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Temecula, CA City Guide: The Napa Valley of Southern California

Updated: Apr 27


Temecula is a city located in southwestern Riverside County, California, approximately 85 miles southeast of Los Angeles and 60 miles north of San Diego. It is known for its beautiful vineyards and wineries, which produce a variety of wines, including Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The city also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including the Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival, the Temecula Valley International Film and Music Festival, and the Temecula Rod Run.


Best time to visit:


September/October: If you want to experience warm weather and beautiful, lush vineyards this is the time to visit. These months are still considered peak tourist season, but if you visit later in October, you might be able to avoid some of the crowds.


July/August: Not a bad time to go if you want to stroll through the vineyards, but keep in mind it gets very hot in Temecula. If you go during these months, be prepared to sweat!


January/Feb/March: If you want to avoid the crowds, this is a great time to go. The only downside is that it is not harvest season so the vineyards will not be lush and green, but on the upside, you won’t have to deal with all the crowds.



Getting there:


The best way to travel to and around Temecula is by car. There are also many wine tours you can purchase that will drive you around to different wineries.


Where to Stay:


There are so many unique places to stay from luxury bed and breakfasts to budget friendly hotels.


This family owned and operated B&B is located on the De Portola Wine Trail. The Vine boasts elegant rooms with fireplaces and gourmet breakfast delivered right to your room. The property is also in walking distance to a few wineries.


This elegant hotel is located on a vineyard and offers luxurious rooms, a spa, and a restaurant. It's rated as one of the top hotels in Temecula.


Located in the heart of Temecula Valley Wine Country, this hotel offers comfortable and modern rooms and suites with amenities such as an outdoor pool, fitness center, and complimentary breakfast.


Things to do:


Wine Tasting - Temecula Valley Wine Country is home to over 40 wineries, making it a popular destination for wine tasting and tours. Many of the wineries are located near De Portola Rd and Rancho California Rd. This area is very easy to get around by car. Our favorite winery in Temecula is Wilson Creek Winery! This winery is known for their sparkling wines, almond (what they are known for) and peach bellini (my favorite)! They also have delicious red and white wines. During the summer they also have wine slushies available for purchase.


Old Town Temecula - This historic district features charming shops, restaurants, and galleries, as well as a weekly farmers' market. This is a very walkable area and a great place to explore.



Hot Air Balloon Rides - Take a hot air balloon ride over the vineyards and hills of Temecula for breathtaking views.


Spa day at Glen Ivy Hot Springs- Located about 30 min from the city center of Temecula sits a full-service day spa. This spa offers relaxing body and facial treatments, mineral baths, and delicious food.


Pechanga Resort & Casino - This large resort features a casino, spa, restaurants, and entertainment venues.


Outdoor Activities - There are many outdoor activities to enjoy in Temecula, including hiking, biking, golfing, and horseback riding.


Temecula Valley Museum - This museum features exhibits and artifacts that highlight the history and culture of Temecula.



Where to Eat:


Toast $$

Toast is a popular breakfast and lunch restaurant. It is known for its delicious food and cozy atmosphere and has become a favorite among locals and visitors. The menu at Toast features a variety of breakfast and lunch dishes, with a focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Some popular items include the Eggs Benedict and the creme brulee French Toast.


This local spot offers a menu of wood-fired pizzas, sandwiches, and salads, as well as a selection of local wines and craft beers. The restaurant is known for its high-quality ingredients and flavorful dishes and has a relaxed and inviting atmosphere. This is a very popular restaurant, so I recommend visiting their website and joining the waitlist before you arrive. We love the Hatch Chili Honey Chicken Pizza and we’ve heard their Jacked Cappuccino Ice Cream Cake is delicious!



This restaurant offers a menu of traditional Cuban dishes, such as Ropa Vieja, Cuban Sandwiches, and Picadillo. They are known for its flavorful and authentic cuisine, as well as its lively atmosphere and live music on certain nights. Guests can also enjoy a selection of Cuban cocktails and other beverages. Our favorite sandwich on the menu is the Ropa-Q, made with Cuban pulled pork, grilled onions, and BBQ sauce!


Safety:


Overall Temecula is a very safe city and has a very low crime rate. We have always felt very safe during our visits. As with any city, it is always best practice to use wisdom when traveling and be aware of your surroundings.


Budget:

When setting a budget for your trip to Temecula there are many factors to keep in mind. Many of the hotels in this area average about $200 - $300 per night. The price of the hotels varies during weekends and high season. The high season is typically May to June and September to December.

With so many wineries to choose from I recommend choosing no more than 3 wineries/day to visit. I recommend this because you will have more time to enjoy the wine tastings and explore the grounds at the winery. The cost of a wine tasting averages $20- $30 per/person and includes 5-6 tastings/person. If you are not a big wine drinker most wineries will let you share your tasting with your companion.

The cost of food is high almost everywhere but in California, I would say it’s probably higher than the national average. Most meals will cost about $15.00 - $20.00 per/person.

For the cost of transportation, a rideshare will cost an average of $8.00 - $17.00.


Wrap up:

I hope this Temecula guide is a helpful resource and inspires you to visit Temecula! If you want assistance planning your trip or have questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on this post!


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Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Good information and great photos. Thanks for providing additional sightseeing options along with the winery as a main sight to visit.

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Stephanie Daniels
Stephanie Daniels
May 16, 2023
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Thank you! You're welcome! :)

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Guest
Apr 30, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Very informative!

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Stephanie
Stephanie
Jun 29, 2023
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Thank you! I'm glad you found this post helpful!

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