By Mira Reverente — Get movin’ with Mira Reverente, LaceUp’s blogger. Ventura-based Reverente is an enthusiastic runner having completed 20 marathons and ultra-marathons. She will be blogging once a month through December, bringing you stories of inspiring runners, insider info about the series, running humor, tips, news—you name it. Tune in.
As you prepare to lace up for the final race of the 2016 season this Sunday—we thought you might consider other fun things to see while in Riverside.
Known as the “city of arts and innovation”, Riverside is the 12th most populous city in California, making it a hotspot rich in things to do and see.
Check them out:
- Parks Galore
Did you know that Fairmount Park—the Riverside race venue—is just one of the city’s 51 parks? It features a bandshell, two tennis courts, a playground, numerous picnic facilities, three lakes and a restored historic boathouse with rental pedal boats. The recently-remodeled Fairmount Golf Course, is a municipal nine-hole golf facility located inside the park.
Ryan Bonaminio, Mount Rubidoux, Mountain View and Arlington Heights Sports Park are just a few of the 51 parks that have walking trails—perfect for warming up or cooling down for LaceUp Riverside!
- Festival of Lights
After the race, you have to check out the Riverside Festival of Lights. Taking place from noon to 10:00 p.m. on Sunday, this free, six-week long holiday extravaganza is quite the spectacle and recently named by USA Today as the “best public lights display in the nation.” Nearly 4.5 million holiday lights and 400 animated figures attract visitors from around the world. The annual festival happens at the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa.
- University of California, Riverside
One of 10 University of California campuses, UC Riverside is home to about 21,000+ undergraduate and postgraduate students.
The University is also home to the UCR Botanic Gardens, open daily from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. There is a $5 suggested donation. Take a self-guided tour and catch a whiff of the roses and lilacs.
If museum-hopping is more your thing, you’ve come to the right place. Spend an extra day and explore The Riverside Art Museum, the Riverside Metropolitan Museum, the California Museum of Photography, the Mission Inn Museum, the Riverside International Automotive Museum and the March Field Air Museum.
- Fox Performing Arts Center
“The Nutcracker” and “Miracle on 34th Street” are among the many must-see performances taking place at the Fox Performing Arts Center in December. Check out the full calendar here – http://www.riversidelive.com.
- Van Buren Drive-in Theater
The historic, circa-1964 landmark and entertainment treasure is one of the few remaining drive-in theaters in the country. Open 365 days a year, admission is only $9 for adults and $1 for kids 5 to 9 years old. The admission price allows one to view two movies playing on the same screen. Bring your own lawn chairs and picnic blankets or enjoy the movies in the comfort of your car.
For those looking for unique, locally sourced holiday gifts—head to the Mission Galleria. Home to four levels of antiques, furniture and novelty items. Locally owned bookstores are always unique to the town they reside in. The Downtowne Bookstore in downtown Riverside is no different. Bookstore Owner and sisters Nadia and Vera Lee pride themselves on being able to find just the right book for their patrons.
If you’re in town early, check out the Farmers Market on Saturday morning, in the downtown area as well. Located on Main Street between 5th & 6th, in the arts and culture district of downtown Riverside, it provides a unique opportunity to shop for fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, hummus, aged gouda cheese by Winchester Cheese Co., fresh baked bread from Old Towne Baking Co. and other specialty food items
- For the Adventurous Visitor
Hit the ice at Riverside’s Ice Town on Magnolia Ave, where you can try figure skating and hockey for free! For those looking to get vertical, check rock climbing at Hangar 18.
- Foodie’s Delight
A city with over 300,000 people has to eat, right? Japanese, Thai, Spanish, Indian, Chinese and veggie-themed restaurants are sure to tickle even the pickiest of taste buds. Take your pick. Check out the Tripadvisor’s top 10 picks for dining in Riverside HERE.