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Riverside, CA 92522

Riverside is a surprising oasis of fun an hour east of Los Angeles. One of the most famous hotels in the state, the Historic Mission Inn, occupies prime property downtown. The hotel has been the home-away-from-home for several U.S. presidents, movie stars and many other celebrities.

Just outside the hotel, you can walk to several museums. Nearby are the Riverside Municipal Museum, Riverside Art Museum, California Museum of Photography and the Riverside Ballet Theater. There is even a museum right in the Mission Inn. In fact there is strong community support for historic preservation in Riverside and many historic buildings throughout the city are open to the public. Over 100 City Landmarks, 20 National Register sites and two National Landmarks have been designated by the Riverside City Council.

The Mission Revival architecture is everywhere in Riverside, and so it seems are churches. The Unitarian-Unversalist Church is especially striking with its Norman Gothic Revival architecture. Another Gothic Revival building is the Magnolia United Presbyterian Church, the oldest church building in Riverside. Like the Mission Inn, the Union Pacific Depot is an example of Mission Revival architecture.

Walking around the Historic Mission Inn District, you notice a mission symbol on flags and in various locations around the inn - that's the raincross symbol that was designed for the Mission Inn and given to the city by Frank Miller.

There are several antique stores and specialty shops in the Historic Mission Inn District. Many of the stores are small, but the Mission Gallery encompasses several floors of the Old Sears Building and offers a wide selection of antiques and collectibles in addition to a deli, a floral shop and a fine jeweler. In this case the store itself is something of an antique - it's been there for more than 65 years.

If the fine dining, shopping, museum-hopping and spa aren't enough to keep you occupied, Riverside is conveniently located for day trips to a couple of other popular getaway destinations - Big Bear Lake and the Temecula wineries. Either is reached in under an hour's drive from Riverside. Big Bear Lake offers mountain scenery reminiscent of the Sierra Nevadas, while there is a growing wine industry in Temecula offering a variety of tasting rooms and winery gift shops.

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