One perfect day in Riverside, CA

Take a trip to the creative side of the Inland Empire. This Riverside neighborhood has found its inner artist

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  • Guests can enjoy fruity concoctions at Tio's Tacos in Riverside.

    Fruity concoctions at Tio's Tacos.

    Andrea Gomez Romero

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The local bohemian hang: Filled with bookshelves and Victorian furnishings, Back to the Grind is a sprawling coffeehouse that multitasks as a gallery and music venue. Don't be surprised if you come across a ukulele circle. $; 3575 University Ave.;

The fox makes a comeback: After five years of sitting empty, the lights are back on at the retro-glam Fox Performing Arts Center. The 1929 cinema and vaudeville theater that hosted acts like Bing Crosby recently got $32 million in TLC, and now the corner fixture headlines musicals, dance, and arock shows. (

Mexican lunch on the patio: Tio's Tacos serves traditional food, yet the atmosphere is anything but. Check out the fantastical garden of sculptures made from chicken wire, aluminum cans, and bottle caps. $; 3948 Mission Inn Ave.; 951/788-0230.

Make it an overnight: The ornate Mission Inn Hotel is a must-see and has plenty of history. Head inside to the Presidential Lounge, pull up an antique-swank leather chair, and toast the chiefs past with a JFK cosmopolitan or Herbert Hoover lemon drop. From $169; 2-night minimum;

3 more artistic adventures in town

Date-night flicks: On Friday and Saturday nights, the Culver Center of the Arts doubles as a movie house for rare art films. $10; 3834 Main St.;

Old-school building, new-school art: The 1929 YWCA designed by Julia Morgan is the gorgeous home of the Riverside Art Museum. And the sweeping arches and courtyard are a stark contrast to edgy works inside. $5; closed Sun; 3425 Mission Inn Ave.;

Drop-in art classes: The mix is playful at Division 9 Gallery, from graffiti to Mexican folk art, established artists, and traveling indie exhibits. For a DIY option, head upstairs for lessons in drawing and print-making. Gallery free, classes from $75; closed Sun; 3850 Lemon St.;




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