17 Art and Culture Must See and Do in Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country

Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country’s new “17 Art-and-Culture Must-See-and-Do” list celebrates the valley’s multi-faceted culture and rich history with art and music in many forms. Creative destinations include Old Town Temecula, Temecula Valley Wine Country, and Pechanga Resort & Casino; all are great inspiration to immerse, experience, and stay.

© Temecula Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau

© Temecula Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau

TEMECULA VALLEY Southern California Wine Country, November 6, 2013 – “Art and music in many forms celebrate Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country, its multi-faceted culture, and rich history. The new “17 Art-and-Culture Must-See-and-Do,” is great inspiration for a creative and imaginative stay,” enthuses Kimberly Adams, Temecula Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau president and CEO. “Art and culture visits are especially meaningful when stays include midweek. Less-busy weekdays make it easier to linger and enjoy; and Sunday-through-Thursday (better-than-weekend) hotel-resort nightly room rates can be very appealing.” Located 1-hour from San Diego, Orange County, and Palm Desert; and 1½ hours from Los Angeles; the casual, boutique destination includes Downtown Old Town Temecula, Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country, and Pechanga Resort & Casino.


1-Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival Posters

In Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country (TVSCWC), the Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival (TVBWF) kicks off the Summerfest season with colorful evening hot air balloon glows, morning hot air balloon lift-offs and flights, and tastings of Temecula Valley award-winning premium varietals and proprietary blends, music, concerts and live entertainment. An annual poster contest is also part of the tradition; the winning artwork becomes the year’s souvenir poster. Visitors can view posters from 1986 through the present at the TVBWF office in Uptown Temecula (weekdays, year-round, call ahead). The TVBWF office also sells festival posters (1998 to current) including posters printed on archival paper and signed by the artist. In its 30th year, the 2013 Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival will be held May 31, June 1-2.


2-Summer Concerts at Temecula Valley Wineries

In TVSCWC, the Summerfest season spans June, July, August, and Labor Day weekend. Throughout the Summerfest season, unique and welcoming, winery venues host great musical artists, concerts, and live entertainment. Monte de Oro, South Coast, and Wilson Creek host popular, summer concert series each year. Thornton Winery is legendary for its Champagne Jazz concert series; the 2013 schedule includes Hiroshima, George Benson, Jesse Cook, Marc Antoine, and Keiko Matsui. Weekly signature wine-and-live-music afternoons and nights are also features throughout Summerfest. Winery venues include Bel Vino, Callaway, Cougar, Europa Village, Falkner, Leoness, Lorimar, Miramonte, Mount Palomar, Oak Mountain, and Wilson Creek.


3-Old Town Temecula Street Painting & Plein Air Festivals

Art enthusiasts (novice to aficionados) enjoy witnessing grand performance art in progress at the annual Old Town Temecula Street Painting Festival (June 21-22-23). More than 100 fine artists create vividly colored, large-scale, high-contrast murals on the asphalt of Main and Mercedes Streets at Town Square. Spectators, beginners, families, and children can experience the creative process first-hand by painting on the asphalt with pastels on 500+ smaller squares; the creative experience is free.


Other on-site artists paint on small canvasses, outdoors throughout Old Town in the Plein Air Festival. The weekend in Old Town also includes the Temecula Art Festival with dozens of local fine artists displaying their works; and a local-student art exhibit featuring the works of exceptionally talented, aspiring young Temecula artists. Music inspires creativity and a festive atmosphere for the entire celebration of the arts.


4-Temecula Summer Art Day Camps

Visitors are welcome to pre-register their children and teens for a variety of fun and popular, Temecula Summer Art Day Camps. Held on four consecutive weekdays, all visual-art day camps are coordinated through the City of Temecula Community Services Department. Also offered is a “Yes, You Can Draw & Paint Camp” for kids and adults.


5-Hot Summer Nights in Old Town Temecula

Celebrated as Hot Summer Nights, live bands perform on patios and special stages throughout Old Town Temecula on Summerfest Fridays (July 12-19-26, and August 2-9-16-23-30). Genres – including blues, tribute bands, reggae, Cajun/zydeco, ska, beach, big band, alternative rock, and country – provide a fun and lively soundtrack throughout the 12-block, historic, Old Town dining-shopping-entertainment district. Music fans can enjoy exploring Old Town shops and boutiques; dining in Old Town restaurants and bistros; and tasting quality Temecula Valley wines in Old Town wine tasting rooms.


