15 Best Things to Do in San Bernardino, CA

San Bernardino
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San Bernardino is a city in California, located in the county seat by the same name.

It is part of the Inland Empire region in Southern California.

The city is named after an Italian priest Bernardino of Siena.

The city lies on the famous Route 66, which is one of the iconic roads in the country.

It is a beach city and has many attractions for visitors to the city.

San Bernardino is a happening place and there are plenty of things to do here.

To help you make your visit fruitful, here is a compilation of the top places to visit and things to do.

McDonald's Original Site

McDonalds Original Site
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Everyone knows about McDonald’s, the biggest fast food group in the world.

You will probably find it difficult to find someone who has never tasted a McDonald burger.

Did you know that it was at San Bernardino that this famous company started?

McDonalds started out as a barbecue restaurant in San Bernardino.

The building is still maintained as a museum and is located on Route 66.

The museum is full of memorabilia featuring pictures of McDonalds cafes from across the world.

There are Ronald statues next to which you can pose and take pics. There is also a 'Hamburglar jail' for a good photo opportunity.

San Bernardino National Forest

San Bernardino National Forest
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One of the popular destinations in the city is the San Bernardino National Forest.

The forest spreads across 680,000 acres. It is spread across the San Bernardino, San Gabriel, Santa Rosa, and the San Jacinto mountains.

The national forest is a popular tourist attraction open throughout the year.

Visitors come from across the country for recreational activities.

Visitors can choose from any of the hiking trails to explore the natural beauty of the forest.

Visitors can picnic in the forest or stay overnight at the camping grounds.

Fishing, target shooting, and OHV riding are some of the other activities at the forest.

Rim of the World Scenic Byway

Rim of the World Scenic Byway
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The byway is the gateway to the mountains from the city.

The Rim of the world route spans 110 miles and covers the rim of the San Bernardino Mountains.

It traverses from Cajon Pass to San Gorgonio Pass.

The popularity of the byway lies in the fact that it takes you through some of the most scenic routes.

It offers amazing panoramic views of the mountains, forests, and lakes.

The byway covers highways 18, 38, and 138 of California. It is open throughout the year.

During winter, the route receives snow and you will need chains on your vehicle to go through this route.

It is a great route to take to escape the summer heat of the plains.

National Orange Show Festival

Every year in May, the city of San Bernardino hosts the National Orange Show Festival.

The National Orange Show fairgrounds in the city is the venue of the festival.

As you would have guessed, the festival is a tribute to orange and features a variety of citrus fruits grown in the area.

You can sample the tasty oranges and buy the ones you like at the festival.

The festival is a carnival that features a lot many attractions.

There are amusement park rides for both kids and adults.

There is a petting zoo with many kinds of animals. Games, classic cars, and even stunt performers can be seen at this annual festival.

San Bernardino History and Railroad Museum

San Bernardino History and Railroad Museum
Ron Reiring, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The San Bernardino History and Railroad Museum is located at the San Bernardino Amtrak Station.

It is located in an old depot. The museum reveals many insights about the railroad industry and features memorabilia.

There are also old San Bernardino trains displayed in the museum.

A visit to this museum is a treat for railway fans.

A centralized traffic control unit that was in use a century ago is also displayed and is one of the popular artifacts on display.

There is a buggy from 1910 and a fully restored handcar on display at the museum.

Antique clocks and horse-drawn buggies are also displayed at the museum.

There are photographs and historical documents also on display.

Deep Creek Hot Springs

Deep Creek Hot Springs
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The Deep Creek Hot Springs is located in the San Bernardino National Forest.

It is in the Deep Creek drainage. Access is through private property and an entry fee is charged.

Another route involves a 6-mile hike from Arrowhead Lake road.

The natural hot springs are an attraction and allow visitors to bathe in refreshing, hot water.

It is a great way to spend a relaxing time with your family or friends.

It must be noted that is strongly advised not to drink the water in the hot springs due to the presence of bacteria that can cause disease.

Visitors should not submerge their heads in the water.

Apart from the thermal springs, there is a huge diversity of plant life to be found here.

Big Bear Lake

Big Bear Lake
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Big Bear Lake is located within the San Bernardino national forest.

It is a mountain retreat that is open throughout the year.

Being a popular tourist destination, there are many hotels and cabins in the area for visitors to stay.

Skiing and snowboarding are popular activities during the winter when it snows here.

During summers, you can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and other activities.

The Big Bear Lake has a number of activities for tourists to enjoy.

There is wakeboarding, paddle boarding, water skiing, jet skiing, and pontoon boating available on the lake.

You can even take up kayaking. You can rent boats here and even take up water sports lessons from trained instructors.

Robert and Francis Fullerton Museum of Art

The Museum of Art that started in 1996 is located in the campus of California State University.

Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the museum is one of the leading cultural centers in the region.

There are more than 1,200 objects of interest featured in the museum.

The biggest and most popular exhibits come from Egypt.

There are 500 artifacts on display that take the visitors through 4,000 years of Egyptian history.

