Working in Los Angeles or San Francisco can make a person yearn to commute, and the small city of Ontario, California, offers the ideal spot. Just 35 miles east of LA, Ontario offers a small city feel and a mere 165,000 residents.
You don’t have to travel to Canada to enjoy a place named Ontario. The California location offers an amazing view since it nearly banks onto the Angeles National Forest. Only the communities of Upland and San Antonio Heights separate it from the forest.
According to the City of Ontario, its location lies just “forty-five minutes from everywhere you want to be.” Of course, if you explore this small city, you’ll see that you might not want to go anywhere else.
Actually, some Angeleans and San Franciscans visit Ontario for fun things to do. It offers a few fine art museums, its own sports team, a major events center, and two shopping centers that you can’t find anywhere else.
Let’s look at what makes the 50 square miles of Ontario, California, so special, besides its palm tree-lined streets and amazing mountain views. Many of the best things to do in Ontario cost nothing, so you can enjoy yourself for free!
Ontario Airport Hotel & Conference Center is the closest airport hotel to the Ontario International Airport. This attractive modern hotel offers a convenient location at the gateway to Los Angeles and Orange counties, with easy access to shopping, dining, entertainment and corporate office locations in close proximity.
The La Quinta Inn and Suites Ontario Airport is located off Interstate 10, about a 10-minute drive from the Ontario International Airport. This hotel offers free airport shuttle service to guests. A daily breakfast buffet is served at the hotel. This La Quinta is within a 15-minute drive of California Speedway and the Ontario Mills mall.
Conveniently situated between Los Angeles and San Diego, the Comfort Suites Ontario Airport Convention Center is an ideal destination for leisure and business travelers alike. The hotel offers a range of well-appointed guest rooms including guest suites, non-smoking and handicap accessible rooms. Each guest room features amenities to ensure you have a comfortable stay such as free high-speed internet access, coffee/tea maker, hair dryers and desks with ergonomic chairs.
- Most significant landmark – Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation Home
- Best park – Cucamonga-Guasti Regional Park
- Best free activity – Ontario Museum of History and Art
- Best activity for kids – LOL Kids Club
- Best activity for adults – Toyota Arena Events
- Best food – Zeke’s Eatin’ Place
- Best nightlife – The Dinner Detective Theater Troupe
- Best all-around accommodation – Ontario Inn
Best & Fun Things to do in Ontario, CA
1. Graber Olive House
Address: 315 E 4th St., Ontario, California 91762
Ontario’s oldest existing business still in operation, the Graber Olive House, offers visitors the opportunity to taste some of the Mediterranean’s finest olives – grown in California.
The famed farm, established in 1894, has provided locals with their tasty salad treats for more than a century. Taste Graber Olives fresh from the farm.
The farm offers guided tours, even during harvest from October to December. The tour includes the farm, grading, curing, and canning process.
See Related: Best Things to do in California & Places to Visit
2. Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation
Address: 5131 Carnelian St., Alta Loma, CA 91701
A deserved spot on the National Register of Historic Places, the Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation recounts the life of the famed furniture maker, who designed rocking chairs for several US presidents. He and his assistants hand-built his home, a testament to the woodworking style of Maloof and his largest project ever.
It landed on the National Register when California highway construction threatened its existence. Docents provide guided tours of the home, which also include Mediterranean gardens and an exhibit/learning center. You can find this terrific art museum in neighboring Alta Loma.
3. Chaffey Community Museum of Art
Address: 217 S. Lemon Ave, Ontario, CA 91761
Founded as an art association in 1941, the Chaffey Community Museum of Art (CCAA Museum of Art) offers exhibits of local artists and nationally-recognized artists.
The fine art museum serves the Inland Empire area of California with exhibits and educational events on all types of works of art, but with a special focus on California watercolors and regional artists, such as female artists of the Pomona Valley.
The museum offers five galleries, each featuring a different exhibition, including those featuring local art and a gallery devoted to emerging artists in the area and student artwork. Open from Thursday to Sunday, from noon to 4 pm. The museum offers free public viewings.
