Temecula is a city in southwestern Riverside County, California, United States. Temecula Valley is a wine-plus spirited destination inspired by the vine with several distinct pillars: Southern California Wine Country, outdoor recreation and entertainment, small-town atmosphere, an emerging, and evolving culinary scene, and its community of Makers.
The city is a tourist and resort destination, with the Temecula Valley Wine Country, Old Town Temecula, the Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival, the Temecula Valley International Film Festival, championship golf courses. The destination is made up of curious mavericks, a behind-the-scenes tour reveals the source of their energy.
Temecula is known for its wine and Balloon and Wine Festival. Visitors come here for hyper-local cuisine, as well as for hiking, and hot-air ballooning. The location of this Inland Empire gem, about an hour from San Diego and 90 minutes from Los Angeles, makes for an easy visit. The Mediterranean-like climate make people feel comfortable, temperatures range from the 80s–90s in summer to the 60s–70s in winter.
A historic town square surrounded by vineyards and rolling hills, with mountains rising in the distance. In the heart of the city, modern California staples like farm-to-table restaurants and craft breweries are set among historical buildings that bring to mind Temecula’s 19th-century roots.
Temecula Valley become Southern California’s Wine County, a Wine Enthusiast Top 10 Wine Destination. Visitors come to visit the nearly 50 wineries that dot the Temecula Valley. Italian, Spanish, and French grapes sprout from the area’s soil and mature in this unique atmosphere, resulting in small-batch vintages. And with many distributed only locally, these award-winning wines are ripe for discovery.
Head out for a fabulous airborne escapade of hot-air balloons rising 1,500 feet above Temecula’s vineyards. Book a spot with California Dreamin’ Balloon Adventures, Magical Adventure Balloon Rides, or A Grape Escape, then go up, up, and away. Enjoy amazing views of citrus groves, vineyards, and the distant mountains. After touching back down to earth, celebrate with a sparkling-wine toast.
Accommodations of all kinds abound. Stay in a familiar chain close to Old Town, or choose a luxury hotel with a room looking out over rows of vines. Stay in the city’s first inn, the Hotel Temecula, which dates to the late 1800s.
The city is a prominent tourist destination, with the Temecula Valley Wine Country, Old Town Temecula, the Temecula Valley Polo Club, the Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival, the Temecula Valley International Film Festival, championship golf courses, and resort accommodations attracting a significant number of tourists which appreciably contributes to the city’s economic profile.
Old Town Temecula
Old Town Temecula, the city’s downtown district, is a collection of historic buildings, hotels, museums, event centers, specialty food stores, restaurants, boutiques, gift and collectible stores, and antique dealers.
A horseshoe-shaped town square anchors Old Town Temecula, where you’ll find plenty of historic action. Many of the buildings went up around 1883, the year the Southern California Railroad brought travelers and commerce to the Temecula Valley. One of those structures, the Hotel Temecula, had to be rebuilt in 1891—but that structure still stands (and you can stay there).
The town’s first church building, St. Catherine’s, the 1917-era structure was moved to Sam Hicks Monument Park, at the northern end of Old Town. Other original buildings have been refurbished and given new missions. Old Town is also home to the Temecula Valley Museum, which features exhibits about the local band of Native Americans and the local natural history and city development. The City Hall is located in the center of Old Town.
Old Town has the Old Town Temecula Community Theater, a 354-seat proscenium theater as well as The Merc, a 48-seat blackbox performance venue adjacent to the main theater. The 1890 Mercantile building is now the entryway to the Temecula Community Theater; The 1st National Bank, built in 1914, is now a Mexican restaurant. Try the namesake burger at 1909, in an original building that has also been home to a trading post, a livery, and an auto shop.
Old Town is also home to special events like the Rod Run car show, Art and Street Painting Festival, Santa’s Electric Parade Show, western days, and summer entertainment. Old Town also hosts a growing nightlife.
Artisan shopping experiences throughout Temecula Valley are perfect for shoppers seeking the best deals and unique gifts. Shopping hubs include Old Town Temecula, Temecula Valley Wine Country, Lake Elsinore Outlets, and Promenade Temecula.
Browse for antiques at the Old Town Antique Faire, or the 30,000-square-foot Granny’s Attic Antique Mall, which has more than 200 shops. On Saturdays, Old Town has an outdoor farmers’ market featuring approximately 70 to 80 local vendors.
Lunch on farm-fresh sandwiches and homemade coconut milk at E.A.T Marketplace (EAT stands for “Extraordinary Artisan Table”), and be sure to save room for turtle cheesecake. Chef Leah Delyte makes inventive dishes with grass-fed beef and local Temecula edibles, plus plenty of gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, and paleo choices.
A wellness journey can begin with an immersive spa experience at Spa Pechanga or the GrapeSeed Spa at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa. Both offer massage services, poolside cabanas, and wellness classes.
Pechanga Resort and Casino
Pechanga Resort & Casino, a destination in itself, and a perfect mix of chic and excitement offering one of the largest and most expansive resort/casinos in the United States. In 2001, the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians built the $262 million Pechanga Resort & Casino complex. Although it is not located within the city limits, it is the Temecula Valley’s largest employer, with approximately 5,000 people employed.
Temecula has 39 parks, 22 miles (35 km) of trails and 11 major community facilities. In 2013, it was named a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Community and it was named a Playful City USA. Temecula’s Pennypickle’s Workshop was a winner of Nickelodeon’s Parents’ Picks Award for “Best Museum” and “Best Kids’ Party Place”. Temecula’s sports parks include the Ronald Reagan Sports Park (formerly the Rancho California Sports Park) and the Patricia H. Birdsall Sports Park.
