The unassuming city of West Covina, California, sits in the suburban heart of Greater Los Angeles.
It stood in relative obscurity for the past few decades, slowly building a considerable population thanks to its proximity to the metropolis.
But thanks to the hit show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the city came into the national consciousness.
So now, many fans and casual viewers come over to check out the taping set of the show.
Many are unaware that this city has other magnificent attractions in store, most of which were built for the families living here.
From vast outdoor parks to sports complexes, from historical centers to golf courses, West Covina has an array of destinations to entertain residents and visitors.
So if you’re looking for an underrated destination on this side of Los Angeles, this is the place to be.
Here are the 15 best things to do in West Covina, California:
Shop ’til You Drop at Plaza West Covina
The magnificent Plaza West Covina is the premier retail space amongst the many in the city.
So if you’re looking for a place where all your shopping and entertainment needs are met, make a stopover here!
This destination has endured a tumultuous past, including deterioration and demolition threats.
While the latter took place, it was to renovate the whole complex and improve foot traffic.
The result is the magnificent retail space that it is today, with more than 185 shops at any given time.
You’ll find the biggest fashion brands, chain restaurants and local dining establishments, specialty goods, and other entertainment venues.
Whatever your or your family's preference, you’ll find many satisfying options here!
Explore the Wonders of Galster Wilderness Park
Compared to the other green spaces in West Covina, the rugged Galster Wilderness Park is arguably the least developed—and for a good reason.
This 42-acre attraction has one of the last remaining native plant communities of Southern California Black Walnut Woodlands.
So to preserve these groves of trees, conservation efforts were made, and modern development was discouraged.
Because of this, the park has become a favorite place for those who want to escape the urban noise.
It’s located on the slopes of San Jose Hills, making it an excellent place to commune with nature.
You’re welcome to explore the trails, see the native trees, and marvel at the views of the clearing.
Don’t forget to visit the Galster Wilderness Park Nature Center, which doubles as a small museum.
Here, you’ll learn more about the park's flora, geology, and history.
Cheer for Your Team at West Covina Sportsplex
West Covina has a huge sporting culture, with many notable athletes hailing from the city.
One of the best places to catch a game of these talented men and women is at West Covina Sportsplex.
As the premier venue for many games and tournaments, this facility has become an institution in the city.
Big League dreams once operated it, so most residents might be more familiar with the name Big League Dreams West Covina.
Whatever designation the facility has, your game-watching experience will still be fun and memorable.
Join the crowds and cheer for your favorite team in one of the six baseball diamonds on either side of the complex.
Some of these are replicated after other famous fields, like those used by the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs.
There’s also a football pavilion where small matches are held.
Play a Few Rounds at South Hills Country Club
Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, the South Hills Country Club is an ideal destination to test your golfing skills.
Set next to the San Jose Hills, this 18-hole course offers great views of the distant Sierra Nevada Mountains and the rest of the San Gabriel Valley.
These panoramas are complemented by the well-manicured fairways, verdant greens, and tree-lined borders—all adding up to create a scenic golfing experience.
While the layout itself is fairly manageable, some holes require utmost precision and patience.
So bring your A-game when you plan on visiting the course!
The rest of the facility is used for events, given the natural beauty of the surroundings.
Book your wedding or other special events and make incredible memories in the magnificent colonial clubhouse.
Go for a Nature Walk at Shadow Oak Park
Skirting the southernmost edges of West Covina is Shadow Oak Park, a magnificent green space open to the whole public.
It’s another community favorite, thanks to its many modern amenities and proximity to the city's suburban neighborhoods.
Within the large complex, there are many picnic shelters, pavilions, and a community center sitting on the park's highest point.
The latter is often used for large community gatherings and private events, all thanks to the wide interiors and scenic views of the San Gabriel Valley.
If you want to try more sporty activities, you’re welcome to use the basketball and tennis courts as well as baseball fields.
Otherwise, there are trails for jogging or walking that will take you to some secluded or forested sections of the park.
See Old Buildings at Hurst Ranch Historical Center
The San Gabriel Valley had a thriving agricultural industry back in the day, and Hurst Ranch Historical Center is one of the few places where this heritage is still tangible.
Hurst Ranch itself is has dwindled into a three-acre property in the heart of West Covina.
Most people associate it with weddings and special events, as it’s frequently booked for celebrations thanks to its rustic appeal.
But the owners still hold on to the farming heritage by continuing to plant and harvest every year.
They also maintain the historical center, composed of several small structures that date from the beginning of the 20th century.
You’ll find a one-room schoolhouse, one of the Hurst Family homes, a tack room, and a bunkhouse, all in a perfectly preserved state.
These are some of the few remnants of a different era in the region, so take your time appreciating them during your self-guided tour.
Cool Down at Del Norte Park
Standing close to the city center, Del Norte Park has become of the most accessible community attractions in West Covina.
This verdant green space houses many modern amenities for the whole family—even pets!
One section is aptly called Central Bark Dog Park, and pooches of all kinds are welcome here.
Let your dog play, run around, and socialize with other pets all day in this safe and well-maintained area.
For those with kids, the splash pad is a great section to visit, especially during the hot summer days of SoCal.
They’ll have plenty of fun with other kids as the fountains spray cooling jets of water.
Then there are the three baseball fields that open up into wide grassy spaces.
If you don’t want to join a match, you can simply sit back under a shady spot and take in the scenery.
