BEST BIKE PATH
We’re not sure, but we bet Riverside’s famed Cycledelics have hit up this bike trail. And since the majority of our readers think it’s so damn great, we will assume we’re right. Pull out your fixed-gear Schwinn, or your Salsa Pistola if you’re really serious about hitting the trail. Quit asking so many questions—just hit the ragged red rose-lined trail that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1892 by an Irish immigrant, the city and enthusiastic volunteers for the Victoria Avenue Forever campaign planted new trees throughout the 1990s, and public works and the volunteers maintain the paths, landscape improvements and an overhaul of the irrigation system to protect the bike path’s environment, all part of the Riverside Renaissance. (AOT)
BEST CHEAP THRILL
Driving fast up Highway 18
Now this, we just cannot condone. You, dear readers, are maniacs. Plus, the California Highway Patrol got a grant in July from the Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that added an additional 2,300 CHP officer hours, as well as additional hours in the Twin Peaks and Big Bear sheriff’s stations to patrol highways 18, 38, 138 and 330. Those highways basically cover the entire mountain range from Crestline to Big Bear to Lucerne Valley, which equals a big buzz kill for you speed demons. They have speed guns and they love to use them. Arrive alive, people. (AOT)
BEST NON-CHEAP THRILL
Weekend in Palm Springs
Once the playground for Hollywood elite like Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Bob Hope and more, Palm Springs still offers a luxurious getaway without hopping on a plane. The area has been known more recently for its über-music festivals and Sonny Bono’s legacy film festival, but any weekend will do. Head out early on a Friday and check in to someplace swank like Century Palm Springs, a mid-century modern wonderland near downtown with Egyptian cotton sheets and mountain views. Get your gussy on and head out for the night to Fantasy Springs Resort Casino’s newest hotspot Lit, which kicked off its grand opening a few weeks ago with a performance by Playboy Playmates. On Saturday, take advantage of the Century’s continental breakfast and then head to the world-class collection and sculpture garden at the Palm Springs Art Museum or if you need a break from the heat and you’re feeling playful, visit Knott’s Soak City and hook up a cabana and personal waiter for the day. If you’re looking to scale new heights take the tram or hit the greens. We hear there’s a golf course or 15. Then it’s time to get fancy. The Palm Springs Chop House is a staple for fine dining in Palm Springs. Chop House’s all-natural, premium Angus beef helped earn the restaurant the title Best Steaks of the Valley in 2008 by the Desert Sun readers, so it’s a locals’ fave, as well. The restaurant offers an impressive wine list of 3,500 varieties with a wait staff schooled for the non-oenophiles. Kick off Sunday morning by hitting the patio at Spencer’s by the Mountain at the Palm Springs Tennis Club. Brunch has the usual Benedicts and blueberries, or you can order something heavier off the menu like the Maine lobster omelet. Walk it off downtown as you take in Palm Springs’ version of Hollywood Boulevard on the Walk of Stars. You’ll trample all over names as varied as Kathy Griffin and President Gerald Ford. If you’re really feeling sight-seey, take one of many celebrity home tours to get peeks at where Elizabeth Turner rendezvoused and Ol’ Blue Eyes set his smoking jacket. (AOT)
BEST DOG PARK
Carlson Dog Park
Having just been reopened in the last few years as part of the Riverside’s Renaissance program, Riverside’s Carlson Dog Park has separate sections devoted to small and large canines alike, provided your pooch plays well with others. The park is situated at the foot of Mt. Rubidoux, so you can either take your four-legged friend to Carlson Dog Park to mingle, or alternately, you can use it as a starting point for a hike up the mountain.
BEST FITNESS CLUB/GYM
The Gracie name is synonymous with mixed martial arts, as the family founded the style of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu (or as it is more commonly known, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu), so it makes sense that the Corona chapter of founder Carlos Gracie, Jr.’s Gracie Barra Academy is one of the most sought after fitness clubs/gyms in the land. Headed up by Certified Gracie Barra instructor and BJJ brown belt Tom Reusing, the Academy teaches the martial art not only to men, women and kids 5 and up, they also provide training for the Corona Police Department’s Defensive Tactics Team, who in turn teaches hand-to-hand fighting skills to Corona police officers. (TD)
Gracie Barra Corona, 280 Teller St. Unit 100, Corona, (951) 505-1441; www.graciebarracorona.com.
