One of the most underrated wine destinations in the world, Temecula is a beautiful tourist city located between Los Angeles and San Diego.
Not only is it a dream destination for wine tasting and lounging by the pool, but it also happens to be your hometown really.
A gastronomic paradise, here you can enjoy the unique varieties of local olive oil, honey, wine and craft beers.
While not on your radar, it is a popular day trip destination for people from all over Southern California.
Away from the sometimes overly elegant world of the Napa Valley, this is a relaxed place to swing your favorite flip-flops as you sip your local vintages.
While there are some award-winning wines here, local wineries don’t emit any air.
After spending too much time saving this little treasure for myself, I’ve connected with some old friends who still live in the city to share the best of the best in Temecula, California.
From wineries to hotels, spas and beyond, here’s your local guide to the best-kept secrets and popular sites in Temecula, California.
Where to stay in Temecula
This private tourist vineyard was made for bridal getaways and romantic weekends. Try the impressive selection of wines and spend your days by the pool. With a 53 ‘water slide and a bathing bar, you will live with your bathing equipment.
Celler Carter Estate
Live like a king in the luxury bungalows and suites of this quaint winery. Watch the lush vineyards from the balcony while tasting their award-winning wines.
Bridge Vineyard Inn
This elegant establishment, with 300 hectares of vineyards, will transport you to the Tuscan countryside.
Bed and Breakfast The Vine House
For a home away from home, this bed and breakfast will make you feel at home. Be sure to plan your morning time for fresh breakfast on the farm.
Planning Tip: Opt for the scenic route to Temecula. Rainbow Valley Road or Pala Temecula Road (via Pala) are perfect for sightseeing.
Things to do in Temecula
Explore the old town
From freshly cut lavender to locally made veal, Old Town Temecula is full of treasures. Plan at least one afternoon of browsing to get your perfect memory.
Go on a hot air balloon
One of the most important attractions of Temecula Valley are hot air balloon rides. Get up early to take a flight at sunrise; I promise it’s worth it.
Grab your saddle and explore the beautiful terrain of the Temecula Valley wine country. If you can do it, take a tour at dusk.
This popular event hosts everything from sporting events to weddings. Check the calendar before you go.
If you are lucky enough to visit it during the holidays, this is the place to be. Grab dinner at one of the local food trucks and listen to live music. If you bring small children, get them a ticket for the Polar Express.
Old town farmers market
Arrive at Sixth Street and Front Street, in the old town of Temecula, on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Go Tasting of olive oil
Ready to rest from the wine? Try the wide range of locally grown olive oils and more vinegar than you even knew existed.
Go to the Temecula Olive Oil Company or the olive plantation to sample some of the other local delicacies.
Have a spa day
In addition to wine, beer and olive oil, Temecula is famous for its spas.
Enjoy a day at Grapeseed Spa. From the South Coast Winery, you can head to the on-site spa for a variety of lush treatments. Once you’re done, plan your time for a long walk through the gardens.
Since 1867, Vail’s headquarters has been the venue where venues congregate for restaurants, shopping and local events. Restored with love to its glory, the atmosphere of the Old West remains strong.
Hacienda de Alpaca
Are alpacas the most beautiful animals they have ever lived?
Get up close with the locals and have the alpacas eat from your hands. Feed these adorable little boys, learn about their lives and see what you think of them. They offer small private tours for about $ 100.
Don’t forget to check out The Alpaca Shoppe for locally made souvenirs.
Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve
At the southern end of the Santa Ana Mountains, this is a perfect place for horseback riding, mountain biking or hiking. This 9,000-acre ecological reserve is home to hundreds of bird species and nearly 50 endangered plant and animal species.
You’ll find 17 different trails to choose from, ranging from less than two miles to almost ten miles.
Why should Temecula be on the radar?
As much as I love exploring California’s exclusive wine destination, the casual atmosphere here is a breath of fresh air.
Temecula, one of the most convenient wine regions in Southern California, is less than an hour from San Diego and just over an hour from Los Angeles.
Although wine is a big player in Temecula, if you travel with people who are not a wine lover, there are still many things to do.
From hot air balloon rides to horseback riding to shopping, you’ll have the best time without missing a beat.
The old town of Temecula has a rich history dating back to the 19th century. A world away from the modern landscape of most California cities, a walk through the beautifully preserved city center is like taking a step back in time.
Ultimately, it’s an easy and convenient location to get to Southern California. They have a wide variety of wines. In addition, the old town mixed with carefree vibrations makes for a truly relaxing and cool getaway.
