Located in the San Jacinto Valley, Hemet is most popularly known for being the home of “The Ramona Outdoor Play” which is the state of California’s official outdoor play and is one of the longest running outdoor plays in the nation. You can view the play and many other productions in the historic landmark, the Ramona Bowl Amphitheater. Visitors who prefer spending their time outdoors will find no shortage of places to explore, from Diamond Valley Lake to the picturesque 835-acre Reed Valley Ranch.
1.Ramona Bowl Amphitheatre
© Ramona Bowl Amphitheatre
The Ramona Bowl Amphitheatre is an open-air arts center that was established in 1923 and is now a historic landmark and California treasure that is enjoyed by both visitors and locals. It is a popular attraction in Hemet as it is home to the longest continuously running play in North America, the historical Ramona Outdoor Play. Much of the community comes together for its annual production, which has been staged since the amphitheater opened, and is declared as California’s official State Outdoor Play. Much of the cast comprises local residents and volunteers, some of whom have had generations of their family take part in the play over the years.
27400 Ramona Bowl Rd, Hemet, CA 92544, Phone: 951-658-3111
2.Western Science Center
© Western Science Center
The Western Science Center is a state-of-the-art museum complex that has a fascinating array of fossils and archaeological artifacts which were unearthed at Diamond Valley Lake. Younger visitors love meeting ‘Max’, the largest mastodon in the western hemisphere, or ‘Xena’, a large teenage Columbian mammoth. It’s a wonderful place to let your imagination run wild as they have a ton of exhibits such as their path made of tempered glass or the replication of a mastodon dig site. Their hands-on activities are extremely popular, especially their “make your own fossil” station. Check out their calendar before you head over as you may be able to participate in one of their many events such as ‘Science Under the Stars’.
2345 Searl Pkwy, Hemet, CA 92543, Phone: 951-791-0033
3.Diamond Valley Lake
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One of the largest reservoirs in Southern California, the man-made Diamond Valley Lake in Hemet spans over 4,500 acres. It is a prominent attraction in the city and is often filled with residents and visitors on a warm, sunny days. There are several recreational activities you can participate in such as boating or picnicking. Diamond Valley is recognized as one of the best fishing sites in the state and is renowned for its monster-sized fishes; the lake has several freshwater fish such as bluegill, channel catfish, shad, crappie, rainbow trout, striped bass, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass.
2615 Angler Avenue, Hemet, CA 92545, Phone: 951-926-7201
© Hemet Museum
The Hemet Museum is dedicated to preserving the area’s past so that visitors and future generations of residents will be able to better understand Hemet’s history. The current collection includes an array of items from Hemet’s past, whether it be in the form of memorabilia, photographs, or artifacts, from the people and events that shaped the historic town. Visitors will be able to see displays and exhibits on archaeology, Native Americans that once resided there, early Americana, the post office, national guard and military, and paraphernalia from the local railroad. In alliance with several other museums across the United States, the Hemet Museum also has an exciting number of rotating exhibits on display throughout the year.
200 W. Florida Avenue, Hemet, CA 92543, Phone: 951-929-4409
5.Fingerprints Youth Museum
© Fingerprints Youth Museum
The Fingerprints Youth Museum is a special attraction in Hemet that focuses solely on the entertainment and education of their young visitors. Kids of all ages will love spending their day at the museum, where they will have an enriching experience in which they can learn about the world through interactive exhibits such as a television station, bank, grocery store, police department, doctor’s office, and emergency room. These exhibits allow them to indulge in role play along with other children of a similar age, while learning about these day-to-day activities in a safe environment. Additional features of the museum include a book nook, rock wall, and craft room.
123 S. Carmalita Avenue, Hemet, CA 92543, Phone: 951-765-1223
6.Diamond Valley Lake Aquatic Center
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Situated beside the lake of the same name, the Diamond Valley Lake Aquatic Center is a fun place for the entire family to cool off and relax. The center’s 25-yard outdoor swimming pool is the main attraction and is suitable for everyone in the family; little one’s love playing in the water fountain sprayers or with the water activity toys while older kids enjoy zooming down the exciting water slide. Additional facilities that are available for use include pickleball courts, designated picnic areas, restrooms, and fitness trails that will take you through some of Hemet’s stunning flora and fauna.
1801 Angler Ave, Hemet, CA 92545, Phone: 951-929-0047
7.Historic Hemet Theater
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Found in the heart of Hemet’s downtown district is their renowned community arts center, the Historic Hemet Theater. The current theater which you see today was built in 1921; the original theater was built in 1913 across the street but was damaged five years later in a terrible earthquake. You’ll experience the nostalgic charm of the theater from the minute you walk in; be sure to take in the stunning architecture and decor of the place. There are many events hosted at the theater throughout the year including live theater productions, concerts, films, and community programs. You can catch a classic film such as ‘Charlie Chan at the Circus’ or a live concert tribute to Neil Diamond or Creedence Clearwater Revival.
216 E Florida Ave, Hemet, CA 92543, Phone: 951-658-5950
8.Reed Valley Ranch
© Reed Valley Ranch
Family owned and operated for over sixty years, Reed Valley Ranch is renowned for breeding quality Angus cattle and for being one of the most breathtaking locations in the area. Just a short drive from San Diego and Los Angeles, the 835-acre ranch comprises rugged hills, lush valleys, and an endless expanse of oak groves. You’ll be able to take in so much of the natural beauty that surrounds it, while also being able to explore the ranch’s original Spanish-style ranch house, the many historic barns, bunkhouse, ponds, and much more. You’ll be able to meet the ranchers, learn about ranching, explore nature, and walk on their amazing trails during a trip to Reed Valley Ranch.