6-Todd White Fine Art at Pechanga Resort & Casino

The Pechanga Collection By Todd White includes 11 original, vibrant oil-on-canvas paintings by the internationally recognized creator of the official 49th Annual GRAMMY Awards artwork. Described as “Rat Pack meets Picasso,” each painting tells a story and depicts a lively, colorful, gaming scene; everyone having a good time together. Among the art pieces at Pechanga Resort & Casino are: “Full House” (in the hotel lobby); “No More Bets” (in the casino as guests enter from the hotel lobby); and a collection of three originals (“Snap Shot,” “Push It,” and “Peep It”) hung together in the lighted alcoves across from Kelsey’s restaurant.


7-Lorimar Galleries: Temecula Valley Wine Country & Old Town Temecula

The tagline of Lorimar Vineyards & Winery is “A Fusion of Wine, Art, and Music.” And so it is that the Art Gallery at Lorimar Winery features the works of talented local creatives including artist Jami Tobey; fine art photographer Robert Kaler; photographer Heather Van Gaale; and metal artist Eric Burnett. The Gallery at Lorimar in Old Town Temecula features monthly art exhibits like local photographer Bodhi Smith. Also at Lorimar in Temecula Valley Wine Country is live music (Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays); fun and intriguing tours daily (some include music and art); and wine tasting daily. Lorimar in Old Town Temecula also offers wine tasting daily.


8- Art with Grapeline Wine Tours

Wine tours out among the vineyards in Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country and customizing group excursions are among Grapeline’s specialties. For groups by advance arrangement, Grapeline welcomes the opportunity to incorporate Temecula Valley fine art experiences with a day that includes winery touring, wine tasting, and dining with vineyard views.


9-Dorland Mountain Arts Colony

Dorland Mountain Arts Colony is an internationally recognized haven providing secluded working retreats for professional, emerging, and aspiring visual artists, writers, composers, and musicians. Set on 340 acres along a ridge overlooking the Temecula Valley, Dorland occupies 10 acres with the remaining land existing in its rustic, natural beauty. For occasional Open Studio events, Dorland invites the public behind the gates to walk the grounds, and enjoy music, food and mingling with creative people.


10-Luiseño Basket-Artistry inspired Fountain in Old Town Temecula

Located in Temecula Town Square Park at the base of the Mission-revival style Temecula Civic Center, the fountain inspired by Luiseño basket-artistryis a landmark in Old Town Temecula highly popular for photo opportunities. The 20-foot diameter bowl is covered in mosaic tile to resemble the exceedingly tight weave and renowned, beautiful textural design of a Luiseño grass-woven basket. Symbolizing the Temecula and Murrieta rivers combining, two granite walls flank the fountain with the water flowing into the bowl; the water feature is 60 feet end-to-end. The fountain was designed by local artist, Christopher Pardell who also designed the “Letters From Home” bronze sculpture at Temecula Duck Pond Park.


11-Historical Old West Walking Tour of Old Town Temecula

The first travelers to Temecula along the Southern Emigrant Trail into California were trappers, hunters, and explorers, followed by gold prospectors. In 1858, Temecula became one of the stops along the Butterfield Stage Route. Then in 1882, the first railroad line was completed and a new town site was established; that site is the location of Old Town Temecula today. Some repurposed structures built during the railroad years still exist. A stop at the Temecula Valley Visitors Center in Old Town (Third Street and Mercedes; adjacent the Old Town free parking garage) secures visitors a ‘free’ self-guided Old Town Temecula Historic Walking Tour map/brochure.


Originally a storehouse and store, the circa 1890 Welty Building later became a hotel with a bar, pool tables, slot machines, and a boxing ring where American heavyweight boxing champions Jack Dempsey and Jack Sharkey reportedly sparred. Today, the structure is home to Temecula Olive Oil Company. Across the street, the historic 1891 Burham Store (later Temecula Mercantile) is now The MERC, a club-style performance space with a small art gallery. On the same block, the 1914 First National Bank of Temecula is now The Bank Mexican Restaurant. The historic walking-tour brochure includes additional historic properties.


12-History of Temecula Mural in Old Town Temecula

Located in Old Town Temecula on Sixth Street between Old Town Front Street and Mercedes, the “History of Temecula” mural by local artist Robin Golden spans nearly the full length of the block. The hand-painted artwork chronicles Temecula Valley history including Temecula’s Butterfield stagecoach days; the era of the California Southern and Santa Fe Railroads; Temecula’s Old West Glory days of cattle drives from the back country; and today’s picturesque rolling hills of vineyards with colorful hot air balloons in flight. While the mural is available for viewing 24-7, on Saturday mornings it is the backdrop for the popular California-certified, Old Town Temecula Farmers Market where local chefs and slow food enthusiasts shop for fresh, local seasonal fruits and vegetables (including avocados and citrus year-round), artisan foods, and fresh-baked goods.


