Best way to live in California is to be from somewhere else.
-Cormac McCarthy: Author
Best Part About Moreno Valley?
As with much of the Inland Empire, the region Moreno Valley occupies, the housing prices here are much cheaper than the coastal region to the west. This cheaper housing has driven LA residents east into Moreno, Fontana, San Bernardino and the rest for decades. And it remains the primary selling point of Moreno Valley. Average home prices are in the $400k-$500k and while that may seem expensive to much of the country, if you live on the Pacific Ocean that is darned reasonable and continues to be the reason people move here.
The reasons for the better housing prices from the pov of a local: Moreno Valley is cheap because of several factors: 1) Land Speculation: The area has historically been the fastest to boom and the fastest to bust. The city has ranked as both the nation's fastest and sixth fastest growing cities (1989 and 2006). So, speculation is huge. Thus, the crash was HUGE… 2) Stigma: For whatever reason, there is a stigma attached to the town. When I was a kid it was because it was too suburban. Then the base closed down. The city also did go through a bigger demographic shift compared to other cities in the region. Thus, there was a little culture clash that taints its reputation.
For more reviews of Moreno Valley from locals check out: The Buzz
Worst Part About Moreno Valley?
Moreno Valley occupies an odd central position in the Inland Empire. It’s closer to LA than some of the suburban cities but farther from the mountains than others. It’s kind of trapped between the benefits of being on the coast and the benefits of being in the foothills of the mountains. That might be ok except the commercial scene in Moreno Valley is severely lacking, making this a true bedroom community without the close proximity to LA or the mountains to make up for it. Basically you get the boredom without the quick drive to the more active metroplex or outdoors scene. If you live here and don’t feel like driving some distance to get somewhere interesting you ain’t gonna like it.
Note from a local about Moreno Valley: Like others have suggested, you want to live in Riverside or Redlands to be near your job. Check out a map. Moreno Valley isn't anywhere near LA or OC or anywhere with traditional hotspots where younger active people like to live. The better sides of Riverside or Redlands will at least provide you with fun things/interesting things/safer things. The "glamor of California" is not in Moreno Valley, no offense to those from Moreno Valley. Many would argue it's not even in the Inland Empire, but like every area there are good parts to the IE and bad parts to the IE.
Lifestyle of Moreno Valley
As was just noted the lifestyle in Moreno Valley proper is pretty nominal. It’s a bedroom community for an extremely diverse population that pretty much all moved there to escape LA. Oddly, Moreno Valley has no real downtown, so you have to depend on neighboring cities to get a taste of bars, restaurants or shopping in any concentrated area. That will change over time as in 2020 a 56 acre parcel of land was approved to be a new downtown section of the city. Until then expect a lifestyle of driving to reach the fun stuff.
Workstyle of Moreno Valley
The biggest employer in Moreno Valley for decades was March Air Force Base. This huge armed service population created a vibrant middle class that was the backbone of the area economy. In 1996 it closed for active service and gutted the local economy. Until recently the majority of residents commuted to LA but now with Covid and the rise of a remote workforce Moreno Valley will undoubtedly see a reduction in commuting into the city and likely some rise in population that’s looking for lower housing prices and not needing to make the drive.
Why You Should Move Here Now?
The most powerful thing Moreno Valley has going for it is much lower housing prices than the coast or even some of the other Inland Empire cities. When you combine these lower costs with the opportunity to work remotely these homes become even more attractive. When you add in the planned construction of a downtown area and you have a bit of a perfect storm. If you can wait for the development, Moreno Valley might be an option.