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Southern California weekend

Inside Check out the artsy side of the Inland Empire » Say hello to the new Hollywood——it’s back, and not what you remember »

Riverside day trip

Downtown arts district

1. An art trifecta Three gems make up the UCR Artsblock: The new Culver Center of the Arts (pictured) has soaring skylight ceilings and quirky exhibits. In the same building is the relocated Sweeney Art Gallery, with shows on topics like SoCal’s bike culture. Next door, the California Museum of Photography (note the camera-shaped building) has a collection of old-fashioned cameras and a walk-in camera obscura. $3 combined admission; closed most Sun; 3834 Main St.; artsblock.ucr.edu

BY Chantal Lamers photographs by Andrea Gómez Romero

Why go now: This Riverside neighborhood has finally found its inner artist. Flashback: The 909 gets a bad rap for being a former citrus town turned hot, smoggy, sprawling, B-class Inland Empire suburb. Flashforward: A slow but steady overhaul has snazzed up the Downtown Arts & Culture District. Coordinates: Four walkable blocks from Mission Inn to University Avenues, between Lime and Market Streets. What’s here: A small but cutting-edge art scene, with a creative niche of hipsters and academics (thanks to art-savvy UC Riverside). Cool refurbs: Two dozen galleries and museums have taken up residence in abandoned deco, Beaux-Arts, and Spanish colonial–style buildings along the leafy streets. Stretch your legs: The pedestrian promenade, Main Street Riverside, is lined with fountains, sidewalk cafes, and public art from 5th to 10th Streets. Start your weekend early: At the free Riverside ArtsWalk on First Thursdays (6–9 Mar 3; 951/682-6737). Explore more on page 26 »

Sunset March 2011

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Southern California Day trip 3 more artistic adventures in town date-night flicks On Friday and Saturday nights, the Culver Center of the Arts doubles as a movie house for rare art films. The 72-seat theater fills up, so plan ahead. $10; 3834 Main St.; culvercenter. ucr.edu

3. The Fox makes a comeback

2. The local bohemian hang Filled with bookshelves and Victorian furnishings, Back to the Grind is a sprawling coffeehouse that multitasks as a gallery and a music venue for jazz and rock bands. Don’t be surprised if you come across a ukulele circle. $; 3575 University Ave.; back2thegrind.com

After five years of sitting empty, the lights are back on at the retro-glam Fox Performing Arts Center. The 1929 cinema and vaudeville theater that hosted acts like Bing Crosby and Hollywood movie previews recently got $32 million in TLC, and now the corner fixture—gleaming white stucco accented with ornate Spanish tile—headlines musicals and dance and rock shows. foxriversidelive.com

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Los Angeles 5

Old-school building, new-school art The 1929 YWCA designed by Julia Morgan is the gorgeous home of the Riverside Art Museum. And the sweeping arches and courtyard are a stark contrast to the decidedly edgy works inside. Recently viewed: pop surrealist art. $5; closed Sun; 3425 Mission Inn Ave.; riverside artmuseum.org Drop-in art classes The mix is playful at Division 9 Gallery, from graffiti to Mexican folk art, established artists, and traveling indie exhibits. For a DIY option, head upstairs to the loft for lessons in drawing and printmaking, taught by local artists. Gallery free, classes from $75; closed Sun; 3850 Lemon St.; division9gallery.com

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Make it an overnight

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The ornate Mission Inn Hotel is a must-see and has plenty of history (the Reagans honeymooned and the Nixons got hitched here). Head inside to the Presidential Lounge, pull up an antique-swank leather chair, and toast the chiefs past with a JFK cosmopolitan or Herbert Hoover lemon drop. From $169; 2-night minimum; missioninn.com

Getting to Riverside

From Orange County, take State 91 east. Or take the train from L.A., O.C., or San Diego County. The Riverside-Downtown Metrolink station is less than a mile from the arts district. metrolinktrains.com

4. Mexican lunch on the patio Tio’s Tacos serves traditional food, yet the atmosphere

is anything but. Check out the fantastical garden of sculptures made from chicken wire, aluminum cans, and bottle caps. The back patio is the best place to sip a pulpy-fresh glass of watermelon, papaya, or mango agua fresca. $; 3948 Mission Inn Ave.; 951/788-0230.

Share your weekend finds. Favorite neighborhood makeover? Email your suggestions to the weekend guide editor at wgeditor@sunset.com To change background color 26 Sunset March 2011 (fill), with direct selection tool (hollow arrow) in layer palette to select “background shape” layer, then choose color from swatch 10 palette.

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To change mouse color, (fill) with direct selection tool use layer palette to select “compound shape” layer and shape layer, then choose color from swatch palette. To change mouse tail (stroke), with direct selection tool use layer palette to select

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Riverside Art District in Sunset magazine  

Day trip to the Art District in Sunset magazine

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