Friday, April 25, 2014

TRIP REPORT: The Inland Empire, Southern California

Picture courtesy of Wikimedia
Jessie Terwiliger under CC-BY licence
On the OC, it was known as the 909. Growing up years ago in L.A., we knew it as the “sticks.” We now know better…

On the OC, it was known as the 909.  Growing up years ago in L.A., we knew it as the “sticks.”  We now know better…

Flying into L.A., you have several airport choices.  By far, the busiest is Los Angeles International (LAX) but if you have a choice, any of the outlying airports would be a better choice.  Forty miles east of LAX is Ontario International Airport, located in the heart of the Inland Empire.

While it’d make a great place to arrive in L.A. by itself, consider sticking around in the neighborhood to see what the area has to offer. 

The Inland Empire is the area east of Los Angeles, stretching approximately from the 57 freeway in the west, out to the hills east of Redlands and Riverside to the east.  In the north, it is bounded by the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountain ranges and continues south to Corona.

Although San Bernardino and Riverside are the two big cities of the IE, Ontario has replaced both as the heart and commercial center of the area.  Not only will you find the major airport here, but also loads of hotels, restaurants, and some major shopping areas.
Picture courtesy of Wikimedia
Frederick Dennstedt under CC-BY-SA licence

If you’re in a wheelchair, flying in and out of ONT is a breeze.  The crowds of LAX are not here, parking is close by…even the long term…and the baggage handlers (especially at Southwest) really know how to take care of a chair, even a heavy power chair.

There are a number of hotels in the immediate are of the airport but I’d advise you to get out into other areas for your visit.  Not far away is the huge Ontario Mills shopping center.  You’ll find the aloft Hotel, a trendy little boutique place run by some very nice people; plus the Hyatt Place and Country Inn and Suites located right at the shopping center.  All are great hotels and Ontario is not an expensive hotel city.
Picture courtesy of Wikimedia
Gabriel Chag under CC-BY license

If you’re a shopper, Ontario Mills is a huge, indoor mall filled with outlet stores.  There are also a lot of chain restaurants inside, plus entertainment options like Dave ‘n Busters, Edwards, and AMC Theatres.  Not far from this mall is a factory outlet for New Balance shoes, a huge Bass Pro Shops (eat at Islamorada, inside, very good), plus another more upscale outdoor mall just to the north in Rancho Cucamonga…Victoria Gardens.

Sports lovers will also like that minor league hockey and NBA D-League games take place at the Citizens Business Bank Arena just a block away. The Dodgers AAA team, Cucamonga Quakes, play just north of here at the Epicenter. The arena also hosts a number of concerts and events, such as the circus.

Part 2 where we'll venture out of Ontario to see the rest of the IE, is coming soon.

Copyright 2010 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved.

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