Founded in 1882, Covina is a quiet family-friendly suburb with great local shopping and an abundance of bars and restaurants. With plenty of local amenities and the beautiful San Gabriel mountains ever-present in the background, you’ll feel right at home in no time.
Check out the area’s great local museums or do some shopping in some of Covina’s excellent specialist stores.
When you’re done, wander over to nearby West Covina for some extra culture, or head up into the mountains to enjoy the LA skyline.
Here are the 14 best things to do in and around Covina.
1. Visit the Local Arts and Culture Museum
The H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Cultural and Art Museum in Covina is a fantastic art museum dedicated to Chinese painting and other art forms from Southeast Asia.
The museum has an interesting history and was named after an American-Chinese Buddhist who claims to be the reincarnation of an ancient buddha. While most people are rightly skeptical about this wacky claim, he is nonetheless an oddly fascinating figure, and the artworks accumulated by his followers here are quite special.
The museum’s collection of calligraphy is extensive and some of the works on display were inked by masters of the craft.
2. See a Show at the Covina Performing Arts Center
This local arts center was designed by renowned theater designer Frank Cox, known for his famous opera houses built across the US in the late 19th century. The building was renovated in 2004 and worth a visit to see the fantastic historic interior restored to its former glory.
Come here for some great stage shows, as well as musicals, performed by local actors and international acts. The theater itself supports local creatives, so it’s a good place to spend your dollars if you’re passionate about the arts.
3. Have a Drink at Alosta Brewing Co.
This local brewery makes for a great night out. Popular for quiz nights and a brilliant range of board games, the bar here is dog-friendly and has a laid back living-room-like vibe. Local food trucks pull up outside at regular intervals to line your stomach while you knock back some beers.
Local LA patrons are fiercely loyal to this brand’s brews, especially their fantastic range of Belgian-style sour beers. Taste some of their more unusual flavors and you may become a devotee as well.
4. Take a Class at the Powell Camera Shop
This local pilgrimage spot for camera lovers is a great place to buy lenses and other camera equipment. It’s well-known for its regular classes taught by professional photographers. Many people travel from out of town for this expert knowledge.
If you don’t have time to stop for a class, drop-in and chat with the friendly owners who are only too happy to give you some of their tips and tricks.
Be sure to say hello to the store’s famous camera-carrying dog while you’re there.
5. Visit Covina’s Historical Society Museums
The local Historical Society in Covina runs two tiny museums in the same square mile. You can easily visit them both in an hour, and it’s a great way to learn more about the local area.
The first of these establishments is the Firehouse Jail Museum, which has maintained one of its historic police cells so that you can lock your loved ones up when you visit. This small space also has a collection of photos, documents, and memorabilia from across Southern California.
The second of these two museums is the Historical Heritage House, built by a local pharmacist, William Nash, in 1908. The house has been fully preserved to look how it did at the turn of the century.
6. Visit Big League Dreams in West Covina
Head into neighboring West Covina to visit this baseball practice ground and buzzing local sports bar.
The relatively unknown stadium burst into the spotlight when it was used as a set piece in the hit CW show Crazy Ex-GirlFriend. Don’t hesitate to join in with the legions of fans you’ll hear singing the West Covina Song from the first episode.
There are many large playing fields here with stadium seating so that you can watch local matches. Alternatively, try out the onsite batting cages for yourself. If you’re less athletic grab a beer and a slice of pizza in the attached sports bar.
7. See a Film at the Covina’s AMC theater
When you’re tired of traipsing around the suburbs, visit this local cinema to relax and enjoy some big-screen entertainment. This 17-screen cinema complex shows films in both 3D and IMAX, which is bound to please more discerning filmgoers.
If you don’t fancy seeing any new releases, they run some great retro movies night here, during which they replay all sorts of popular classics.
No longer restricted to popcorn, you can now order pizzas, hotdogs, nachos, and other meals at the snack bar before you head to the screens.
8. Admire the Art at the Azo Vino Wine Bar
This is a wine bar with a difference. Come here to swirl a glass while you admire some local artwork. At over 4,000 square feet, this bar is huge and serves as a gallery, as well as a place to taste fine wines. A lot of the art here is wine-themed; made from stained-glass or etched into actual wine glasses.
The local staff will advise you on what to drink, but if you’re feeling fancy crack open a bottle of one of their award-winning reds from Napa Valley.
This place oozes sophistication and if you come here on a Friday or Saturday night, you can enjoy some live jazz as well.
9. Take a Day Trip to Fish Canyon Falls
In less than 20 minutes you can be out of the suburbs and walking in the glorious foothills of the San Gabriel mountains. One of the closest attractions to Covina itself is the Fish Canyon Falls, a multi-tiered waterfall that runs through what was once deep mining-country.
The trail that leads up to the falls takes you to a steep elevation and follows the local Fish Creek. Watch out for the sheer drops along the route.
This is not an easy hike but the stepped waterfall here is so pretty that it’s well worth the effort. Take a dip in the cooling waters on the climb back down.
10. Get a Slice at Artist Pizza
Quite possibly the greatest restaurant in Covina, Artist Pizza is a local legend that has been serving handmade pizzas here for many years. One of the best features of this classic Italian restaurant is the option to build your own pizza with whatever crazy ingredients your heart desires.
This local eatery is also a popular hangout spot, with a patio for warm evenings and TVs for sports. Come here on the weekend to enjoy karaoke while you eat your slices.
11. Watch Some Comedy at The Chatterbox
This cool local dive bar is a hub of activity and hosts many regular shows, as well as live music. The open mic night is particularly good and features some notorious comedy acts. The thin-skinned should be warned, these comedians are ruthless and you may end up as part of the act!
The clientele here is definitely on the cooler, hipster end of the spectrum, a fact which is reflected by their selection of crafts beers and ales. The cheap drinks, dim-lighting, and gritty vibe are all part of the bar’s appeal.
12. Relax in Walnut Creek Community Park
Walnut Creek Park is just a few minutes east of the Covina suburbs. This shady stretch of forested park lets you step out of the city without going too far.
Follow one of the many trails around the area to fully explore. The lake and surrounding rivers are particularly popular, and many people come here to rent kayaks or boats, or just to skip stones along the creek.
If you don’t mind getting a bit muddy, the swimming hole here is a great way to cool off when temperatures soar.
13. Visit the Hurst Ranch Historical Foundation
Before Covina became a suburb it was an important agricultural area famous for its oranges. You can get a taste of what it used to be like here at West Covina’s Hurst Ranch.
This is a living history museum and working farm which teaches both kids and adults about the gritty reality of pioneering history. Take a class or wander through the peaceful streets of the old town to see the perfectly preserved schoolhouse, bank, and general store. The tack room is a special highlight, the leather saddles on displays here are masterpieces of craftsmanship.
Once you’re done with history, there are lovely gardens and places to relax.
14. Get Some Musical Inspiration at the Fret House
This incredible local music store is a guitar lover’s paradise. Come here to buy a new instrument or get yours customized any way you want. The store specializes in rare guitars and the displays here will have aficionados drooling.
The shop’s basement turns into a music hall on the weekends and features great local acts from across the LA area. This small space makes for wonderfully intimate gigs, and it typically attracts a passionate and discerning crowd. The owners here know the local music scene very well, and you are bound to see some top-talent on display.