I’m already counting down to my next 3-day weekend – it’s only 10 days away! Since we’ve had a lot of things on our plate lately, like getting ready to move in late October/early November, we really won’t be able to take full advantage of all 3-days. But I am planning to take a one-day excursion to a nearby city – historic downtown Riverside.

Inexpensive get-away tip: Travel to a nearby town you haven’t explored before that may even be considered under-rated.

I’ve known about Riverside forever, but never gave it much thought until I started looking into where craftsman-style homes were built in Southern California. Riverside was a hot spot for this kind of architecture. Yet, what really caught my eye about this area is the architecture of a hotel called the Mission Inn. The picture at the top of this post caught my eye. I couldn’t believe such European architecture existed in the interior of Southern California!

Riverside Court House

Riverside Court House

Not only did I find this amazing hotel, I also downloaded a walking tour of the historic downtown area. The walking tour consists of a half-mile diameter (approximately), but includes many Spanish and Renaissance revival buildings. I’ll get to indulge myself with architecture and keep the costs down.

Speaking of inexpensive costs, since this city is only a couple of hours away (less without traffic, but why kid myself!? There’s always traffic in Los Angeles!), we’ll be able to drive and then walk the small downtown area. My rough itinerary looks something like this:

  • Cost of gas – round-trip is approximately 160 miles. For my car, that’s about 2/3 tank of gas or $21
  • Walking tour – free with the downloaded walking map
  • Meals – lunch at the Mission Inn Restaurant for two, approximately $45 with drinks, tax and tip
  • Drinks – since we’ll probably want a snack and/or drink before or after lunch $15

TOTAL COSTS: $81

If we had more time, I’d consider staying at the Mission Inn for a night or two, but that would definitely increase my costs by a few hundred dollars. For now, we’ll have to keep it simple and cheap.

Have you explored an unknown-to-you local city and found it a gem of a find?