Just east of Los Angeles toward the scenic San Bernardino Mountains is San Bernardino, California. If you are planning a visit or seeking a fun new travel destination, there are plenty of not-to-be-missed attractions around town. Day trips to nearby natural attractions and incredible amusements are bountiful in San Bernardino County. From relaxing scenic national parks and hot springs to shopping, museums, kart racing, and laser tag, there is a little something for anyone in this thriving metropolis. Whatever you want to do on your vacation, there's a good chance you can find it in San Bernardino. Here are the top twenty best things to do in San Bernardino, California.
20. California Theatre of the Performing Arts (Symphony)
Originally opened in 1928, this beautiful theater used to be one of the Fox theater chain. For a stunning traditional theater vibe, you have to take in a show while you're here. The San Bernardino Symphony practices and performs here if you're more interested in music than drama, and you can even catch a touring Broadway show from time to time. Additionally, you can find comedy shows and even a venue for weddings and events in this historic theater. See the theater downtown at 562 W 4th St, San Bernardino.
19. Route 66 Shooting Sports Park
Perhaps you're in the mood for a different type of relaxation that involves earplugs. The Route 66 Shooting Sports Park offers plenty of opportunities to stay sharp and enjoy some fresh air. If you're new to shooting, the range offers safety and training courses as well. If you're not packing, or someone in your party doesn't own a gun, you can rent one for target practice on a first-come-first-served basis. You'll find this massive site located at 15810 Cajon Blvd, San Bernardino.
18. Mojave National Preserve Visitors Center
The Mojave National Preserve Visitors Center is located in the Kelso Depot at 90942 Kelso Cima Rd in Kelso San Bernardino. Visitors seeking a little more desert-centric vacation will want to stop here to learn more about the Mojave Desert. Originally built to provide services to railroad passengers and as a water stop for the steam locomotives, this is another fantastic piece of railroad history you can see for yourself. When you're done, you can head over to the Mojave National Preserve to experience some real western wildlife and scenery.
17. Glen Helen
From April to November, you can catch a concert or show at the Glen Helen Amphitheater. Once called the San Manuel Amphitheater, changing the name didn't change its claim to fame. GHA is the largest outdoor music venue in the United States. Up to sixty-five thousand people can pack into a show here. Although southern California winters are famously mild, you won't find outdoor events scheduled during the cooler months. You can find this amphitheater in Glenn Helen Regional Park, located at 2575 Glen Helen Parkway in San Bernardino.
16. San Bernardino History & Railroad Museum
Located in an old Santa Fe Depot from 1918, the San Bernardino History and Railroad Museum is still used by Amtrak and Metrolink passengers. However, history and railroad buffs will find a lot to love in the unique museum. Everything from replicas to historical documents is nestled in the displays here. You can even see a fire department wagon from 1890 and other travel-related displays. Kids will love the trains as much as adults love the intriguing historical facts. Check it out at 1170 W 3rd Street in San Bernardino.
15. Orange Street Alley
Are you planning to stay a few days in SB and get some shopping done? If so, you should head up the road to Redlands and see the charming Orange Street Alley. Located at 5 E Citrus Ave #105, this famous umbrella-covered alleyway provides scenic shade for shoppers and plenty of photo opportunities. Utterly Instagramable and worth checking out, Orange Street Alley's famous canopy is a great way to get fresh air, memorable scrapbook entries, and plenty of window shopping in one easy stop.
14. Angeles National Forest
To the west of San Bernardino is the Angeles National forest. Spend a day wandering the trails or go camping, backpacking, and more in this incredibly scenic area. There are tons of offroading trails for those with a more fast-paced adventure in mind. Cyclists will find a challenge and a view, and equestrian fans can take a trail ride through Angeles any time of year.
13. WBC Legends of Boxing Museum
Boxing fans will find plenty to enjoy in San Bernardino. There are gyms and even events thanks to the American Sports University. Still, the WBC Legends of Boxing Museum is a must-see for fans. Showcasing some of the incredible achievements of boxers past, this fantastic monument has nostalgic pieces and pays homage to some of the best boxers to ever grace the ring. You'll learn something new about your favorite World Boxing Council champions or relive their best moments. Head over to 399 N D Street to see this attraction, no gloves necessary.
12. San Manuel
California visitors who enjoy the high-rollers life or want to spend a little time relaxing in a great casino will appreciate San Manuel Casino. This stunning gaming extravaganza is located near San Bernardino city in Highland. Just remember the lucky number because that's where you'll find this classic casino. Since 1986 San Manuel Casino has been one of the top California gambling destinations with fine dining and more. Plus, the casino just finished expanding, so there's even more excitement at 777 San Manuel Blvd, Highland.
11. Arrowhead Queen (Tour Boat)
Heading out to the San Bernardino National forest offered more than just camping and hiking trails. Check out Lake Arrowhead for a salt-free California experience. Arrowhead is easily one of the best-kept resort areas in San Bernardino. You can lounge by the water or catch the Arrowhead Queen and take a ride. The Lake Arrowhead boat tour is scenic and relaxing, with plenty of breathtaking views and interesting facts about western mountain living.
