Exploring So Cal: Riverside to Orange County
RI → OC
Sounds like such a broad topic right? You're definitely not wrong but I'm here to show you just how simple it can be! It was what I spent doing over Memorial Day weekend and ;ater realized how much we crammed in to such a small amount of time. Now, we didn't do every little thing on a classic California bucket list so keep an open mind to some of these new, different, hidden little spots. Basically, it all starts in the town of Riverside and goes on to Newport Beach!
I'll pretty much include all of the coolest restaurants and things I did on my past trip that make for a great, easy trip for anyone and any time of the year!
First things first..
The first thing we did, after spending 5 minutes at my Aunt's house, was head straight to the Dragon House Chinese restaurant. It's a staple restaurant that we love to go to whenever we are in Riverside and has become just as an important stop as Disneyland (which was our original trip destination but all of the days were blacked out with the use of our annual passes). With some pretty sweet family meal options, you get to choose whatever entree that comes with two different appetizers and your choice of soup. It really doesn't get any better than that and the entrees are authentic and absolutely TO DIE FOR. If you have ever been to the Dragon House, leave a comment and let me know your thoughts. My fave part about it? They leave you complementary almond cookies that I have always been obsessed with. Enjoy!
Onto the next day! Pablo knows how obsessed I've been with this store (for the past 3 years) so we decided to go shop and get it out of my system for the rest of the trip. Again, it's just as an important destination as Disney and Dragon House now. They currently have new arrivals and some great summer dresses! 10/10 recommend.
This place is such a beauty. Not only had Pablo never been there but it was time I spent admiring the place myself. I'd only ever visited down town Riverside at night when it's nice to see the famous Mission Inn all lit up and fancy. I had never gone into the courtyards or had seen the inside of the hotel. The architecture was so beautiful and fun to explore! With 4 different restaurants and a nice President's bar, it was really just a cool place to hang out and take pics of (duh!). Right around the corner is a the Riverside Metropolitan Museum with free admission. Again, nothing extravagant but something to do :)
Onto Orange County!
After a full day of exploring Riverside, it was time for our little extended trip to Orange County and Newport. What I learned is that the Orange County Swap Meet is a MUST stop if you're traveling between the two towns. With the right weather and a (somewhat) full bank account, you are bound to have a great time of shopping, music, food, drink, and strolling around. With a $2 Michelada and a couple of tacos, being surrounded by places to shop was only the tip of the ice berg to make the OC Swap Meet one of my all time "happy places". It is also where we filled up on fresh fruit, pita chips, jalapeño bread, and the most amazing Greek feta dip you'll ever have. We packed it all up and headed to the Newport Beach!
So this post doesn't become a TLDR, below is a list of all the restaurants and places we visited on this trip. You might not initially think to spend the majority of your time in Riverside or Newport, but never underestimate the power of a tourist town. Dig deep into the google searches and keep an open mind to things you normally wouldn't do. Overall, keep this mindset all through summer and it should be your best one yet!
Places to visit from Riverside to Orange County: