Mission Inn

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This hotel is awesome. If you are interested in amazing architecture, stairways that descend to nowhere, towers, flying buttresses, and just a constant feeling of “this place was designed by a madman” the Mission Inn is definitely a place that you must visit. Quite probably one of the most interesting hotels I’ve seen, the design style of the Mission Inn cannot possibly be described. Think of every type and style of mission you’ve ever seen or read of, and then imagine them all combined into one sprawling multi-block hotel with one wing of the building designed in Renaissance style leading off into another building designed in Turkish style. It’s mad, and it’s wonderful. Several of the rooms can only be accessed from a rooftop courtyard that is filled with interesting water features, numerous planters overflowing with bougainvillea and other assorted flowers and an immense herb garden. Although we did not get a haunted room when we were there (the one that was available, the famed “Aunt Alice room” is priced at over $600 a night and therefore just slightly beyond our budget) we do not feel at all disappointed by having visited though we did not experience anything remotely “ghostly”. Most of the reports of hauntings are of the benign sort. People claim to see figures walking down hallways and when they get closer, the apparitions vanish. People who have stayed in Aunt Alice’s room feel cold spots, report being touched and claim they have seen her apparition. One spot that does provide some trouble is in the Bridal Suite where some people report being pushed as they descend the spiral staircase located in the room. The hotel is also situated on a network of catacombs that are unfortunately closed to the public due to safety reasons. Whether you are interested in haunted hotels or not, the Mission Inn is worth checking out.

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    Geographic Information

    3649 Mission Inn Ave
    Riverside, California
    United States

    Get Directions »
    33.9826849, -117.37306039999999
    Riverside County, California
    Nearest Towns:
    Rubidoux, CA (2.1 mi.)
    Riverside, CA (2.4 mi.)
    Highgrove, CA (3.2 mi.)
    Sunnyslope, CA (4.0 mi.)
    Grand Terrace, CA (4.9 mi.)
    Pedley, CA (5.9 mi.)
    Bloomington, CA (6.2 mi.)
    Glen Avon, CA (6.7 mi.)
    Woodcrest, CA (7.0 mi.)
    Colton, CA (7.2 mi.)


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    Comments (23)

    1. I worked security at the Mission Inn for 3 years ending in July 1985. I have seen and chased individuals that disappeared into walls and locked rooms that were welded shut. I spent my first year working with a Riverside police officer. We saw stuff I still can’t explain.

      The last night the Inn was open to the public in 1985, a reporter asked about the ghosts. We told him about all of them off the record.

        • Yes, I’ve been Dj’ing events there for about 15 years. There are tunnels for sure! After hours I got to go down there one time. Every year the mission has “ghost walk” where it is open to public.

        • Yes there are many tunnels, at many levels, desending as low as basement’s, sub-basement’s, basement. 3 floors down. Some are large enough to drive a pick-up truck through. Others will require you to crawl on your hands and knees.

    2. Stayed here last night on business. Im accustomed to falling asleep with the TV on. Around 3 am i heard knocking on the wall. Just normal knocking as you would knock a door. It sounded as if on wood but the walls are thick concrete. At the time i thought little of it. Perhaps the TV was too loud? I shut it off and went back to sleep. The next morning everyone else in my party, in seperate rooms spaced apart or on other floors also reported hearing knocking. Could have been a security guard or guest trying to be cute but who knows… I had not heard the rumors previous so was not to freaked out.

    3. I have had the pleasure to investigate the Mission Inn on several occasions. My group collected both audio and photographic evidence, as well as countless personal experiences.

      The first time I stayed here was for a family event. We stayed in a room on the 2nd floor. We were all just hanging out and chatting when we suddenly heard a knock at the window. It weirded us out a little, since we were on the 2nd floor. I looked out the window and there was no way for anyone to reach up and knock on the window.

      The first investigation I did there, we had a lot of experience and got a lot of good evidence. At the top of the rotunda we caught an EVP of a woman saying “God bless you, my son”. Shortly after this we took a photo of the rotunda where there appears to be a shadowy apparition ascending. We tried to recreate and debunk the photo, but it remains unexplained. We also caught an EVP on the 3rd floor next to the elevator saying “There they are”, which sounded like the same voice from the previous EVP and was accompanied by a large EMF spike.

      We also stayed for an overnight investigation where we took a photo with another shadow apparition in it. This one had a very distinct outline of a cowboy hat on its head. We also had an experience in our hotel room where we had a massive EMF spike that lasted several minutes and then mysteriously stopped. It became so intense that several members of our team had to leave the room because it was making them feel sick.

