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The 20 Best Things to Do in Temecula, CA for First Timers

Wineries in a Carriage

Temecula is a city and tourist destination in Riverside County in California. This city is best known for its golf courses and for its award-winning wineries as it is surrounded by picturesque wine county. Therefore, it is a popular destination for wine lovers and golf enthusiasts. However, there is a lot more to this city, and it has something for everyone. You will get the most out of your visit to this city if you plan your itinerary in advance. To help you do this, here are the 20 best things to do in Temecula, CA for first-timers.

Play a Round of Golf

20. Play a Round of Golf

Temecula is famous for its golf courses, so it is a fantastic place for golf enthusiasts to enjoy their favorite activity during their vacation. It is also a good place for golf novices to learn some golf skills and play a round of golf for the first time. Some of the best golf courses in the area include Temeku Hills Golf and Country Club, Redhawk Golf Club, and Journey at Pechanga.

Try Ax Throwing

19. Try Ax Throwing

If you want to try something new while you are in Temecula, then The Broke Backpacker recommends trying ax throwing. This is a bit like playing darts, except you are throwing big axes at a large wooden board. SoCal Axe has professionals on hand to give you ax-throwing tips and teach you how to score points in this fun activity.

Visit a Speakeasy

18. Visit a Speakeasy

There are two speakeasies in Temecula: Thompson & Twain Prospecting CO. and the Apparition Room. These prohibition-themed venues make it fun to visit as you must sneak into both restaurants. At the Apparition Room, you walk in from behind a wooden screen, while at Thompson & Twain Prospecting Co. you sneak behind a curtain. They are fun places to enjoy a cocktail and a meal. If you want to dine at the Apparition Room, then you need to reserve a table in advance.

Stroll Around Harveston Lake Park

17. Take a Stroll Around Harveston Lake Park

A free activity for those on a budget to enjoy during their vacation is a visit to Harveston Lake Park. It is a nice place to take a stroll to enjoy some fresh air. The highlight of the park is the lake, which is actually a large duck pond. For just a small cost, you can hire a boat to paddle around the pond. It is also possible to get a permit to fish on the lake.

Vail Lake

16. Camp at Vail Lake

Lovers of the outdoors should spend some time at Lake Vail. This is a manmade Lake that was created by damming in the 1940s. Originally, it was a stopover on the Butterfield Overland Stage Coach Line. Now, the lake is a popular place to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including lakeside trails, mountain biking, hiking in the woods, and bass fishing. There are also various camping spots around the lake that are family-friendly. So, there is the option to spend some of your time in the city camping in this beautiful spot.

Promenade Mall Temecula

15. Shop at Promenade Mall Temecula

Promenade Mall Temecula is the biggest shopping mall in Temecula, and it has been open since the late 1990s. You will find this mall just off Interstate 15. It is the best place to enjoy some retail therapy while you are in the area. In addition to the shops, there are various eating outlets and a movie theater complex. You can spend a full day at the mall, shopping in the morning, having a bite to eat, and then watching a movie in the afternoon.

Ricardo Breceda Gallery & Sculpture Garden

14. Visit the Ricardo Breceda Gallery & Sculpture Garden

An attraction worth visiting during your trip to Temecula is the Ricardo Breceda Gallery & Sculpture Garden. Ricardo Breceda is a sculptor, and he began making metal sculptures of dinosaurs because of his daughter’s passion for the prehistoric creatures. He has a team that works with him to create dinosaurs from sheets of metal into life-sized animals. Breceda also makes many other types of animals from metal. You can view his works both in the gallery and in the gardens. Some of the sculptures are available to purchase.

Take the Kids to Pennypickle’s Workshop

13. Take the Kids to Pennypickle’s Workshop

One of the top family attractions in Temecula is Pennypickle’s Workshop. It is the workshop of the fictional character Professor Phineas T and consists of several interactive exhibits. These aim to teach children about the world around them and science through the means of play. Throughout the house, there are some fantastic inventions for children to explore, such as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich making machine in the kitchen and a time machine in the library. If you visit on a Friday night, visitors can enjoy a guided tour from the professor. Although this attraction is aimed at children, it is also fun for adults.


12. Explore the Valley on Horseback

An interesting way to explore the valley is on horseback. There are various companies that will take you out on the trails on horseback. This is an amazing way to enjoy the outdoors and admire the scenery. There are horseback trails of various lengths, and some packages include lunch or a visit to a local winery for a wine tasting. Some of the horseback trails are suitable for the whole family, while others are for adults-only.

Performance at Pechanga Theater

11. See a Performance at Pechanga Theater

The Pechanga Theater is located within the Pechanga Resort and Casino, although you do not need to be a patron of the casino to watch a show. If you want to see a live performance during your stay in Temecula, then this is the best venue to visit. There is a jam-packed schedule of performances throughout the year, ranging from stand-up comedy to rock bands, and from theatrical performances to rock bands. What is on depends on the time of year you visit the city. It is best to check what is on during your stay and then book tickets before you depart to avoid disappointment.