Find Fresh Produce at West Covina Farmers Market
While there isn’t much of a farming scene compared to past decades, West Covina still has a small agricultural industry.
One of the best places to access fresh produce from local farmers is the West Covina Farmers Market.
Located at Heritage Plaza, this get-together of growers and small businesses opens on Friday nights, an unusual deviation from most other farmers’ markets.
You’ll find fresh veggies, seasonal fruit, and high-quality root crops.
There will also be other products like baked goods, coffee beans, preserves, and even artisanal furniture handmade by experienced professionals.
On occasion, there will be live music to entertain you while perusing the displays.
Make a Stopover at Taylor House at Heritage Park
Built in 1912, Taylor House is another one of the remnants of a time before West Covina was established.
It has an Arts and Craft Movement architectural style, making it a prime example of a movement that flourished during the industrial period.
The home emphasizes straight horizontal lines instead of the more intricate Victorian houses, making it a unique property back in the day.
And it still is today compared to the more contemporary suburban homes surrounding it.
It was restored in 2005 thanks to the community's collective effort, with the painting, furniture, and furniture made to be as historically accurate as possible.
Even the surrounding gardens were renovated, which added to the appeal of the house and park.
Everyone is welcome to tour the house, appreciate the contents, and stay on the shady spots of the grounds.
The rest of Heritage Park can be a bit wild, but it’s still open for daring adventurers and curious visitors.
Other Things to Do Nearby
After your amazing tour of West Covina, why not check out the other wonders of San Gabriel Valley?
Go Swimming at Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park
The other regional park of San Dimas is the magnificent Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park, one of the favorite natural attractions in the heart of San Gabriel Valley.
This expansive destination covers 1800 acres, with Puddingstone Reservoir taking up 250 acres.
Along with Sante Fe Dam, this lake is one of few bodies of water in the valley with natural features, so residents gravitate towards it during hot summer days.
You’re welcome to go swimming, fishing, kayaking, and boating in the reservoir.
If you don’t want to get wet yet, you can explore the banks and trails around the lake.
You’ll find many spots for a picnic, sightseeing, camping, and small gatherings with the whole family.
See Magnificent Exhibits at the American Museum of Ceramic Art
Pomona houses an unusual collection of artifacts in its gorgeous American Museum of Ceramic Art.
Ceramic-making is an underappreciated mode of pottery, so David Armstrong founded the facility so more people could celebrate the technique.
Here, you’ll find a permanent collection of more than 7,000 individual pieces.
These dinner wear, ornamental items, fine porcelain, and ancient artifacts came from various cultures and countries all over the world.
On occasion, there will be exhibitions where a particular artist or region’s ceramics will be displayed.
Take in the Views of the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area
Less than 10 minutes north is Irwindale’s premier outdoor attraction, the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area.
This 836-acre destination is considered one of the hidden jewels of SoCal, thanks to its relatively unknown status.
Most people know it for the incredible views of the San Gabriel Mountains, framed perfectly by the glistening Santa Fe Dam.
Fishing on the body of water is a favorite activity, with species like largemouth bass, crappie, and bluegills swimming in the depths.
The banks are used for camping, sunbathing, and sightseeing, with lots of smaller parks and boat ramps scattered along the borders.
While here, don’t forget to visit the Santa Fe Dam Nature Center, a natural history museum that offers exhibits and collections from San Gabrial Valley’s past.
Stay Awhile at Walnut Creek Community Regional Park
Another attraction just a stone’s throw away from West Covina is the serene Walnut Creek Community Regional Park.
This outdoor destination is one of San Dimas’ two regional parks, with many activities in store for all skill levels.
Equestrianism is one of these sports, and the park has a two-acre equestrian staging area open for public use.
Here, riders and horses can practice their skills and show off to an audience.
The rest of the park follows the babbling Walnut Creek, with many trails crossing or running parallel to the body of water.
These paths will bring you to some forested and secluded spots where you can hang out and commune with nature.
Marvel at the Paintings of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Cultural and Art Museum
Nextdoor Covina has an intriguing attraction for those who want to immerse themselves in other cultures.
This educational facility and gallery is home to the works of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III, a Buddhist religious leader and Chinese-American artist.
The location is a wonder in itself, a 114-year-old two-story historic structure with a hint of Greek Revival architecture.
Inside are the collections of stunning artworks, ranging from calligraphy to western oil paintings.
All these he made on his own, so most visitors stand in awe of the sheer number of works on display here.
So if you have time to spare after your trip to West Covina, a quick stopover here is well worth the trip.
Trek the Trails of Azusa River Wilderness Park
At the edge of the San Gabriel Mountains likes Azusa River Wilderness Park, just 20 minutes away from West Covina.
This attraction is an excellent choice if you want a more rugged adventure out in the forests of Los Angeles.
Covering an area of more than 60 acres, the park is a spacious little canyon with many opportunities for hiking and biking.
At the very heart of the canyon is the eponymous river, which feeds the aforementioned Sante Fe Dam.
It’s also a hotspot for native wildlife, thanks to the waters that serve as a vital source of hydration.
So while exploring, keep an eye out for small birds, mammals, and colorful insects buzzing next to the body of water.
With West Covina’s many green spaces, museums, and recreational establishments, you’ll have plenty of choices for whatever preference you may have.
So bring your friends and family over and try some of the best that the San Gabriel Valley has in store.
Make sure to reference this list so you won’t miss the top spots of this vibrant city!