Temecula California is a city of approximately 100,000 residents that borders the Pechanga Indian Reservation and is equidistant from San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles. Together with neighboring Murrieta, it is an anchor for the southwestern portion of the Inland Empire. Temecula’s location helps to make it a solid vacation destination choice, as do its local attractions and fun annual events.
Old Town Temecula
Old Town Temecula Image: Omar Omar (flickr)
Temecula California wasn’t incorporated as a city until December 1, 1989. That doesn’t mean that it lacks history. Native Americans called the region home for hundreds of years, and in 1798, Spanish missionaries moved in. After the Mexican-American War, American settlers became the area’s newest residents, and the town of Temecula was founded in 1859. The history of the city is well displayed in the Old Town Temecula district, which features historic buildings from the latter half of the 1800s. These buildings are now mostly home to shops, specialty food stores, and hotels. The district in general is a wonderful place to explore. When Old Town Temecula visitors aren’t checking out the shops, they can duck into the Temecula Museum and learn about the city’s history. Depending on the day, there might also be a local event to partake in. Among the events that are held in Old Town Temecula are car shows and the Western Days festival. Western Days is held in May, and among other things, it features western skits and music, as well as a chili cookoff.
California wine is known for its overall quality, with such northern destinations as Napa and Sonoma understandably getting a lot of the attention. Temecula is also well-known by wine enthusiasts and is the heart of what is one of Southern California’s best wine regions – the Temecula Valley. Mission vineyards were established in the Temecula Valley as far back as the 1820s. The first modern commercial vineyard was founded in 1968. The Temecula Valley wine region has since become recognized as a full-fledged appellation and boasts more than 35 wineries and more than 3,500 wine-producing acres. You can find the region east of Old Town Temecula, and some of the Temecula Valley wineries have set up tasting rooms in the Old Town district. Also worth noting is the Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival. Held at nearby Lake Skinner in early June, this festival features such things as wine tastings, wine competitions, hot air balloon launches, and concerts.
The Temecula California area isn’t exactly Las Vegas transplanted in Southern California, but visitors who like to test Lady Luck from time to time can certainly get their gaming fix. Several casinos call the area home, with the Pechanga Resort and Casino figuring among the most renowned. Built in 2001, the Pechanga Resort and Casino (pictured) complex is found on Pechanga Indian Reservation land and offers plenty for gamblers and non-gamblers alike. The gaming floor at the AAA-Four Diamond Pechanga Resort and Casino is large, measuring more than 200,000 square feet. Its has more than 3,000 slot and video machines and more than 130 table games. Within easy reach of the gaming area are restaurants, lounges, and bars, so it is easy to linger longer than expected. Other regional casinos include, but are not limited to, the Pala Casino and the Harrah’s Rincon Casino and Resort.
Temecula Hotels Image: Holiday Inn Express
Travelers who choose Temecula as their California vacation base will be happy to know that the city has a lot of great hotels to choose from. Among the local lodging establishments are a number of highly agreeable chain brand hotels, with examples including the Hampton Inn & Suites Temecula, the SpringHill Suites Temecula Valley Wine Country, and the La Quinta Inn & Suites Temecula. For those who are looking for something else, the Ponte Vineyard Inn, the South Coast Winery Resort & Spa, and the Temecula Creek Inn are certainly recommendable. Of course, there’s also the Pechanga Resort and Casino, which is multi-faceted and can meet a variety of wants or needs. For the camping crowd, Lake Skinner and its surrounding recreational area is a good place to start. It offers hundreds of campsites, some of which can accommodate recreational vehicles.