What is Redding, California, known for? Is it a worthy travel destination? Check out this guide on the best things to do in Redding, CA, and make that judgment.
Redding, California, is one of the best places to visit in Northern California for outdoor adventures. It is a small city, but it has a lot to offer when it comes to nature, art, and culture. For most of the year, the weather is usually friendly, so if you love hiking, exploring, or biking, you can undoubtedly enjoy visiting the city.
However, the city can get very hot and windy sometimes. As such, it is advisable to carry a hat to shield you from extreme weather.
Redding is also a family-friendly city with many activities for kids and adults. And when it comes to security, it is a fairly safe city to visit too!
So, if you are planning a visit, what are the fun things to do in Redding, CA, to make your trip memorable?
Let’s find out!
But, before embarking on your trip, ensure that you have the right travel insurance coverage to take care of any mishaps that you might run into!
If you're looking for Redding hotels, you will love the excellent service and great value at Americana Modern Hotel. All rooms have free WiFi and free parking is available. Private bathrooms are provided in each room at Americana Modern Hotel, as well as a flat-screen TV. The hotel has a shared lounge where guests can relax with a drink.
Comfort Suites Redding - Shasta Lake offers the very best in affordable comfort and convenience. Located just off Highway 44 near I-5, the hotel boasts an indoor heated pool and hot tub, a fitness center with sauna and tennis court access. The hotel is within walking distance of the new Mercy Medical Center Hospital and just minutes from shopping at Redding's Lake Boulevard Mall.
The Best Western Hilltop Inn is conveniently located 4 miles from the Redding Convention Center and Turtle Bay Exploration Park, 5 minutes' drive to Sundial Bridge and Turtle Bay Bird Sanctuary. The hotel offers guests free WiFi internet access. Guests can enjoy a breakfast buffet daily at the restaurant. Guest rooms include coffee/tea makers, hairdryers, complimentary toiletries and cable TV with HBO channels. Parking is free on site for all guests staying at the hotel.
- Most significant landmark – Lake Shasta
- Best park – Turtle Bay Exploration Park
- Best free activity – Hiking along the Sacramento River Trail
- The best activity for kids – Visiting the WaterWorks Park
- The best activity for adults – Visiting Lake Shasta Caverns
- Best food – Black Bear Diner
- Best nightlife – Cascade Theatre
- Best all-around accommodation – Americana Modern Hotel
Best Things to Do in Redding, CA
1. Visit Turtle Bay Exploration Park
Turtle Bay Exploration Park is a great place to visit for nature lovers. It is a family-friendly park where you can bring your kids along for some fun. You can also use the outdoor space for get-togethers with friends and family.
The park is a non-profit environmental education center covering over 300 acres. And this vast land has a community that features McConnell Arboretum and Botanical Gardens and the Turtle Bay Museum to satisfy your learning curiosity.
When visiting Turtle Bay, you’ll have a chance to learn about forestry, various water features, and wildlife exhibits. Also, even if you are not keen on learning, this is a place you can visit to enjoy scenic views from the botanical gardens and also waterfalls.
Unfortunately, pets are not allowed in the park or botanical garden for safety reasons.
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2. Take the Sacramento River Trail
If you love nature walks and scenic views, the Sacramento River Trail is a great place to visit while in Redding, California. The trail starts from the sundial bridge and extends to the Keswick dam. You can enjoy a morning jog on the long trail and take a break at Lake Shasta to enjoy the scenic views or even go for a dip.
You can use the trail for walking, cycling, or walking your kids with a stroller. And if you are a dog owner, this is a good place to walk your pooch along the trails!
While taking your walk, you can relax on the restrooms and park benches that are spread all over the route. There is also a bicycle route where you can rent a bike and enjoy cycling.
Even better, this trail connects to the Sacramento River Rail Trail, offering even more stunning views of the Sacramento River and surrounding mountains. These trails offer some of the best free things to do in Redding, including whitewater rafting on the massive Sacramento River (assuming you have your own gear).