Located just 60 minutes from San Diego and 90 minutes from Los Angeles, Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country presents visitors with the opportunity to experience bucket-list adventures from hot air balloon flights to limo rides, exploring wine country by foot or on horseback, and watching the California sunset over the hills.
The Temecula Valley Wine Country, whose first commercial winegrapes were planted in 1967, features a variety of tasting rooms, and more than 3,500 acres (14 km2) of producing vineyards. The wine country is a few miles east of Old Town Temecula. The annual Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival, held at nearby Lake Skinner, offers live entertainment, hot air balloon rides, and wine tasting.
Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country features nearly 50 local wineries, including boutique and full-service wine resorts. The relaxed and unpretentious atmosphere of the region is matched by its delightful tasting experiences overlooking picturesque rolling hills of vineyards while sampling award-winning premium wines and Southern California cuisine.
The Temecula Valley wine country is a surprise, gently rolling hills blanketed with rows of vineyards so close to the California desert. It’s a diverse growing region, home to everything from cooler-climate grapes like Chardonnay to such warm-weather varieties as Syrah and Grenache.
Nearly 50 wineries take advantage of these conditions, and the result has been lots of award-winners—which, of course, you can sample. One of the oldest wineries in the region, Callaway Vineyard & Winery (first launched by the golf-gear family) dates back to 1969, and it offers both a big tasting room and cellar tours where you can taste from the barrels.
Go to Europa Village and sit on the patio to savor the Cinsaut, made from a grape usually found in the South of France; the winery is also home to a 10-room B&B and Bolero, a new Spanish winery with a tapas restaurant and 10 casitas. Head to the Leoness Cellars—located along a rural stretch known as the De Portola Wine Trail—and take one of the vineyard tours, then enjoy some Mélange de Blanc or Grenache by the patio’s outdoor fireplace.
Plenty of the wineries are sights in themselves. At Wilson Creek Winery & Vineyards, taste their Petite Syrah and stroll the grounds to see the thousands of roses and other flowers—or book the onsite manor, which sleeps 24, for a wedding or reunion.
Briar Rose Winery, meanwhile, houses its tasting room in a replica of the seven dwarfs’ cottage from Snow White. The wines here are unique too—like the Talking Frog bubbly, a blend of Viognier and Hefeweizen beer.
Hot Air Ballooning
Visitors can take in a panoramic view of Southern California’s unique topography, beautiful estates, and awe-inspiring scenery with sunrise flights, available year-round (weather permitting) to explore the subtle seasonal changes that take place throughout the valley. Nothing compares to the bird’s-eye view you get while flying high in a basket. Year-round, balloons lift off at sunrise, usually for an hour of flying time.
Colorful hot-air balloons are a common sight over the vineyards of Temecula Valley, passengers float above the vineyards and citrus groves with the scent of fresh oranges filling the skies. Go with Magical Adventure Balloon Rides and you can enjoy a champagne toast and appetizers after you land; a trip with A Grape Escape ends with champagne and a light breakfast in the gardens of one of the wineries.
Explore dining options in Old Town, Wine Country, Pechanga Resort Casino and around town, From artisanal cuisine, farm-to-table, winery restaurants and casual gastropubs, Temecula Valley’s restaurants continue to create the ultimate foodie paradise.
Explore By Bike
Cruising Old Town Temecula or taking on the rolling hills of wine country is easy with Borrow Our Bikes and Temecula Wine Country E-Bikes. Explore the 100+ miles of bike trails in Temecula Valley under open skies out in the fresh air.
Golfers can use one of several local golf courses, including Pechanga’s Journey, Redhawk, Temecula Creek Inn, The Legends Golf Club at Temeku Hills, CrossCreek, Pala Mesa Resort (near Fallbrook) and The Golf Club at Rancho California, formerly SCGA Member’s Course (in nearby Murrieta). Visitors to the region can hit the links at any of the six courses, although three notables, Temecula Creek Golf Club, CrossCreek Golf Club, and Journey at Pechanga, afford the most spectacular views.
As the California sun sets behind surrounding mountains, visitors can watch the colorful sky from a winery hilltop or Town Square Park in Old Town Temecula. Fantastic sunset viewing locations are available at Callaway Vineyard and Winery, Bel Vino Winery, and Avensole Winery.
From shopping nights & horse-drawn carriage rides to ice skating in Old Town & holiday-themed plays, there is something for everyone in Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country.
Chilled Decorating Contest
Visit Temecula Valley (VTV) holds annual holiday decorating contests to encourage local tourism businesses to create a festive atmosphere for travelers and employees this season. Categories that are voted on are Best Decorated Tree in a hotel, the Best Decorated Winery, and VTV partners with Old Town Temecula Association in sponsoring the best decorated Old Town business.
Winter in Temecula Valley
In Southern California Wine Country you can discover your favorite wine, stroll and shop historic Old Town Temecula, taste creative “chilled” menu items, ice skate under open skies, and end the day with a fireside cuddle. A celebration of holiday magic with Temecula Chilled, Chilled Eats & Treats, outdoor ice skating, and holiday shopping. Experience variety of retail shopping experiences from country western gear to antique finds to top name brands. For entertaining, sipping by the fire, or gift-giving, these Temecula Valley beverages are perfect for the winter season.