Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Covina, CA

  • Published 2022/04/09

Nestled in the San Gabriel Valley, Covina is a city that has a lot to offer.

Founded in 1882, Covina is considered “One Mile Square and All There,” coming from when the first incorporation of the city only spanned one square mile.

Only 22 miles from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, Covina offers an experience of the old and modern world, combining history from the Old West and contemporary experiences.

Compared to neighboring and more prominent West Covina, Covina is a lowkey and laid-back destination perfect for the traveler looking for a slice of rural life in the greater Los Angeles area.

Ready to explore Covina, California?

Here are the 15 best things to do in the city:

Hang Out at Downtown Covina

Aerial view of Downtown Covina

Matt Gush /

With its old West buildings backdropped by the San Gabriel Mountains, Downtown Covina is the perfect spot to spend a laid-back day in this Southern California suburb.

There’s a lot to do for visitors within Downtown’s three-block radius.

A clock along Downtown Covina

Matt Gush /

Visitors can get a taste of local Covina fare through multiple restaurants such as Bread & Barley, 3 Vinos, and Giovanni’s International Restaurant.

Nightlife is also well and alive in the city, with establishments like Rude Dog Bar & Grill coming alive as the evening falls.

Visitors can get a taste of the proudly local Covina brews alongside live music and entertainment.

Downtown Covina also serves as a hub for activities for its residents.

Visitors have a chance to join in the different seasonal activities, such as Covina’s Charity Wine Walks, weekend Farmer’s Markets, and Thanksgiving turkey trots.

Buildings and the road of Downtown Covina

Matt Gush /

Grab a Freshly Made Pint at Alosta Brewing Co.

Alosta Brewing Co. is a proudly Covina establishment serving a variety of locally-made beers.

Visitors can enjoy the wide mix of flavors available both on tap for a fresh pour or in a can to take home and enjoy with family and friends.

Enjoy their drinks at the brewery’s Tasting Room, pairing the beers with different food pairings, elevating the drink into a well-rounded gastronomic experience.

Apart from visiting their branch on Arrow Grand Circle, visitors can also catch the different pop-ups of Alosta Brewing Co. via food trucks sprawled around the San Gabriel Valley.

See a Slice of History at the Covina Firehouse Jail Museum

Built in 1911, the firehouse was the first civic building in the city.

Originally, the structure operated as a municipal jail for Covina until 1974. It was formally incorporated as a museum in 1979.

Operated by the Covina Historical Society, the Covina Firehouse Jail Museum showcases historical artifacts from the city’s humble beginnings.

These include photographs, documents, and pieces showcasing life and culture in the San Gabriel Valley in the 1900s.

Located just behind Covina City Hall, visitors can pop in and immerse themselves in the cultural history of the city and how its beginnings shaped it to be the Covina we know of today.

Bask in the Works of Art at the H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Cultural and Art Museum

Exterior of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Cultural and Art Museum

Siujyuzi, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located in the heart of Covina, the H.H Dorje Chang Buddha III Cultural and Art Museum is the biggest and most significant museum in the city, offering visitors and residents alike an immersive cultural experience.

H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Cultural and Art Museum's first floor exhibits

Siujyuzi, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The museum houses a mix of Western and Eastern pieces, ranging from ancient Chinese calligraphy, colorful abstract paintings, and traditional Yun sculptures.

Visitors can spend the day engrossed in the hundreds of works of art on display, both on their own or on guided tours by the museum’s able curators and staff.

H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Cultural and Art Museum's second floor exhibit

Siujyuzi, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Apart from art watching, visitors are also treated to different activities hosted in partnership with the City of Covina, such as its annual Tree Lighting Ceremony for the holiday season.

Yun sculpture in H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Cultural and Art Museum

Siujyuzi, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Spend a Day at Covina Park

Centrally located in the city, Covina Park is an open reprieve for locals and visitors looking to spend a relaxing day outdoors.

Visitors can set up picnics with family and friends on the park’s sprawling lawns.

Walking tracks are also spread out in the park for those who like to keep fit through runs or brisk walks.

Amenities such as hockey and softball fields are available for group sports and activities.