Having a car will allow you to explore the wider Temecula Valley and I highly recommend it.
How to move Temecula
You can get on the I-15 from San Diego and head southeast in an hour. Are you from Los Angeles? Head southeast and plan about 90 minutes on the road.
Having a car will allow you to explore the wider Temecula Valley and I highly recommend it.
Public transportation is limited and some of the best places are off the beaten track (plus the CA was made pretty much for fun on the freeway, so I’d recommend taking a road trip to California).
That said, if you plan to stay in the heart of the city or make the most of your resort, you can go out on wheels. Plan to fly to a nearby airport like San Diego and then take an Uber or taxi. The trip will get you back a good penny, but it’s simple.
Avoid drinking and driving: You will find some wineries within walking distance, but most are located in the wider region of the Temecula Valley.
Whether you own a car or not, it’s easy to catch an Uber between wineries.
You can also join a wine tasting tour that will arrange all the transport. Decide what works best for you if you need to choose a designated driver or get one.
The best time to visit
Like much of SoCal, Temecula has a mild climate year-round. Come to the winter sun or enjoy the summer heat. Both are quite comfortable.
If you can do that, I would recommend visiting it during the week.
This is a popular weekend getaway, so it can get crowded. As an advantage, you can find significant discounts on weekdays with a Temecula SIP passport.
Best wineries + drink
Temecula Ale Trail: You forgot the wine for one night! Local breweries are giving the vineyards a run for their money. Walk down the pub’s trail path and decide if you’re next to Temecula beer or wine.
Cotta Bottaia: Sleep on the sun loungers by the pool and order a charcuterie table and a couple of wines (then you can thank me).
Bolero: Enjoy the charm of the Old World with the mix of Spanish, French and Italian touches in this beautiful place. One of the newest wineries on the scene, the menu here brings all the food to the vineyard.
Leoness Cellers: This family-run place has a nice open-air restaurant with panoramic views.
Wilson Creek: This warm and cozy wine cellar has almond champagne that you will dream of for days.
South coast: Chosen four times the CA winery of the year and certified as sustainable, this is the spa’s preferred option. They have received an offer of massages and lunches for $ 99 and hopefully will be back soon. Plan ahead to stay on the spa deck.
Doffo Cellar: Small batch red wines with a delicious (and random) look from vintage motorcycles.
Maurice Car’rie Vineyard: Sure, the wine is great, but everyone is really here for these brie bowls.
Thornton: Attention, sparkling wine lovers! Having explored vineyards around the world, I can confirm that the Champagne Café at Thornton Winery remains one of the best sparkling places I’ve ever been.
Callaway Winery: Come to the popular restaurant terrace here to enjoy stunning sunset views.
Beyond craft beer and local wine, you can find amazing cocktails around town.
Apparition Room: Appition Room’s ultra-skilled waiters will prepare a unique cocktail.
Thompson & Twain Prospecting Co .: Do you love the ambiance of the Old West show? This place is for you!
Toasted corks: The owners are a couple who rebuilt an old school and created a luxury van. This new wine tour company offers a unique and fun way to get around and taste the vintages.
Temecula Cable Car: Hope in this outdoor cable car to do wine tastings. It’s a unique way to move in a unique way. As a bonus, they also do haunted excursions to the cable car at night.
Wine Country Bike Tours: An afternoon of cycling and drinking wine is the afternoon of my dream! This tour will take you for a leisurely stroll through some of California’s most beautiful terrain.
Guided wine tour by Jeep: Do you want to lift your feet and watch the world go by? This is a fun and entertaining way to move around the vineyards.
The best restaurants
Chef Flavor at Vail Ranch HQ: This rustic-chic deli has all the best local wines and craft beers. Try a BBQ sandwich with one side of that famous potato salad.
Bushfire Kitchen Temecula: Another top notch BBQ board, go here for a three-pronged sandwich, grass-fed beef options and a wide selection of bowls.
Small barn in the old town: In the outdoor dining room, grab an Australian wagyu or a Barn Burger with a side of fries.
Goat and Vine: Try the carnitas pizza with a side of sangria and bread milk.
Temecula Pizza Company: With a vintage western theme and unique cakes, this is the place to grab a slice. They say white tiger pizza is unbeatable – check it out for yourself!
TOASTS: For the best snack spot in town, go to Temecula Parkway.
Oak Grove Culinary Creations: Do you have a sweet tooth? To enjoy the best desserts, head to the old town.
Rene’s Canteen: This small and picturesque place in the old town has daisies and stellar pools.
Have you been to Temecula? What would you recommend?