Is Riverside, CA a Good Place to Live? 10 Pros and Cons of Living in Riverside

In Southern California’s Inland Empire, Riverside stands as a dynamic city with a mix of urban vitality and suburban charm. Having a rich cultural heritage and a diverse array of recreational opportunities, Riverside attracts residents seeking a balanced lifestyle. But is Riverside a good place to live? In this Redfin article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of living in Riverside to help you decide if it’s the right place for you.

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Quick Facts about Riverside

Median home sale price $635,000
Average monthly rent $2,250
Walk Score 43/100
Transit Score 30/100
Bike Score 49/100

1. Pro: Beautiful riverside scenery

Riverside is known for its stunning natural beauty, including the picturesque views of the Santa Ana River and the surrounding mountains. The city is home to several parks and green spaces, such as the scenic Mount Rubidoux Park, which offers hiking trails and panoramic views of the city. Additionally, the lush landscapes and well-maintained gardens, like those at the historic Mission Inn, provide residents with a serene and visually appealing environment.

2. Con: Hot summers

One of the downsides of living in Riverside is the extremely hot summer weather. Temperatures can soar above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, making outdoor activities uncomfortable and sometimes unsafe. The intense heat can also lead to higher energy bills as residents rely heavily on air conditioning to stay cool.

3. Pro: Proximity to airports

Riverside benefits from its close proximity to several major airports, making travel convenient for its residents. With Ontario International Airport just a short drive away and easy access to Los Angeles International Airport and John Wayne Airport, flying in and out of the region is hassle-free. This accessibility simplifies both domestic and international travel, enhancing the overall appeal of living in Riverside.

4. Con: Rush hour

The city’s growing population has led to increased vehicular traffic, causing delays and longer commute times. Major highways like the 91 and 215 freeways often experience heavy traffic, making daily travel a frustrating experience for many residents. This congestion can detract from the overall quality of life in the city.

mount rubidoux in riverside ca

5. Pro: Golf opportunities

Riverside provides numerous golf opportunities, making it a haven for enthusiasts. The city is home to several top-rated courses, including the historic Victoria Club and the scenic Oak Quarry Golf Club. These facilities provide residents with excellent venues to enjoy the sport, enhancing Riverside’s appeal for golf lovers.

6. Con: Air pollutants and pollen

Air quality can be a concern in Riverside due to its location in the Inland Empire, which is prone to smog and pollution. The combination of vehicle emissions and industrial activities contributes to poor air quality, particularly during the summer months. This can pose health risks, especially for individuals with respiratory conditions.

7. Pro: Lively music scene

Riverside has a lively music scene, offering residents a variety of live performances and events. The historic Fox Performing Arts Center and the Riverside Municipal Auditorium regularly host concerts, featuring both local talent and renowned artists. This vibrant musical landscape enriches the cultural fabric of the city, making it an exciting place for music lovers to call home.

8. Con: Limited public transportation

While the Riverside Transit Agency provides bus services, the transit score is 30, meaning routes and schedules may not be convenient for all residents. This can make it challenging for those without a personal vehicle to navigate the city efficiently. The limited public transportation infrastructure can be a significant inconvenience for some residents.

9. Pro: Outdoor activities

Riverside is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a wealth of recreational activities. The city is home to the picturesque Mount Rubidoux, perfect for hiking and enjoying panoramic views, and Fairmount Park, which features scenic walking paths, fishing lakes, and picnic areas. Additionally, the nearby Santa Ana River Trail provides extensive biking and jogging opportunities, making Riverside a good place to live.

10. Con: High cost of living

The cost of living in Riverside can be relatively high, particularly in terms of housing expenses. The median home sale price is $635,000, and the average monthly rent is $2,250, with both steadily increasing, making it challenging for some residents to find affordable housing. Additionally, the overall cost of goods and services can be higher putting a financial strain on those considering relocating to Riverside.


Methodology: The median home sale price and average monthly rental data is from the Redfin Data Center. The Walk Score, Transit Score and Bike Score data is from Walk Score.

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