Taking a guided tour of the Sacramento River is also an excellent way to enjoy what the area has to offer fully.
See Related: Best Day Trips from San Francisco, California
3. Visit the Shasta State Historic Park
For those interested in history, Shasta State Historic Park should be on your list of things to do in Redding. This historic park provides a lot of information, including about the California Gold Rush.
If you want to learn about this historic city, it is advisable to start at the Courthouse Museum. The place has all the artifacts and information that you might need about the area, all in a charming historic building.
After fueling your curiosity, you can go outside at the wander leisure. And if you have a packed lunch, you can spend time eating at the picnic tables and enjoying the scenery.
Apart from being a favorite place for historians, Shasta State Historic Park is also great for adventure seekers and spiritual ones. It is believed that the city was home to a spiritual chief who descended from heaven and settled on Mount Shasta.
The chief is believed to have fiercely fought Llao, the god of the underworld, who lived on Mount Mazama. They threw lava and rocks at each other, a sign denoting volcanic activities on these mountains. Want to know more? Pay a visit! Everything about this famous chief can be found there!
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4. Tour Lake Shasta Caverns National Monument
Lake Shasta Caverns are some of the most stunning natural wonders in Northern California. It’s a family-friendly location, so you can come with your family and create some great memories.
They are found on the shore of Lake Shasta, a manmade lake covering over 360 miles of shoreline. Lake Shasta is considered one of the largest manmade water features in the state and has a lot of water activities for visitors to enjoy.
On the other hand, Lake Shasta Caverns, which date back over 200 million years, are made purely of limestone. And they have some of the most beautiful features, including stalagmites, stalactites, flowstone, and soda straws. So, if you want to see some incredible rock formations, Lake Shasta Caverns is the place.
As for Lake Shasta, it’s quite crowded during summer, as it also offers numerous activities for visitors. Boating is one of the most popular activities on the lake. As such, your summer visit will be met by a lot of kayaks, pontoons, and other small water vessels floating on these waters.
Also, from here, you can enjoy several scenic views, such as Mount Shasta. Shasta dam is also a few minutes from lake Shasta, and you can alter your tour to feature the two sites.
PRO TIP: If you want to visit this Shasta Lake, it’s not a bad idea to get a guided tour to enjoy the caverns fully!
See Related: Best Lakes in California to Visit
5. Explore Lassen Volcanic National Park
If your list of things to do in Redding is not enough, there’s more beyond the city! For instance, you can take a day trip to Lassen Volcanic National Park, which is less than an hour from the city. Here, you’ll not only have a chance to experience nature, but you can also see active volcanoes up close.
In essence, the park has a lot of activities to offer. If you are an outdoor person, you can take a hike on the 150 miles of trails and enjoy scenic views. Also, you can enjoy stargazing or camping in this extensive park.
Some of the best hiking trails here include the Devil’s Kitchen and Echo Lake. However, you need to be careful when hiking. Most of these hiking trails are covered with snow for the better part of the year and can be dangerous.
That said, the 30 ft of snow is also what makes Lassen Volcanic National Park a great destination for skiing and snowshoeing!
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6. Visit the Old City Hall Arts Center
The City Hall Arts Center is a historic creative community space dating back to 1907. If you’re an art lover, you will definitely want to add this stop to your itinerary!
This creative hall is a top Redding attraction and has a lot to offer when it comes to art. You can enjoy numerous art classes or spend your day admiring the exhibitions of some of the local artists.
If you were not sure of what to do in Redding when it’s raining, include this super little art museum on your list!
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7. Admire Whiskeytown Lake and National Recreational Area
If you want to take a short drive away from the city, Whiskeytown Lake is a great place to visit. The lake is surrounded by the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, which has a lot of activities.
When visiting the lake, you can enjoy boating, swimming, and fishing. On the other hand, the recreational area also has more activities such as hiking, biking, and even horse riding.
As for scenic views, some waterfalls provide stunning views and great relaxing places. In essence, this is an excellent place to experience nature in its purest form for nature lovers.