13-Old Town Temecula Gateway Arches

At the Northern and Southern boundaries of the historic Old Town Temecula dining-shopping-entertainment district, granite columns support ironwork arches with designs depicting the history of Temecula. Designed and created by local ironwork artist Bob Morris, the arches stand as hallmarks to the establishment of the first U.S. Post Office in Temecula in 1859. The history depicted via intricate cutouts in the iron reflects Temecula Valley’s cattle ranching days (1800s until the 1960s) when Temecula’s Old West lifestyle flourished.


A short walk from the Old Town Northern Gateway Arch is the “They Passed This Way” monument. The locally quarried, 150-ton granite memorial is a tribute to brave explorers and pioneers who traveled through Temecula in the years as the American West was settled. Etched in the stone are dozens of names – like legendary scout Kit Carson and mountain-man Jedediah Smith.


Nearby, the Temecula Valley Museum honors key stories through exhibits spanning the Luiseño Native Americans 10,000 years in the valley to modern day. On occasional Saturdays and by advance reservation for groups of 10 people or more, the museum provides docent-guided, Old West walking tours. While walking Old Town, participants learn historical facts about Old Town’s oldest landmarks and most colorful characters.


14-The Vault at The Bank Mexican Restaurant

The historic 1914 First National Bank of Temecula is now The Bank Mexican Restaurant popular for its authentic Mexican food and friendly, casual atmosphere. By advance reservation, guests may dine in the historic, walk-in Vault (up to 6 guests for lunch or dinner). The Vault features a life-size, 3-dimensional, hand-painted mural by local artist Jill Roberts. The artwork is 1914-inspired and includes items such as safe deposit boxes, ledgers, and an alarm. The Bank’s history includes the first bank robbery in the region in 1930. The local Temecula Gunfighters reenact the great robbery each year in May for the Old Town Temecula Western Days celebration (May 17-18, 2014).


15-Old Town Temecula Community Theater

Central to the historic, 12-block, entertainment-dining-shopping district is the 361-seat, state-of-the-art Old Town Temecula Community Theater. The performance space offers excellent sightlines and exquisite sound from every seat. The Theater’s quality arts and entertainment include local theatrical productions (GreaseAnything Goes). Concerts feature a variety of genres (Hotel California Salute to the Eagles, Stony B Blues Band, Jimmy Dorsey Tribute Big Band). Dance productions span contemporary to classic, ballet companies. The Old Town Theater also presents excellent holiday performances like Tchaikovsky’s beautiful, beloved ballet The Nutcracker; and A Christmas Carol: The Musical telling the uplifting tale of Scrooge’s transformation and goodwill.


16-The MERC and Gallery at The MERC

Adjacent to the Old Town Temecula Community Theater, the historic 1891 Mercantile Building is now The MERC. The front room is Gallery at The MERC, hosting the works of talented, local artists. At the back is The MERC’s club-style performance space; its tall 19th century brick walls make for excellent acoustics. Sunday afternoons showcase classical chamber performances; Thursday evenings notable jazz artists take to the stage; first and third Saturdays of each month feature Country Music ala Temecula Opry style; and the last Sunday evening of each month, Broadway-style Cabaret acts entertain the intimate club’s 50 guests.


17-Iron Art Sculptures East of Vail Lake

Highway 79 south is part of the scenic Palms to Vines highway that links Palm Desert with Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country. East of Vail Lake are massive iron art sculptures. The attention-grabbing accents along the byway were torched and hammered by sculptor-designer Ricardo Breceda. Among the artworks is a large stagecoach and three giant horses galloping and jumping; the artistic detail extends to the horses’ flowing manes and tails created from thin strands of twisted metal. Also along the Palms to Vines route is Temecula Olive Oil Company’s Olive View Ranch. By advance reservation, visitors may tour the olive ranch and learn of the growing, harvesting, and pressing of olives to produce fresh, full-flavored, 100% extra-virgin Temecula Olive Oil.


*Information is believed accurate but may be subject to change.



With natural gifts of climate and geography bolstered by Pu’eska Mountain, the Rainbow Gap, and the Santa Margarita Gap, Temecula Valley is most widely recognized for its quality wines and wineries as Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country. The popular boutique destination recently received TripAdvisors’ Travelers Choice “Best U.S. Wine Destination Top 10” award and includes a trio of main attractions: Downtown Old Town Temecula, Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country, and Pechanga Resort & Casino.


The Temecula Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau, the region’s official tourism marketing organization and resource for visitors is online at VisitTemecula.org; “Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country” on Facebook; and @Visit_Temecula on Twitter. The Temecula Valley Visitors Center in Downtown Old Town Temecula (Third Street and Mercedes, adjacent the free Old Town Temecula Parking Garage) is open 7 days. For visitor information and assistance, call 888/363-2852 or 951/491-6085.

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