15 Best Things to Do in Temecula (CA)

Written by Jan Meeuwesen
Updated on
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Temecula, in Temecula Valley, is known for being one of the jewels in California’s crown. The city sits in prime wine-making country and to that end much of the countryside around here is covered in gorgeous vineyards that are open to the public and can be toured if you want to know more about how wine is made and grapes harvested.

One of the best ways to enjoy Temecula is by taking off and looking down over the city in a hot air balloon, and balloon rides here are frequent and well-loved by locals. Parks, nature trails, lakes, and hiking spots cover this part of California, but if you are looking for some culture then you also won’t be disappointed.

Not only will you find amazing shopping at places like Promenade Temecula, but you can also get back to the days of old at historic Old Town Temecula where you can learn all about how this city got its start. There is also a community theater in Old Town Temecula, as well as a range of museums in the city for both adults and children, and if you are travelling with children then gems such as Pennypickle’s Workshop are not to be missed.

Lets explore the best things to do in Temecula:

1. The Temecula Stampede

Temecula StampedeSource: flickr
Temecula Stampede

The Temecula Stampede is known for being the largest country Western music venue of the West Coast and with that in mind you should head here if you want to see a show and enjoy some good old fashioned country music. The scene here is eclectic, so as well as Western music you can also expect rock and roll and other genres to be played here, so check the local listings to see what will be on when you are in town.

2. Vail Lake Resort

Vail LakeSource: flickr
Vail Lake

Vail Lake used to be a place of historical importance in the days of old when it was used as a stopover on the Butterfield Overland Stage Coach Line. The lake was actually created in the 1940s from the Vail Lake Dam and now spans over 1,000 acres of water. The lake is well known as a place to fish for bass and you can also camp here if you want to stay for more than a day in the area. Other activities at the lake include mountain biking around the area as well as hiking one of the many trails.

3. The Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve

Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological ReserveSource: flickr
Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve

The Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological is one of the most well loved attractions in the Temecula area and is made up of an impressive 9,000 acres of land. The reserve is dedicated to the preservation of the local flora and fauna and to that end you can expect to find 49 different species of endangered plant and animal life here. Favorite activities here include hiking one of the many trails that run all over the reserve and offer opportunities for a range of hikes for different levels of ability.

4. Temecula Valley Symphony

Temecula Valley SymphonySource: youtube
Temecula Valley Symphony

The Temecula Valley Symphony is something of a musical powerhouse in the Temecula region and is now in its 22nd season. The symphony is dedicated to promoting a love of classical music in the region, and to that end they feature talented musicians from all over the Temecula area. The symphony perform regularly so make sure you check what’s on when you are in town so you don’t miss one of the shows.

5. Lake Skinner

Lake SkinnerSource: flickr
Lake Skinner

Just outside of Temecula you will come to Lake Skinner, also known as Skinner Reservoir. The lake is a favorite with the local community and you will find an impressive 1,400 acres of water here as well as 300 acres of land, so whatever you choose to do, you are unlikely to be bored on a trip here. There are a huge range of activities on offer at the lake, some of which include horseback riding, swimming and boating, and even camping if you feel that you would like to stay here longer.

6. Old Town Temecula

Old Town TemeculaSource: flickr
Old Town Temecula

If you want to get a glimpse of how Temecula would have been back in the day then you need to head to Old Town Temecula. This historic city stands to this day to educate visitors on the history of this city when it was an important place of cultural significance on the pioneer trail during the Gold Rush. Old Town Temecula has a wealth of shops to showcase the best products in the region such as the local olive oil and wine and there is a vintage hotel here that is modeled in the period style. If you like old fashioned memorabilia, then Old Town Temecula is also famous for its antique shops which are the perfect place to pick up a souvenir of your trip here.

7. Peltzer Pumpkin Farm

Peltzer Pumpkin FarmSource: peltzerfarms
Peltzer Pumpkin Farm

For a quirky day out in Temecula look no further than the Peltzer Pumpkin Farm, a family run business that is well loved in the local area. The farm has been at its present location for nine seasons and has a huge range of attractions for you to enjoy as well as simply picking pumpkins. If you come here you can expect fun for all the family in the form of gold mining, pony rides, and even a petting zoo that younger visitors are sure to love. If you happen to come in the Fall, around the time of the pumpkin harvest then you can also take home one of these fabulous vegetables a souvenir of your trip.