See Related: Best and Fun Things to Do in Jamestown, California
4. Ontario Museum of History and Art
Address: 225 S Euclid Ave, Ontario, CA 91762
The Ontario Museum of History and Art collects, preserves, and interprets the history of Ontario and the surrounding region through exhibitions, workshops, and events. Housed in a historic municipal building, the museum’s architecture contributes to the value of visiting this attraction.
The exhibit “Gem of the Foothills” explores the history of Ontario and its unique contributions to California. The Ontario sometimes works with the Chaffee to mount exhibits that carry over from one museum to the next, such as the tribute to Pomona Valley female artists. Also, enjoy film night at the museum, typically on Thursdays.
Open Thursday from noon to 8 pm and Friday through Sunday from noon to 4 pm, the museum charges no admittance fee.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Barstow, California
5. Planes of Fame Air Museum
Address: 14998 Cal Aero Dr, Chino, CA 91710
Explore aviation history at the Planes of Fame Air Museum. This unique museum features more than 150 aircraft, with 50 still operational.
The collection spans from World War II fighter planes and carrier planes like the chunky Grumman F8F Bearcat to a replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer – the world’s first powered aircraft.
Planes of Fame hosts an air show every May and a monthly Living History Flying Day. Admission costs $6 for children and $15 for adults.
See Related: Things to Do in Monterey, California
6. Folk Music Center & Museum
Address: 220 Yale Avenue, Claremont, CA 91711
Originally a store founded more than 60 years ago, the Folk Music Center transitioned to non-profit status in 1976. It still sells musical instruments though. It fulfills its mission to provide the public with an interactive experience with music through classes for children and adults and a small museum.
Open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, the center charges no admission fee. Before the pandemic of 2020-22, it hosted an annual folk music festival and occasional live music performances at the center.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Ojai, California
7. Explore Historic Euclid Avenue
Address: Euclid Avenue (start at C Street cross street)
Euclid Avenue in southern California compares to Route 66, which runs from Chicago, Illinois, to Los Angeles, California, bisecting many states along the way. Euclid Avenue runs north-south continuously from Prado Regional Park through Upland, then San Antonio Heights.
The area of Euclid Avenue in downtown Ontario offers a historic neighborhood of mixed architectural styles, including art deco, Victorian and Googie architecture.
This walkable area also includes the town’s bandstand and town hall. The homes on the avenue offer a living museum that represents various historical eras and architectural styles.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Oakhurst, California
8. Shop at Ontario Mills for Designer Duds
Address: 1 Mills Cir, Ontario, CA 91764
Shopping Ontario Mills nabs you deals on designer clothes and accessories. From Guess and Michael Kors to Coach and Calvin Klein, you can shop where more than 24 million shoppers do annually. The vast Ontario Mills offers 1.5 million square feet of retail space filled with more than 200 shops and restaurants.
If you want accommodations close by, try the Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, adjacent to the Mills. Another option, the Ayres Hotel Ontario Mills Mall lies within walking distance of the shops and restaurants at the Mill.
See Related: Best & Fun Things to do in Bishop, California
9. Explore the Cucamonga-Guasti Regional Park
Address: 800 N Archibald Ave, Ontario, CA 91764
When you need outdoor time, look no further than Cucamonga-Guasti Regional Park, which offers 150 acres of recreational activities, including two lakes for boating and fishing. The park also offers paddle boats, a children’s splash area, and a water park with slides.
You can reserve a large picnic shelter for large gatherings but no snack bar. Cucamonga-Guasti also includes picnic tables and green spaces for small outdoor meals.
Open daily from 7:30 am to 5 pm, the park closes on Christmas Day. The Azure Hotel & Suites Ontario Trademark Collection by Wyndham lies less than two miles from the park.