A public swimming pool is also open for those looking to beat the heat with a cool swim.

Covina Park also has a space for outdoor concerts and events happening in the city.

In addition, the park is pet-friendly, so all furry friends are welcome here!

Get into Cars and Motors at Covina Hobby Shop

A local business located on Citrus Avenue, Covina Hobby Shop has been operating for over 50 years.

Covina Hobby Shop is the ultimate destination for men and women alike for motors and models.

The hobby shop offers selections such as model airplanes, tanks, cars and ships, as well as radio-controlled planes and cars.

The shop also offers repairs for these models and radio-controlled devices.

In addition, the shop also sells hardware and relevant supplies for home repairs, such as paint and adhesives.

Catch a Show at the Covina Center for the Performing Arts

Exterior of Covina Center for the Performing Arts

TonelsonProductions /

For those into theater, a visit to the Covina Center for the Performing Arts is a must to put on your list.

Established in the 1920s, the theater was a host of modern theater for its time, showcasing newsreels and silent films accompanied by piano instrumentals.

The theater became a popular hangout and hotspot for the city’s youth.

Today, the Covina Center for the Performing Arts continues to uplift the local theater scene in the city, hosting shows put up by local and visiting productions alike.

The interiors are an homage to the old-school style, retaining the retro vibes of old 1920s theater.

Box and balcony seats are also available for viewers during the shows.

Located close to Downtown Covina, the theater is also a popular venue for events and gatherings in the area.

Explore Covina’s Past at the Covina Heritage House

The Covina Heritage House is a significant venue in Covina’s history.

Originally built as a residence for local pharmacist William Nash, who was considered the first pharmacist in the area, the house is a remaining restored artefact that reflects how he and Covina’s residents lived at the turn of the last century.

Upon Nash’s death in 1927, the city honored his achievements as a pioneer pharmacist, as well as helping build the entrepreneurial spirit in Covina, being one of the first to put up a local business there.

Nash’s home was crafted in the Gustav Stickley Craftsman design, which was popular and sought-after during its time.

The Heritage House still boasts the original Craftsman features, including rich wooden interiors, leaded glass, elevated and covered front porches, elongated eves and a hip roof.

The Covina Heritage House is preserved by the city’s preservation movement and the local city council, which serves as an effort to continue to keep pieces of Covina’s history alive and well for both locals and tourists alike.

Experience Covina’s Community at Charter Oak Park

Charter Oak Park is a 12-acre expanse located in the eastern part of Covina.

Managed by Los Angeles County’s Parks and Recreation Department, the park boasts multiple amenities and activities that visitors and locals alike can enjoy.

The park’s grounds are the perfect area for picnics, both in the open spaces and little sheltered canopies spread around Charter Oak Park.

Barbeque grills and amenities are also open for use.

Visitors who enjoy outdoor sports can also take advantage of the park’s basketball courts, baseball fields, and football areas.

Locals and tourists can also take advantage of different program pop-ups at the park, such as after-school activities, day camps and dance workshops.

In addition, the park also houses a community center, hosting events put up by the city.

The park is also perfect for those bringing little kids, with an available playground to play in, plus workshops and activities put up by Charter Oak.

Charter Oak Park is a great place to bring family and friends and enjoy the community vibe of the city of Covina.

Take a Leisure Hike at the Walnut Creek Community Regional Park

Located just a 7-minute drive away from the city center, the Walnut Creek Community Regional Park is worth a visit if you’re in Covina.

The park is nestled along the Walnut Creek Trail, spanning a 2-acre area.

Walnut Creek Community Regional Park is a popular destination for local equestrians, with areas perfect for equestrian trails, staging areas, and casual horseback riding.

The park is also an ideal destination for more extreme outdoor adventurists, with hiking and mountain bike trails available for use.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Here are a few sites and activities to do around Covina, with all of them just within a 20-minute drive:

Drop by the Neighboring West Covina

Aerial view of West Covina

Matt Gush /

Made popular by The CW’s hit-show “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”, West Covina has become a tourist hotspot and is worth a visit on the road to Covina.

