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Date Nights in Downtown Riverside

I absolutely adore living in Downtown Riverside, especially as a young married couple with no kids. There are an abundance of fun date nights ranging from free to more luxurious that I’ve been dying to share. Here is a list of my favorites! This is no way exhaustive, but these are places I have personally tried and enjoyed, along with a bucket list at the end that I will be trying soon.

Food

Mission Inn Restaurants

The Mission Inn is a downtown Riverside staple. Comprised of a hotel, spa and 5 restaurants, this space is a taste of Europe. While I haven’t tried all of the restaurants, they each have a unique dining experience that is worth a try. I’ve only tried Bella Trattoria Italian Bistro and while it’s ok, the real stunners according to all my friends are Las Campanas and Duane’s Prime Steak and Seafood. I simply put this option first because the scenery is quite romantic.

Bar ni modo + Arcade Downtown

The true star of downtown Riverside for quality eats is Arcade. They host a pop-up on some Fridays called Bar ni modo. It’s a place to let the week be what it was and come enjoy life with no worries. You can expect artisanal cocktails made to perfection and fine dining dinner plates. Though the price point reflects the luxurious experience, I have found that everything there tastes worth the splurge.

The Food Lab

The last 5 years have brought a rise in cafeteria style eateries. The Food Lab is the first ever collaborative food space with over 15 vendors ranging from poke to vegan burgers, pizza and bbq. I have truly enjoyed everything I’ve eaten there, but will always go back for shawarma fries from Fufu’s mediterranean. If you want a lively date night with lots of options and a full bar, this is the place for you. It’s right next to the lovely Fox theater, perfect for dinner and a show.

Tio’s Tacos

I am a huge fan of experiential dining and Tio’s Tacos is something to see. This Mexican restaurant is not like others. It’s large outdoor seating area is filled with art displays from recycled materials and shrubbery designed in mystical shapes. It’s a feast for all of our senses. If you’re going to try it, I recommend their wet burritos and chamoy aguas frescas. My favorite was the strawberry flavor!

Wolfskill

Since Bar ni modo is not an every night occurrence, my bar recommendation is hands down Wolfskill. This moody, mid-century modern bar created upscale drinks with a sophisticated atmosphere. With elevated bar eats to compliment their signature cocktails, you are guaranteed a good night and good conversation.

Shopping

Mission Galleria Riverside

Thrifting and antiquing is surprisingly abundant throughout Riverside and our downtown is blessed with the Riverside Galleria, a three story consignment store filled with anything and everything. This is the perfect place to kill a few hours, find unique home decor, or shop for a new wardrobe since the top floor is all clothing. My favorite time of year to visit is during Christmas since it gets filled with fun antique Christmas items to add to your collection. If you enjoy the hunt of thrifting, this can definitely keep you entertained for a few hours.

Raincross District

I love vintage clothing and local goods. That’s why the Raincross District is such an incredible space. This consignment store is focused on highlighting local artists, quality vintage clothing and curated home decor. Similar to the galleria, this is a great place to stroll and hunt for the perfect new pieces to you wardrobe.

Wednesday + Saturday Farmers Markets

If you’re a morning date kinda human, the farmers markets are so much fun! Both Wednesday and Saturday from 8 am to 1 pm, these markets have local produce, flowers, honey, bread, and more. The Saturday market is a little larger and usually has live musicians busking around. This is a wonderful place to grab some specialty food items, support small business and get some fresh air!

Activities

The Game Lab

My husband and I LOVE arcades. Sitting right next to the Food Lab is the Riverside Game Lab. This is HUGE arcade with everything from the classics to virtual reality. This is perfect for the competitive couple that want to grab a drink (yes, there’s a full bar) and rack up points on their game card for prizes. You can definitely get lost in this space for a few hours.

The Fox Theater + RMA

As a total theater nerd, the Fox has a special place in my heart. It doesn’t really matter what kind of shows you’re into because the host it all at the Fox Riverside. They have broadway tours, comedy shows, classical, ballets, large concerts, and more. In tandem with the Fox is the Riverside Municipal Arts building just a few blocks down. The RMA also hosts a wide variety of shows and artists, making a great option for those that want to kick back and be entertained.

Art Museums

Downtown Riverside is rich in the arts and history. If you want a night of reflection and inspiration, try an art crawl through the many museums we have. UCR ARTS is a photography museum in connection with UCR that has a biannually rotating collection of photographic art. Riverside Art Museum and the Cheech Marin offers everything from art exhibitions, art education and a program for local artists to live in residence with other artists. If you enjoy art that celebrate chicano culture and tells the story of the southern California experience, this is a great date night for you.

Escape Room

If you have never gone on an escape room date, you are missing out. Escape rooms are one of mine and my husband’s favorite date nights. It’s basically a collection of puzzles that you solve alongside a story in an immersive room with only 60 minutes to do it. I think these are best done as a double date and with dinner or ice cream after. Though I haven’t done the Curiosity Shop at Wizard and Wires because my husband did it with friends and this isn’t a repeat activity, he said it’s a worthy stop for anyone wanting a local escape room experience!

Places to try in Downtown Riverside

There are so many places that I have yet to try, but hopefully will be trying for my own downtown Riverside dates nights soon.

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