8. Sky’s The Limit Ballooning Adventures

Sky’s The Limit Ballooning AdventuresSource: yournorthcounty
Sky’s The Limit Ballooning Adventures

Some visitors to Temecula may not realize it, but Temecula is actually well known in the region as ballooning country. Hot air ballooning is a well loved pastime here, mostly due to the gorgeous vistas that can be found in this part of California. At Sky’s The Limit Ballooning Adventures you will get the chance to take off and spend time enjoying Temecula from a completely different angle, and the pilots here have over 30 years experience in taking customers on trips, so know that you are in good hand as you glide in the sky and look down on Temecula famous vineyards from above.

9. Old Town Temecula Community Theater

Old Town Temecula Community TheaterSource: rhdo
Old Town Temecula Community Theater

If you visit Old Town Temecula then the Old Town Temecula Community Theater is not to be missed. This community theater fearers a proscenium arch and is actually split into two venues. One of these is the proscenium theater which can seat over 350 spectators, as well as an adjacent club that has a capacity of 48 spectators giving at a secluded and intimate feel. The Old Town Temecula Community Theater is known for hosting a wide range of shows such as dramas and musicals so whatever you are in the mood for you will probably find it here.

10. Thornton Wine

Thornton WineSource: thorntonwine
Thornton Wine

Temecula is known for being at the center of Southern California wine country, and with that in mind it would be a shame to come here and not sample some of the fantastic wines on offer. The winery has an illustrious history as it first opened its doors in 1988 and as such it tries to combine traditional wines with new world taste in order to create delicious varietal wines. The winery is housed in a chateau that looks over the vineyards and you can also take in the wider Temecula Valley from this vantage point. You can tour the tasting rooms here and learn about how the wine is made as well as sample some glasses, and there are also special events held here such as musical nights.

11. Pennypickle’s Workshop

Pennypickle’s WorkshopSource: pennypickles
Pennypickle’s Workshop

For younger visitors to Temecula a visit to the Pennypickle’s Workshop is a must-visit if you are in the area. The workshop is dedicated to teaching little ones about science and the natural world, and there are a wide range of exhibits here that are dedicated to hands-on learning. The exhibits here are all interactive and the museum is set up as the laboratory of Professor Pennypickle. The museum is made up of different play zones that reflect different aspects of science and different parts of the world and little ones will love the chance to test out many of the professor’s inventions.

12. Galway Downs

Galway DownsSource: galwaydowns
Galway Downs

Galway Downs was first opened in 1968 and used to be called the Rancho California Track and Training Center. The property sprawls over 242 acres and is known as a center of equestrian excellence in the Temecula area. The property has several different areas for the public to enjoy such as the newly opened Village which is known for its beautiful vistas and as a great place to eat and drink while enjoying the Temecula countryside. You can also go horseback riding here and there are paddocks and meadows all over the property that let you get a firsthand experience of all the local flora and fauna.

13. Dripping Springs Trail

Dripping Springs TrailSource: alltrails
Dripping Springs Trail

The Dripping Springs Trail runs through the 18,000 acre Agua Tibia Wilderness close to Palomar Mountain, and is the place to come if you love hiking and want to check out some unspoiled terrain in the Temecula area. The forests through which the trail runs are covered in Coulter pines and Douglas Firs, as well as different species of oak trees. As you progress along the trail, expect dramatic canyons, picturesque streams, and lowlands covered in scrub. The trail stretches for 14 miles and takes about 8 hours to complete, so if you are in the mood for a day spent exploring the wilderness then this is certainly worth the trip.

14. Promenade Temecula

Promenade TemeculaSource: flickr
Promenade Temecula

For some retail therapy when you are in town think about heading over to Promenade Temecula where you will find a whole host of shopping options in this large modern mall. As well as flagship stores you will also find smaller niche boutiques here, and there is also a large movie theater if you fancy taking in some entertainment when you are in town. There are also a wealth of dining options at Promenade Temecula including local favorites and fine dining choices.

15. Green Acres Ranch

Green Acres RanchSource: flickr
Green Acres Ranch

First established in 1957, Green Acres Ranch started out as a private family ranch that bred Arabian horses. Now the range is happily open to the general public and you can come here and tour the ranch which features different areas including a working cow arena and a slide track. You can also get back to the roots of the ranch by signing up for a horseback riding lesson here as classes are held here daily and you can also watch horseshows and dressage events on the property.

15 Best Things to Do in Temecula (CA):

  • The Temecula Stampede
  • Vail Lake Resort
  • The Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve
  • Temecula Valley Symphony
  • Lake Skinner
  • Old Town Temecula
  • Peltzer Pumpkin Farm
  • Sky’s The Limit Ballooning Adventures
  • Old Town Temecula Community Theater
  • Thornton Wine
  • Pennypickle’s Workshop
  • Galway Downs
  • Dripping Springs Trail
  • Promenade Temecula
  • Green Acres Ranch