BEST GOLF COURSE
Empire Lakes Golf Course
It says a lot about a golf course when it’s designed by a legend like Arnold Palmer (yes, he’s known for other things than that nifty iced tea/lemonade concoction). This 18-hole Rancho Cucamonga course is home to the Nationwide Tour, an Official PGA Tour Event, not to mention its School of Golf and its lighted driving range.
Empire Lakes (TD)
Empire Lakes Golf Course, 11015 Sixth St., Rancho Cucamonga, (909) 481-6663; www.empirelakes.com.
While IE lifers will undoubtedly know Mt. Rubidoux due to its propensity for catching fire during Independence Day fireworks celebrations, it is also site of the best hike around, a three-mile loop with a 500-foot elevation gain. While the 1,300-plus foot granite hill was originally a drive as opposed to a hike, it has been closed to vehicles for 18 years, but that hasn’t stopped it from being enjoyed by hikers from all walks (har, har) of life. Situated between Downtown Riverside and Rubidoux, adjacent to the Santa Ana River, Mt. Rubidoux is home to all sorts of flora, including brittle brush, mustard and century plant (as well as lupines and California poppies in the springtime). So take a hike and pay a visit, and while you’re there, make sure to take in the Peace Tower and the Friendship Bridge, built in 1925 to honor Frank Miller (no, not the man behind Sin City and 300; rather, the man that purchased the mountain in 1906). At the time, Miller also owned another downtown treasure of Riverside: the majestic Mission Inn. (TD)
Even without the famed Adelanto Grand Prix, which announced in February that it would no longer be in the city, Adelanto is still an off-road haven. After 30 years, the Adelanto City Council decided to pull the $30,000 to $50,000 subsidy that paid for public safety and marketing. Without that, the Desert Vipers Motorcycle Club decided to pull the plug. But that’s not to say off-roading isn’t alive and well in Adelanto, even if not always on the up-and-up. Regulars like to set up camp out in the middle of nowhere and ride until the local police get wise to them. Good times. (AOT)
Whether you’re looking for new airsoft gear, paintball equipment or are just searching for some repair work or a CO2 fill up, Quick Stop is just what it promises: fast. They’ve got you covered. They also do trades, and we hear they are just all around pleasant paintball people. (AOT)
Quick Stop Paintball, 455 W. 4th St., San Bernardino, (909) 885-5195; www.myspace.com/boogiegoodwin.
Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted at the tail end of the 19th century, Fairmount Park is one of the more frequently visited of Riverside’s 51 parks. The park includes three lakes (Lake Evans, Brown Lake and Fairmount Lake) on which guests can cruise on rented pedal boats, as well as Stewarts Boathouse, a restored historic boathouse that overlooks Lake Evans and can be rented out for special events. (TD)
BEST PLACE TO GET WET
Pharaoh’s Adventure Park
If you’re looking for good old Pharaoh’s Lost Kingdom, unfortunately, you might be a bit disappointed to find nothing operating under that name off the 10 freeway in Redlands. However, the newly renamed Pharaoh’s Adventure Park will serve as a more than adequate replacement, having just reopened back in June after a nearly four-year hiatus. Not only does Pharaoh’s boast some rockin‘ ancient Egyptian decor, they can also lay claim to a world record that would have King Tut himself rolling in his sarcophagus: The Anileator, standing at 90 feet tall, is the world’s tallest enclosed waterslide, stretching 625 feet long, sending hapless riders on their way at speeds of up to 50 MPH. The Anileator isn’t the only record holder at Pharaoh’s, though: The park also features The Wrath of Ra, the longest three-man slide in California (how’s that for a specific record?) at 745 feet long, as well as The Tower of Kings, the world’s tallest waterslide structure, where you’ll find eight different slides for families and thrill seekers alike. While the Splash Kingdom water park portion of the park is seasonal, Pharaoh’s itself is open year-round, offering three go-kart tracks, four nine-hole mini-golf courses, an arcade and a brand-new pizza buffet if you’d rather stay bone-dry. (TD)
Pharaoh’s Adventure Park, 1101 California St., Redlands, (909) 335-7275; www.pharaohsadventurepark.com.
