If they can’t do it in California, it can’t be done anywhere. – Taylor Caldwell
Best Part About San Bernardino?
Realtors will tell you that a house has “great bones” when it has some rough edges but underneath, and in some obvious ways, it could blossom to become a beautiful home. People say the same thing about San Bernardino. It is built on the edge of several mountains and the San Bernardino National Forest so the view is spectacular. It has beautiful neighborhoods on the north side of the city nearest these mountains and forest. It also has plenty of inventory of unique mid-century homes ripe for conversion at, for California, inexpensive prices. Again, while the city has some rough elements, it feels like a place with great bones.
Here's a review from a local who inspired our "great bones" note:
I live on a gorgeous Hill, little mountain, have an amazing adobe home built in 1946, all restored and modernized, with amazing views from every window. It’s a great neighborhood of older unique custom homes, great neighbors that look out for one another, and the weather is pretty awesome all year, except for maybe August through September when it’s so hot. San Bernardino is actually a city that has great bones, and under the right leadership, could be just like Redlands or Highland. It is centrally located smack dab next to major freeways, has really beautiful views of the mountains, has a huge natural ground water supply, and some really nice neighborhoods in the North End.
For more reviews of what living in San Bernardino is like from locals check out: The Buzz
Worst Part About San Bernardino?
As was noted when a realtor tells you a house has “great bones” there is also a downside. If the house is in perfect condition no one has to note that it has these great bones, you can see them. When we say San Bernardino has great bones the same qualifier is in place because depending on what part of the city you’re in you might not see them. San Bernardino is rated one of the most dangerous cities in California and the cause and impact of this crime is evident in much of the city. People from LA or SF might not be stunned by the “city” qualities of poverty and homelessness but if you’re coming from a small town the visual impact and the feeling of being unsafe can be profound.
Here's a local with a point of view about the cons of San Bernardino:
There is a lot of homelessness and the city doesn't take very good care of the city. It is really a shame too because San Bernardino is located in a beautiful part of California and has a lot of really great people living here. It is just so undeserved and neglected.
Lifestyle of San Bernardino
Your lifestyle in San Bernardino is going to depend in part on where in the city you live. The northern neighborhoods are in the foothills of the mountains and the national forest and so your lifestyle can be very centered on the outdoors. You have three ski mountains: Lake Arrowhead, Snow Valley and Big Bear all within an hour’s drive. You’re also similarly close to other outdoor resorts whether you ski or want to simply hike, ride trails, or anything else the great outdoors might beckon you to do. The northern neighborhoods are also linked across the northern neighborhoods of the cities of Highland and Redlands and Fontana. This stretch has its own shopping and bars and restaurants isolated from the downtown areas that some might want to avoid.
If on the other hand you are looking for lower cost and living closer to downtown then you trade some grit for access to three performing arts venues and a beautiful theater. It is the greatest concentration of access to arts in the Inland Empire. Downtown San Bernardino is going through a major economic redevelopment and so if you have patience and likely some experience living in cities then you can construct and urban lifestyle with some downtown energy.
If you want to see what's happening in San Berdoo check out the calendar of events: https://www.eventbrite.com/d/ca--san-bernardino/festivals/
Workstyle of San Bernardino
Work in San Bernardino is a mix of industries including: Grocers like Stater Bros. Markets, Tech like Aegis Communications, Health and Education. While some brave folks do make the commute into Los Angeles most residents work somewhere in the Inland Empire. The “middle class” San Bernardino housing prices (by California standards) means more residents are working more blue collar jobs but the rising wfh culture could drive more white collar workers to the northern neighborhoods where great homes, tree-lined streets and easy access to the mountains prove irresistible compared to the traffic of LA.
Why You Should Move Here Now?
Escape From LA
San Bernardino, like the rest of the Inland Empire, has historically drawn people who are looking to downsize their budgets from LA but remain in California. This includes young families who want to buy their first home, empty nesters looking to reduce the size of their home and have a convenient launching pad for frequent travel, and retirees looking to save some bucks but aren’t ready to go all the way to Arizona. Given the high and rising prices of San Bernardino by national standards this is getting hard to justify but still: if you want a “fancy” and active lifestyle from neighborhoods like those in the north but much more reasonable pricing than LA this is your spot.