The accommodation and food industries account for 9% of the economic activity in the city of Pomona.
This alone is a strong indicator that there are many places and lots of things to do for the city’s visitors.
Moreover, the city’s Pomona Valley area is home to many cultural sites, historical attractions, and recreational venues.
Pomona occupies an area of about 60 square kilometers between San Gabriel Valley and the Inland Empire in the Pomona Valley.
Although smaller compared to other major US cities, Pomona exudes a metropolitan feel that promises an enchanting experience.
So, don’t pass up a chance for a tour of Pomona, and be sure to seek out these 15 best things to do in this city.
Watch Out for the Los Angeles County Fair
Plan a September visit to Pomona to partake in the activities at the annual Los Angeles County Fair.
This major California event, founded in 1922 and one of the largest US fairs, is held at Fairplex, a 543-acre site off 1101 West McKinley Ave.
The fair builds its activities and offerings around the heritage of California and its prosperous agricultural sector.
The fair’s main attractions include a 13-acre carnival, an education expo, a historical exhibit, an operational farm, and an outdoor miniature garden railroad.
At this fair, you can also watch freestyle motocross or enjoy its “End of Summer Concert Series,” featuring prime musical entertainment.
Visit the Wards of the Historical Society of Pomona
Discover not only the city’s rich history but also that of the entire Pomona Valley by visiting the sites run by the Historical Society of Pomona.
The ideal first stop is the Pomona Ebell Museum of History on 585 East Holt Avenue, housing the ever-growing artifacts and records about Pomona Valley’s colorful past.
Include the circa 1875 Phillips Mansion in your itinerary and marvel at its Second Empire architectural style.
For hints on Spanish and Mexican ranch life in the past, drop by the 1850s brick residence Ygnacio Palomares Adobe on 491 E Arrow Hwy.
Dig even deeper back in time at La Casa Primera de Rancho San Jose 1569 North Park Ave., which was built in 1837 and reputed as Pomona Valley’s oldest home.
Hunt for Art Treasures in Downtown Pomona
Drop by the American Museum of Ceramic Art on 399 North Garey Ave. in Downtown Pomona.
Founded in 2003, this museum, dedicated to ceramic art, has a collection of over 7,000 art pieces plus an extensive library on its art genre.
Set your museum visit on the second Saturday of any month so that you can also catch the downtown Pomona ArtWalk.
Artists of the Pomona Art Colony hold receptions in more than a dozen galleries that remain open up to the late evening, along with restaurants in the downtown area.
ArtWalk days also coincide with an outdoor market in Shaun Diamond Plaza at West 2nd St. and Thomas St. featuring music, crafts, jewelry, clothing, and food vendors.
You’re in for more visiting this plaza in November, as you’d also have a chance to catch here the Pomona Art Chalk Festival.
Visit Ganesha Park
Pomona offers several superb park facilities, one of which is the Ganesha Park at 1575 North White Avenue.
This park, developed in 1888 and fully completed in 1914, is one of the city’s largest and oldest parks.
Ganesha Park spreads over 60 acres and features many sports and recreational facilities.
Here you will have access to two tennis courts, two children’s playgrounds, basketball and volleyball courts, a skate park, and a swimming pool.
The park also has a community center, pavilions, multiple picnic tables, barbecue facilities, and walking trails.
Ganesha Park also hosts various events, including music concerts and festivals.
Watch Live Entertainment Shows at Fox Theater Pomona
Check out the live entertainment shows at the Fox Theater Pomona, rated as one of the top performance venues in LA.
This theater on South Garey Ave. is a meticulously restored Art Deco movie palace that recalls the golden age of Hollywood in Pomona.
Today, it is considered the flagship attraction of its vibrant neighborhood, Pomona Arts Colony, comprised of nightclubs, galleries, lofts, and restaurants.
The revamped Fox Theater Pomona seats about 2,000, and it has become a state-of-the-art venue for cinema and a place for band concerts, performances, and parties.
Those performing here include local artists as well as entertainers from the greater LA area.
Visit the RailGiants Train Museum
The RailGiants Train Museum is located at 1101 West McKinley Ave. on the grounds of the Fairplex.
A tour here will take you back to the heydays of the American Railroad, as relived through the efforts of the Southern California Chapter of the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society.
The museum’s exhibits include the historic train stations of Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe Railway built in 1887.
Some of the most well-preserved vintage US locomotives are also displayed in this museum, including a Union Pacific “Centennial” diesel locomotive and two 3-Cylinder steam locomotives.
You can also enjoy browsing at the archives of the museum’s library, as well as souvenir items at its gift shop.
Shop Fresh Produce at the Cal Poly Pomona Farm
The highly-rated California State Polytechnic University, affectionately called Cal Poly, is known for its knowing-by-doing philosophy.
Visit its campus, where you can also obtain fresh produce from its family-friendly working farm, the Cal Poly Pomona Farm, on 4102 South University Drive.
The farm has an onsite farmer’s market selling fruits, vegetables, and herbs, and it has grocery stores, too, offering farm-related gifts and souvenirs.
This Caly Poly facility likewise features hayrides and a petting farm where children can interact with goats, sheep, rabbits, and other farm animals.
Various events are also held at the Caly Poly Farm, including pumpkin patches and flower sales.
Tour the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum
Make the most of a visit to the Fairplex grounds, with a tour of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, which is dedicated to everything about drag racing.
Here, you will find an automobile collection as well as motorcycles and memorabilia on the hot-rodding sport.
