I’d like to preface this by saying this is NOT a lifestyle or travel or food blog. BUT I have had a lot of friends move to my hometown in recent years, and I love to be able to give a comprehensive list of recommendations. SO, as follows is my humble opinion of cool things to do in Redlands, CA.
I think most people who grew up in Redlands and moved away have a very special bond with this small town. Do I want to live in Redlands? No. Would I give Redlands a glowing review? Absolutely.
Whatever the circumstance is that puts you in Redlands, I think this small but mighty town has a lot to offer. It is NOT a hub for 20 somethings, but thats not to say its a bad place to do 20 something type of activities (unless you want to go clubbing)
So for anyone visiting or new in town, here I have some of my greatest hits.
- Olive Market. I was lucky enough to grow up in the neighborhood of the Olive Market, trees lined with massive palms and beautiful craftsmens. The Olive Market is not only adorable and in a very unique location, but also home to fantastic breakfast/ lunch offerings. Stop in to grab a coffee and sandwich midday. On weekends brunch is offered but the wait may be a little long!
- Cucas. A staple. Locals can talk forever about what they believe to be the best Mexican food in town is. Cucas is the default answer and there is a reason why. Simple, delicious. If you have a serious appetite ask for a taquito burrito and hold the sour cream.
- The State. I only eat here if my parents are paying. The food is worth the price and the location is ideal for a night walking up and down state street and people watching. Fantastic $10 cocktails!
- Eureka! The OG. I seem to find more locations in every town I move to, but I promise you this is the first location. A sure bet for a great burger and good happy hour deals. Not the best location. This is where my sweet potato fry addiction started.
- ESRI Cafeteria. You probably haven’t been here if you don’t work at ESRI, but this place is open to the public and awesome. Its a little intimidating, but the views are serene and nothing costs more than $8. Do not wear anything fancier than jeans or you will stand out like a sore thumb.
- Ranch Market. Have u ever had fresh tortillas? If not you are really in desperate need of a trip to the Ranch Market. I think you can pick up dinner for a family of four for like $15 or something outrageous like that. The deli is in the back right of the store
- Crepes of Wrath. Trendy food that’s worth it! I love this place and I wish I wouldn’t always forget about it. Sweet and savory crepes made to order at a walk-up window. There’s no seating area at the place but just across the street, there is a cute little alley with tables and lights.
- Mr. Taco. Another Mexican food contender which sits along the always busy Alabama street. The bonus here is that there is an actual seating area. The food is always good, fast, and mariachi music or 90’s jams are always BLASTING. The vibe here is so fun anytime. Catch the place for a football game and cheap (and huge) micheladas.
- Augies. Best coffee in town and perhaps in the southern California region. A Redlands STAPLE. I don’t have time to get into the drama that has occurred with Augies in recent years, but to sum it up, everyone in Redlands loves and stands by this place. Their current location on state street is not as cute as the OG, but it is well worth sitting down and drinking your coffee there.
- Olive Market. (also called OAM by locals) Not the best coffee in Redlands, but an ADORABLE atmosphere (see note in food) This is a fantastic place to study on weekdays, but forget about finding a quiet spot on the weekends.
- Bricks and Birch. The building itself is enough of a reason to visit this place, however, the coffee, pizza, and pastries here are also fantastic. This coffee shop has gone under a couple of overhauls in the past 20 years and this is my favorite thus far. The kale caesar is fantastic and I hear awesome things about the pizza. You can see the wood-burning pizza oven right next to the counter (very cool). This is a fantastic place to study, with tons of tables and nooks. Also my go-to for catching up with girlfriends over coffee and a scone.
- Stells. I’ll be honest, I have almost no experience with stells because I have always lived so close to Augies, Bricks and Birch, and OAM, but I hear good things. It is not in the cutest part of town (kind of a strip mall/grocery store area) but it is a popular stop for bike groups on a Saturday ride.
- Hangar 24. The first craft brewery to bless Redlands, Hangar 24 is another local staple. The recent addition of well priced and delicious food is an added bonus on top of the fantastic and well-priced beer. No other breweries around, bring the whole squad here and plan on staying a while.
- The Vault. The only god bar in Redlands in my humble opinion. I love this place. The drinks are cheap and the crowd is hip. Live music almost every Saturday. Tons of cool rooms and a back bar. My only stop on a night out.
- Redlands Bowl. Summer concerts here are a must. It may be 100 and crowded, but the atmosphere is fantastic. Grab a picnic (acquire supplies at OAM) and a blanket and head on down. Shows are always free and more often than not seating is competitive. Like I said before, still worth it.
- AK Smiley Public Library. Literally right next to the bowl! I grew up in this place. A jewel in the crown of Redlands, this small library has some fantastic gardens and seating areas. Also, it has great air conditioning in the summer. Bring your iced coffee and relax in the reading room.
- Prospect Park. I didnt start going to this park till I was in high school and I am really upset about it. Framed with orange groves and Kimberly Crest, this park has tons of viewpoints to look over Redlands as well as huge beautiful trees. Great for a walk or photos. Look out for local cross country teams running here around fall.
- San Timoteo Canyon. Wanna go for a drive? Roll down all of your windows on an 80 degree summer night and curve through the orange groves. Startup on Sunset and turn down into the canyon.
- Caroline Park. Another attraction off of Sunset, Caroline park has nice little walking trails and a huge diversity of flowers and vegetation. There are about four parking spots, so dont be surprised if you cant find any.
- Downtown Redlands. A must! Downtown (also called DTR) is being fixed up more and more everytime I go back home. Lots of cute little stores and restaurants. Make sure to walk into the Alley that runs parallel south of State Street. If you get lost, ask someone where the umbrella alley is.
- University of Redlands. (U of R as the locals say) A gorgeous and tiny college campus, this is a favorite stop for my brother and I when we’re in town. Walk around, take pictures, sit on the steps and admire the mountains.
- Hulda Crooks Park. Technically not Redlands, this park is on the edge of Loma Linda. A great place to picnic and people watch, this park has an awesome playground. Grab some boba from Boba Teahouse down the street and lounge on a pleasant day.
- Highland Street. Another fantastic street for a walk! Houses large and small (mostly large) and tons of shade from old oak trees.
- Redlands Country Club. If you know someone who has access to the country club, go. I have spent a lot of time here golfing, but the clubhouse is awesome and has a pretty delicious dinner. Easily my favorite golf course.
I am CERTIAN I missed things and will try to update this post whenever possible. Hit the comments with what deserves to be on this list!!