    4. I’ve got a very dear friend, we’ve known each other almost 40 years. She has a daughter who works at the Inn and she (the daughter) told me in person that the staff is very aware of the paranormal activities within the mission & they’ve even witness unexplained things happening on the hotel’s security cameras. 2 examples, my friends daughter experienced this personally, she witnessed on the security camera was in the hallway in the basement there was an empty laundry trolley, it’s made out of metal, about 6 feet tall with shelves, on wheels, the kind of thing the maids use to convey clean towels & sheets. It was empty pushed up against the wall when suddenly one end of the trolley rolled out from the wall, then it rolled back with no one around it, no wind, & no earthquake. Also, she can’t leave her keys on her desk. When she does, they dissappear & she doesn’t share her space with other co-workers & it’ll happen with her in or out of her work area. She told me that the ” Big Bosses” told the staff not to talk about the hauntings amongst themselves or with the guests. So yeah, actually there’s alot of downtown Riverside that’s haunted . Ok, I’m done, peace – out 🙂

    5. Here is the 1985 Mission Inn basement floor plan. Shows some tunnels as well as the catacombs. This layout plan stayed within the
      legal property lines, even though some passages continued on.

    6. 1985 ground floor plans. Note: in 1985 the Mission was using European style floor numbering. Ground floor at the Inn would be equal to first floor anywhere else, 1st floor equal to 2nd floor, so on and so forth.

      • I’ve not had any experiences here, but just on the other side of the freeway, The Old Spaghetti Factory has been unnerving on numerous occasions. I’m a very low-key goofy guy who is a general skeptic in general, but every single time I’ve ever been in the men’s restroom, I’ve felt very unsettled. I do realize that it sounds like a setup for a crude joke, but I’m not kidding in the least. There’s an ominous vibe in there.

      • My first time coming here was for a friends birthday. That night at around 4am I heard someone knock on the door and I opened it to see no one was there. I found a stair case and I remember being sort of pushed down by nothing but it felt harsh.

    7. Ive been down in the catacombs and let me tell you its really dark and very very creepy. its hot and you feel cold spots, you hear noises and voices, and you cant even see your hand right in front of your face

      • The Catacombs are just below street level underneath Orange St. That would account for the sounds of voices.

        When I worked security there in the 1980’s, most of the unusual occurrances occurred at ground level and above.

    8. Have stayed at this beautiful, magnificent hotel many times; and, we even held our wedding there. While there are definitely some areas of the hotel that feel “odd,” and I have noted a proclivity for unusual behavior from people, I experienced only one incident that was unusual enough to describe as “paranormal.” In the wee hours of the night, within a totally dark hotel room, my wife and I were awakened by a stand lamp in the room that suddenly turned on. It was operated by a floor/foot switch. There was no timer or any reason electrically for it to come on. I turned it off and went back to bed. Before I fell asleep, snap- it turned on again. I got up, muttered something like “excuse me in a very irritated manner, and returned to bed. Nothing else unusual happened. The next morning I thought- I could under a lighted lamp going out- but why would a dark lamp come on? Faulty floor switch? I complained to the front desk in the morning but the staff just looked at their feet. The room was on the second floor, exterior side, mid-east wing.

    9. The Mission Inn is a major landmark and historical site in downtown Riverside. It’s a hotel, series of restraunts and bars, many rooms for special functions, a couple of chapels and more…

      The first floor (2nd floor anywhere else in the USA) has 2 chapels one with a gold altar and the other with a gold ceiling, the Galleria, a foot bridge to the annex next door. Many Tiffany stained glass windows, A Flyers wall with a tribute to aviators.

      A definite must see, something for everyone including ghost hunters. Tell aunt Alice hi for me.

    10. Marlene Trujillo  |  

      I was in a room near registration by myself and all the sudden I smelt overwhelming smell of flowery perfume no one was around

    11. I have been a photographer for 6 years and being from Riverside I have always used the mission inn for some shoots. however my most recent shoot there was about a month ago and this was the first time I have ever experienced anything. It wasn’t anything serious but I was walking through a hallway with the graduate that I was shooting and I heard an older man laugh. I decided not to tell her right away because we just finished talking about the haunted stories and she would think I was messing with her. But then I decided to tell her anyway. I asked “Did you hear that sound back in the hallway?” and she responded the old man laugh and did her best to copy it. We were both shocked that we both heard it. She also didn’t want to tell me for the same reason. When we went back to the hallway there were no doors attached or anything so we were both mind blown.

    12. I spent a lot of time at the Mission inn in the late seventies. My second child’s father’s mother was the manager at that time of the Mission inn and we spent a lot of time creeping around the various spots there exploring all those staircases to nowhere as you called them. She lived sometimes in one of those rooftop rooms you were talking about that are only accessible from the roof. It was really beautiful up there and I was very young so we had a lot of fun. My friend who still lives there in Riverside and I did a lot of exploring up and down those winding and rickety outside staircases. Anyway it was fun and I remember it fondly, but I don’t think we ever ran into any ghosts. I’ll have to ask him if he remembers anything like that next time I talk to him.

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    Disclaimer: The stories posted here are user-submitted and are, in the nature of "ghost stories," largely unverifiable. HauntedPlaces.org makes no claims that any of the statements posted here are factually accurate. The vast majority of information provided on this web site is anecdotal, and as such, should be viewed in the same light as local folklore and urban legends.