When you think of California, what comes to your mind?
Hollywood celebrities? Hot summers? Sandy Beaches? Los Angeles?
It is true that most people think of Los Angeles when someone mentions California.
But there is another city, 35 miles (56.33 km) east of Los Angeles, which is equally good and less crowded.
That would make it better than L.A., right?
Well then, come to south-western San Bernardino County in California and stay in Ontario.
Not to be confused with the Canadian province, Ontario is a beautiful city in California.
Plan a holiday or vacation here and enjoy Ontario’s adventure sports, delicious food, inspiring art, and a thriving culture.
Here are the 20 best things to do in Ontario, California:
Tour the Graber Olive House
Visiting the Graber Olive House serves two purposes – it gives you an interesting insight into Ontario’s past and serves you world-class olives.
Established in 1894, a weekly tour of this Olive House will include a walk through spectacular trees with ripe olives.
Then, witness the process of harvesting the olives, grading them, and sending the best batches to the cannery.
To see the canning, you have to visit the Graber House between November and December.
The Graber Olive House should be on your itinerary.
Shop at Ontario Mills and Victoria Gardens
The Ontario Mills is a heaven for shopping enthusiasts.
This shopping complex spreads over 1.5 million square feet and caters to more than 24 million shoppers every year.
Massively popular, Ontario Mills is home to more than 200 retailers, restaurants, venues, and more.
You will find your favorite brands from Lacoste to Calvin Kelin and Michael Kors.
For entertainment, drop by the mill’s improv comedy club and dinner theater.
Another good location for shopping is Victoria Gardens.
You can explore great retailers and boutiques.
Meet People at the Ontario Convention Center
This beautifully designed complex hosts some of the biggest exhibitions, summits, and conventions in Ontario.
The venue spans over 225,000 square feet (2.09 ha) of space, where trade shows and functions are organized regularly.
This is the place to meet interesting people and build useful connections, maybe sell an idea of your own, and have a good time.
You can easily drop by the Ontario Convention Center while exploring Ontario city.
There are many great fine dining options nearby for you to explore.
Jam at the Toyota Arena
The City of Ontario is the builder and owner of the Toyota Arena.
This massive property has 2 floors.
Spreading over 225,000 square feet (2.09 ha) of space, this arena also includes 26 luxury suites and a concourse.
The arena can hold a crowd of 11,000 people.
The facilities and design of the arena are better than any other arena in the entire Inland Empire.
It is a trendy venue, hosting over 125 events a year.
They host music concerts, sporting events, family shows, and many more events.
The Toyota Arena is the home court of sports teams, such as the Ontario Reign, the LA Temptation, and the Ontario Fury.
Get Climbing With Rock Climb Every Day
This climbing company is owned by a family that operates out of Southern California.
They organize amazing rock climbing educational programs.
All of their classes and events happen in the sunny outdoors.
The team of certified instructors behind Rock Climb Every Day is motivated and passionate about climbing.
They aim to provide an inspiring experience to you as a climber.
They will train and guide you as you take on a cliff.
The result not only enhances your strength and flexibility but also strengthens your endurance and the ability to focus.
Fly at the iFLY Indoor Skydiving Ontario
For those who wish to skydive but are too afraid to do it, iFly Indoor Skydiving Ontario offers a less scary alternative.
But it is as much fun as the real thing.
The place will thrill both first-timers and experienced divers equally.
This is how it works: The facility simulates the experience of a real skydive.
And thanks to technology, they can increase the duration of the fall to three real skive dives combined.
You will experience falling from the sky for up to 2 hours.
The adrenaline rush will be massive on this one.
They have great instructors to guide you through your adventure.
Pay special attention to the flight suit and gear instructions.
Relax in the Cucamonga-Guasti Regional Park
Right in the middle of Ontario City, the Cucamonga-Guasti Regional Park is a respite from the busy city around it.
The residents from the city—whether it be office-goers or children—come to take a break in the park.
For visitors, this park provides 150-acres of lovely recreation space.
This massive park even has a water play park with a swimming pool and fun slides.
There are 2 lakes that offer fishing opportunities in the park.
You can also enjoy a good meal with your family at one of their picnic tables.
Go Skating at the Ontario Center Ice Arena
It might sound contradictory, but you can enjoy ice and winter sports in the summer state of California.
The Ontario Center Ice Arena is a great place to go skating.
This NFL-size skating rink hosts many ice hockey and figures skating sporting events.
Many professional teams have trained and played in this rink.
Rent a pair of hockey or ice skates and get on the rink if you want to explore.
For those who wish to learn, the facility also provides basic training for beginners.
There is also a full-service pro shop in the building.
You can buy professional ice hockey and ice-skating gear.
Hike in the North Etiwanda Preserve
To explore the best hiking trail and spot, visit the North Etiwanda Preserve.
The trail is easy to walk and stretches over 3.3-miles.
You will reach your destination in 2 hours.
The terrain is consistent overall but includes one rocky patch, which poses a fun challenge.
