May 23, 2024

In the chaotic life of a college student, it becomes easy to feel overwhelmed by assignments, occupations, extracurriculars and other responsibilities. Taking a step back — or a step up — and viewing life from a wider perspective is sometimes essential. 

From a higher level, the little things that cause stress seem to fade away. So, grab a friend, get to a higher elevation and take a deep breath.

There are many places to view the city of Riverside from a higher perspective, all within close proximity to California Baptist University. These environments are perfect spots to visit for dates, picnics, photoshoots or to simply unwind. The best part is that they are all free.

One of these places is Sycamore Highlands Park, located on Fair Isle Drive in the neighborhood of Canyon Crest. This park sits on the top of a hill, which allows its visitors to see a huge portion of the city, as well as its mountains. It includes a playground, a large gazebo, a vast green field and miles of hiking trails in the hills.

Alexis Guerrero, junior pre-nursing student and intercultural studies major, said this is her favorite place to watch the sunset because of its breathtaking view. She explains taking time to be still in this setting leads her to a deeper connection with God who created all things.

“Sycamore Highlands Park is my favorite place to go to just relax, breathe and enjoy a peaceful sunset. This view lets me see how beautiful it truly is to remember all that is handmade by (God),” Guerrero said.

Another local place with a view is the University of California, Riverside’s Botanical Gardens. Not only does this location contain endless greenery, but it also offers an elevated view of nature at the top of a hiking trail. From this perspective, visitors are able to see a diverse collection of plant life in its entirety.

Hannah Brodie, sophomore communication sciences and disorders major, chose to take her senior prom photos at the UCR botanical gardens. She mentioned it felt like a whole other world amid the vibrant plants.

“The botanical gardens at UCR are a beautiful place for photoshoots of any kind because of the scenery. My favorite part about this location was a bridge that goes over a creek surrounded by trees. I felt like I traveled to an entirely new place,” Brodie said.

Located on Van Buren Boulevard, the California Citrus State Historic Park is another scenic place to pass time. This park displays some of the key qualities for which California is known. 

Surrounded by orange groves and palm trees, the trails and hills of this state park are refreshing for visitors. At the top of the trails, there is a hill lined with palm trees that overlooks the entire park and most of the city. This historic park hosts weddings, festivals, photoshoots for special occasions and more.

Shekiah Warner, senior intercultural studies and photography double major, explained how she has always had a passion for taking pictures. When she moved from Fresno to Riverside, she was eager to find new locations for photoshoots. When she discovered the citrus park, she was eager to organize a photoshoot. 

“The California Citrus State Historic Park is a go-to destination for weddings and couples’ sessions. It’s the perfect spot for an outdoor venue that showcases the beauty of the Inland Empire,” Warner said.

Whether students are looking for a place to relax, a fresh background for pictures, a romantic view for dates or just a new sight to see, these locations near Riverside can provide a new perspective. 

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