See Related: Best Things to do in San Jose, California
10. Play a Round of Golf at Whispering Lakes Golf Course
Address: 2525 E Riverside Dr., Ontario, CA 91761
Despite the name, you don’t have to whisper “fore,” when playing 18 holes at this gorgeous par-72 golf course. Obviously, one shouts it. That’s golf safety 101.
The recently remodeled Whispering Lakes Golf Course received a new clubhouse and a refresh of its greens from Donovan Brothers Golf, LLC.
The city-owned golf course offers the same amenities as a country club, including clubhouse dining, a PGA Head Golf Professional, Gary Nicholas, who teaches at the course, and special group golfing, including the Senior Men’s Club.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Anaheim, California
11. Explore the North Etiwanda Preserve
Address: 4890 Etiwanda Ave, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739
Technically, you travel 13 miles north of Ontario to reach the North Etiwanda Preserve in Rancho Cucamonga. Hike the main trail, 3.3 miles of California flora and fauna that takes about two hours to cover, including some rather rocky terrain.
North of the main trail lies Etiwanda Falls, about a mile and a half from the parking lot trailhead, just outside of North Etiwanda Preserve. If you keep hiking north, you’ll transition right into the San Bernardino National Forest.
These breathtaking locations rival any glitzy southern California beach and offer plenty of free outdoor fun!
See Related: Best Day Trips from San Francisco, California
12. Explore the Historic John Rains House
Address: 8810 Hemlock, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730
The national historic register home, which entrepreneur John Rains constructed in 1860, uses a unique and innovative design for its cooling mechanism – the local creek water. The John Rains House Museum explores the life of the founder of the first California commercial winery.
The home, long the seat of many society parties and power broker meetings, became a museum after the murder of Rains just outside of the home. His widow gave up the home after his death.
Adult admittance costs $5, while children aged five and older cost $2.50 for entry. Children under five years of age enter free.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Blythe, California
13. Toyota Arena
Address: 4000 East Ontario Center Parkway, Ontario, California 91764
Whatever you love, the Toyota Arena hosts it. From bull riding to arena football, and monster trucks to music festivals, the Toyota Arena offers it! Check its website for the events schedule, such as concerts from Marc Anthony, Eslabon Armado, or Judas Priest, or comedy shows such as George Lopez.
In addition to awesome events, three different sports teams play their games here; the hockey team, the Ontario Reign, the basketball team, the Ontario Clippers, and the soccer team, the Ontario Fury.
This arena previously went by the names Citizens Business Bank Arena and State Farm Arena. Ticket prices for the various events vary. Check the website for prices and event details.
See Related: Best Family Hotels in San Francisco, California
14. Take a Selfie with the Madonna of the Trail
Address: 1010 N Euclid Ave, Upland, CA 91786-3201
Drive a little further down Euclid Avenue into Upland to nab a selfie with The Madonna of the Trail statue. One of the 12 US monuments to pioneer women, this statue comprises the final of the 12. The first and furthest away stands in Maryland!
Each statue marks a point on the National Old Trails Road. Placed in the 1920s, each locality that hosts a statue cares for it, maintaining the monument to honor the legacy of the women who helped form the towns of the country.
See Related: Things to Do in Fresno, California
15. K1 Speed Ontario
Address: 5350 Ontario Mills Pkwy, Bldg. E, Ontario, Ca 91764
You don’t need to own a racecar to unleash your inner Mario Andretti. Just visit K1 Speed Ontario and drive a go-kart on its indoor track. The immense facility offers multiple options, so novice, intermediate, and experienced drivers can enjoy an authentic race experience.
The indoor go-kart racing track also includes an on-site restaurant, the Paddock Lounge, and an arcade that also offers billiards and air hockey, making this ideal for a family outing. The facility also offers two A/V wired meeting rooms.
The raceway sells tickets for one, two, or three races or a Speedpass with prices ranging from $25.95 to $64.95. Junior racing carries a height requirement for safety reasons of 48 inches, while adult racing carries a height of 58 inches. You can also try out the iFLY gravity-defying experience to add to your fun.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Merced, California
16. Attend a Tasting at the San Antonio Winery
Address: 2802 S. Milliken Avenue, Ontario, CA 91761
California is home to some of the world’s premier wine destinations, and Ontario is certainly on the up and up!