It is only 15 minutes away from the city center so you can make an easy day trip any time. Don’t miss out; this area is simply stunning!
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8. Splish-splash at WaterWorks Park
If you are in the mood for some thrill, the best place to visit is WaterWorks Park. The amusement park is most active during summer and is one of the top attractions in Redding for families.
This terrific place offers many various water activities, such as slides and pools, for all to enjoy! The best thing is that no matter your age, you will always find something amusing to do here.
Whether traveling alone or with your family, WaterWorks Park is a perfect fit. If you’re visiting Redding during the summer, don’t dare forget to spend a day at WaterWorks Park!
9. Relax at Swasey Recreation Area
The Swasey Recreation Area is an incredible place for outdoor activities. It is a favorite spot for runners and bikers who want to take some time in the wild.
The area is operated by the bureau of land management, and it is mainly composed of woodlands. Therefore, if you are looking for a challenge, you can do mountain biking, as the area has plenty of bumps and jumps. For runners who want to enjoy nature, the area has a lot of wildflowers and scenic views to soak in.
Also, you can easily see Mount Shasta from the Swasey Recreation Area, depending on the weather and the time of day you visit.
If by the end of your excursions here, you are still not satisfied, you can visit the adjacent Mule Ridge Trail!
10. Take in a show at Cascade Theatre
For a relaxed afternoon in the city, you can visit the Cascade Theatre. This theater dates back to 1935 and is loved by the community. It is a great place to interact with the locals, learn more about the city, and take in a show.
No matter when you visit, there are always great shows ranging from live music to theater performances and comedy shows. You can enjoy arthouse films from the region as well as national films.
Also, besides offering the community and visitors endless entertainment, the theatre is a good place for lovers of art. In the theater, you will see a backdrop of art deco interior design from the 1930s. It is a good place to look for artistic inspiration or just to gawp at.
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11. Marvel at the iconic Sundial Bridge
You cannot visit Redding without visiting the Sundial Bridge. This is one of the most iconic attractions and greatest landmarks in the city. Visitors flock to the bridge every year to get a peek!
The most attractive thing about the Sundial Bridge is its unique design. It is made with a glass walkway and lights up when it gets dark. You can take a walk across the bridge as you enjoy the design.
The bridge also runs across the Turtle Bay Exploration Park (all the more reason to visit!), and it’s one of the best places in town for views of the Sacramento River.
12. Go wild at Oasis Fun Center
Are you looking for fun things to do in Redding with kids? Oasis Fun Center is your answer! The place is ideal for people of all ages, and you’ll always find something fun to do.
There are plenty of indoor and outdoor activities, meaning you can have fun no matter the weather. Children can enjoy rides and mini golfing, while adults participate in adult games, such as ax throwing and go-karts.
After a fun-filled day, you can take some time to enjoy a delicious meal with the family. There are a variety of dining options available!
13. Visit the Matson Vineyards for a Tipple
Now, who doesn’t love a glass of nice wine?
Wine lovers will enjoy a visit to the Matson Vineyards. It is among the best places to visit in Redding for adults!
For starters, the vineyard is on the city’s outskirts, making it a great place to visit for a day trip. Secondly, it is known for producing one of North America’s best wines.
When you visit the winery, you will get an opportunity to sample different wines produced here. You can visit for a wine-tasting event or book private events for more fun!
It is also beautiful scenery for picnics, and you can enjoy your wine in the middle of this stunning vineyard.
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14. Tour Downtown Redding
On your last day in the city, you can take a trip to Downtown Redding for some shopping or taste some of the area’s best food. The downtown district is a cultural and art center – plus, it’s the best place to grab a drink. If you want to enjoy everything downtown has to offer, ensure that you wear a good pair of sneakers and walk around!
Walking around is the best way to experience the city as you shop for artifacts and other things. You will also get a chance to enjoy some sweet food from the restaurants here.
Looking for a place to refuel or grab some brews with your buddies? Grab a place at 1724 Downtown Bar & Grill. They have a simply sensational menu and a ton of beers on tap.
