San Bernardino, a city of more than 213,000, houses a truly bustling arts and sports scene. Its resplendent California Theatre of the Performing Arts stages all kinds of shows, ballets and children's productions. The San Manuel Amphitheater, the biggest in the country, routinely hosts world-famous bands and musicians. Baseball fans who love the sport in its purest form can root for the Inland Empire 66ers, the minor league team that plays at the lovely San Manuel Stadium. Indeed, no matter your age or your interests, it's easy to entertain yourself in San Bernardino.
The captivating San Bernardino National Forest spans nearly 678,000 acres, and it includes many sections of the San Jacinto and San Bernardino mountain ranges. Once home to Native Americans and settlers from Europe and Mexico, the federal government officially reserved this strip of land for conservation in 1907.
Believe it or not, the mighty McDonald's Corporation began as a San Bernardino barbecue restaurant in 1940. This eatery, which two brothers owned, soon closed and reopened as a burger joint. On that site today you can step inside a free museum that displays a wealth of Golden Arches memorabilia, including posters, toys and statues. Note that McDonald's does not operate this attraction. Instead, it's run by the owners of the California chicken franchise Juan Pollo.
In Riverside, California, which is about a 17-minute drive from San Bernardino, you'll find the Mission Inn Hotel and Spa, an opulent lodge favored by celebrities. It's where Richard and Pat Nixon got married and where Ronald and Nancy Reagan honeymooned. This 238-room hotel opened in 1876 as a guesthouse, and it now takes up a whole city block. Towers and domes are among its lovely architectural features. Every day, guides provide 75-minute tours of the premises.
By and large, San Bernardino is a hot and dry place. In the summer, temperatures frequently climb past 100 degrees Fahrenheit, while winter and spring present the most desirable conditions. It's considerably cooler at that time of the year, and there are occasional welcome showers.
Take a day trip to Los Angeles or any of the communities on the west coast. The Pacific Ocean is only about a one-hour drive from San Bernardino.
In December, January and February, you can enjoy winter sports at the region's ski resorts and find plenty of outstanding deals on San Bernardino hotels.
The third weekend in September means hot rods and joyrides to many people in this area. The Route 66 Cruisin' Reunion is modeled after Route 66 Rendezvous, a festival that used to take place in San Bernardino every year from 1990 to 2012. This block party in nearby Ontario is an exciting three-day happening for the entire family, and it involves food stations, live entertainment and hundreds of classic cars.
The National Orange Show Festival premiered in 1911, and it remains a favorite local event. Taking place over Memorial Day weekend, it offers such diversions as musical performances, stilt walkers, carnival rides, baking competitions, quilting contests and animal shows. On top of that, pig races are a surprisingly entertaining event. Of course, the county's citrus farmers get to show off their products, and guests can sample many zesty dishes that have oranges as vital ingredients.
The 1946 Nat King Cole song “Route 66” mentions two locations in California, and one of them is San Bernardino. All these years later, with its pretty streets, enticing mountains and numerous recreational options, the city is still something to sing about.