Temecula, a beautiful valley nestled in Riverside County, and a place I’ve been fortunate to call home for the past 26 years. When I first left for college in 2011, Temecula was very unknown. When asked where I was from, people would respond to my answer with a sense of confusion. I would reply, it’s between San Diego and Los Angeles. Fast-forward to today and you will find many people now know where Temecula is, and might have even visited.
Temecula is home to over 40 wineries with stunning views, this is what draws many tourists in. Not only does Temecula have wineries, but there are also breweries, speakeasies, and even an Old Town that has an effervescent scene day and night, basically a lot of opportunities to get drunk. Temecula is the perfect location for your next girls trip or couples get away. Recently, there has also been a surge in the presence of bachelorette parties in town. One of my favorite parts about living in Temecula, is the endless opportunities of food selection, I will include my favorite restaurants in this blog post as well. I’m going to break this article down on three areas to visit in town that are popular. Look out for a later blog post on my favorite wineries in town.
The possibilities are endless in Wine Country, with over 40 wineries to choose from. Each winery has something different, whether it’s the views, wine, food, or decor, you will find something unique in every location.
If you go wine tasting, I highly recommend, ubering around town. If it is a group of you, look into booking a limo/transportation service. For group transportation I recommend Vineyard Coast Transportation, contact Hugo at (951)-303-4923. Having transportation figured out is key, to allow yourself to have a great time worry free.
There are a couple wineries that offer brunch, I suggest starting there to ensure a smooth day of day drinking. My favorite winery that has a brunch is Miramonte Winery. Two other ones to note are Leoness Cellars and Lorimar Winery.
The wineries typically close around 5-6 pm so plan to come early. There are a couple that are open later and many of them have live music to enjoy. Check out the winery’s calendars as well to see if there are any special events while you are in town, such as Salsa dancing or cover bands.
Here is a link to a comprehensive website, which lists all the wineries in alphabetical order and gives you their hours and costs on tastings.
Old Town Temecula
Old Town Temecula has grown and changed so much. When I was a kid, I remember it being a small strip with country style buildings. Some of those buildings are still up today which give it its old town flair. However, there has been so much new added to Temecula that has made it vibrant and exciting. From the countless restaurants to unique bars, there is something for everyone. I’m going to list some of my favorites and go-to’s.
Food & Drink
1909 has an eclectic menu and is best known for their weekend brunch. They are also known for having exquisite bloody marys. The restaurant is spacious and has indoor and outdoor setting, they also have a ton of beers on tap. If it is your first time visiting Temecula, I would pick this as a food stop.
The Goat & Vine
This is currently the highest rated restaurant in Old Town Temecula. I have never been, and don’t know why but it will be high on my list for our next date night out.
Espadin is more new to Old Town Temecula, but it has made its presence known. It has some of the best Mexican food for a nice sit down and has festive cocktails. They also have Mezcal in house.
It originated as a food-truck and now has its own restaurant location. They have an array of crafted foods with bold flavors. Their taproom is also impressive and they often have live music or events throughout the week.
The nightlife in Old Town Temecula is lax, but can get pretty turnt depending on who you’re with. Most of the bigger places do charge a cash cover so be prepared.
This is our go to for going out when we want chill vibes. I say chill vibes because the whole outdoor area feels like a backyard kickback there are several fire pits you can sit around and talk. There is also corn hole and benches to sit at. Ideally this place is best to socialize and grab a drink. But then again there is also a D.J spinning in an interior part of blackbirds. They play hip hop and top 40 so it definitely gets fun!
Baileys is much bigger than Blackbirds. They have two levels of dancing, the bottom floor is hip hop and top 40 while the top floor is Latin, you’ll hear anything from cumbia, to bachata, etc. There is also a huge outdoor patio area to socialize and grab drinks.
Pub & Grub
I haven’t been to pub & grub in years, it used to always be our go-to. I have some friends who prefer going here over any others but I haven’t found myself wanting to go back.
Here are other locations worth noting and visiting. The great thing is that Old Town Temecula is all on one strip so it is super easy to walk from location to location. Check out; Lukes on Front, Temecula Beer & Wine Garden, Public House, and The Bank. If you like country music Stampede is a good option however it is 18 and up so be warned.
There are two in Temecula. One is called Thompson and Twain and it is located inside Crush and Brew. Show up and put your name down and they will text you when your spot is available.
The other speakeasy is located inside Devilicious and it is called Apparition Room. You can reserve a spot for up to 8 by texting (951)514-6332.
Both speakeasies have amazing cocktails and are an immersive experience into the prohibition era.
Pechanga Casino & Resort
One of the biggest reasons why people became familiar with Temecula, was because of the casino. My dad worked there as a security guard when I was a kid, and since then I have seen the casino double in size. They are constantly expanding it, they just recently unveiled their new pool resort. If you are not a guest of the casino, you can purchase day passes for their pool resort. You can also rent cabanas and make a whole day of it.
Pechanga offers a lot more than gambling, if thats not your thing. There is a spa, comedy club, and a ton of restaurants to choose from. The restaurants range from a fancy steakhouse, buffet, food court, and everything in between. The nightlife in Pechanga is also plentiful, from the round bar to the Eagle’s Nest Club, you can spend a good amount of time exploring the casino.
Those are the big three attractions in Temecula, the wineries, old town Temecula, and Pechanga casino. Growing up, I always said there was nothing to do in Temecula, as an adult there is plenty to do. We love having out of town friends visit us and show them around our beautiful valley.
As a Local, I’m going to list some of my favorite restaurants if you want other options outside of the three locations mentioned.
Mexican Food- Aztek Tacos, hands down. Before I ever worked there, this was the only place I ever ate Mexican food at, because lets face it nothing compares to mom’s.
Sushi- Firefish Sushi, 100% the best sushi. Ed and I have tried sushi in so many cities and at the end of the day we always end up comparing it to firefish.
Burgers- Burgers & Beer, duh!!!! If I could be sponsored by a restaurant it would be Burgers and beer. I love this place! It has a huge menu aside from their specialty burgers, and also has happy hour every day from 3pm-close. This is also the best place to watch sports, there is TVs everywhere!!!
American- Bushfire Grill. This place screams quality. Everything in here is delicious and fresh. There is so much to chose from, the food is on display too, so you can see some of what you are going to get before ordering.
Chinese- Chef K. I had given up on Chinese food in Temecula because the quality was so bad. We tried Chef K and all hope is restored. I’m craving their honey walnut shrimp now lol.
There is a lot more to do in Temecula that I didn’t mention, such as the Promenade Mall, Vail Headquarters, and Farmers Markets. I urge you all to visit because it took me leaving for four years to truly appreciate the beauty of my hometown.