Moving to Riverside, CA? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Did you know that the first navel orange grown in California was in Riverside? In fact, Riverside is still home to the very first navel orange tree, originally grown in 1873. Visitors can still see the tree that sparked Riverside’s biggest industry: citrus. But Riverside, CA, is more than just orange groves and citrus trees: It’s a city with rich culture, history, and art. 

Are you thinking about moving to Riverside, CA? We’ve created a local area guide that will tell you everything you need to know about this great city. Check it out below!

Here’s everything you need to know about Riverside, CA.

Weather
Dining
Shopping
Outdoor Recreation
Local Attractions
Education
Jobs
Cost of Living
Art & Culture

Weather

Being part of the Inland Empire, Riverside’s summer temperatures are much warmer than those of Long Beach, Santa Monica, or other coastal cities. This heat is what helps citrus trees to thrive. Riverside also doesn’t receive the levels of precipitation found near the coast. 

Spring in Riverside is incredibly comfortable, with temperatures most often in the 70s and 80s. Rainfall starts tapering off in the spring as temperatures climb into the 90s on a regular basis in July, August, and September. Summers are very dry, which is perfect if you don’t like the rain. As summer comes to an end, temperatures slide into the 80s and 70s again, and rainfall picks up slightly. Winter temperatures are rarely below 40 degrees or above 70 degrees, making Riverside a great place to be in winter.

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Dining

With nearly 250 restaurants listed on OpenTable, Riverside boasts an impressive variety of restaurants. From seafood to BBQ, you’ll find a restaurant that locals rave about. There are intimate downtown restaurants perfect for date night and large chains perfect for a family gathering or celebratory dinner. Here are a few Riverside restaurants that we love!

Market Broiler Grille: Seafood is the specialty at this Riverside restaurant. Diners will enjoy a dock-to-dish menu full of fresh seafood caught as recently as the very same day. There are over 18 seafood items on the menu at any time, and each dish is expertly prepared by seasoned chefs. If you’re not in the mood for seafood, other dishes such as aged beef and fresh pasta are also available. A wide selection of draft beer and wine is also available to accompany your meal. 

Market Broiler Grille is dedicated to sustainability; all ingredients are local and sustainable whenever possible. Don’t miss out on the spectacular dishes served at Market Broiler Grille!

The Salted Pig: Riverside’s first gastropub opened in 2011 and has been drawing in crowds of locals and visitors alike ever since. All of their food is made from scratch in their own kitchen, and their draft beers are sourced from the best local breweries. Their menu is highly seasonal, meaning you’ll have the freshest dishes possible based on what is in season at the time. The operating hours are usually around 5–10 p.m., but on Sundays, they open at 10 a.m. and serve a killer brunch you won’t want to miss! Stop by and sample the best local dishes and draft beer Riverside has to offer.

Mario’s Place: Voted one of the best restaurants of the Inland Empire, Mario’s Place serves upscale dishes with every detail carefully thought out for maximum visual impact and flavor. The brick and dark wood decor of their dining room will have you feeling welcome and relaxed, adding to the experience of the meal. They serve contemporary Northern Italian dishes such as wood-fired pizza, fresh pasta, and a variety of pan-seared proteins paired with rich, bright flavors. If you’re ready for an experience and not just a meal, come to Mario’s Place: You’ll be glad you did!

Tio’s Tacos: Truly one of the most unique restaurants in Riverside, Tio’s Tacos lives by the mantra that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. In addition to some of the best Mexican food in the area, this Riverside gem repurposes trash into amazing sculptures and art celebrating Mexican culture. There are dancing skeletons, guitar players, and other large sculptures made out of various materials throughout the grounds and even on the roof. If you’re driving by Tio’s Tacos, you won’t be able to miss the bright vibrant restaurant and its unique, eye-catching decor. If you’re looking for a meal in a setting you won’t forget, stop by Tio’s Tacos. You won’t regret it!

Backstreet Restaurant: This restaurant has been around since 1967, serving up some of the best corned beef and pastrami found anywhere in the West! This family business has stayed in the family, too: The daughter of the original owners has taken over the business and is still running it quite successfully. 

Besides adding a few new menu items, The Backstreet Restaurant is operating how it has for decades, consistently winning recognitions such as best sandwiches and best dining of the Inland Empire. If you’re looking for a quick meal, stop by Backstreet Restaurant.

Shopping

While nowhere near as large as Los Angeles or San Francisco, Riverside is still quite large and hosts hundreds of shops and stores. There are several large shopping centers where residents and visitors can find almost anything they might be looking for. Here are a few of the best places to shop in Riverside, CA.

