Riverside, California

Highlanders

The climate here is unbelievable. It is hotter than coastal SoCal, but the summers are still more mild than most of the Central Valley, fall and spring are idyllic, and winter is warm, virtually frost free and beautiful. - Riverside resident

The Good, the Bad and The Ugly

Riverside seemed to be on the move growth-wise a few years back but somehow it never really took off and just resulted in a lot of urban sprawl -- miles and miles of concrete and strip malls. It remains, sort of sadly, inland. Always in the shadow of the coastal cities, everything is always ‘relative’ to the rest of SoCal with costs not terribly low despite the air not being terribly fresh and culture not terribly existent. It’s the king of the Inland Empire.

The Best Thing About Riverside?

Location

30 minutes from the mountains, 30 minutes from the ocean, and 30 minutes from the desert. Also, the UC Riverside campus is nice and has a botanical garden.

Here's a review from a local about what it's like to live in Riverside:
The immediate outdoor access and the plethora of parks is something that shouldn’t be understated as well. Having dozens of miles of trails, mountains, paths, bike paths etc is something so many cities lack entirely. Lastly, the breathtaking views of mountains and rolling hills all throughout the city is, again, so unique! People talk about how expensive the inland empire is, but in a lot of ways I still think it’s a bit undervalued when compared with other desirable areas around the US.

For more reviews of what living in Riverside is like from locals check out: The Buzz

The Worst Thing About Living in Riverside?

For the Kids

A study from Brandeis University ranked several California metropolitan areas among the worst places in the U.S. to raise children. Out of the 100 largest U.S. cities, Bakersfield and Riverside ranked in the bottom five for the opportunities that the cities afford children.

Here is a local's point of view on the biggest issue with Riverside:
For those of you who do not know, look up the smog warning levels in Riverside on a daily basis…90% of the year they are at "very unhealthful" which is the worst reason you can get. You see, Riverside is located in a valley, between two small mountain ranges, that form a perfect exhaust pipe coming out of LA. Since the prevailing winds are off the coast, the smog just comes inland, right into the heart of Riverside and San Bernardino.

Lifestyle Of Riverside

Riverside is a bedroom community created to offer cheaper housing to Los Angeles and Orange Country residents fed up with their housing markets. The Downtown area has grown in recent years but you don’t live in Riverside for the nightlife. You live here because the housing is more affordable and you are close to LA and Orange County and the mountains to the east. Lifestyle in Riverside is largely built around family living and proximity to SoCal lifestyle without the SoCal prices.

Workstyle Of Riverside

Your best worklife in Riverside will be if you can work in the city or don’t have to leave your home. A third of the residents commute to LA or Orange County and trust us, they are not happy. Riverside jobs are often in government, education and transportation/shipping but they are making a big push for growth through the development of high-tech industrial business parks which serve tech and light manufacturing industries. To reiterate: move here to work here or at home and a family can enjoy Riverside. Move here just to save money on a home and need to commute to LA or Orange County and you will suffer.

Why You Should Move Here Now?

Relatively Inexpensive Access To Homeownership

It’s cheaper than living on the coast and you can still get everywhere fairly quickly. Riverside has a population of 500K, is in Riverside County and has its own airport, yet it can be seen as a giant bedroom community to Los Angeles as many people commute (even by train.) The locals take umbrage at this view.