Apart from shopping and eating, you can also take some time to visit the cultural centers and museums that are located in the city, including;
- Redding Sculpture Garden
- Turtle Bay Exploration Park
- Cascade Theatre
- Shasta Historical Society
Best Places to Stay In Redding, CA
Identifying some of the best things to do in Redding is nothing if you can’t rest in between hitting up every attraction on this list.
Here are our best picks of places to stay in Redding, California:
1. Americana Modern Hotel
If you are looking for a location to stay near the airport, the Americana Modern Hotel is your best choice. It is a fun, three-star hotel, but it has all the comforts that you need, including a seating area.
The rooms have basic furnishing that you would expect in a standard hotel, such as a desk and television. It is also a family-friendly hotel, meaning you can bring your kids and pets too. The outdoor part of the hotel is beautiful, with a fireplace and also a picnic area for a good time.
2. Comfort Suites Redding – Shasta Lake
When visiting Shasta Lake, you can stay in Comfort Suites, Redding. It is a few miles from Sundial Bridge, making it strategic to visit the stunning redding attraction and the different parts of Redding it connects. The rooms are comfortable with air conditioning, private bathrooms, and a sofa.
This is a favorite hotel for couples, although it is also a family-friendly hotel. You can enjoy a swimming pool during the hot summer months, while there is a hot tub in every room for cold days. When outside the hotel, you can sit on the fireplace, outside furniture, or enjoy the sun deck.
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3. Hampton Inn and Suites Redding
The Hampton Inn and Suites Redding are located at the center of all activities in Redding. When staying in the hotel, you can easily visit downtown and the Waterpark. The hotel offers a grab-and-go breakfast so you can take something before you start your trip.
This hotel has tastefully furnished rooms with everything you need, such as a television, a work desk, and a microwave. After a long day touring the city, you can go to the gym or relax in the outdoor pool. You can come with your pets, but there is a charge for that.
4. Oxford Suites Redding
The hotel has all the basic furnishings you need for your comforts, such as a private bathroom, linen, and towels. If you like staying outdoors, you can take advantage of the outdoor furniture available.
5. Hope Inn Redding
You do not have to stay in a hotel while in Redding. The Hope Inn Redding guest house is a warm place to stay. In the guest house, you get a warm reception with a barbecue and a sun terrace.
Unlike a normal hotel, the suite is a beautiful and quiet place. One thing that makes the place stand out from the rest is the tastefully furnished rooms. The rooms have cozy pillows, warm duvets, and everything you need to stay comfortable.
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Final Thoughts – Is Redding, CA Worth Visiting?
Absolutely yes! There are great things to see and do in Redding, especially for outdoor lovers.
Also, it is a reasonably affordable city compared to other cities in the United States. For instance, if you are traveling on a budget, it is one of the most affordable cities to visit in California. There are also many free things to do in Redding.
For outdoor lovers, there are also numerous fun activities for you. However, it’s advisable to carry your sunscreen because the weather can get scorching in some areas. The city is ideal for sightseeing, nature walks, and also learning about the area’s history.
What are the best tourist attractions in Redding, CA?
Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Cascade Theater, WaterWork Park, and Swasey Recreation Area – the list goes on and on. You also have a chance to go on nature walks, hike, or bike ride on the beautiful trails.
What are some fun things to do in Redding, CA
There is a wide array of fun things to keep your days in Redding, CA, all lit. From visiting museums, hiking, enjoying a film at the Cascade Theater, or simply enjoying nature, your do-to-list is always full.
What is the best thing to do with kids in Redding, CA?
Besides visiting WaterWork Park, kids can also spend quality time at the Fantasy Fountain playgrounds. They can enjoy all sorts of games, including climbing the mock rocks.
What are some things to do in Redding, CA, when it’s raining?
You can watch a film at the theater, visit the Old City Hall Arts Center, or enjoy a hot meal at Black Bear Diner. The place is never short of fun things to do.