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Temecula Valley City Trip - Old Town Temecula

Old Town's charming arches
Old Town's charming arches

TEMECULA DAY 2: Old Town, Pennypickle's Workshop, Pechanga Resort & Casino

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For day two, take a break from wine tasting with a trip into Old Town Temecula. If you land here on a Saturday, you're in luck. The weekly farmers market runs from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in between 6th and Front Streets, and is home to a nice mix of shopping, food and history.

For breakfast, you can nibble on goods from the market or opt for a local landmark like the Swing Inn Café, established in 1927, which serves hearty American fare. There's also Front Street Bar & Grill, which not only offers a range of hearty breakfast food, but also has a full bar, so you can order a Bloody Mary or Mimosa, too.

Afterward, stop by the Old Town mural, a colorful depiction of everything from steam engine trains to beautiful ballooning. It's located next to the old stage stop, now a bus depot.

Shopping options are plentiful. For women, there's the La Menagerie for shoes and accessories and the Cactus Flower for washable silks, scarves and sweaters. Wannabe cowboys can sort through the western wear troves and horse supplies at Dan's Feed & Seed.

Temecula Olive Oil Company
Temecula Olive Oil Company

If you're hungry for a snack after breakfast, get in on fun tastings that don't involve wine. Options include the House of Jerky, the Temecula Olive Oil Company and Villa di Calabro for olive oil and vinegar (and wine). For family-friendly liquid refreshments, the Old Town Root Beer Company stocks hundreds of bottled sodas with playful names like Havana Banana, Swamp Pop and Kitty Piddle.

If you do want to sample some local wine while in town, Lorimar Vineyards and Winery has a tasting room here, and offers a full range of reds, whites, blushes and dessert wines. Also, Crush & Brew serves wines — some local, some not — by the flight or glass, as well as craft beer and snacks.

Kids flock to Pennypickle's Workshop, the Temecula Children's Museum, which teaches science skills in a fun, interactive way. Designed to look like the home of fictional professor "Phineas T. Pennypickle," each room offers hands-on opportunities for play and learning.

Mad Madeline's Grill
Mad Madeline's Grill

For lunch, check out Temecula's first gastro-pub, Public House. Specialties include dishes with names like "herbagized" mushroom and tots and a Kobe-style "Euro tour" burger. Craft brew beers and international wine pairings are available. Further lunch options include burgers at Mad Madeline's Grill, Italian subs at Palumbo's Ristorante and two local Mexican restaurant favorites, the more casual Rosa's Cantina, where nothing is priced over $11, and The Bank, which has more of a sit-down, upscale feel.

After lunch, satisfy your sweettooth with ice cream and candy from Old Town Sweet Shop, stock up on loose-leaf teas and spices at Old Town Spice Merchants and inhale the soothing aromas of scented bath products at Temecula Lavender Co.

Throughout the year, the Mercantile Building offers various jazz, rock and classical concerts in a small setting. The adjacent art gallery is a great place to stroll and mingle pre-concert. The Old Town Temecula Community Theater is in season from September to June, with a range of shows from pianists and chamber ensembles to Texas blues guitarists and contemporary dance.

Pechanga Resort & Casino
Pechanga Resort & Casino

For dinner, try Baily's, which is run by the same family as Baily Vineyard & Winery. The menu is upscale-international; for a quiet meal, plan to eat early, as the entire venue turns into a club after 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

The Gambling Cowboy Chophouse and Saloon is another Old Town favorite, with an emphasis on American steakhouse fare in a rustic but sophisticated barn-like setting.

As an alternative to nightlife in Old Town, or to keep the fun going, hit up Pechanga Resort & Casino, the single largest Indian gaming facility in the state. Pechanga offers a bevy of dining, drinking and entertainment options, including the Great Oak Steakhouse. Hit the slots, play a hand of poker or laugh it up at The Comedy Club.

MORE TEMECULA INFORMATION

 

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