Shop ’til You…
Aside from the long list of attractions to visit in this part of Southern California, some visitors can think of only one thing: the shopping. Ontario Mills is one of the region’s busiest tourist attractions. It’s billed as the largest one-level indoor shopping center in western North America, boasting about 200 stores with a remarkable 20 large anchor stores around it. It is marketed as an outlet mall and has some of the biggest brand names in the retail industry. And 10 more stores are set to come online in the next few months. “It is a mile in circumference and is shaped somewhat like a racetrack,” said Krouse.
Ontario Mills comprises 10 “neighborhoods” with their own distinct shopping themes; there are numerous entertainment options, like movie theaters, and plenty of restaurants nearby.
For an open-air shopping experience that is a bit different, visitors like the change of pace that is Victorian Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga. Foot traffic is the key to this mixed-use district. “This is a cool shopping area,” said Krouse. “It feels more like a quaint little downtown.” Besides the retail offerings, there are also public plazas for lounging, residential areas, offices, a movie theater and a community cultural arts center. It’s a wonderful district in which to walk, browse or shop.
Even More to Do
Other fun experiences include horseback riding in Norco horse country, a visit to the lush vineyards and wineries in the Temecula Valley, and a hot-air-balloon ride in the clear blue skies. Hikers love Prado Regional Park and the Santa Ana River Trail. Many outdoors people comment on the striking beauty of the desert in the Palm Springs and Coachella Valley areas. It may be warm and dry in the desert, but Ontario can be a launching pad for trips to the mountains for wintertime activities in resort areas like Lake Arrowhead, Snow Valley, Big Bear Lake, Lake Gregory and Silverwood Lake. Heading closer to L.A., visitors can enjoy Orange County’s famed Pacific beaches.
Many groups enjoy a tour of the fascinating Graber Olive House. This is a traditional, historic olive-processing factory. Visitors see the manufacturing plant and the old machines that are used to get the olives from the field to the canning assembly line. There is also a country-style gift shop where you can buy some of the delicious varieties of olives to take back home with you.
The area has a minor league baseball team, the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. An affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team plays 70 home games April to September in beautiful LoanMart Field, with spectacular views of the mountains over the outfield fence. There is a large area for groups to gather for a meal before or during the game.
The famed Mission Inn is worth a visit, for either an overnight stay or just a leisurely meal in a historic setting. There are also several historic Fox Theaters in the region to visit with modern shows scheduled year-round. One of the legendary highways of America, Route 66, runs through this part of California, and naturally, there is a fascinating Route 66 museum to visit.
The list goes on and on. Several other outstanding attractions include Griffith Park Observatory, where you can go stargazing; the famed RMS Queen Mary ocean liner and the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach; and the iconic Santa Monica Pier. All are within an hour’s drive of Greater Ontario. History enthusiasts will enjoy visiting the presidential libraries of Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon.
If Select Traveler Conference delegates want to come a little early or stay after the meeting wraps up, the CVB staff will be glad to help arrange itineraries, set up excursions and assist visitors in getting special group discounts.
To register for the 2017 Select Traveler Conference go to www.selecttravelerconf.com.