These displays are housed in a 28,500-square-foot building that has been a motorsports repository of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) for over 20 years.
Car racing aficionados are wont to be impressed by the museum’s memorabilia and select artifacts from the Indy 500.
The museum’s standouts include the first dragster car that went beyond 300 miles per hour and memorabilia of motorsports heroes Bob McClung and A.J. Foyt.
Bolt Out of Chronos Escape Room
Bring your friends or family members to the Chronos Escape Room, one of the largest real-life escape rooms in the Los Angeles area.
Some private companies also use this five-star rated facility in their staff team-building programs.
In the Chronos Escape Room, you will use your problem-solving skills to search for clues for completing tasks and solving puzzles to escape within a certain time limit.
At Chronos Escape Room, located at 676 Fairplex Drive, you will experience immersive entertainment concepts and the latest technologies for endless surprises throughout the game.
You will have a choice of six escape room themes here: Jurassic Island, Private Eye, Inception, The Last Island, Chronostopia, and Awakened.
Speed Off to the Auto Club Raceway
If drag racing is your cup of tea, make sure that you visit the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona at 2780 Fairplex Drive.
Also known as the Pomona Raceway, this car racecourse features a quarter-mile dragstrip, which is considered one of the best facilities in the Pomona Valley area.
This facility was built in 1961, and its grandstand has a seating capacity of 40,000 spectators.
Throughout the year, the Pomona Raceway regularly hosts drag races on the weekends.
It is also the venue for several major drag races, including its season-opener, the Winter Nationals, and its season-ender, the NHRA Finals.
Enjoy Beer at Innovation Brew Works
Go for a unique beer-drinking experience at Innovation Brew Works at 3650 West Temple Ave.
This Pomona attraction is an educational brewery-restaurant established in the Innovation Village Research Park of the Cal Poly Pomona campus.
Innovation Brew Works provides a learn-by-doing laboratory for Cal Poly Pomona students, a microbrewery, and a café.
It was founded to cater not only to Cal Poly students, alumni, and faculty but also to the general public.
Through Innovation Brew Works, you can have hands-on experience in beer-making and brewpub operations.
The range of beers Innovation Brew Works produces uses locally grown ingredients named after prominent personalities in Pomona and Cal Poly.
Besides beer, you can also enjoy light fare and snacks at the brewery’s café, which also sells Brew Works souvenir items.
Hunt for Memorabilia Items at the Antique Row
Proceed to the two-block portion of East 2nd Street in Pomona, where 100 booths are dealing in antique wares.
Described as “one of America’s oldest antique malls,” the Pomona Antique Row offers an extensive selection of vintage items, including furniture, art pieces, and more.
The best times for visits here are the last Saturdays of January, March, May, September, and November, the red-letter days for the Downtown Collectors Street Faire.
During these special days, Antique Row expands its offerings to include food concession stands and live music.
Because of the unique vibe of Antique Row, it has been featured in several TV and film productions, like Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, and The Cat in the Hat.
Play at the Mountain Meadows Golf Course
Pomona offers affordable golf at the Mountains Meadows Golf Course at 1875 Fairplex Drive.
In this course, you will play on hilly terrain and go for undulating greens while enjoying scenic mountain views.
Mountain Meadows, as its name suggest, is nestled in the hills of the picturesque San Gabriel Basin.
Masts of jacaranda trees and other native vegetation surround the Mountain Meadows fairways.
This course provides a 6,440-yard layout for an 18-hole championship play that is suited for golfers of all skill levels.
Opened in 1927, the Mountain Meadows Golf Course is designed with several holes having blind tee-shot approaches, sidehill lies, and elevation changes for a unique golfing experience.
After a game, you can enjoy a meal and drinks at the Mountain Meadows’ casual restaurant and bar.
Dine at Pomona Valley Mining Company
Relive the California gold rush of the 1850s while having a sumptuous dinner at the theme restaurant Pomona Valley Mining Company.
This restaurant sits on a hill at 1777 Gillette Road, overlooking the city, and right next to an old mine that underscores the restaurant’s historical theme.
Further boosting its thematic setting, the Pomona Valley Mining Company displays as décor some artifacts from California’s gold rush era.
The restaurant also provides fireplaces, and with the amazing views of the valley below, dining here can be a truly memorable experience.
At this restaurant, you can pick from its menu a delectable choice of seafood and meats plus a Lil’ Miner’s Plate for the kids.
Pomona Valley Mining Company will also tempt you with its full-service bar offering an extensive list of imported wines and spirits, handcrafted ales and beers, and signature cocktails.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Tour the Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park
Visit Pomona’s neighboring city of San Dimas for a tour of the Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park.
Located on 120 Via Verde Park Rd., this park is less than 5 miles northwest of Pomona and offers an astounding array of recreational activities within its area of 1,800 acres.
This regional park in San Dimas features the 250-acre Puddingstone Lake Reservoir, as well as 14 miles of multi-use trails.
The outdoor activities you can enjoy in this park include swimming, fishing, boating, jet skiing, biking, hiking, and picnics.
There are also park concessionaires providing RV camping, horse riding, and hot tubs.
There is a wide selection of things to do in Pomona suited for any type of traveler’s lifestyle.
This city offers plenty of laid-back destinations as well as vibrant venues for the outgoing.
Pomona also provides a lot of family-friendly places and activities, making this city an all-around pick for those thinking of an LA trip.