Riverside, California


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What's it like to live in Riverside?

Should I move to Riverside?

I've lived in Riverside off and on over the last 15 years or so and have worked here for 20. I've never lived in another state but I've lived in other communities in Southern California so I just have those for comparison. The city of Riverside is pretty huge. It's comprised of a ton of different neighborhoods with their own personalities, pros and cons. It's a big city but I think most residents probably imagine it as smaller because most of us circulate within our own enclaves within the city most of the time. Prices depend on where you're living in town but I think you can still find a decent deal compared to surrounding communities. I just moved from renting a 4 bedroom home in a desirable neighborhood for $1950 a month. For a similar home and community, that would run me around $2500 in Corona, $2800 in Rancho Cucamonga, and $3000-4000 in Orange or LA Counties.

It's suburban but there's a lot to do in town. It's also got easy access to amenities in other communities. For instance, I love seeing bands but we don't have a ton of bigger names coming to town, but Pomona is just 35 minutes away where they have great venues. A good hike is between 15 and 45 minutes away depending on your preference. There's big shopping centers with all the huge stores and also a downtown area with small shops and events like street fairs, the Dickens Festival, holiday programs, etc. I think Riverside can pretty much be however you decide to experience it.

I don't think the crime rate is particularly bad, even in the downtown area, but people who are not used to diverse communities may see some homeless people in certain areas or businesses with signs in different languages and think "crime". This is in no way a judgment on anyone - our brains are just wired to be wary of things that are different; we're all descendents of ancestors who didn't eat the poisonous berries or wander into a hostile tribe's camp. We've got a mix of different income levels and ethnicities but I think that's a good thing.

Should I move to Riverside?

So to give you some context, I grew up in the High Desert, which is about an hour outside of Riverside, then ended up going to school and a bit of college in Riverside in my late teens/young adult life.

Crime: It's just like any other city in the world. It has its good areas, and it has its bad areas. I never once felt threatened walking or driving around. Traffic is AWFUL, but you learn the routes and how to skip it for some areas.

City vs small town: In my opinion it has a city feel to it and not small town. If you want small town move to the other side of the Cajon junction which would be Victorville, Hesperia, Apple Valley. It isn't Los Angeles, but it is pretty close. You can find anything within driving distance, which should note, to take advantage of anything in Southern California it is imperative you have a car. Public transportation just isn't there yet for us. There are those who might disagree with me and everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I have never met a single person in real life who uses public transportation full time that lives in Southern California.

Cost of living: Riverside thinks it is the next LA and that is what you pay for. It isn't as highly priced as Orange County, but it's close. If you want cheaper try San Bernardino. Cheap is not really a California term, and the state in general is going to be a lot higher in cost of living than other states.

What is it like: I loved Riverside when I was there and I enjoy getting a chance to visit when I am in the area, but the beauty of California is that every city has its own little spots, and I would say that almost every city within a 30 mile radius you will find something you have never found before. I can't comment on the nightlife, but I've found and enjoyed a lot of unique restaurants in the area.

Pros/cons: I'll leave this one to someone else, as I think I covered most of the pros and cons above.

What is it like to live in Riverside, CA?

Overall, good. I was born, raised, and still reside in Riverside. Riverside is actually a big city (c. 300,000), providing much of what people need to access for general living. It has proactive schools, good universities, and many libraries. Most of the city has access to free wifi. The weather is very nice, except for a couple of months late in summer when it gets very hot, though it is a dry heat, and thus usually cools off in the evening. There's plenty of parks and opportunities for athletics. Many people in Riverside drive to Orange County and Los Angeles County for work and pleasure; many of us spend a lot of time in our cars. One of the things that amazes me about my hometown is the natural variation. There are beautiful hills within the city, and there still are orange groves to drive through. Victoria Avenue and Magnolia Avenue (in places) remain beautiful thoroughfares in southern California. The city ranges about 1000 feet in altitude, from its lowest point to its highest. Mt. Rubidoux is a great place to walk for challenging exercise and to gain a view of the entire area. Most of all, Riverside is self-reflective. It seems to me that people are always trying to do better at the community level.

What does Riverside, California look like? How safe is it to live there?

Riverside, CA is pretty much what is called a bedroom community, as there is not as much nightlife as neighboring communities such a Orange County, and because a lot of people commute to and from work.

Most of our growth, and the growth of Corona, Moreno Valley, Perris, and Hemet is due to people being forced out of the housing markets in Orange County, and Los Angeles County.

I would recommend downloading Google Earth, to get a good satellite view.

I have lived in Riverside for almost 70 years, and I am quite comfortable here. We have a very good police and fire departments. Our city owns and operates our own utilities (electric and water).

Gang activity is generally reported to be in the Casa Blanca, Arlanza and Eastside areas. Even so, crime in Riverside has been on the decline while in our neighbor to the north—San Bernardino—crime has been on the rise.

Years ago, Riverside implemented a code that required every house to have one tree in its front yard, called the city tree. Each neighborhood has different trees assigned to them. If you do download Google Earth you will see lots of trees which I believe add to the beauty of my city. Sure, you are free to plant whatever tree you like in your yard, as the city tree is the only theme tree.

Everyone I know loves Riverside, because Riverside is a great place to live.

EVERYTHING You Need to Know About Living in Riverside California