Back when we lived in LA, Nate and I would take weekend trips around Southern California. I distinctly remember telling him about this little gem of a town called Temecula. People raved about Temecula sightseeing, particularly their annual balloon and wine festival.
“I can't quite figure out if it's pronounced ‘Te-meec-you-la' or ‘Te-meck-ool-ah,' but this historic town releases dozens of hot air balloons all at once,” I excitedly described. “Can you imagine seeing them all glowing in the sky?”
For the record, it's Tem-eck-you-la.
Nate and I now live just half an hour away from this scenic spot. We took our first hot air balloon ride during a Temecula sightseeing trip several years ago. It's become well known as the scene for some of the silver screen's big recent blockbusters, and is now a common choice for bachelorette parties. Temecula sightseeing is an upscale alternative to the rowdier Vegas scene.
Temecula Sightseeing in a Few Short Hours
A couple weeks ago, the city of Temecula reached out and invited us to do some Temecula sightseeing their way. It was a treat, and we explored parts of this awesome city that we didn't even know existed. Here's the path we took – and one I would recommend for anyone looking to see the highlights in a day of Temecula sightseeing!
We started at the Temecula Visitors Center to get our bearings and learn a little history. A quick walk southwest down Main Street brought us to the Temecula Olive Oil Company. They grow their own olives and bottle numerous variations of oil. I'm extremely picky about olive oil, knowing that much of the mass-produced stuff is watered down with canola. Regulations and testing in the United States and abroad are sorely lacking. Buying from a small company like this one in Temecula is a good way to assure that you are buying a quality product.
We walked from there through Pennypickles Workshop at (the Temecula Children's Museum) filled with all sorts of imaginative toys for the kids, and on to the Temecula Lavender Company. Everything lavender that you could possibly hope for is here, from bath and body to cooking. We use lavender at home to help get the little guys to bed. I have a feeling this is going to become a frequent stop for us!
Next up: Old Town Sweet Shop and Old Town Spice and Tea Merchants. Our taste buds were in heaven. I'm really selective about the spices I use, so shopping at specialty shops like this is a dream. There are knowledgeable employees filled with recipe ideas and information about how each ingredient is sourced.
Nearby Old Town Rootbeer has…well…root beer, obviously. On top of that, they have shelves and shelves stocked with over 500 varieties of soda. Food fiends, this is YOUR town.
Having worked up an appetite ogling all of the tasty treats, we hopped over to Crush & Brew. They're known for their all-American selections as well as incredible seafood appetizers.
Don't order a drink with lunch, since your next stop on this Temecula sightseeing whirlwind is Lorimar Vineyards! If you have time, I highly suggest a drive away from Old Town to Wilson Creek Winery. It's a good idea to take Uber or even hire a limo for the late afternoon. This is one of my favorite vineyards, and it's easy to indulge in their almond champagne. Kick back on their patio and live a little!
Wilson Creek has an intimate restaurant with hand-selected pairings and indulgent gluten-free options that are heads above your typical fare. Check the hours before you go: they usually close before 4pm to accommodate evening parties.
Hot air balloon flights typically take place in Temecula at sunrise, so I highly recommend spending the night and taking flight in the morning. If you're visiting during the Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival, pull up a chair for the evening balloon glow to watch the burners ignite against a twilight backdrop.
Have you ever been Temecula sightseeing? What was your favorite spot?