The Gardens of the Mission Inn Hotel


Hubby and I house sat for family inland this past weekend, which gave us the opportunity for another stay cation. Hubby has mentioned the Mission Inn Hotel to me before, and we were able to see the outside of it during last year’s festival of lights. Today I want to tell you all about the gardens of the Mission Inn Hotel.

It was too crowded to walk around the hotel during the lights festival last year, so it was nice to go during the off season when Riverside is still quiet. The hotel is a historical site, with impressive architecture and wonderful floral surprises hidden on every floor.

Why Write About a Hotel?

Since this is a gardening blog about gardening on a budget, this beautiful historical site was free to explore. I highly recommend looking for places where you live that are free. You never know what delights you will find.

I also love exploring other gardens because it gives me ideas and inspiration for my own garden. If I see a huge container full of flowers I like, I’ll find a way to get the plants in a smaller size to enjoy in my little urban garden. Use your imagination and creativity.

mission inn hotel
View from the fourth floor.


The Mission Inn Hotel is located in Riverside, CA, not far from Orange County or Los Angeles. For my readers who have never been to California, there are so many places to explore, besides the popular areas such as Los Angeles. I’m not a huge fan of crowds and love when we explore places not too popular to the general public.

Like I said above, the Mission Inn Hotel has a Festival of Lights during the holidays. The entire hotel is decked out in beautiful festive lights starting around Thanksgiving to the end of the year. When we visited Riverside a few holidays ago, there was a huge line just to get in, so the hubby and I enjoyed the lights from the outside.

This time around, downtown Riverside was quiet and crowd less, so we were able to explore the floors of the Mission Inn Hotel without too many people around. We were able to take our time and took pictures of the various areas of the hotel and gardens.

mission inn hotel
Bougainvillea spilling out from the walkways of the Mission Inn Hotel.


The Mission Inn started out as a small boarding house made of adobe in 1876, built by Christopher Columbus Miller. His son, Frank Miller bought the house and property. Miller kept adding on to the Inn as more people moved into the area.

Miller was a lover of art and you can tell by the various paintings, sculptures and historic furniture located all over the grounds of the Inn. He also loved parrots. When you walk into the main entrance, to the right there are two parrots, in honor and memory of Frank Miller.

mission inn hotel
One of the many pieces of artwork located at The Mission Inn Hotel.

When you start exploring, you will notice that there are many bells dispersed around the Inn. The oldest bell in Christiendom is located in the lobby and dates back to 1247. 500 bells adorn various other parts of the Inn.

This beautiful historical place reminds me of the many missions along the California coast. Miller designed the Inn to replicate 20 of these missions and this can be seen in the architecture.

mission inn hotel
One of the many bells located on the grounds of the Mission Inn Hotel.


We started our tour on the fourth (top) floor of the Inn and took in the incredible views from here. Various plants decorated the outer halls and spilled over onto the walls, creating an artistic view of the building. Every corner had a unique look to it.

From this floor could be seen the gardens at various levels: the Garden of the Sky, the St. Francis Atrio, the Spanish Patio, and the Alhambra Court. Each of these contained various plants and gardens with a slightly different look from the last garden.

Garden of the Sky

The Garden of the Sky is located on the fourth floor of the Mission Inn Hotel. It was added to the hotel around 1929-1931. There are beautiful potted plants and fountains here and it is a great place to take photos.

the mission inn
Garden of the Sky


After admiring and taking pictures in the Garden of the Sky, we strolled along the fourth floor walkway and came upon the beautiful St. Francis of Assisi Chapel, where the Atrio is located. You feel as if you are in Spanish Colonial Mexico with the tiled floors and architecture located in this area.

the mission inn
Atrio with the doors of the St. Francis of Assisi Chapel on the right.

The first thing that caught my eye was the beautiful fountain in the center of the Atrio. Located at the top of the fountain is a replica of the Fontana del Bacchino statue in bronze. The original statue is in Prato, Italy.

Of course, the beautiful flowers and trees add a nice touch to the Atrio as well.

the mission inn
Fountain in Atrio with Fontana del Bacchino bronze replica.

We tried getting into the Alhambra court, but it was blocked off, probably for one of the few weddings going on at the time. There were other beautiful areas of the hotel with plants that we explored as well.

I noticed as well explored all the floors of the Mission Inn Hotel that only a few types of plants were used in the design of the Hotel. These included  Bergouinvilla, Vincas, palm trees, and other flowers, plants and trees that I was not familiar with. This selective bunch of plants really worked well with the architecture of the inn.

mission inn hotel
A view of the Spanish Patio and restaurant below.

Go Explore

I love how the Mission Inn Hotel incorporated container only gardens in their design. I now have a few ideas for future designs for my urban garden. I also like the idea that you don’t need to use a bunch of different types of plants to create a complete garden.

You can find more information on the historic Mission Inn Hotel and its gardens here. There are many more pictures and videos of this beautiful place on the website. I hope you learned something new about gardens and designing them like I did.

Please feel free to post comments below. Happy gardening and exploring!



I am a blogger and gardener. I love sharing my ideas about gardening in small spaces and on a budget. To learn more about me, please visit my site


  1. Megan

    I ran the half marathon they do every year. I was bummed that I never got to check out the hotel. It is beautiful and looks like a great place to relax.

    17 . Oct . 2017
    • Ann

      It is a great place to relax, even if you are just visiting for the day. Thanks for the comment!

      18 . Oct . 2017
  2. Julie Torres

    This hotel is nice and the pictures are beautiful!

    18 . Oct . 2017
    • Ann

      Thank you! It was a ton of fun exploring the hotel and taking pictures!

      19 . Oct . 2017
  3. Sara

    This looks beautiful and lovely pictures as well!

    19 . Oct . 2017
    • Ann

      Thank you! I love exploring new places around here, especially if it has gardens! Thanks for the comment!

      19 . Oct . 2017

Leave A Comment