Temecula Valley Museum

10. Go to Temecula Valley Museum

The best place to visit if you want to learn about the local area is the Temecula Valley Museum. There are three main exhibits in the museum that cover various important events in history and take visitors to the modern-day. Some of the items in the display include farming equipment, photographs, old documents, and handcrafted items. There is an area devoted to children that has interactive exhibits, and there are picnic facilities and a playground outside the museum. Therefore, this is an attraction for all the family that has both indoor and outdoor activities to enjoy.

Old Town Temecula

9. Explore Old Town Temecula

Vacation Idea recommends exploring Old Temecula during your visit. This is the oldest part of the city, and it was built around the old railroad that no longer exists in the late 1800s. There are examples of architecture from different eras, and some interesting historical landmarks. You will also find boutique shops, art galleries, and antique stores. Old Town Temecula is where you will find many of the city’s best restaurants. You can spend several days of your visit exploring this part of the city, and you may wish to return several times to try different restaurants.

Farmers’ Markets

8. Shop at the Farmers’ Markets

If you are in Temecula over the weekend, then you should shop at the Old Town Temecula Farmers’ Market. More than 40 California-certified farmers sell their fruits and vegetables at this market, and there are also handicraft and art stalls. It is also a fantastic place to enjoy a casual lunch as there are multiple food stalls offering international cuisine, and many of these make their dishes using only local produce. There is also an outdoor farmers’ market that is held on Saturdays outside the shopping mall.

Alpaca Farm

7. Visit an Alpaca Farm

Alpaca are interesting and friendly creatures, and you have the chance to share a close encounter with these amazing animals at the Alpaca Hacienda in Temecula. From Mondays through to Saturdays, this attraction is open for families to meet and spend time with the alpaca. They can also hand-feed the animals with guidance. It is important to note that you need an appointment to spend time with the alpacas, so you should ring in advance.

Temecula Stampede

6. Have Fun at the Temecula Stampede

Other than the bars, many of the attractions in Temecula are things to enjoy in the day. However, there are some fun things that you can enjoy in the evenings during your stay. One of the best activities is the Temecula Stampede. It is the biggest country and western music venue on the West Coast, and it is open on Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Some of the things to enjoy at this venue include live music, line dancing, karaoke, and mechanical bull rides. You can have fun until the early hours as it is open until 2 am. The best night to go to this venue is on a Thursday as there is no cover to get in.

Hot Air Balloon Ride

5. Enjoy a Hot Air Balloon Ride

One of the best ways to see the sight of Temecula and to enjoy the city’s beautiful surroundings is to take a hot air balloon tour. There are various companies offering these tours, which take you over some of the most stunning parts of the valley. It is a wonderful way to see the area from a different perspective, so take along your camera. It is worth noting that you must book your hot air balloon ride, and departure will depend on the weather.

Spa Pechanga

4. Relax at Spa Pechanga

For many people, a vacation is all about relaxation and getting away from the stresses and strains of daily life. If this applies to you, then you might like to spend some time relaxing at the Spa Pechanga. It is a large spa with multiple treatment rooms, fitness facilities, saunas, steam rooms, a relaxation lounge, and outdoor patios. Some of the treatments and therapies that you can book include facials, waxing, hair or nail treatments, and various massages.

Dripping Springs Trail

3. Hike the Dripping Springs Trail

Temecula is surrounded by stunning countryside, and one of the prettiest areas is the Agua Tibia Wilderness, which is close to Palomar Mountain. It covers 18,000-acres, and it is the best place to see the area's fauna and flora up close. The Dripping Springs Trail takes you through this wilderness. It takes approximately eight hours to complete the entire hike, which is 14 miles long. However, it is possible to complete smaller sections of the hike if you wish.

Wineries in a Carriage

2. Take a Tour of the Wineries in a Carriage

Temecula is famous for its wineries, as it sits in the Temecula Valley Wine Country. You can take tours of individual wineries, and these offer wine tastings. Alternatively, you can take a tour of several wineries in a guided tour. A fantastic way to do this is in a horse-drawn carriage as this allows you to enjoy the countryside while visiting the wineries.

Pechanga Resort & Casino

Have Fun at Pechanga Resort & Casino

According to La Jolla Mom, one of the best things to do in Temecula, CA for first-timers is to have some fun at the Pechanga Resort & Casino. This resort offers all the fun you will find at Las Vegas. You can enjoy slot machines, the roulette wheel, and table games. There are also bars, multiple restaurants, and live entertainment for you to enjoy during a visit. Other amenities include a multi-pool complex with waterslides, a spa, an award-winning golf course. Not only is this a great place to spend time enjoying a variety of activities, but it is also one of the top accommodation options in the city. Therefore, you may choose to stay at this resort during your visit so that you do not need to leave the hotel for entertainment.

Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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