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Wineries and Wild West history abide in SoCal

Raise your glass and toast to the perfect Southern California climate, which has made the city of Temecula a wine-lover’s dream destination. If sampling a smooth red vintage isn’t your idea of fun, Temecula has plenty more to delight visitors seeking a variety of entertainment and adventure.


Visit Temecula

Temecula’s Evolution

Wander into Temecula’s Old West past on a stroll through Old Town. This charmingly restored section of the city contains wooden sidewalks and 19th-century-style storefronts that transport visitors back into the 1880s. The city’s name reflects its earliest inhabitants, the Temecula Indians.

Spanish settlers established a European presence in the region beginning in the late 1700s, founding the Pala Mission and Rancho Temecula. Temecula Valley Museum presents exhibits and artifacts of the city’s early days when the frontier town was fed by railroads, the Butterfield Stage and a thriving mercantile economy. One of the museum’s permanent exhibits is a tribute to the author of “Perry Mason” mystery stories, Erle Stanley Gardner. The longtime Temecula resident’s photographs and memorabilia are the highlights of the exhibit.

Temecula Valley’s 30-plus wineries are booming today because of the region’s soil and climate, but the land also supported a cattle ranching industry that thrived for nearly 200 years. From open grazing to feed lots to growing operations, cattle and the railroad helped grow Temecula steadily from the 1800s to the 1960s. Vail Ranch, the largest single-owner operation in the valley, was sold off in the late 1960s but some of its buildings have been preserved, including the cookhouse, an adobe store and ranch headquarters. On a Sunday afternoon, you can visit Little Temecula History Center, located near the original ranch. This structure houses a Butterfield Stagecoach replica, a blacksmith forge and a restored chuck wagon—all remnants of the ranch’s heyday.

Temecula’s Past

Though its agritourism is strong, Temecula is equally devoted to supporting a vibrant arts scene, and the Old Town Temecula Community Theater presents a variety of shows, productions and musical events throughout the year. Entering the theater is almost as thrilling as one of its shows; patrons travel through the historic 1890s Mercantile Building to enter one of two venues—a 361-seat auditorium and an intimate 48-seat black box theater. Just inside the entrance, a gallery displays original works of art and photography from local artists.


Visit Temecula

Enjoy The Outdoors

Temecula’s amazing climate isn’t just for growing great grapes. Vail Lake Resort calls to visitors who want to enjoy the outdoors in a relaxing setting. Wander through ancient California groves and along the chaparral hillsides while taking in views of the 1,000-acre lake. Bass fishing is a popular pastime on Vail Lake, as is sunbathing on sandy stretches of lakefront beaches. Families can enjoy a run through the miniature golf course and take a leisurely horseback ride around the resort, too.

Explore the unique ecosystems and landscape of the area at Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve, which invites guests to traverse the plateau on any of several multi-use trails and special eco-reserve trails. The plateau supports wildlife such as badger, bobcat, western pond turtle, mule deer and mountain lions. Birdwatchers are encouraged to look for dozens of species of sparrows, wood warblers and finches, as well as several raptor species, waterfowl and game birds. The preserve’s visitor center also shares the story of early inhabitants of the plateau. The Luiseno people, ancestors of modern Native American groups in the region, harvested and hunted food sources here for thousands of years.

More Ways To Play

Take a gamble on a fun evening at Pechanga Resort & Casino on the southern end of Temecula. In addition to slots and popular table games at the state’s largest casino, guests can enjoy a turn on the links of Journey at Pechanga. An 18-hole, par-72 golf course, Journey was constructed on a portion of ancestral land that is also home to The Great Oak—one of the largest natural growing indigenous-coast live oak trees in the U.S. The Great Oak is believed to be at least 850 years old; some speculate it is as much as 1,000 years old.

A Taste of Temecula

After a long day out and about, the tasting rooms at Temecula’s award-winning wineries are ripe for enjoyment. Touring companies offer excursions to guests who want to sample the varieties that grow in Temecula Valley, but you can also explore on your own. Whether it’s a winery “off the beaten path” or an old favorite loved by many, many of these vineyards open their tasting rooms to guests on a daily basis. For a less traditional experience, consider a carriage or trolley ride to several wineries. Of course, if you can’t go without seeing all of Temecula’s wine country in one fell swoop, consider a hot air balloon ride over the rolling hills, and drink in the scenery as the sun goes down.

If you’re in town around the first week of June, make sure you check out the Temecula Balloon and Wine Festival. Every morning, balloon’s are launched into the air, filling the sky will colorful patterns.

For More Information

Visit Temecula Valley




California Travel and Tourism Commission