The museum opens its doors to school and college students and welcomes school trips. Corporate events, meetings, and social gatherings can be conducted at the museum’s campus.

There is a large permanent collection as well as visiting exhibitions in the 7,500 square feet museum.

California Theater of the Performing Arts

California Theater of the Performing Arts
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The California Theater of the Performing Arts is a historic theater and one of the most well known in the region.

It commenced operations in 1928 initially as a movie palace.

Subsequently, it was converted to a theater.

Thousands of plays, concerts, musicals, and theater shows have been conducted at this theater.

Located on 4th Street in San Bernardino, the theater is the home of San Bernardino Symphony.

The symphony performs regularly at the theater.

One of the attractions here is the Wurlitzer Organ, a unique musical instrument that is used on special occasions.

There are various national shows that are staged at the theater regularly.

San Manuel Stadium

San Manuel Stadium
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The premier stadium in the city, San Manuel Stadium is located in downtown San Bernardino.

The stadium is the home of the Minor League Baseball team of the city.

The stadium was inaugurated in 1996. Earlier the team used to operate from Fiscalini field before they shifted here.

The stadium can seat up to 8,000 people allowing fans from across the region to enjoy the game.

The stadium has a huge scoreboard, one of the biggest in the entire California League.

Whether you are a baseball fan or not, you must stop by here to watch a game and soak in the atmosphere.

During special games, the firework displays are the largest in the entire region.

Glen Helen Regional Park

The Glen Helen Regional Park is located to the northwest of the city’s main area.

It is just a 20-minute drive away from the downtown area.

The park has many amenities on offer for tourists.

It has the Glen Helen Amphitheater that is one of the largest in the area with a seating capacity of 65,000.

Motor races are also held at the amphitheater. Thousands of spectators fill the amphitheater to watch the pro and amateur races.

In the park is an aquatic center with a swimming pool and waterslides.

There is also a lake in the park where you can enjoy a swim. Disc golf is another activity at the park.


Paragliding in San Bernardino
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One of the attractions of San Bernardino is the paragliding activity.

If you are in the mood for adventure, then you can try out the exciting paragliding activity.

The paragliding is done over the mountains of San Bernardino and you can look forward to an exhilarating experience.

Enjoy the view of the mountains, forest, and city as you glide over the outskirts of the city.

There are a number of service providers who offer paragliding.

You will find different agencies here offering their services.

They have trained instructors on hand to guide you through the session.

You can even get lessons from them. Paragliding is not an adrenaline-boosting activity but a pleasurable and adventurous one that is actually quite relaxing.

BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse

San Bernardino offers a number of dining options for visitors. One of the top-rated eateries in the city is BJ’s Restaurant and brewhouse. Located on East Harriman Place, the restaurant has tables outdoor under tents. It is open from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm on all days and serves snacks, meals, and craft beer. The Deep dish pizza is the signature dish of the restaurant and must be tried.

The restaurant is also famous for its beer dinner that includes seasonal ales.

There are vegetarian and gluten-free meals also on offer for customers.

Some of the popular dishes to try out here are sweet potato fries, Margarita flatbread, Grilled chicken Alfredo, Hot ham and cheese, Jumbo spaghetti with meatballs, and Chocolate chunk pizookie.

Santa Ana River Trail

Santa Ana River Trail
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The Santa Ana River has a trail that stretches for a long distance.

It is over thirty miles long and runs from the Pacific Ocean to the Riverside County.

It is a designated national recreational trail.

The trail is meant for multi-use and you will see bikers and joggers both using the trail to get a good workout.

It is planned to extend the trail until Big Bear Lake.

There are parking places available through the trail.

This is helpful for tourists who can join the trail at any point of their choice.

They can park their vehicles and explore the beautiful trail.

Alfredo’s Pizza and Pasta

After a day of hectic sightseeing, if you are in the mood for Italian, then you can drop into Alfredo’s for some genuine Italian food.

The restaurant is serving the people of San Bernardino since 1979 and is a local favorite.

The family owned restaurant is known for its authentic recipes made using locally sourced ingredients.

Located on West Baseline in the city, Alfredo’s is open on all days of the week from 11:30 am to 8:00 pm.

The homemade garlic butter that they serve is a hot favorite.

Some of the popular items on their menu are the Baked ziti, Alfredo’s 3-way combo, Fettuccini Alfredo, Chicken Parmiagna, and Baked Tortellini.

Norton Air Force Base Museum

The Norton air force base museum is a tribute to the air force base that was operational in the city from 1942 to 1994.

It is named after Leland Norton, a World War II captain who preferred to perish in his place so his crew members could bail out successfully.

In 2013, the air force base that was closed down was converted into a museum.

It is located on 3rd Street in San Bernardino and is open from 10 am to 2 pm on Thursdays and Saturdays.

The museum has memorabilia and photographs of aircraft and military personnel who worked at the base.

It is possible to get a guided tour to understand the history of the air force base.

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