BEST PLACE TO JOG
Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park
Budgetary constraints may have forced Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park to cancel their moonlight fishing programs for the 2010 season, but there’s still plenty to do at this San Dimas hot spot, including jogging on some of their awesome trails (or excellent trails, as San Dimas native son/Wyld Stallyns rocker “Ted” Theodore Logan might say!). (TD)
Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park, 120 Via Verde, San Dimas, (909) 599-8411; www.bonellipark.org.
BEST PLACE TO SKATEBOARD
Opened to the public in 2001, the skate park at Riverside’s Hunt Park is a concrete playground for IE skateboarders. While some may bemoan the amount of BMXers getting their wheelie on at Hunt Park, the bottom line is there’s approximately 8,500 square feet of terrain for park-goers to enjoy, whether it’s on four wheels or two. The skate park includes two three-foot horseshoe bowls, rails, funboxes, pyramids and other obstacles for would-be Rob Dyrdeks. Do work, son! (TD)
BEST PUBLIC TENNIS COURT
Andulka Park Tennis Center
Over the last few years, Riverside natives may have noticed all the construction and goings-on down on Chicago Avenue. Well, the result of all the shenanigans is Andulka Park, where since April of 2009, the Andulka Park Tennis Center has housed nine championship hard courts, including a “state-of-the-art Har-Tru clay court” as well as a stadium court that seats over 500 spectators. (TD)
Andulka Park Tennis Center, 5051 Chicago Ave., Riverside, (951) 683-0667; www.andulkatennis.com.
Loma Linda University Drayson Center
Named for Grace and Ronald Drayson (who donated the Alto Camino mobile home park to Loma Linda University), the Drayson Center has been operational for nearly 16 years now. Among its various services, the $16.2 million Drayson Center offers a six-court tennis facility as five racquetball courts for students and non-students alike to break a quick sweat. (TD)
Loma Linda University Drayson Center, 25040 Stewart St., Loma Linda, (909) 558-4975; www.llu.edu/central/drayson.
BEST BASEBALL TEAM
Inland Empire 66ers
The Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino may have ended their 2010 season on the losing end of things with an 11-4 defeat at the hands of the Modesto Nuts, but fans are still turning out in droves to see the former L.A. Dodgers farm team. In August, Dodgers star outfielder Manny Ramirez was sent down to the IE on a rehabilitation assignment with the 66ers, his fourth in the last two years. (TD)
BEST YOGA STUDIO
The Yoga Den
Celebrating its ten-year anniversary this year, the Yoga Den’s website touts it as the “first yoga studio in the Corona/Norco area to offer yoga classes for students of all levels.” Not only does the studio offer these classes, but workshops and retreats are also available, as well as top-of-the-line yoga merchandise from brands like Zhoba and Lululemon. (TD)
The Yoga Den Health Spa, 1035 Montecito Dr., Corona, (951) 279-9642; www.yogadens.com.
BEST SPORTS TEAM
Calling the Citizens Business Bank Arena home, the Ontario Reign’s rabid IE hockey fans helped the two-year-old team set the league attendance record for the 2009-2010 season, averaging 6,451 fans per game (a 10 percent increase over the 2008-2009 season, their first). Their fan involvement doesn’t stop there, though; Fontana fan Mike Brewster chose the team’s name in an early 2008 “Name the Team” contest, with the logo (a bitchin‘ fire-breathing dragon wielding a hockey stick like it was a sword) being unveiled on March 2008. This isn’t the first time the Reign have found their way onto the Best of the IE list; last year, the team had a whole category: Best Reign Hockey Player, an honor (or honour, as the case may be) that went to Nova Scotian defenseman David Walker. If Mr. Walker were looking for a repeat performance in our pages, he would likely face some stiff competition in the form of fellow veteran defenseman Chad Starling. A native of Delisle, Saskatchewan, Starling stands at a positively imposing 6-foot-6-inches tall and weighs in at 217 pounds (that’s about 98.4 kilos for any readers that happen to be using the metric system). (TD)