Beautiful mountains beaming with live flora and fauna will surround you as you walk your way up to the preserve.
Later, head out to the Etiwanda Falls.
Take a dip into the water and cool off after the hike.
A trip like this would be a nice break from other attractions in Ontario.
Stroll in the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
Another way to take a break is to be amidst some beautiful and fragrant flowers.
Situated only 15 minutes outside of town is the rejuvenating Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden.
This is the biggest garden that is dedicated to the native plants of California.
Popularly labeled as the “living museum,” you will get to see and learn about California’s unique flora.
You can pick up a short class on learning gardening skills.
They also organize a fun, hands-on activity for you to participate in.
A bird walk is held in the garden twice a month.
Appreciate Local Art at Chaffey Community Museum of Art
Among the few fine art museums in the inland Empire region, the Chaffey Community Museum of Art stands out the most.
The museum is home to a great collection of art that features some important regional artists that date back to the early 1920s.
You will also get to appreciate original paintings in California-style watercolors.
There are four galleries in the museum.
The main gallery consists of the main attractions.
The exhibits in the south gallery are changed frequently to keep things fresh.
In the spotlight and line gallery, the artwork exhibits are permanent and not rotated.
Enjoy at the Whispering Lakes Golf Course
A golf game in sunny California is worth it.
What better place to explore this opportunity than the Whispering Lakes Golf Course.
With 6,624 yards (6.06 km) of playing field and 18 holes, this golf course is great for an afternoon game.
The golf course was recently renovated.
This modification has made some serious upgrades to the facilities.
The golf course now has more indoor and outdoor seating space.
They have also expanded the garden area capacity to host a group of 180 people.
This golf course is a 5-star place and is worth a visit.
Learn About Planes at the Planes of Fame Air Museum
This museum is dedicated to the history of aviation.
Even if you are not an aviation geek, a trip to the Planes of Fame Air Museum will be an exciting experience.
The museum has over 150 aircraft models on exhibition.
Around 50 of those air crafts still take flight today.
Some historic planes on the roster include fighter air crafts from World War II.
Perhaps one of their biggest displays is a Wright Flyer from 1903, by the Wright brothers who manned the first human flight.
The Museum also organizes air shows.
Check their events calendar to arrive on time.
Become a Detective at the Murder-Mystery Dinner
All that traveling and exploring will leave you hungry.
If you still want to keep your adventure spirits up while enjoying some great food, the Murder-Mystery Dinner is the place to go.
At this venue, you will dine at delicious cuisines while also assisting in solving a murder mystery.
This place is voted the best diner show in Los Angeles.
And it is the U.S.A’s largest interactive diner show with the theme of murder mystery comedy.
The actors in this diner come with interesting portfolios.
They are outstanding and will keep you engaged throughout your adventure.
Some of these actors are from TV, film, and theater backgrounds.
Dine at the Past at Sycamore Inn
The Spanish explorer Captain Juan Batista de Anza and his men followed a trail to a site.
On that site, they lived with the local natives for some time.
That site is now Sycamore Inn.
The dirty trail is now the main path of this fine dining restaurant.
You will taste some authentic Californian cuisines here.
The area has many gems and relics to remind the visitors of the colonial past.
Large houses and vineyards surround Sycamore Inn.
Raise a Toast at the San Antonio Winery
This winery is one of the premier wine destinations in all of the Inland Empire.
Started four generations ago, the San Antonio Winery opened the doors to its tasting rooms to treat the visitors with quality and great taste.
Apart from the notable tasting room, the winery also has a warm heritage room and an exciting country patio.
The tasting experience is exquisite and includes elegant white wines and strong red wines.
They cater to every taste by also offering semi-sweet wines and champagnes.
The establishment also serves savory delicacies to complement the wines.
Relish Italian at Vince’s Spaghetti
Taste delicious, original Italian food at Vince’s Spaghetti.
The Cuccia Family runs this establishzment.
It started in 1945 as an open-air French dip stand with 6 stools.
Since then, this family business has come a long way.
They serve Italian delicacies in town, including their signature spaghetti, lasagna, and meatballs.
A great option to try is Vince’s Dinner set meal special.
But the crowd favorite is Vince’s spaghetti with meat sauce.
They also offer a premium wine collection to choose from.
Keep some space in your stomach for dessert too.
Get Comfort Food at Zeke's Eatin' Place
For good old American food, Zeke’s Eatin’ Place is the hub.
They serve in huge, hunger-satisfying quantities.
Their American breakfast special is worth trying.
Other restaurant favorites are fluffy mini pancakes, One Pork Chop, the Baby Steak, and Zeke’s Corned Beef Hash.
The staff is polite and simple.
You will get the comfort of home with the taste of fine dining.
Learn Local History at Museum of History and Art
To learn about Ontario’s rich history and heritage, visit the Museum of History and Art.
It is placed in a heritage building at Nugent’s Park.
The museum hosts spectacular memorabilia from the past of Ontario and the entire Inland Empire region.
