Riverside : California


What It Is Like to Retire in Riverside

Riverside is a growing city of just over 300,000 near Los Angeles. The city was founded in 1870 by John North, and is the birthplace of the California citrus industry. It is a college town thanks to the University of California, Riverside, which is located in the northeastern part of the city. There are various festivals held thoughout the year including the Orange Blossom Festival in April and the Festival of Lights in December.


Where to Retire in Riverside and Home Prices

Riverside has many different neighborhoods, 28 in all. Some would be appropriate for retirees. There are also active adult communities in the area. According to the NAR the median selling price of a home in the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario area was about $435,000 in the 3rd quarter of 2020.


What Is Special about Riverside

For Southern California, the real estate prices are relatively affordable. The city has a rich heritage and many museums and initiatives like its festivals. The world's largest paper cup on display here is a relic of a former Dixie Cup manufacturing plant in Riverside.

What Is Not Special about Riverside

Prevailing westerly breezes from off the ocean tend to push the polluted air produced by millions of commuting motor vehicles and local industy towards the surrounding mountain ranges where they become trapped in areas like Riverside and its neighbor, San Bernardino, severely affecting health and visibility. Like most Los Angeles suburbs, Riverside is big and sprawling and regularly experiences severe traffic congestion and overcrowding.


Who Will Like Retirement in Riverside

People who want to stay in California and find a reasonably priced alternative might like Riverside. It is considered a very walkable community.


Local Economy Is Driven by

Formerly a citrus growing region,  Riverside now has a diversified economy, albeit with a very high unemployment rate.

Climate and Physical Environment

Riverside is 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles and is situated on the western edge of the Mojave Desert, 75 miles from Palm Springs. High temperatures in winter are mild, usually in the 50's or 60's (although it isn't unusual to experience a 90-degree stretch in the middle of January), and they may soar well over 100 in July/August. Low temperatures rarely drop below freezing any time of the year.


Restaurants & Cultural Scene

As a substantial city Riverside does have some cultural attractions.  The Riverside Fox Theater was where the first showing of the 1939 film Gone with the Wind took place. Now refurbished and owned by the city, it is part of the Riverside Renaissance Initiative. There are numerous museums in Riverside including the California Citrus State Museum, the Heritage House Museum, the Riverside Art Museum, the International Automotive Museum, and the UC-Riverside Botanical Gardens.


Crime rates might vary within the city by neighborhood. Overall, Riverside's crime rate is below the national average.


Medical Facilities

There are three major hospitals in the city including Kaiser Permanente, Parkview Hospital, and Riverside Community Hospital. Riverside County General Hospital was torn down in the 90's and replaced with a Lowes Home Improvement Center. Recently-constructed Moreno Valley General Hospital now serves the needs of indigent residents just east of Riverside. Most medical specialites are represented at these hospitals and at local medical clinics and centers within the city. There are also many assisted living facilities in Riverside and the surrounding communities, including some that are relatively new in west Riverside.



As any large metropolitan area in southern California, Riverside suffers from traffic congestion. The Municipal airport serves only light aircraft, so the nearest major airport is 15 miles away in Ontario, CA. Some major carriers, however, do not fly into Ontario, requiring travelers to use Los Angeles International Airport or John Wayne Airport in nearby Santa Ana, CA. Metrolink is is the local commuter train line that services the Riverside and San Bernardino areas. Metrolink was built to address the serious highway congestion in southern California and provides an alternative for southern California commuters. Riverside has an extensive intra-city bus service provided by Riverside Transit Authority; however, Califonia has a long-standing, well-known car culture, and most residents prefer to use their own vehicles despite the congestion.


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