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12 Top-Rated Things to Do in San Bernardino, CA

12 Top-Rated Things to Do in San Bernardino, CA

Looking for fun things to do in San Bernardino? You’re in luck! As one of the largest cities in the state, San Bernardino offers a wealth of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. From world-class museums and historical sites to outdoor recreation and family fun, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city. In this post, I will give you a list of the 12 Top-Rated Things to Do in San Bernardino. So get out there and start exploring all that this wonderful city has to offer!

1. California Theatre of the Performing Arts

For a more cultural experience, the California Theatre of the Performing Arts is one of the top attractions in San Bernardino not to be missed. This majestic theatre was built in 1928 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The theatre has seen a lot of history, including being used as a church, a movie theatre, and a nightclub.

These days, the California Theatre is home to a variety of performing arts groups, including the San Bernardino Philharmonic and the San Bernardino Children’s Theatre. There’s always something exciting happening at the theatre, from Broadway shows and classic films to concerts and family-friendly productions.

The California Theatre is a stunning example of Art Deco architecture, and you can take a guided tour of the theatre for a closer look at its history and design. 

2. Rim of the World Scenic Byway

The Rim of the World Scenic Byway is a must-do if you’re looking for an outdoor adventure. This National Scenic Byway winds through the San Bernardino National Forest and offers stunning panoramic views of the Inland Empire. The drive is about 100 miles in length, so you’ll want to set aside a few hours to take it all in. 

Along the way, there are several scenic hiking trails to explore in the area, as well as opportunities for fishing, camping, and picnicking. Be sure to keep an eye out for the abundant wildlife that calls the San Bernardino Mountains home, including black bears and deer.

The Rim of the World Scenic Byway is a wonderful way to experience the natural beauty of Southern California, and it’s definitely one of the top things to do in San Bernardino. So no matter what time of year you visit, the scenic byway is a great way to experience the natural beauty of San Bernardino.

3. Deep Creek Hot Springs

For a more relaxing activity, Deep Creek Hot Springs is a great option. These natural hot springs are located in the San Bernardino National Forest and make for a perfect day trip or weekend getaway.

There are a few different ways to get to the hot springs, but hiking is my favorite. The hike is about 2 miles each way and offers some beautiful scenery along the way. Once you reach the springs, you’ll find yourself in a natural oasis with a creek running through it and dozens of pools of hot water to relax in.

The springs are open all year round, but I would recommend visiting during the spring or fall when the weather is a bit cooler. And be sure to bring plenty of drinking water, as there is no drinking water available at the springs.

Visiting this hot spring is definitely one of the top things to do in San Bernardino. However, be sure to check the current conditions before heading out, as winter can bring colder temperatures and snowfall.

4. San Manuel Stadium San Bernadino

San Manuel Stadium is home to the San Bernardino 66ers, a Minor League Baseball team. But even if you’re not a sports fan, this stadium is worth a visit for its architecture and history.

Opened in 1996, San Manuel Stadium is an open-air ballpark with a modern design that pays homage to old-fashioned ballparks. The stadium was built to seat over 5,000 fans and features a spacious concourse with great views of the playing field from every seat.

Not only does the stadium offer a great game experience with top-notch amenities and an intimate setting, but it’s also one of the most beautiful ballparks in all of California. With its backdrop of the San Bernardino Mountains, lush green grass, and well-manicured landscaping, San Manuel Stadium is a true gem.

The 66ers have been a part of the California League since 1946, making San Manuel Stadium one of the oldest baseball stadiums in California. And if you’re visiting during the off-season, you can still enjoy a tour of the stadium to see where the magic happens.

5. Original McDonald’s Site and Museum San Bernadino

If you’re a fan of McDonald’s, then be sure to check out the Original McDonald’s Site and Museum. This museum is dedicated to the history of the McDonald’s restaurant chain and is home to the world’s first McDonald’s restaurant.

The museum is located in the original building that housed the first McDonald’s restaurant. It was opened by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald in 1940 and is now a registered historic landmark. Inside, you can find exhibits about the history of the company, from photos and memorabilia to the original kitchen equipment used in the restaurant. You can also watch a short film about the history of McDonald’s.

During my visit, I found it very interesting to see the timeline of how McDonald’s menu has evolved over the years, starting with burgers and fries and slowly adding breakfast, chicken items, and salads. The museum has a lot of interactive exhibits for visitors to explore, making it one of the top things to do in San Bernardino for an hour or two.

The Original McDonald’s Site and Museum is a great place to learn more about the history of one of the world’s most famous fast-food chains. It’s also a great place to get a taste of the original McDonald’s menu. The museum is open from 9 am to 5 pm every day, and admission is free.

6. Norton Air Force Base Museum

If you’re a history buff, then the Norton Air Force Base Museum is a must-see attraction. This museum is dedicated to preserving the history of the Norton Air Force Base and is home to one of the world’s largest collections of military aircraft.

The museum has a wide variety of aircraft on display, from helicopters and bombers to fighter jets and spacecraft. There’s even a replica of the Wright brothers’ plane on exhibit. There’s also a large collection of tanks and artillery on display, as well as a variety of other vehicles. And if that’s not enough, you can even get a guided tour from veterans who worked on or flew the aircraft on display. They offer great stories and insights into aviation history and Norton Air Force Base.

I found the Norton Air Force Base Museum to be extremely interesting and informative. It’s definitely one of the top things to do in San Bernardino for anyone interested in aviation or military history.