Among the noteworthy exhibits at the museum, Milliard and Tony Sheets’ industrial art exhibit is a crowd favorite.
You should also check out the fun circus and clown exhibits at the museum.
Though the area is small, the museum keeps things fresh by regularly rotating its special exhibits.
Frequent visitors can witness a new work of art regularly.
Find Keepsakes and Vintage Items at Treasures N Junk
Shop for unique collectibles and vintage items at Treasures N Junk located on South San Antonio Avenue.
They have various dealers in their location so you’ll find plenty of great stuff to take home.
Check out the painted furniture pieces, old-fashioned cutlery, country linens, enamelware, vintage toys, advertising, and more.
If you’re into collecting antiques, you’ll come across novelties like vintage records, old toy collections from Disney, Hot Wheels, superhero action figures, books, art, and a whole lot more.
Browse the stalls for elegant pottery pieces, decors, jewelry, and kitchenware; you’ll also find several rustic, country-style, and European decors, and architectural salvages still in good condition.
Drop by the Treasures N Junk for these rare items.
Enjoy Outdoor Sports at Westwind Park
Located north of Riverside Drive, you’ll find plenty of green space to relax at Westwind Park.
This park was constructed in 1998 but the 28,000-square-foot Westwind Community Center was open since 1990.
The Center features full and half basketball courts, volleyball courts, and a game room with billiards, foosball, and ping-pong tables; the park also includes a 2,400-square-foot swimming pool.
Run, jog, or bike along the pedestrian and bike paths or play a game of baseball, soccer, softball, or tennis.
If you want to work out, you can use the exercise equipment to do your routines.
The park also has a playground, tot lot, and ADA-friendly play structure that little ones can enjoy.
Otherwise, if you just want to spend a day at Westwind Park, there are plenty of spaces to have a picnic, with barbecue grills, tables, and shelters available for visitors.
Join the 5K Reindeer Run and Rudolph’s Dash Fun Run
For five years in a row, Ontario has been running the annual 5K Reindeer Run and Rudolph’s Dash Fun Run.
This fun event is held at downtown Euclid Avenue through the joint efforts of the City of Ontario and the Ontario-Montclair Promise Scholars.
Proceeds from the race are donated to Ontario’s Empowerment Scholarship which aims to provide low-income community members to participate in local enriching classes and programs.
Everyone is welcome to walk or run with their family and friends so it’s a fun activity you can also do with your family.
You might even win awards like Team Award, Santa's Spirit Award, or Funky Frosty Award, or let your pooch bag the Holiday Hound Award.
Drop by Rudolph’s Roundup area and visit local businesses or get your kids to join the crafts booths or exercise activities.
Enjoy the 5K Reindeer Run and Rudolph’s Dash Fun Run!
Get the Adrenaline Rush at K1 Speed Ontario
Zoom full speed at the K1 Speed Ontario along Ontario Mills Parkway.
This location was a 70s sports venue called Ontario Motor Speedway and opened in 2007 as an indoor-karting venue; it’s one of the best there is in Ontario.
The speedway features two tracks with Track 1 offering more challenging technical corners and Track 2 designed with a variety of fast and slow corners perfect for children and novices.
Race your way with K1’s high-performance 20-horse power electric karts or play classic arcade games, billiards, and air hockey.
They also offer meeting rooms for rent if you want to celebrate private events like birthdays or parties.
Get your grub at the Paddock Lounge restaurant with an array of delicious food choices and refreshing drinks to choose from.
Order some tasty Mac and Cheese Bites and Churro Bites, or have fries and chips for a quick snack.
You can also enjoy a wide selection of local and imported beers, red and white wines, and drinks at K1 Speed Ontario.
Take the Little Ones to LOL Kids Club
Little tots will have huge fun at LOL Kids Club located on North Milliken Avenue.
This premier indoor playground offers lots of play activities for kids of all ages.
Treat your kids to an all-day play admission and let them have endless fun at the different attractions.
They’ll enjoy whooshing their way down the giant slides, running and jumping around the obstacle courses, and swimming in colorful bouncy balls.
Catch special activities like Friday Nerf wars, arts and crafts events, sports live-streams, holiday-themed events, and so much more.
If your kids get hungry, this attraction has a full kitchen that offers several kiddie favorites like pizza flavors, wraps, quesadillas, sandwiches, appetizers, and yummy pastries.
Likewise, order some smoothies, frozen yogurt, boba teas, fruit cups, or coffee to get yourself refreshed.
Book a fun amazing party experience for your kid’s birthday or family event at LOL Kids Club.
The City of Ontario hosts plenty of family-friendly activities you can enjoy with your family.
It’s less crowded than the larger Los Angeles city but not lesser than other California cities with lines of entertainment venues, nature locations, and fun attractions dotted all around.
You’ll also find several shops, restaurants, and parks you can go to and unwind.
So go ahead, plan a visit and enjoy the best things to do in Ontario, California.