Explore Old Town Temecula on this self-guided walking tour that spans one mile of rich history in Temecula. This immersive experience lets you uncover the area's rich history, discovering the stories and legacies that have shaped Old Town Temecula's character. So, put on your comfortable shoes, open yourself to the tales of yesteryears, and get lost in the enchanting history of Old Town Temecula.
Sam Hicks Monument Park, located at the corner of Moreno & Mercedes St.
The park is named after Sam Hicks, a respected figure in the community who played a vital role in the area's development. At the front of the park stands an impressive 13-foot tall and 150-ton block of local granite, They Passed This Way, a monument honoring 57 individuals who passed through Temecula or helped to share the community. Visitors can often find local events, festivals, and concerts taking place in the park.
Temecula Valley Museum
Take a step back in time and experience the rich history of Temecula. Whether you are a history buff, a researcher, or a curious child, you can enjoy the museum on your own or as part of a docent-guided tour. Exhibits represent life in the Temecula Valley and the different cultures that influenced the development of the area. The Museum also offers a playful interactive discovery area for children. The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday 10 am to 4 pm. There is a suggested donation of $5 per person or $10 per family. The museum is located within Sam Hicks Monument Park.
The Chapel of Memories
St. Catherine’s Church, built in 1917, was the first building in Temecula to serve as a church. It held services until the 1980s. The building has been restored to represent its early origin. The stained glass used throughout the facility is a combination of original glass circa 1880s and new matching glass obtained from the original glass factory. The pews are replicas based on an original pew. The structure’s original location was on the corner of Front & Sixth Streets (where Soro’s Grill is today). The Chapel of Memories is also located at Sam Hick’s Monument Park.
Walk east on Moreno to Old Town Front Street.
Old Town Arches
Local artist, the late Robert Morris, designed the ironwork spanning the gateway at the north and south ends of Old Town Front Street. The artwork depicts the history of the Old West in Temecula. These arches have become an icon of Old Town Temecula.
Walk south on Old Town Front Street to the Sixth Street parking lot.
Old Town’s Farmer’s Market is the largest one in Temecula held every Saturday on Sixth Street. You can find local farm produce, artisan goods, fresh honey, cut flowers, handcrafted items, and more. Bring a basket or tote bag and don’t be shy about picking the farmers’ brains, they love to share tips and insights.
History of Temecula Mural
This mural by local artist Robin Golden illustrates Temecula’s history from 1858 through 1996, including a representation of a late resident and author of the Perry Mason franchise, Erle Stanley Gardner, and his dog.
The mural can be found on Sixth Street on the back of a building in the parking lot.
Return to Old Town Front Street, walk south, and turn right on Main Street. Look for a brick building on the right.
The Merc Concert House
A historical brick building, built in 1890, is now used as an intimate 48-seat space known as "The Merc" for live entertainment. The Mercantile is one of Temecula's original buildings and has been beautifully restored. There are traveling performances as well as local talent performing classic music, top hits, magic, and comedy. Check their schedule to see what’s on stage while you’re visiting, tickets.temeculatheater.org.
Walk behind the brick building.
Old Town Community Theater
The theater sits behind The Merc and has an open courtyard. Each season features family-friendly community and traveling productions including plays, musicals, dance, and concerts. There’s live entertainment year-round in this 345-seat proscenium theater, where every seat is the best seat in the house. Find out what performing at tickets.temeculatheater.org.
Walk back to Main Street, Pennypickle’s is next to The Merc.
Pennypickle’s Workshop, Temecula Children’s Museum
Pennypickle's Workshop is home to a wacky inventor Professor Phineas T. Pennypickle. Families interact with his gizmos and gadgets discovering science as they play. Pennypickles.org
Old Town Bridge
While functional for cars and pedestrians, this 152-foot-long bridge is also an iconic place for photos and a decorative nod to the Old West. This modern bridge was designed to symbolize a railroad trestle in honor of the Temecula train station which was once located nearby. This bridge connects residential neighborhoods to Old Town over the Murrieta Creek on Main Street.
To the left and right at the front of the bridge is the Creek Walk.
Old Town Creek Walk
Explore this 1.1-mile out-and-back trail. It is a flat, easy route, that takes an average of 21 min to walk. This trail is great for birding, hiking, walking, and running. Dogs are welcome but must be on a leash. An easy place to enter is at the Old Town Bridge.
Next to the bridge is the little “Emigrant Office.”
One of the most popular backdrops in Old Town is the Emigrant Office. This small wooden structure was built by the U.S. Border Patrol after WWII. During the Prohibition, the agents detected the transport of illegal liquor through the area. The Border Patrol used the "Emigrant Office" building into the 1970s. It is believed the sign was painted on the front of the building later when Old Town merchants were encouraged to reflect an 1890’s theme.
The historic building presents an unbroken connection with the history of Temecula. The hotel showcases museum-quality artifacts tracing that history. The original hotel opened in 1883 but was destroyed by a fire in 1891. The present building was erected that same year. Both hotels were owned and operated by the Welty family for over thirty years. There have only been three owners since 1883.
Walk back toward Old Town Front Street. Before you get to the corner on the right will be an alley. Walk to the end and you will run into the back side of the jail, follow it around.
The Historic Jail is a favorite tourist attraction for everyone. The Jail is located in the courtyard of the Emporium shops on Main Street. The building, constructed in the late 1800s from materials quarried locally, was not originally intended as a jail. It is believed to have been used for cold storage with its 18-inch-thick granite walls but doubled as a holding cell. You can still see a couple of Old West guys inside, waiting to be released.
Return to Main Street and cross Old Town Front Street.
Town Square Park
This public plaza was designed to be an outdoor gathering place for citizens and visitors to Temecula’s Old Town. The half-acre open space features a large lawn area, shade trees, benches, European-style pavers, and a dramatic, round-flowing fountain. Concerts, special events, and an outdoor market are held in this space.
Designed by local artist Christopher Pardell, the 20-ft-diameter fountain evokes the cultural history of the Pechanga people. The centerpiece showcases one of their handcrafted woven baskets. Water flows into the basket from each side, representing the Temecula Creek and Murrieta Creek. In the center of the basket sits a bronze sculpture of acorns, the main food source of the Pechanga tribe. The fountain weighs 20 tons and holds about 1,000 gallons of water and features terrazzo tiles in the center.
This building was designed to be the prime catalyst for the City’s ambitious Old Town redevelopment plan, completed in 2010. The entire project is LEED Gold certification. The Mission Revival architecture fits into the town’s rustic image. The five-acre project consists of City Hall, government offices, council chambers, a conference center, a parking structure, art gallery, and Town Square Park.
Walk up the stairs and turn right. The art piece will be on the left side of the building. Inside along the hallway is an art gallery for public viewing.
The Emigrant Trail
This beautiful mosaic mural was created by artist Carole Choucair Oueijan celebrating Temecula’s rich history as a gateway to the West and illustrates the significance of the Southern Emigrant Trail traveling through Temecula. This art piece is on display on the outside wall of the Civic Center building.
As you walk, you'll step back in time and connect with the town's past, exploring its landmarks and hidden treasures. The tour offers a window into earlier times, helping you forge a stronger bond with the history that has made the area what it is today.