Temecula is a great weekend getaway for anyone in Southern California. Whether you are in San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside County or San Bernardino County, Temecula is probably no more than an hour away (barring traffic, of course).
Temecula is known for its wineries, but there’s plenty of other things to do as well, if wine tasting isn’t your thing. But first, let’s start with the wineries.
There are more than 40 wineries in the Temecula Valley now—ranging from large, impressive estates to small, family-owned and operated establishments. You’ll find most of the wineries on Rancho California Road or De Portola Road, but there are several off the beaten path that are worth visiting. Two that come to mind are Longshadow Ranch Winery and Peltzer Winery, both located on Calle Contento Trail, just off of Rancho California Road. If you’re visiting in the fall, Peltzer Winery also has a locally famous pumpkin patch that’s popular with families and has many activities for visitors of all ages. In the summer, Longshadow Ranch has a Friday night concert series that’s very popular. Bring a chair and a picnic dinner and enjoy some free music under the stars.
For the scenery and ambiance, you can’t beat Wilson Creek Winery and Leoness Cellars. If you want a place for wine tasting, dining, as well as a place to stay the night and relax, South Coast Winery Resort & Spa is your best bet.
When you’re done wine tasting for the day, head into Temecula’s Old Town. There you’ll find numerous restaurants and bars, antique stores, and specialty stores. There’s also a venue for live theater and music. Thursday nights feature jazz performances at a smaller, more intimate venue on the theater property. Some of the more popular restaurants in Old Town include The Goat and Vine, 1909, and The PUBlic House.
Just a 5-minute drive from Old Town, you’ll find the Pechanga Resort Casino. The casino is about much more than just gambling. Inside, you’ll find 20 restaurants and bars, ranging from buffets to a world-class steakhouse, a luxury spa and fitness center, a comedy club, and a theater that features top entertainment acts. Just outside the hotel and casino is an 18-hole golf course and a new 4.5-acre pool complex.
For the more adventurous among us, Temecula offers hot air balloon rides, as well as sky diving in nearby Lake Elsinore. There are also great mountain biking opportunities at the Vail Lake Resort and hiking at the Santa Rosa Plateau.
At any given time, there are special events going on in Old Town and Wine Country to enjoy. The Visit Temecula Valley website is a good resource to find out what’s happening around town when you plan to visit.