people eating on patios, there was a feeling of excitement.
It is worthwhile to visit this theater for a remarkable and enjoyable experience.
8. Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center
Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center is one of the most educational locations in Riverside. This center has many Riverside attractions that will enhance your trip to the city.
I enjoyed the garden, nursery, dinosaur walk, museum with glowing fossils, and gift store. You’ll have access to picnic tables and facilities for children on their field trips.
I love the presence of trees and shade that makes for a relaxing and refreshing stay.
Mineral specimens, rough and polished stones, jewelry, children’s items, and a miniature reptile “zoo” are available in the gift store.
Overall, you will have a great time here. You’d want to see local plants like sage bundles, sweetgrass, and palo santo, which many people use to cleanse their stones and crystals. This location is a gem, pun intended, and a fantastic source of crystal and gem supplies.
9. Castle Park
Amusement parks are popular with children, and Castle Park in Riverside is a family-friendly option.
With seven roller coasters, a Kiddie land, and various unusual attractions, including four award-winning miniature golf courses and an arcade, Castle Park has become a cultural landmark for each generation.
Locals and visitors consider this park to be one of the nicest.
Every child and adult will have a great time! The park was kept clean and neat, with well-stocked restrooms.
The rides include a well-balanced selection of attractions, ranging from slow and enjoyable kiddie rides for all ages to a violent loop coaster, with most interests being “pup-friendly.” Even the arcades are spotless! Mini golf is constantly popular.
Even if you smoke, it is not difficult to exit and re-enter the building. You will appreciate the bag check and metal detectors present.
10. Riverside Metropolitan Museum
The Riverside Metropolitan Museum collaborates with the community to collect, preserve, investigate, and interpret Riverside’s cultural and natural history and the surrounding area.
This museum dates back to late 1924, when the Riverside City Council opened it to house American relics.
When I visited this museum, I had the opportunity to view its three exhibits, mainly devoted to Riverside’s history, nature, and cultural heritage.
Through images, documents, and ephemera, its enormous archive relates the history of the Riverside neighborhood.
You will adore the museum and its attractions, from taxidermy creatures unique to the area and its environs to art and photographs depicting the history of Riverside. There is a lot to learn, especially on the second floor, a Nature Lab with numerous living creatures. Also, you’ll encounter exceptional individuals across the entire museum.
11. March Field Air Museum
March Field Air Museum is a famous tourist destination in Riverside. It is a must-visit destination for anyone who enjoys the world of aviation.
The existence of this museum dates back to 1979, and it is currently home to an assortment of historic aircraft.
The aircraft you will encounter on this trip is the SR-71, known to beat the record as the world’s taste airplane.
Additionally, you have the opportunity to encounter bomber jets from World War II.
Their extensive collection of crewless aircraft, cargo planes, and helicopters will leave you in awe of their technological achievements.
Plus, they designated a portion of their property for hosting events, parties, and more.
Undoubtedly, March Field Air Museum is a beautiful place for the whole family to enjoy touring, viewing, and getting close to many historic aircraft.
They feature numerous instructional displays, presentation places, and friendly, knowledgeable staff. I had a wonderful time here!
12. Lake Helmet
This gorgeous lake, located one hour from Palm Springs at 4,500 feet, offers overnight camping, hiking, fishing, and boating.
Lake Hemet is a pleasant camping location close to the Inland Empire.
The facility itself is pretty attractive and spotless. The cabins are adorable and just the ideal size for a quick getaway.
The houses are nice, equipped with a compact refrigerator, microwave, television with a DVD player, queen-sized bunk beds, and a pull-out couch.
Additionally, the cabins fit with a heater. It keeps the whole place toasty warm. The primary shower and bathroom area are clean.
On Lake Helmet, you can create unforgettable memories. It is a safe, calm campground where campers of all ages and stages can enjoy the outdoors and nature. It is a convenient location for camping, fishing, and unwinding.
However, the stalls are incredibly cramped. Overall, the facility is lovely and clean, with a breathtaking outlook.
Riverside is a beautiful spot to wander if you do not have a car. Tourists and locals can appreciate the area’s abundance of parks, museums, retail complexes, and recreational amenities.
I hope this list encourages you to explore these Riverside locations without a car. Comment below if there are any Riverside locations you’re eager to visit.