7. Glen Helen Regional Park

If you’re looking for a bit more nature and outdoor activity, Glen Helen Regional Park is a great option. With over 1,340 acres to explore, there’s plenty of room to get lost in the beauty of California’s landscape. The park is home to miles of hiking trails, horseback riding trails, and areas for fishing, camping, and picnicking.

I spent a few hours hiking around the park and found myself constantly in awe of the natural surroundings. The different trails offer something for everyone, from easy, flat hikes to more difficult trails with steep climbs. There are also lots of trees and shade throughout the park, making it a great option to visit during the hotter months.

One of the highlights of the park is the Glen Helen Amphitheater. This outdoor concert venue hosts a variety of events throughout the year, from major music festivals to agricultural fairs. With a capacity of over 65,000, the Amphitheater is one of the largest in California.

So if you’re looking for a great day trip or outdoor activity to do in San Bernardino, Glen Helen Regional Park is definitely worth a visit.

8. Santa Ana River Trail

If you’re looking for more fun things to do in San Bernardino, the Santa Ana River Trail is a great option. This paved trail stretches for 110 miles, making it one of the longest in Southern California. This trail is great for biking, running, and walking, and it’s a popular spot for locals and visitors alike.

The trail is well-maintained and easy to follow, making it a great option for a morning or afternoon out. The scenery along the river is beautiful, and there are plenty of places to stop and rest or have a picnic.

I started my journey at the San Bernardino end of the trail and found it to be a great way to see the city. The trail is mostly flat, making it easy for biking, running, or walking. As I made my way down the trail, I passed by residential neighborhoods, businesses, and parks.

So if you’re looking for fun activities in San Bernardino, the Santa Ana River Trail is a great option. You can easily spend a few hours walking or biking along the trail, enjoying the beautiful views of the river. It’s a great way to see a little bit of everything San Bernardino has to offer.

9. The National Orange Show Fair

Another of the top things to do in San Bernardino is the National Orange Show Fair. This annual fair has been around for over 100 years and celebrates all things orange. From the delicious fruit to the color itself, the fair is a fun event for people of all ages.

There’s something for everyone at the National Orange Show Fair, from carnival games and rides to food booths and live entertainment. A large section of the fairgrounds is dedicated to agriculture, with exhibits showcasing everything from citrus fruits to honey and olive oil. There’s also a petting zoo, a large children’s area, and a food court with options for everyone.

The fair is held every year in May and takes place for five days. It is a great event to attend with family and friends. There’s something for everyone to enjoy, and it’s a great opportunity to learn more about San Bernardino’s history and culture.

10. Day Trip to Joshua Tree National Park

About an hour and a half outside of San Bernardino, Joshua Tree National Park is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Southern California. The park is known for its unique Joshua trees, which can only be found in the Mojave desert and Colorado desert.

The park is home to over 800,000 acres of a desert landscape and offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. There are a variety of different ways to explore the park, from easy hikes to more difficult trails. I recommend picking up a map at the visitor’s center so you can plan out your day and make the most of your time.

I spent a day exploring the different areas of the park and was amazed by the variety of desert plants and landscapes. The Joshua trees are a unique sight to see and make for great photos. There are also a lot of hikes and trails throughout the park, including the popular ‘Jumbo Rocks’ trail.

Some of the highlights of the park include Barker Dam, which is a great place for a picnic lunch; Keys View, which offers stunning views of the Coachella Valley and San Andreas Fault; and Skull Rock, which is a popular spot for taking pictures.

Joshua Tree National Park is a great option if you’re looking for a day trip outside of San Bernardino. With its unique landscape and abundance of activities, you’re sure to have a great time!

11. Big Bear Lake

No list of top things to do in San Bernardino would be complete without mentioning Big Bear Lake, located about an hour’s drive into the San Bernardino National Forest. Big Bear is a top destination for outdoor enthusiasts, as the area offers something for everyone, from fishing and hiking to skiing and snowboarding.

The area is home to a number of top-rated resorts, including the Big Bear Mountain Resort and Snow Summit. There are plenty of campgrounds and cabin rentals in the area if you want to stay for a few days. Visitors can also take advantage of the area’s lake and streams for fishing or enjoy a quiet picnic lunch in the woods.

Big Bear transforms into a winter wonderland in the winter months, with slopes full of powdery snow and icicles hanging from the pine trees. Skiing and snowboarding are top activities here, but there are also tubing hills, dogsledding, and snowshoeing trails for visitors to enjoy. So no matter what time of year you visit, Big Bear is sure to please.

12. Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area

If you’re looking for a place to cool off and take a swim, Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area is the perfect spot. The park is home to a large lake formed by the nearby Cedar Springs Dam. This transformed the scenic mountain valley into a popular spot for fishing, swimming, boating, and camping.

The recreation area also has a number of scenic hiking trails, including a nature trail that winds around the lake. There are several areas for picnicking, as well as a playground and campgrounds. I spent a few hours hiking around the park and found it to be a great way to escape the heat.

The lake is a beautiful spot, and it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re looking for a place to relax and enjoy nature. There are also a few restaurants and convenience stores located near the park, so you don’t have to worry about bringing food with you.

Conclusion

There are definitely a lot of things to do in San Bernardino. Whether you’re interested in learning about McDonald’s history, enjoying nature and outdoor activities, or catching a concert at the Glen Helen Amphitheater, you won’t be disappointed. So be sure to add these top-rated spots to your list on your next visit to San Bernardino.

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