The Ultimate List of Summer Activities and Events in Riverside, California
Summertime in Riverside, CA—with its beautiful scenery, temperate weather, and friendly locals—is a magical time. We’re so in love with our city that we’ve compiled this list of summer activities, complete with destinations, events, and live performances. Once you’ve experienced them for yourself, we’re sure you’ll fall in love with this city just like we have.
The Riverside Art Museum
The Riverside Art Museum (RAM) offers the largest collection of visual arts in the Inland Empire. Curated collections provide patrons with historical, cultural, and artistic education, featuring artists such as Karl Benjamin, Millard Sheets, and Rex Brandt.
The RAM is currently holding a special exhibition titled “What would you say?” celebrating and honoring the Californian designers and artists that championed civil rights, opposed war and injustice, and fought for social change from California’s inception and onward. Additionally, the RAM is exhibiting “Made in Plain Sight,” which showcases all of the artwork created at the RAM, and will run throughout the summer.
The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art and Culture
For those interested in Chicano history and heritage, the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art and Culture just opened on June 18. The summer hours are Monday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets for admission are available for $15.95 for adults and $10.95 for children. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience the artistic and cultural heritage of Californian art!
Ameal Moore Nature Center
Nature lovers will also find a variety of activities to enjoy in Riverside. The Ameal Moore Nature Center, a 1,500-acre preserve and home to the endangered Stephens’s kangaroo rat, offers naturalist-led nature walks, exhibits, and opportunities for experiential learning about nature. Entry to the park is free, making the park a tranquil, inexpensive place to enjoy a summer day outside.
Mount Rubidoux, another natural beauty in Riverside, lies just west of the city. A short, paved trail passes several Riverside historical landmarks on the way to the top, such as the Peace Tower and Bridge and the famous cross. Those that make it to the top are treated with a breathtaking, panoramic view of the city.
University of California Riverside Botanic Gardens
Naturalists won’t be able to get enough of the University of California Riverside Botanic Gardens, which contain more than 3,500 plant species from across the globe and cover about 40 acres. While the gardens focus specifically on plants from Mediterranean and arid climates, numerous microclimates within the gardens allow for an incredible diversity of plant life. Special themed collections include the butterfly garden, Native American plants garden, and subtropical fruit garden. The gardens have a variable schedule, so be sure to check their availability online before basking in the sun and the natural beauty of the gardens.
Van Buren Drive-in Theatre
Film fanatics will enjoy the Van Buren Drive-in Theatre, which opened over half a century ago in the historic Riverside Arlington district. The drive-in theatre, once a staple of American culture, has experienced a decline over the past decades. Now one of only 400 drive-in theatres in the country, the Van Buren represents a unique convergence between historical significance and modern technology. Equipped with the latest technology, including FM transmitters and Technalight, the drive-in offers the perfect movie-viewing experience in a friendly and comfortable atmosphere. The theatre also defends moviegoers against the ridiculous movie prices of large indoor cinemas, with tickets costing $10 for adults and $1 for children ages five to nine.
Finally, the theater also hosts swap meets on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Numerous local vendors peddle their wares at the meets, so visitors can be sure to find something that appeals to their interests. Don’t miss out on the drive-in theatre or swap meet at the Van Buren this summer!
Castle Park is another fantastic place to spend a hot summer day, with attractions for people of all ages. Thrill-seekers can get their fill of adrenaline at the Ride Park, which boasts coasters such as the Fireball, the Dragon Flyer, and the Screamin’ Demon. Those that wish to enjoy a more laid-back day can spend their time inside the enormous arcade on both state-of-the-art video game consoles and timeless classic video game machines.
Additionally, the are four 18-hole minigolf courses, each with its own theme, unique hazards, and specific challenges. Visitors can also cool down during the hot summer days at Buccaneer Cove, Castle Park’s water park. All of Castle Park’s attractions open at 11:00 a.m. and vary in their closing times. Make sure to visit Castle Park for a fun summer day full of games and excitement!
The Paint Sesh, a laid-back, good-vibes-only art studio located in Riverside, hosts a variety of painting lessons and events every week. Family-friendly painting sessions provide an opportunity for adults and children of all ages and skill levels to paint together under the direction of one of several talented instructors.
However, the Paint Sesh is best known for its adult events: Paint & Sip and Paint & Puff. At these events, attendees can relax, enjoy some alcohol or cannabis, and let their creativity soar. These events are known for their fun, laid-back atmospheres, great music, and stellar instruction.
Events run year-round, and each event focuses on painting a unique masterpiece, from sunflower fields to topical coves. Admission starts at $35 a person.
Trivia and Yoga at Wicks Brewing
Wicks Brewing, a local brewery located in Riverside, hosts events that are continuing favorites with the locals. Every Wednesday at 6 p.m., patrons can participate in Pub Trivia, and Wicks even offers prizes to teams that make the podium! Reservations are not accepted at Wicks, so make sure you get there early with your team assembled.
On the second Saturday of every month, Malts and Mantras offers a unique combination of yoga and beer that is sure to leave you feeling relaxed. To make things even better, tickets are $10 and include your first beer!
Shows and Performances
A number of fantastic artists will be playing concerts in Riverside this summer, including Boz Scaggs, Primus, Weird Al Yankovic, and cover bands for classics like the Beatles and Stones. The smaller, more intimate settings of the Fox Performing Arts Center and Riverside Municipal Auditorium allow fans to enjoy the performances of their favorite artists in a cozy atmosphere.
Due to the limited seating capacity of these intimate venues, tickets sell out fast. Make sure you pick up your tickets soon so you do not miss out on the exciting artists who will be playing this summer!
There will also be an abundance of talented comedians coming to Riverside this summer. Acts include the following:
- Bored Teachers Summer Break Comedy Tour, July 26
- Jerry Seinfeld, September 17
- Nurse Blake: PTO Tour, October 2
Tickets are selling out fast, so make sure to reserve your spot at one of these fantastic events ASAP!
Riverside is a wonderful place to spend a weekend or a season, and this summer is sure to be unforgettable. If you’re thinking of becoming a local and need a new place to call home, visit us at The James and see how we can make coming home the best part of your day!
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7600 Ambergate Place, Riverside, CA 92504