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Just east of Los Angeles lies the sprawling Inland Empire, which is home to a handful of lovely little Southern California towns. One of these towns is West Covina, which has gained popularity in recent years thanks to the TV show, "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," which is set in West Covina. This quiet, easygoing Inland Empire city is considered a desirable place to live by many, as it is close enough to Los Angeles to enjoy the energy and entertainment, yet far enough away that it's free of the chaos and traffic of the bustling metropolis. During a recent business trip in Southern California, I had the chance to get to know West Covina, and I grew quite fond of the town. My entire West Covina trip was pleasant and stress-free, partially because I booked my West Covina hotel through HotelTonight. Whenever I need to find a hotel at a moment's notice, I always turn to my HotelTonight app, which provides great selections of last-minute hotels around the world. And since I just needed to find a great hotel in West Covina for a couple of nights, I knew that HotelTonight was just the app for the job.

Historic Sights

You might not expect it from West Covina, but this city is actually home to a number of interesting historic sights. The Inland Empire actually has quite a rich history, and you can learn about it while visiting West Covina. One of my favorite places I visited in West Covina was the Hurst Ranch Historical Foundation, which teaches visitors what it was like to farm in this area of California over a century ago, making it a fun and educational outing. There are several other historic sights worth visiting in West Covina, such as the beautiful craftsman Taylor House that will certainly impress any architecture lover out there.

Shopping

West Covina is known for having a pretty fantastic shopping scene. After all, it's home to the Lakes Mall, which attracts locals from all over the Inland Empire. This expansive shopping center provides a great mix of high-end shops and local brands, and it's also home to countless eateries, both casual and upscale. In fact, many West Covina locals head to the mall for a nice evening out, since some of the town's best restaurants are housed in this upscale shopping center. It's certainly a social hub in West Covina, so I was glad I decided to check it out while I was in town.

Hiking

West Covina is surrounded by beautiful Southern California nature, and I took full advantage of the great weather and the gorgeous natural landscape during my stay. There is no shortage of great hikes in West Covina, and I was lucky enough to visit a few different parks and public outdoor spaces while I was in town. If you want to get active and enjoy a hike while in West Covina, I'd recommend visiting the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area and the Galster Wilderness Park Nature Center, both of which provide gorgeous scenery and terrific trails.

The Drive-In

One of the things I loved about West Covina is that it felt a bit retro, and there are certain elements of the town that feel old-fashioned – in a really charming, appealing way. For instance, West Covina is home to one of the few remaining drive-in theaters in California. Drive-ins may seem like relics of the past, which is why they're often romanticized today. Once I found out that West Covina had an old-school drive-in theater, I knew I had to check it out while I was in town, because it really isn't every day you get to sit in your car and watch a movie like locals did back in the 1950s.

Museums

If you're into history and art, West Covina actually has a surprisingly excellent museum scene for you to explore. There's the Baldwin Park Historical Society Museum, the Glendora Historical Society Museum and, as mentioned earlier, the Hurst Ranch Historical Foundation. There's so much to learn about the history of the Inland Empire and the early inhabitants of Southern California, and you can get a taste of the area's history by visiting any of these museums.

HotelTonight – West Covina Inland Empire Hotels in Minutes

West Covina may not be one of the top tourist destinations in Southern California, but it's actually quite a lovely place to visit. I could certainly see why West Covina locals are so proud of their town, as it provides a true community atmosphere and the charm of a laidback Southern California town. There's so much to do and see in the Inland Empire that I definitely didn't get to tackle everything on my list, but I'll save that for another trip. And because I like my travel plans to be as hassle-free as possible, you can bet that the next time I visit West Covina, I'll be sure to book my West Covina hotel once again through HotelTonight.