While Temecula Valley is Southern California Wine Country, there is so much more to see and do in this blossoming region, located a mere one to two hour drive from most of Southern California’s major cities and airports. Once you’ve sipped at some of the 40+ wineries that populate the region, head to Old Town Temecula for a few days of dining, shopping, and sightseeing. We’ve got the scoop on where to eat, shop, play, and stay.
“Farm-to-fork” dining doesn’t get much better than at E.A.T. Marketplace, owned by the dynamic Leah di Bernardo, whose efforts have brought the Slow Food movement to Temecula. The corner spot is part artisanal market, part coffee shop (a cup of their famous “F-Bomb” coffee will set you up right for the day), and part full-service restaurant, and offers some of the cleanest, most thoughtfully prepared fare in Southern California, all made from ingredients sourced from local farms and suppliers.
28410 Old Town Front Street, Temecula, CA 92590, (951) 694-3663
Believing that real relationships are formed around the table, former “Chopped” contestant Chef Jason Rivas opened up this spot with the aim of bringing back “the true meaning of ‘breaking bread’.” Offering a casual yet refined dining experience focused on local ingredients and featuring some of Temecula Valley’s best wines, LATiTUDE by JR is open for lunch and dinner, as well as for something they affectionately refer to as “lazy brunch” — a meal everyone will want after a night out in Old Town.
41955 5th Street Suite 102, Temecula, CA 92590, (951) 595-3711
Cozy up to the gorgeous bar for oysters, a plate of fried squash blossoms, and a glass of local wine or craft cocktail at this sister restaurant to the always packed The Goat and Vine. Or, dig into one of the restaurant’s delicious pizzas or homemade fresh pastas, artfully prepared with seasonal ingredients. The Nightingale is also open for brunch and has a killer happy hour (hello, braised pork belly terrine and kobe beef meatballs).
41923 2nd Street #103, Temecula, CA 92590, (951) 506-9929
While they don’t serve food, pay a visit to Thomson & Twain Prospecting Co., one of Temecula Valley’s several hidden speakeasies, for artisanal cocktails in an old time saloon setting. The next morning, a freshly baked croissant or plate of totally decadent French toast from Le Coffee Shop, Old Town’s authentic French Bakery, will get you back on track for the day ahead.
It’s easy to get lost among the dizzying selection of spices, loose-leaf teas, sea salts from around the world, cookbooks, and other unique items at this fragrant little shop tucked in between some of Old Town’s most popular dining spots. You can also grab a hot or iced tea to sip while you shop.
41925 5th Street #101, Temecula, CA 92590, (951) 587-2223
Enjoy complimentary tastings of fresh-pressed extra virgin olive oils (some flavored with ingredients like roasted garlic and blood orange) at Temecula Olive Oil Company’s Old Town tasting room while you browse handcrafted bath products and other food and gift items. You can also book a tour of their sustainably farmed ranch to learn more about how they became one of Southern California’s premier olive growers.
28653 Old Town Front Street, Temecula, CA 92590, (951) 693-4029
Believing lavender to be “the herb of peace, purification, sleep, and longevity,” Temecula Lavender Co. invites visitors to find ways to incorporate the plant into daily life. This heavenly-scented little shop — the storefront of a small lavender farm out in Temecula Valley Wine Country — sells small-batch, artisanal lavender products like essential oils, sachets, candles, and other home and bath items.
28561 Old Town Front Street, Temecula, CA 92590, (951) 696-1931
To really get into the spirit of Old Town, round up your crew for a western-themed photo shoot at Doc Brown’s Old Tyme Photos. Designed to look like it was plucked right out of the Old West, this little photo studio has several background scenes and an entire room full of costumes and props to complete the look.
28636 Old Town Front Street #100, Temecula, CA 92590, (951) 409-4111
Traveling with kids? Visit this award-winning children’s museum, jam-packed with gadgets, inventions, and science-themed gizmos, for hours of hands-on fun. The museum also offers live demonstrations and experiments designed to cultivate a love of science. Parents beware: you likely won’t make it out of the gift shop without picking up a few of the unique toys, books, and activities to take home.
42081 Main Street, Temecula, CA 92590, (951) 308-6376
This 361-seat theater is the heart of arts and culture in Temecula. Each season offers live entertainment from established artists and rising stars in a range of genres. The theater also features a 48-seat club-style space, “The Merc,” where visitors can take in jazz, country, magic shows, and more in this intimate venue known for its prime acoustics.
42051 Main Street, Temecula, CA 92590, (866) 653-8696
If being right in the heart of Old Town is what you’re going for, then The Palomar Inn Hotel is the perfect spot. This cozy, ten-room hotel was built in the 1920s and is considered a historical landmark. Offering a unique step back in time, most of the rooms have shared bathrooms (although two feature private bathrooms and full kitchens), but are within walking distance of the shops, restaurants, and attractions of Old Town Temecula.
28522 Old Town Front Street, Temecula, CA 92590, (951) 676-6503
Just a hop, skip, and a jump from all the action, the Ramada Old Town is a great choice for those looking to be slightly removed from the hustle and bustle, but close enough to take a quick stroll or ride service into town. The hotel offers modern rooms equipped with fridges, microwaves, and free Wi-Fi so you can upload all those winery selfies you will no doubt take while wine tasting with your friends. Don’t forget to take advantage of the complimentary continental breakfast and outdoor swimming pool.
28980 Old Town Front Street, Temecula, CA 92590, (951) 676-8770
This brand spanking new 120-room hotel is literally around the corner from Old Town. The award-winning, all-suite, extended stay hotel is pet-friendly and offers customizable guest-room configurations, apartment-sized fridges, laundry facilities (who hasn’t spilled red wine on their white shirt while wine tasting?), and complimentary Wi-Fi. You can also feel extra good about staying here, as the hotel is committed to environmentally-friendly products and practices.
28400 Rancho California Road, Temecula, CA 92590, (951) 331-3622
Although technically outside of Old Town, you may also consider the recently remodeled Pechanga Resort Casino. With its 1,090 guest rooms, 13 restaurants, 24-hour gaming, nightly entertainment, world-class spa, and golf course, it’s worth the ten-minute drive outside of Old Town to stay at this luxurious property. South Coast Winery Resort & Spa and Ponte Vineyard Inn are perfect options for those who want to stay among the vines without being too far from Old Town. There are also hundreds of vacation rentals in Temecula Valley, if you’d rather live like a local while in town.