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The wine-producing, festival-focused city of Temecula
The small city of Temecula is situated midway between Los Angeles and San Diego in Southern California. Inland from the coast, it is part of the landlocked Riverside County and therefore has a vastly different focus than cities along the Californian coastline. Nevertheless, it is a popular tourist destination with several renowned festivals and some of the finest wineries in the region. Temecula’s historical Old Town enhances its popularity with a lively scene of bars and restaurants housed in classic eighteenth century Western architecture
Understanding the layout of Temecula
Although a reasonably small city in terms of population, Temecula is rather spread out geographically and like many smaller cities in the States, is difficult to navigate without a car. The Interstate Highway 15 passes directly through the centre of the city and many hotels in Temecula CA are located along this road. This gives guests quick access when leaving or arriving to the city and to the surrounding points of interest, but it does further emphasise the focus on the automobile. Aside from the highway, Temecula has two central focuses; the Old Town consisting of Old Town Front Street and Main Street, plus the newer area around the Temecula Town Center Shopping Mall located half a kilometre north. The Old Town is the more picturesque part of the city, home to a variety of independent shops, restaurants and bars, whereas the shopping centre district is the practical part of Temecula, home to multiple big name stores. Both of these areas offer many useful facilities and points of interest, thus most visitors end up spending time in each district during their stay.
The picturesque Old Town
The Old Town of Temecula was originally settled on in the mid-nineteenth century, but the region had been inhabited long before by its native population. The Temecula Valley Museum offers some insight into the area’s past through to the present day and is a popular stop for history lovers. The current architecture in the Old Town largely dates to the last two decades of the nineteenth century, by which point Temecula was established as a stop on the local stagecoach route. Commercial activity was rising too with the nearby granite quarries and into the twentieth century a dramatic development of wineries. Nowadays the Old Town is largely full with souvenir shops, antique dealers and specialty boutiques, ensuring it is usually busy with tourists. A few of the smaller Temecula hotels can be found within walking distance of the Old Town, adding a level of convenience for guests. Another focal point of this central district is the City of Temecula Civic Center, which not only forms the heart of the local community but also hosts many events and conferences throughout the year. In addition, it is an attractive looking building and worth viewing as a classic example of the local architecture.
Award-winning wineries are a particular delight
Wine provides a particular focus in the region and thousands of the visitors to the Temecula Valley are keen to sample the local tastes. The rolling hillsides beginning at the outskirts of the city are home to dozens of award-winning vineyards, many of which offer tours and tasting sessions. There is a concentration of wineries around five kilometres to the east of the Old Town, as the Rancho California Road begins to make its way up the hillside. Visitors here can browse an assortment of vineyards, tasting the variety of wine on offer including many unique and vintage selections. A few luxury resort hotels in Temecula are found amongst this district of the city, several of which are part of a local vineyard company and offer package deals to suit various desires. Wine is also a large focus of Downtown Temecula with the local restaurants and bars stocking a variety of regional wines for visitors to enjoy. Along Old Town Front Street, there is an array of eateries from the classic American diner through to gourmet restaurants of varying themes.
An eventful city to suit many interests
Temecula has a busy events and festivals calendar throughout the year which offers a broad appeal to a wide range of visitors. The biggest annual event is the Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival occurring each June, which sees thousands of attendees come to enjoy the wine region by air and enjoy a variety of entertainment and wine tasting on the ground. Held around the Lake Skinner area of Temecula, the festival has been running for over thirty years and continues to grow in popularity. The Temecula Rod Run held each February is another well-attended event, popular with motoring enthusiasts. For music lovers, the city hosts many smaller festivals involving bluegrass and jazz musicians, plus its own International Film and Music Festival. Other entertainment options in the area include the sizeable Pechanga Resort and Casino, which houses a variety of touring artists throughout the year. Sports wise, golf is the main focus of the valley, continuing to rise in popularity as more luxury courses are built.