36521 Reed Valley Rd, Hemet, CA 92544, Phone: 951-767-0524
9.Hemet Maze Stone
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Hemet Maze Stone is a mysterious maze-like petroglyph design that was discovered on a boulder by a rancher in 1914. The swastika-like symbol was determined to be over 500 years old, if not older, by archaeologists at the time. Though it was never identified who made the carving, or why, the intricate work is similar to only fifty other carvings that have turned up since then - all of which are 150 miles within each other. The swastika is commonly found in Buddhist symbolism and the story is that the all of the carvings are the works of Chinese sailors that shipwrecked in California around 500 C.E. Though we will never know, it’s still an interesting site to see. The California state landmark is now protected by a pair of chain-link fences but is still open for curious visitors to see.
3519 California Avenue, Hemet, CA 92545, Phone: 951-765-3712
10.Diamond Valley Golf Club
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Often called a hidden gem in the quiet Hemet Valley, the Diamond Valley Golf Club is well worth the visit when in Hemet or even a short drive in from Los Angeles or San Diego. The 450-acre green can be found amid the San Jacinto Mountains and is an oasis of lush fairways, rolling terrains, waterscapes, and native plants. The club welcomes somewhat of a desert climate, which makes it a perfect golfer’s paradise all year long. The golf course was designed by Bill Martin and Art Magnuson in 1999 and features a number of creative shots that golfers of all skill levels will enjoy. Additional facilities include a chipping and pitching green with a bunker, a putting green, and a driving range.
31220 Sage Rd, Hemet, CA 92543, Phone: 951-767-0828
11.Diamond Valley Arts Center
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The Diamond Valley Arts Center was founded in 2004 as a way to promote the arts within the community and give all of its residents a creative outlet, whether as a spectator or as a participant. The center offers many continuous programs for interested parties of all ages to participate in; these programs have varying focuses on art, music, theatre, education, and the community. Music at the Center is one of their most popular events and brings an opportunity for the community to hear the musical stylings of local artists and Grammy Award-winning artists all on one night.
123 N Harvard St, Hemet, CA 92543, Phone: 951-652-3822
© Dattilo Ristorante
Dattilo Ristorante is a family owned and operated restaurant that has been serving the residents and visitors of Hemet with delicious, authentic Italian food since its opening in 1989. The full-service restaurant prides themselves on preparing fresh, handmade Italian cuisine, much of which is made with family recipes that have been passed down generations. Their menu has an array of appetizers, salads, soups, pastas, gourmet pizzas, and entrees that are sure to leave you satisfied. Popular choices include the Duck alla Giulia and the Veal Piccata Limone, but no matter what you choose, be sure to keep space for one of their mouthwatering desserts.
2288 Florida Ave, Hemet, CA 92544, Phone: 951-658-4248
13.Steer 'n Stein Restaurant
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Steer ‘n Stein was founded in 1967 by a man who needed a job and something to eat, so he decided to combine the two and open up his own restaurant. With no real direction and no recipes, the restaurant managed to capture the hearts and palates of all who dined there. Now, over fifty years later, they now have four locations across California all of which are known for their delicious food and friendly service. Though there’s a lot on the menu, one thing that Steer ‘n Stein is famed for are their ‘great sizzling steaks’. In addition to popular choices such as their Pepper Steak or their number one seller, the Stockyard Steak, you can also feast on ribs, burgers, seafood, and much more.
3104 W Florida Ave, Hemet, CA 92545, Phone: 951-658-6838
14.Los Vaquero's Mexican Grill
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If you’re craving authentic Mexican food, then there’s no better restaurant than Los Vaquero’s Mexican Grill. The food is prepared fresh daily and is filled with flavor, while the restaurant atmosphere has a homey style that is perfect for a casual lunch or dinner. House specialties include the Plato de Carnitas which features tenderly fried pork with guacamole and pico de gallo, and the Lengua which is beef tongues served with a spicy tomatillo sauce. They have a varied seafood selection for those prefer it, along with everyday favorites like tacos, burritos, fajitas, and quesadillas. End your meal with a mouthwatering fruit empanada, a churro trio, or an order of delicious flan.
3909 W Florida Ave, Hemet, CA 92545, Phone: 951-766-1192
14 Best Things to Do in Hemet, California
- Ramona Bowl Amphitheatre, Photo: Ramona Bowl Amphitheatre
- Western Science Center, Photo: Western Science Center
- Diamond Valley Lake, Photo: Courtesy of Kit Leong - Fotolia.com
- Hemet Museum, Photo: Hemet Museum
- Fingerprints Youth Museum, Photo: Fingerprints Youth Museum
- Diamond Valley Lake Aquatic Center, Photo: Courtesy of Iryna - Fotolia.com
- Historic Hemet Theater, Photo: Courtesy of liuzishan - Fotolia.com
- Reed Valley Ranch, Photo: Reed Valley Ranch
- Hemet Maze Stone, Photo: Courtesy of Viktor - Fotolia.com
- Diamond Valley Golf Club, Photo: Courtesy of thaninee - Fotolia.com
- Diamond Valley Arts Center, Photo: Courtesy of pressmaster - Fotolia.com
- Dattilo Ristorante, Photo: Dattilo Ristorante
- Steer 'n Stein Restaurant, Photo: Courtesy of zlajaphoto - Fotolia.com
- Los Vaquero's Mexican Grill, Photo: Courtesy of vaaseenaa - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Steve Minkler - Fotolia.com