Galleria at Tyler: This local shopping center has all the stores you’ve come to know and love, such as Kohl’s, Hot Topic, Forever 21, Cinnabon, Bath & Body Works, and plenty more. Dozens of restaurants can also be found at this shopping center. After you’ve finished shopping, stop by The Cheesecake Factory, Red Robin, or Sbarro for lunch or dinner.

Riverside Plaza: Another popular shopping center in Riverside, Riverside Plaza houses stores such as JOANN Fabric and Craft, GNC, GameStop, and Nordstrom Rack. There is also a large number of restaurants, especially dessert places, such as Crumbl, Coldstone Creamery, and Cherry on Top. 

Canyon Crest Towne Centre: This shopping area has options for those looking for clothing, gifts, health and beauty products, and more. What makes this shopping center different is the large number of professional services offered, such as legal help, medical help, and financial help. You might just be able to kill two birds with one stone and get your shopping and medical appointment out of the way in one trip!

Outdoor Recreation

Riverside is a great place to be if you like hiking, enjoying great views, and exploring nature. Residents enjoy the city life while being close to natural, wild areas. Miles of bike paths fill the area surrounding the city, and many residents take advantage of their weekends to get outside and enjoy nature, weather permitting. Here are a few of the best places in the area to get outside and enjoy some outdoor recreation. 

California Citrus State Historic Park: Have you wondered how California became one of the largest citrus producers in the United States? A visit to the California Citrus State Historic Park will give you a good idea of how Southern California became known for its navel oranges. There are walking tours available Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Bring walking shoes, water, and sunscreen—it can get hot during the tour!

Mount Rubidoux: An important landmark to the citizens of Riverside, Mount Rubidoux has hosted a nondenominational Easter celebration for over 100 years, making it the oldest celebration of its kind in the entire United States. But Easter isn’t the only time for a visit to Mount Rubidoux. The park atop the mountain is open from dawn till dusk and features 3.5 miles of paved roads and several dirt hiking trails. From the top of Mount Rubidoux, visitors can see the entire city. It’s definitely worth the trip if you have an extra hour or two!
San Bernardino National Forest: If you’re looking for some great hiking in a truly wild area, consider making the trip to San Bernardino National Forest. The trip from Riverside to the national forest takes less than an hour, which makes it an easy day trip or even a quick afternoon trip. There’s hiking, fishing, off-roading, and plenty of other fun outdoor activities to take advantage of. If you’ve got a free weekend, consider camping overnight and extend the fun!
Box Springs Mountain Reserve Park: This park is situated on 3,400 sprawling acres of land that overlook Riverside, CA. Park managers ask that visitors take care while visiting the reserve in order to protect wildlife and their delicate ecosystem so everyone can enjoy this natural resource for years to come. There are several miles of trails for hiking and biking that vary in difficulty. The mountain rises to over 3,000 ft. in elevation and provides truly spectacular views of surrounding areas. Picnic tables and bathrooms are located at two parking areas, making this a great place to enjoy nature alone or with a group of friends or family.

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Local Attractions

Riverside is known for its vibrant art scene, and the many museums and art galleries in the city certainly help the city to uphold its reputation. But there’s more than just art in Riverside: There are theme parks, museums, and plenty of other places for residents and visitors to enjoy. Here are a few of the standout attractions in Riverside, CA.

Castle Park: With 25 acres of fun and games, Castle Park is sure to thrill its visitors. There are multiple roller coasters of varying intensity, minigolf courses, an arcade full of new and classic games, and even a water park for children and their parents to cool off on a hot day. Castle Park also hosts fun shows and performances by magicians, musical groups, and more. In October, Castle Park becomes Castle Dark, a spooky twist on the theme park with haunted houses and scary rides. There are plenty of shopping and dining opportunities year round, too! General admission is only $35-40.

Riverside Art Museum: Located in the heart of the historic Mission Inn District of Riverside, CA, the Riverside Art Museum itself is a work of art. Built in 1929 by a celebrated architect, this building was eventually bought by those who would start the Riverside Art Museum. The museum now hosts art in a variety of mediums and invites residents and visitors to come interact and engage with the art on display. Occasionally the museum will also offer art classes for children and beginning artists to get a handle on the techniques and mediums needed to create art. You should definitely stop by and get to know the art and artists that call Riverside home!
March Field Air Museum: This museum contains planes and relics from the past that tell the interesting history of mankind’s quest for flight and the role that March Field played in that quest. This museum is home to over 80 full aircrafts that are on permanent display and over 30,000 individual artifacts that help visitors understand better the development of flight. The museum is open daily Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost of admission is $12, but if you’re an active duty member or a family member of someone who is, you’ll get free admission!
Fairmount Park: This is one of the most popular local parks in Riverside, CA. It offers a lot of space for residents and visitors to relax and enjoy themselves. The small lake in the middle of the park and the beautiful landscaping make this park a great place for a wedding, and many people do, in fact, hold their wedding ceremony on the park’s grounds. The lake offers fishing opportunities, and the grounds are a great place to play sports or picnic. You might even make friends with the friendly birds that call the park home! Don’t forget to visit the rose garden either—it’s an impressive sight.