Originally located in Los Angeles, the San Antonio Winery now offers three locations, one of which the company located in Ontario. Founded in 1917, the winery offers eleven Riboli family wines from grapes grown in the Napa Valley, Paso Robles, and Monterey.
For more than 40 years, the Ontario tasting room has hosted wine tastings, workshops, brunches, and entertainment events, such as comedy nights. The winery includes a gift shop. You can reserve the winery for private events.
See Related: Best Things to do in Three Rivers, California
17. Explore and Tour Amy’s Farm
Address: 7698 Eucalyptus Avenue, Ontario, CA 91762
This urban farm offers tours of its agricultural operations and educational programs. It includes a half-acre garden, humane ranching of bovines and hogs, and humane chicken keeping for eggs. Children and adults can pet tame farm animals.
The farm offers a garden walk, gardening master classes, educational courses, and volunteer opportunities for scouting troops. Amy’s Farm also includes a petting zoo, plus the opportunity to milk a cow.
If you visit during the fall, you can pick a pumpkin to take home from the pumpkin patch. The public can explore the farm from 9 am to 5 pm, Tuesdays through Fridays. The produce stand on the farm also opens on Saturdays from 9 am to 5 pm.
18. Take the Kids to the LOL Kids Club
Address: 735 N Milliken Ave, Unit A, Ontario, CA 91764
Never fear rainy days in Ontario city, because you can take your family to the LOL Kids Club, a huge indoor playground with games and attractions for all ages.
On Fridays, the playground hosts Nerf wars, and every day kids can enjoy the bounce room, jungle gym, and giant slides. The Club also offers arts and crafts, holiday-themed events, and an on-site gourmet restaurant.
Open every day of the week from 11 am to 7 pm, tickets for children cost $12.95 Monday through Thursday and $16.95 Friday through Sunday. Babies up to nine months of age and the first adult in a party get in free. Additional adult tickets cost $7. Note that each individual must wear socks inside the facility due to sanitation regulations. If you forget your socks, LOL Kids Club sells them for $3 per pair.
In addition to socks, the facility offers party packages. What a place!
See Related: Best Things to Do in Santa Rosa, California
19. The Dinner Detective Murder-Mystery Dinner
Address: 555 W Foothill Blvd., Claremont, CA 91711
Looking for great food and a show?
Drive the five miles to nearby Claremont, California, where every Saturday night, The Dinner Detective theater troupe holds a show. Catered by a delicious gourmet chef, the evening includes a dinner theater interactive mystery. Every attendee becomes a suspect in the murder most foul!
Hosted in the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, the troupe includes professional actors from TV, film, and theater, who improvise parts of the script. Every diner becomes a detective if they so choose. The dinner theater even awards a prize for Top Sleuth!
The admission ticket costs $74.95 and includes a full gourmet dinner and the theater performance. The theater enforces a minimum attendance age of 15 years old. Babies and young children may not attend.
20. Rock Climb Every Day
Address: 645 W Francis St., Ontario, CA 91762
You can learn to rock climb in Ontario, California since Rock Climb Every Day offers beginning rock climbing classes plus advanced classes in multi-pitch, anchor building, traditional climbing, sport climbing, rappelling, and self-rescue. The organization also offers sightseeing tours, adventure tours, and team-building events.
Teachers and guides speak both English and Spanish. This business operates multiple California locations, and each location offers equipment rental. Participants can book private instruction or family climbing packages. Open year-round Monday through Sunday from 9 am to 9 pm.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Bakersfield, California
21. Zeke’s Eatin’ Place
Address: Zeke’s Eatin’ Place, 1855 E 4th St, Ontario, CA 91764
Hungry yet? You can find home food in southern California with an awesome down-home vibe. Stop by Zeke’s Eatin’ Place, serving up all-day breakfast and lunch for four decades. The family-style restaurant focuses on the delicious food served by the friendly, attentive waitstaff.
