- Visit local vineyards and taste their celebrated wines
- Soar above the clouds and take in the views on a hot air balloon ride
- Peruse the antique shops and artisanal boutiques in Temecula's Old Town
- Hike through the stunning outdoors in the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve
- Enjoy local eateries and visit a craft brewery
|Day 1||From Los Angeles to the Inland Empire: Temecula||Temecula|
|Day 2||Temecula: Hot Air Balloon and Wine Tasting||Temecula|
|Day 3||Temecula: Hiking and Breweries||Temecula|
Day 1: From Los Angeles to the Inland Empire: Temecula
Get out of the city and head out to discover the Inland Empire, the bridge between Southern California's coastline and desert interior. Make your way to Temecula- just 90 miles and about a 1.5-hour drive from Los Angeles, this cozy town is the center of the area's wine region, and has plenty to offer for a long weekend. From central Los Angeles, follow the 5-South freeway before cutting in on the 91 and continuing your way south on the I-15.
After checking in to your hotel, take the early afternoon to explore Temecula's Old Town. With year-round sunshine, the area draws out locals and visitors to peruse its artisanal shops, antique stores, and outdoor dining. Meander through the rustic buildings while admiring the backdrop of sprawling hillside vineyards. For lunch, head over to The Goat & Vine, for a mix of modern and comfort American-style cuisine that's a popular favorite.
From there, head out to explore what the area is known for- wine! With over 50 wineries nearby, there are plenty of award-winning local spots to visit and try. We'd recommend starting with Miramonte Winery, one of the first wineries in the area and still a beloved classic. Apart from the impeccable quality of its wines, Miramonte is perched atop a hill and offers beautiful views of the surrounding valley. Stay for sunset to see the magic, and pop into the onsite Bistro to enjoy a delicious dinner with glass in hand.
Day 2: Temecula: Hot Air Balloon and Wine Tasting
Start your morning bright and early with a hot air balloon ride through the Temecula Valley. Soar above the sprawling vineyards and rolling hills, getting breathtaking aerial views. For optimum wind conditions, these rides start in the early morning, but what could be better than seeing the sun peek over the mountains and light up endless rows of vineyards and olive groves? Try California Dreamin' Balloon Adventures to book your flight.
Your flight begins and ends at Vindemia Winery where, after descending, you'll be treated to a breakfast spread in their unique outdoor tasting room in a rose garden. Recharge with coffee and fine food while admiring your beautiful surroundings, having now seen it from a whole new perspective.
Spend the rest of the day exploring Temecula's many wineries. After Vindemia, head over to Doffo Winery, an Argentinian-Italian family-owned business, for a tasting of reds like Malbec, Zinfandel, and Syrah. The winery encourages picnic lunches on its patio, so feel free to bring a snack or pick up some charcuterie staples there, along with their homemade chimichurri sauce. Explore the vineyards on your own or hop on the 'Malbec Express' for an eco-friendly bus tour through the vineyards. Before leaving, be sure to peruse the proprietor's collection of vintage motorcycles.
If all this wine tasting has you in the mood for Italian food, head into town and try Trattoria Toscana for dinner. With traditional dishes in a welcoming setting, its a great place to cap off your evening.
Day 3: Temecula: Hiking and Breweries
Spend the day exploring the natural beauty of the Temecula Valley. In the morning, head into town for breakfast at Laurent’s Le Coffee Shop for a delicious array of coffee and pastries. This cozy local spot is the perfect place to fuel for an active day.
Continue on to Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve for a morning of hiking. Explore the natural reserve's many hiking trails and beautiful views. Try the Vernal Pool and Transpreserve Trail Loop on AllTrails for a 2-hour easy level route with great scenery to admire. If a round of golf is more your speed, head over to the Redhawk Golf Course. This laidback course is open to the public and offers a scenic setting to practice your game.
After working up an appetite, head into town and straight to Bushfire Kitchen for some BBQ classics. Recharge in this local joint before getting to know Temecula's lesser known craft...
Visit Black Market Brewing Co to quench your thirst with a change of pace. While Temecula may be famous for its wine, the area is also home to plenty of artisanal breweries. Black Market creates high quality, handcrafted beers with something for everyone. Visit its tasting room and sample some of the variety on tap.
Afterward, spend another night in Temecula or sober up with some dinner and strolling before making the 90-minute drive back to Los Angeles .