Schools

There are nearly 50 individual K–12 public schools throughout Riverside, CA, and many are highly rated. As with anything, some will be better than others. If you’re worried about the quality of education your child might receive in the public education system, there are plenty of private schools spread throughout the city that offer more custom education options. 

For those looking for higher education, Riverside is home to UC Riverside and La Sierra University, both four-year universities, as well as Riverside City College, a two-year community college. There are several private four-year and two-year universities in Riverside as well.

Resources

Jobs

Riverside is home to nearly 350,000 people. This large population means that there is a strong job market across multiple industries. Some of the largest employers in the area are UC Riverside, Loma Linda University, and Amazon, which has a fulfillment center in Riverside. There are also multiple healthcare facilities and hospitals in the area that offer a consistent source of jobs. 

Riverside supports a large number of restaurants, grocery stores, and other retail businesses that are always looking for employees. These jobs are perfect for high school and college students or anyone looking for part-time employment.

If you’re thinking about moving to Riverside, finding a job shouldn’t be too difficult. Riverside is, of course, also very close to plenty of other cities full of great employment opportunities. 

Resources

Jobs

Riverside is home to nearly 350,000 people. This large population means that there is a strong job market across multiple industries. Some of the largest employers in the area are UC Riverside, Loma Linda University, and Amazon, which has a fulfillment center in Riverside. There are also multiple healthcare facilities and hospitals in the area that offer a consistent source of jobs. 

Riverside supports a large number of restaurants, grocery stores, and other retail businesses that are always looking for employees. These jobs are perfect for high school and college students or anyone looking for part-time employment.

If you’re thinking about moving to Riverside, finding a job shouldn’t be too difficult. Riverside is, of course, also very close to plenty of other cities full of great employment opportunities. 

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cost of living

The cost of living can greatly affect someone’s ability to live and thrive in an area. Most are aware of the high housing costs in California, and because housing is often the largest part of a monthly budget, expensive housing can make it difficult to feel financially secure. 

Luckily, Riverside, CA, has a much lower average house cost compared to much of the surrounding area. The average home price in Riverside is just over $500,000, while the average price for all of California is well over $700,000. In addition, grocery and healthcare costs are lower than the national average. Overall, Riverside is one of the more affordable places to live in Southern California.

Still, many turn to rent to live more affordably. At Mission Lofts, we offer competitive rental rates and strive to meet all the needs of our residents.

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art & culture

Riverside was just a small, sleepy Southern California town before the 1870s. The introduction of navel oranges and the “orange rush” that followed would put it on the map. People from all over the United States, especially the east, flocked to Riverside to make their fortune growing and selling Oranges. Soon enough, wealthy investors took notice of Riverside as well. The buildings built in the following decades pioneered the Mission Revival style popular throughout Southern California today.

Downtown Riverside is a cultural hub of architecture, history, and art. One of the most famous buildings is the Mission Inn, a 238-room hotel that has been frequented by presidents and celebrities over the years. It’s a Riverside icon and the center of the historic district. Other cultural landmarks include Riverside’s Chinatown, the National Packing House, and the Citrus Experiment Station.

Downtown Riverside is home to a number of statues of great leaders, including Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Dosan Ahn Chang Ho, and Eliza Tibbets, the mother of America’s first naval orange tree. Walking west from the historic Mission Inn is the best way to see all these beautiful works of art. 

There are several great museums in the area as well. One of the most popular is Riverside Art Museum, discussed in the local attractions section above. There’s also the Riverside Metropolitan Museum, which has tons of historical artifacts of local significance. Riverside is a great place to be for artists and art lovers alike!

Now that you’ve learned all about what Riverside has to offer, we hope you’re excited to move here. Riverside is an amazing Southern California city and a great place to live. There’s so much to see and do! You’ll never run out of great restaurants and fun activities.

If you’re looking for a place to live, consider staying with us at Mission Lofts Apartments in Riverside, CA. We do our best to provide competitive rent prices and top-class amenities for our residents. Schedule a tour today or call us at (951) 289-9333. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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