If during your vacation, you yearn for biscuits and gravy or a piled-high stack of pancakes, also called hot cakes in these parts, Zeke’s will feed you. Whether you want chicken fried steak or a juicy medium-rare steak or a baby steak, you can find that here, too.
The restaurant believes in hearty portions and keeping the coffee mugs and tea glasses always full. Open from 6:30 am to 3 pm daily, you can count on this local favorite during your daily commute.
22. Mama T Parenti’s Delicatessen
Address: 1037 W Philadelphia St., Ontario, CA 91762
Ontario offers a plethora of eateries, but Mama T’s earns five stars from the locals who dine there!
On menu site after menu site, diners provide this deli with the highest ratings possible for its amazing made-from-scratch Italian food. Try the subs – the Italian and the meatball prove most popular. The pastrami and the muffuletta with homemade tapenade earned many fans, too. Most folks choose macaroni salad as their side dish.
Wednesday nights, the deli hosts pasta night, serving spaghetti and meatballs. Leave room for dessert since this restaurant offers delicious cannoli and tiramisu. Open Tuesday through Sunday, the hours vary by day.
From Tuesday to Friday, you can dine from 11 am to 7 pm, but on Saturdays, the deli closes an hour earlier, at 6 pm. On Sundays, Mama T Parenti’s only serves lunch, opening from 11 am to 3 pm.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Solvang, California
23. Glen Ivy Hot Springs
Address: 25000 Glen Ivy Rd, Corona, CA 92883
Need a way to chill out after exploring Ontario? Head south on a 45-minute drive to nearby Corona and spend a cheeky weekend break at Glen Ivy Hot Springs resort and spa.
This stunning, world-class retreat is known for its 17 swimming pools, heavenly healthy meals, and luxurious spa treatments, all furnished by a friendly and dedicated staff.
The Glen Ivy Hot Springs experience is the ideal destination for couples on a romantic retreat!
Getting around Ontario, CA
If you don’t own a vehicle, you’ll need to rent one. Hertz, Enterprise, and National car rental companies serve the city with multiple pick-ups and drop-off locations, including the Ontario International Airport. Alternatively, you can sort out car rentals ahead of time with someone like Kayak. You might enjoy biking the town’s downtown streets on foot or by bicycle.
You can also take Uber and Lyft in Ontario, California. These two services let riders book transportation to a specific local address. Both require payment through PayPal.
This southern California city also participates in ridesharing.com which lets riders find drivers making the same daily commute or planning a long-distance trip to the same location. Payment goes directly from the rider to the driver.
Most individuals who visit from out-of-town fly into Ontario International Airport or Los Angeles International Airport or take the train via Amtrak or Metrolink.
What is Ontario, CA known for?
Californians know Ontario as a center of outdoor activity and a small city with a safe, quiet small-town feel. Neighborhoods in Ontario, California offer a community feels with city conveniences. It offers an ideal location since it lies near the freeway, making the ocean, mountains, and Los Angeles easily accessible, and offers the Ontario Convention Center and Toyota Arena.
What are some fun things to do in Ontario, CA?
If you wonder what to do in Ontario for the weekend, adults may enjoy the winery tour, exploring the town’s many museums, or the Toyota Arena, which depending on the day you visit transforms into a concert facility, an indoor football arena, the Ontario center ice arena, or a basketball court.
What is the best thing to do with kids in Ontario?
You’ll find many fun sites to see and things to do in Ontario with kids, including the Cucamonga-Guasti Regional Park, Planes of Fame Museum and airshow, the go-kart raceway, and LOL Kids Club. Kids might also enjoy the outdoor activities available at Cucamonga-Guasti Regional Park.
What are some things to do in Ontario when it is raining?
When it starts raining and you need some fun things to do in Ontario visit one of the town’s museums or the indoor rock-climbing facility. Shopping at Ontario Mills also offers an option for the whole family.
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