Visitors can visit the Lakes Mall, both a popular recreational area for locals of West Covina, as well as one of the shoot locations for the CW show.

The mall contains a mix of high-end shops and local brands, as well as a great selection of food and drink options.

The road of West Covina's urban center

Matt Gush /

West Covina is also home to a few parks perfect for laid-back outdoor activities such as Cortez Park, Solana Park, Arcadia Wilderness Park, and Galster Wilderness Park.

West Covina also houses a few museums for history buffs, such as the Glendora Historical Society Museum and the Baldwin Park Historical Society Museum.

Exterior of Covina Bowl at West Covina

Logan Bush /

Spend a Day of Outdoor Leisure at Santa Fe Dam Recreational Area

Silhouette of Santa Fe Dam Recreational Area's trees during sunset

Jorge Ponce P /

Located in neighboring Baldwin Park, the Santa Fe Dam Recreational Area is a hidden jewel in the San Gabriel Valley.

The park spans a whopping 836 acres, with lots of space for fun activities for locals and tourists alike.

Visitors can take advantage of the 70-acre lake located in the heart of the park, with year-round activities such as boating, fishing, and pedal boating.

Dragon boat festival on Santa Fe Dam Recreational Dam

Kit Leong /

Similar to other parks in the county, the Santa Fe Recreational Dam area is also perfect for outdoor activities such as picnics and barbeques.

Overnight camping is a popular activity here, as visitors can take advantage of the vast expanse of the park, coupled with its ideal location at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains.

The park also hosts occasional community events such as outdoor concerts, attracting locals and tourists alike.

The waters of Santa Fe Dam Recreational Dam

Kit Leong /

Hike the Charming Fish Canyon Falls

Cascading waters of Fish Canyon Falls

trekandshoot /

Fish Canyon Falls is a three-tiered, 80-foot high waterfall expanse located at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains.

The trail through Fish Canyon Falls

Kit Leong /

Visitors can visit and marvel at the falls’ natural beauty through a hike up the rock quarries of the Fish Canyon trail.

The hike is around an almost 5-mile round trip to and fro, with a 650 feet elevation change.

It might be challenging for beginners, but the view at the end of the trail is definitely worth it!

Marvel at the Architecture of Rubel Castle

Exterior of Rubel Castle

Polylerus, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nestled in the foothills of nearby Glendora, Rubel Castle is a unique destination to put on the list if you’re in the Glendora area.

The structure was built by Michael Rubel and his “farmhands,” handcrafted with river rocks and recycled materials.

The castle was Rubel’s childhood dream come to life and took over 26 years to build.

Rubel took up residence in the citrus packing house in the defunct Albourne Rancho property they bargained for in 1959.

His mother, one-time Broadway actress Dorothy Rubel used their new property to host elaborate parties for her set.

Rubel Castle's clock tower

Polylerus, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Wanting to get away from the noise of his mother’s parties, Rubel started building a small getaway house using cement and discarded materials.

This structure eventually grew to be the expanse of the Rubel Castle that we see today.

The castle serves as an important folk artifact in California, highlighting Rubel’s unique handiwork.

Rubel donated the castle in 2005 to the Glendora Historical Society.

It has also hosted a bevy of prominent personalities on their visits, such as Prince Philip and Henry Kissinger.

Details of Rubel Castle

Sandylibrarian, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Explore the Outdoors at Big Dalton Wilderness Area

Just 20 minutes east of Covina is the Big Dalton Wilderness Area, a 690-acre park in Glendora.

The Big Dalton Wilderness Area boasts lush southern oak trees and woodland scenery draped at the tip of the San Dimas Forest.

In true Southern California nature, the park is perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking and camping.

With its vast size and picturesque landscapes, the Big Dalton Wilderness Area is also a perfect venue for parties – weddings, birthdays, and family reunions are popular events hosted here.

Final Thoughts

With its close proximity to popular Los Angeles and neighboring suburbs in the San Gabriel Valley, Covina is a great destination to add to your list on a visit to Southern California.

Covina is an up-and-coming destination with its abundance of history, nature, and great food and drink.

Put Covina on your California adventure bucket list today!

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