Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Ontario, CA

  • Published 2023/01/04

Ontario is unique among all Southern California towns and cities.

This city, which is part of San Bernardino County, just outside the east of Los Angeles, is a sleepy but charming community perfect for a quick weekend getaway.

Although it shares a name with one of Canada’s top tourist destinations, you won’t find a trace of Canada in this small but packed city.

This city will treat you to an authentic Southern California experience.

If you want a well-deserved break from Los Angeles’ bustling city scene, escape to Ontario for some relaxation.

You don’t need to fly to Canada to visit Ontario, California, less than an hour from Los Angeles.

It will offer you not just its sleepy town appeal but gorgeous views, charming parks, and the unspoiled natural beauty of San Bernardino County.

Above all, it offers plenty of attractions you can visit without breaking the bank.

Are you curious already?

Below are some free things to do in Ontario, California!

Stroll along Euclid Avenue

Euclid Avenue is probably Ontario’s most famous spot.

It runs through Ontario’s downtown area, making it a perfect place for visitors to wander.

It has a vast history that you can see up close through its turn-of-the-century buildings with impressive designs from art deco and Googie to Victorian architecture.

Besides the usual downtown scene of shops, restaurants, and busy locals, Euclid Avenue is where you’ll find Ontario’s bandstand and town hall.

Strolling through Euclid Avenue offers an immersive experience that acquaints you with the city.

Rub Elbows with Locals at the Ontario Town Square

Ontario Town Square is a picturesque open-air park where most community events and activities happen.

You can find this place along Euclid Avenue’s northern portion.

This town square is not just one of Ontario’s attractions.

It’s also a significant spot that brings the entire community together through its activities.

At the same time, it’s also surrounded by most of the city’s businesses, leisure, and entertainment, making it a convenient attraction to visit.

The Ontario Town Square also has an open-air amphitheater that regularly hosts concerts and other exciting events.

At the same time, you’ll enjoy picnicking at its gorgeous green manicured lawns along with locals.

With all that in mind, visit this wonderful attraction in Ontario.

Discover Ontario’s Local Arts Scene at the Chaffey Community Museum of Art

Check out the Chaffey Community Museum of Art, a fantastic place to explore beautiful artworks from the past and present.

You can visit this art museum along S. Lemon Avenue.

This art museum, founded in 1941, regularly hosts exhibits featuring renowned and local artists, displaying their best artworks for free.

You’ll see hundreds of masterpieces and gorgeous artworks, mainly featuring California watercolor paintings and plenty more.

Check out the Chaffey Community Museum of Art, which has five galleries besides its rotating exhibits.

Stretch Your Legs at Westwind Park

Westwind Park is the perfect destination in Ontario for those who want to sweat it out and stretch their legs.

You can visit this park along E. Riverside Drive near Ontario National Golf Course.

This park opened in 1998.

It houses numerous sports facilities for basketball, volleyball, foosball, and table tennis.

Meanwhile, it has bigger outdoor sports facilities such as a baseball field, an outdoor basketball court, hiking and biking paths, and plenty more.

Besides sports facilities, you can enjoy a peaceful picnic and other outdoor activities at Westwind Park, making it one of Ontario’s top-notch destinations.

Step Back in Time at the Ontario Museum of History & Art

Ontario Museum of History & Art is a charming and fun place to explore the past.

You can visit this museum along S. Euclid Avenue.

This museum mainly collects, interprets, and preserves the history of Ontario and San Bernardino County, which you can see up close through its exhibits and relevant events.

One of the museum’s main attractions, the “Gem of the Foothills,” allows you to revisit Ontario’s early years, where Native American Indians ruled the land.

Besides, the Ontario Museum of History & Art has plenty of exhibitions and happenings that make your visit there worthwhile.

Above all, it’s one of the few museums you’ll come across that offers free admission.

Play with Your Pup at the Schimmel Dog Park

Schimmel Dog Park is a great place to bring your dog to have fun.

You can visit this dog park along N. Cucamonga Avenue.

This dog park, which opened in 2016, was a tribute to the late police service dog named “Ex” Von der Schimmel – Schultz Heide.

This dog lost its life in the line of duty after protecting its handler, a police officer, during a response.

Today, the dog park remains a nice place to bring your pup to play, especially with other dogs that enjoy their time there.

The park has a fence and several obstacles and features, enough to make your pup have a blast.

Remember to check out Schimmel Dog Park for quality time with your pup.

Pass the Time at James R. Bryant Park

James R. Bryant Park is one of Ontario’s community parks that you’ll likely visit to make the most of your time.

You can visit this park along W. D. Street.

This park opened in 1977 as San Antonio Park.

Its name was replaced in 2002.

Today, this park is one of Ontario’s most peaceful places to relax or enjoy outdoor activities.

This park has a picnic area, a playground, a vast green open space, and other amenities that make your visit there worthwhile.

Above all, James R. Bryant Park doesn’t have an admission fee like most parks in Ontario.

Get Vitamin D at the Ontario Motor Speedway Park

The Ontario Motor Speedway Park is named after the famous motor speedway that closed in the 1980s.