10. Hall of Shadows Escape Games
There are plenty of places in California that make you want to escape, but only a few that give you prizes and happy memories when you succeed. Hall of Shadows Escape Games has numerous rooms and puzzles to solve. Novice or expert, one game or all day, this is a place you could really get lost inside. In the Enterprise Building, you'll find your way into this incredible experience at 320 N E St, San Bernardino, but finding your way out again is up to you.
9. San Bernardino Downtown Farmers Market
Sometimes you want to peruse some fresh produce and support local growers. San Berardinos' Downtown farmers market at 400 West Court Street is the perfect way to spend a lazy afternoon. Whether you're looking for fun, seeking healthy meal options, or want to get away from the hectic indoor shopping spaces, this is a great way to accomplish your goal.
8. Deep Creek Hot Springs
Sometimes the natural wonders are the best. Deep Creek Hot Springs or DCHS is well worth the trip, but don't plan to drive all the way. There are two trails offering access to the hot springs. The short route is a three-and-a-half-mile trail from Bowen Ranch. Meanwhile, the long trail offers a six miles (each way) workout for vacationers who want to stay active, enjoy nature, and relax in the hot springs. With five primary pools and a couple of smaller ones, this is a perfect place to relax with friends. However, you may encounter sunbathers who took off a lot more than their backpacks on arrival. It's important to note that this particular adventure is clothing optional.
7. Fiesta Village Family Fun Park
Technically located in Colton, a nearby city in San Bernardino County, thrill-seekers and families will love this day trip. Everyone, regardless of their age, can have a good time at Fiesta Village. Batting cages, skating, and mini-golf are great ways to spend the afternoon for the sporty folks. Grab your swimsuits and head over to the Pyrite Rapids water park to cool off in the summer heat, or hit the arcade and go-karts. If rides, slides, laser tag, and more sounds like your ideal weekend, this is the place to be. You can find the park located at 1405 E Washington St, in Colton.
6. Sky Park at Santas Village Lake Arrowhead Adventure Park
Another easy and unmissable day trip for San Bernardino vacationers and visitors is Sky Park. Skyforest and the Sky Park at Santa's Village are located nearby in the San Bernardino mountains. Even during the hottest summer, you can get plenty of Christmas in July-themed entertainment. Plus, you can ride the ziplines and have a mini-action adventure while you're here. Looking for something a little cooler? Try out the ice skating or take a trip on the Northwoods Express. Before California had Disneyland, Sky Park was the place to go for a theme weekend or getaway, and it's still around today for a good reason.
5. SB Raceway (Indoor Karting)
For the best kart ride in town, without the need to make a day trip, visit SB raceway. The real, gas-powered karts will certainly provide a thrill. When you don't want to drive alone, grab a friend and rent a two-seat cart to share the fun. Better still, if you're in town on Friday or Saturday night, make sure you don't miss the Cosmic Karting from five to eleven at night. When you get tired of the high-octane thrills, there's plenty of room for relaxing in the stands with a snack. You'll find SB Raceway at 217 E Club Center Drive.
4. Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art
The Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of art, or RAFFMA, is located at the San Bernardino University of California main campus at 5500 University Parkway. They hold an annual student exhibition in summer, but you can see outstanding art year-round. However, RAFFMA is best known for its ancient Egyptian exhibit. Make sure you check it out while you're there. Whether you want a glimpse of the pharaohs or some stunning pieces created this year, there's plenty of visually dynamic beauty to take in.
3. San Manuel Stadium
If you visited SB in the early nineties, you might remember catching a game at Fiscalini Field. Still, in 1996 San Manuel Stadium became the new home of the Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino. Now you can get your peanuts and crackerjacks or ballpark hotdogs at 280 S E Street downtown. Catch a minor league game if you're in town during the season. If you're lucky, the stadium might be hosting another event while you're in town as well.
2. Original McDonald's Site and Unofficial Museum
Easily the strangest and yet most familiar attraction on this list is the bizarre McDonalds Museum. This nostalgia-packed kitsch fest is a great way to discover something new and unique about California without ever going out of your way. When you think of Mickey-D's, you probably think burgers and fries, but this route 66 spot was actually a barbecue place once upon a time. Founded in 1940 by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald, this now multinational fast-food chain wasn't always the home of a clown. Visitors frequently come away from it full of more than just-food. Learn the unique history behind an American classic, and grab some lunch while you're there at 1398 N E Street in San Bernardino.
1. San Bernardino National Forest
You can't get to San Bernardino without a spectacular view of the San Bernardino National Forest. Visitors seeking a relaxed, outdoorsy experience can visit the seven wilderness areas. You can camp and hike, of course, but there are also horseback riding, fishing, and even skiing opportunities depending on what time of year you visit. The forest headquarters are located at 602 S Tippecanoe Ave in San Bernardino, or you can call instead at 1-909-382-2600. Do you want to book a campsite in advance? You can always reach them at the national parks website.
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn