Pros and cons of living in Riverside, California

Riverside got its name from being located near the Santa Ana River. But this city of oranges is unique in many other ways. If you’re considering moving there, you should know about it better. So, what’re the pros and cons of living in Riverside?

The city known for its citrus industry has a lot more to offer than oranges. Benefits of living here include the location, weather, affordability, and opportunities. However, Riverside isn’t all sweet like oranges. Disadvantages of living here are urban sprawl, air quality, weird laws, and traffic.

Regardless of these disadvantages, Riverside is an amazing city. With a population of over 300,000, this city is loved by many. Read on to find out the pros and cons of living in Riverside.

Pros of Living in Riverside 

There are several advantages to living in Riverside, and here are some of them.

Ideal Location

The number one advantage of living in this city is its central location. It’s so easy to get to many places from here. For example, Anaheim, with its Disneyland resort, is less than an hour away. Big Bear Lake is less than 1 hour 30 minutes away.

Most importantly, Los Angeles is just 1 hour 10 minutes by car. The proximity to LA means you can easily access all the opportunities and entertainment available in the city. While Riverside is more of an agricultural and residential city, you can have all the fun you want in Los Angeles.

Pleasant Weather

Weather is one of the primary reasons for moving to California, and this city doesn’t disappoint. There is plenty of sunshine here, and it’s hard to tell when winter comes. Though the sun can be a little hot in the summer, Riverside is perfect for you if you’re trying to escape shoveling snow. The closest you can find snow is in a ski resort about 90 minutes away from the city.

However, some folks don’t like how the seasons aren’t distinct here. So, if you’re someone who wants to enjoy the four seasons fully, Riverside isn’t the right option.


California cities are generally expensive, but some manage to stay relatively affordable. Riverside is one of those cities, and this explains why many people are moving there. The cost of living here is only 29.4% higher than the national average. That is low compared to the 49.9% higher that is the California average, the 73.3% higher that is the Los Angeles cost of living, or 52.2% higher that is Anaheim cost of living.

The average price of a home in Riverside is $547,794, which is still lower than the over $700,000 that a house costs on average in California. So, while Riverside is expensive, it’s cheaper to live in than neighboring cities.

Career Opportunities

If you’re a teacher or educator, Riverside is one of the best places to get a job. It is the highest paying city for teachers in the whole country. Riverside is also close to other cities where teachers receive good remuneration, such as Los Angeles, Anaheim, etc.

The city isn’t only great for teachers. It also offers entrepreneurs several opportunities. In 2017, it was the 4th best city for minority entrepreneurs in the United States. The city was also the best city for business retention and expansion in the Inland empire. With several economic accolades to its name, Riverside is a great city with lots of potential.

Major sectors of the economy here include agriculture and food-related production, advanced manufacturing, entrepreneurship and technology, professional services, restaurants, etc.

Cons of Living in Riverside

Every city comes with its baggage of issues that residents have to deal with. Riverside isn’t any different. Unfortunately, living here means you have to deal with the following problems.

Bad Air Quality

The air quality in Riverside is quite bad. This is due to several reasons, such as its proximity to Los Angeles and the fact that it produces pollution. In addition, the California wildfires and their smoke further make things worse.

However, the city is an agricultural town, and outside it, you’ll find lots of open vast spaces and fields. Escaping to these parts when the smog gets too heavy might help you get fresher and better air.

Weird Laws

There are cities in the United States that made some weird laws decades ago and are yet to repeal some of these laws. Riverside is one of those cities. In Riverside, it’s a law that you shouldn’t carry your lunch down the street from 11 am till 1 pm. Unfortunately, the law is still in effect, so beware.

Urban Sprawl

The city developed at a very fast pace and continues to grow, with many moving in annually. As a result of this, the urban sprawl is a little too much. It differs from area to area, but it’s a general problem all over the city that makes it challenging to navigate.


Living in Riverside means having to deal with traffic consistently. The city is one of the worst places to drive in California, and that’s no mistake. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the worst top 100 cities for driving in the country.

This doesn’t come as a surprise because the city is car-dependent. To get from one place to another in this city usually requires a car. Its walk score of 42 suggests that you need a car to get around. Transit score and bike score aren’t any better at 33 and 49, respectively. In 2019, two of its cities in Riverside County – Corona and Moreno Valley – were in the ten cities with the worst commutes in the country. 

So, if you’ll be living here, you have to prepare for the traffic. You’ll need to know the rush hours, best routes, etc., to minimize the time you spend commuting.

In Conclusion

Living in Riverside is a great experience as this is one of the most affordable cities close to Los Angeles. There are a lot of advantages to living. Even though there are negatives, the benefits far outweigh them, making it an amazing place to live.