Riverside is located in the Inland Empire metropolitan area of Riverside County. The city prides itself on its historic connection to the navel orange, which was introduced to North America from Brazil by the first settlers to Riverside in 1873. The City is caretaker to the one surviving Parent Navel Orange Tree, from which all American West Coast navel orange trees are descended.
Riverside is home of the historic Mission Inn, and the Riverside Fox Theater, where the first showing of Gone with the Wind was held. For more than 25 years, the Mission Inn has been host to political functions and other major social gatherings. Pat and Richard Nixon were married at one of the two wedding chapels, Nancy and Ronald Reagan honeymooned there, and eight other US Presidents have visited the Inn.
Get in on the holiday spirit at the Riverside Festival of Lights, which centers around the Mission Inn. Decoration of the Inn, which begins in October and runs through New Year’s Day, features a lighting ceremony that takes place the day after Thanksgiving Day – complete with fireworks and live musicians. The Inn puts up more than three million lights and hundreds of animated characters. Carolers, horse-drawn carriage rides, and ice skating all lend holiday cheer to the festival.
For you history buffs, March Joint Air Reserve Base, which borders the City on the east, is the oldest (founded in 1918) operating Air Force Base west of the Mississippi River.
Airplane enthusiasts swarm to the Riverside Airshow, which is held in March at the Riverside Municipal Airport. The event attracts around 70,000 people and includes aerial performers, over 200 acres of aircraft displays, a car show and military vehicle display, children’s activities, food and refreshments, helicopter displays and community group exhibits.
If you’re an auto racing fan, catch The Legends of Riverside Film Festival and charity fund raiser. Held in March at the Riverside International Automotive Museum, the annual event highlights popular racing films and offers attendees the chance to mingle with famous racing legends of the past. Former racing greats have included Dan Gurney, Elliot and Stuart Forbes-Robinson, Bob Bondurant, Peter Brock, George Follmer, and Dick Goldstrand.
Have you visited this historic city? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments section below.