You can visit this park along N. Center Avenue.

After its closure, Chevron immediately purchased the speedway and reopened it as the Ontario Motor Speedway Park.

Today, the park is a mixed-use location for various outdoor activities.

This park is your go-to place if you’re looking to soak up the sun.

All you need to bring is your towel, tanning lotion, or picnic basket to enjoy its lively park scenery with your loved ones.

Besides its nice picnic area, the Ontario Motor Speedway Park has numerous sports facilities, a children’s playground, and plenty more park amenities.

Check Out the Unique Architecture of the Civic Center Community Conservation Park

The Civic Center Community Conservation Park is a unique and blissful outdoor attraction in Ontario.

You can visit this park along E.B. Street.

You’ll see up close the 1.5-acre park, renowned for its uniquely themed design for its picnic shelters, benches, playgrounds, and other amenities.

The structures of its amenities have been artistically curved and designed into obscure shapes, which are odd but beautiful.

Besides the unique design of the park’s amenities, the Civic Center Community Conservation Park also hosts various events through its amphitheater.

Watch a Soccer Game at the Ontario Soccer Park

The Ontario Soccer Park is a massive sports facility where most of Ontario’s local soccer leagues happen.

You can visit this sports facility along E. Philadelphia Street.

This soccer park opened in 2008.

It is the perfect place to catch a tournament featuring various local soccer clubs through its 20-acre area divided into several soccer fields.

Whether you’re a football fan or not, watching locals strutting their soccer skills is a fun experience to have.

It becomes more enjoyable when you watch young soccer teams go at each other at one of its youth leagues.

Drop by the Ontario Soccer Park for highly entertaining sports matches.

Enjoy a Game of Horseshoe at the John Galvin Park

John Galvin Park is another worthwhile place to check out in Ontario.

You can visit this park along N. Grove Avenue.

Like most places you visit throughout Ontario, this park has all the amenities of a top-notch community park.

However, many locals love spending time at their parks to picnic, relax, and test their horseshoe skills.

The park has two horseshoe courts which you and your friends can enjoy.

Besides the horseshoe court, it has numerous athletic fields, hiking trails, and a play area for your little one.

Spend time at John Galvin Park for a game of horseshoe or enjoy its tranquil environment.

Other Free Things to Do Nearby

Ontario’s neighboring cities and towns boast unique attractions and vibes worth checking out.

Here are some of the recommended places near Ontario to visit.

Bask in the Beauty of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden is a public botanical garden in Claremont, California, 17 minutes northwest of Ontario.

The entire garden spans over 86 acres, California’s most extensive botanical garden.

Amazingly, this botanical garden houses solely native plant species of California.

Visiting this botanical garden offers you a serene experience with nature.

At the same time, you’ll also learn plenty of educational information about the rarest and most beautiful native plant species in California.

Drop by the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden for a unique experience.

Immerse Yourself in Nature at the North Etiwanda Preserve

The North Etiwanda Preserve in Rancho Cucamonga, California, is a famous regional hiking and nature viewing destination.

You can visit this natural attraction 24 minutes northeast of Ontario.

One of the best ways to enjoy your time at this nature preserve is to hike through over three miles of nature trails.

The hike takes you to the area’s thriving local flora and fauna.

At the same time, your hike through this nature preserve takes you to waterfalls where you can take a dip and cool down.

North Etiwanda Preserve is a gorgeous natural attraction you must take advantage of near Ontario.

Strike a Pose at the Majestic Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

The Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is a Hindu temple known for its spectacular architecture.

You can visit this unique attraction in Chino Hills, California, 20 minutes south of Ontario.

This Hindu temple belongs to the Indian community in Chino Hills, which serves as their primary religious center.

Besides being a place of worship for Indian Americans in Chino Hills, this temple is also a popular attraction.

It’s mainly because of its unique architecture, like the massive temples in India.

Striking a pose and taking photos at the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is a pleasant experience for your Ontario travel adventure.

Take as many photos as possible with the temple as your souvenir.

Spend Time with Family at the California Citrus State Historic Park

The California Citrus State Historic Park in Riverside, California, is a massive attraction that opened in 1993.

You can visit this place 33 minutes southeast of Ontario in Riverside.

The park details Southern California’s citrus industry history through its outdoor historical museum that offers free admission.

Facilities, exhibits, and tours are available for everyone to enjoy and learn about the citrus industry history in this area.

During your visit, you’ll come across numerous facilities dating to the citrus industry era, such as bunkhouses, packing facilities, and period-era buildings that still stand up to this day.

To complete your experience at the California Citrus State Historical Park, head to its visitor center for more activities.

Final Thoughts

Ontario, California, is a one-stop destination for budget travelers who want to make the most of their time without breaking the bank.

This small city in Southern California is the perfect example of an excellent destination for quick getaways.

You can enjoy Ontario’s great outdoors, or perhaps check out its local art scene or step back in time with its history for free.

Whatever your travel plans, there are plenty of free things to do in Ontario, California!

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