Riverside CA downtown

2021 Top 100 Best Places to Live In America Sponsored by: See homes for sale on Movoto by OJO

liv score
How We Calculate Our Data
Civics 37
Demographics 61
Economy 71
Education 49
Health 47
Housing 51
Infrastructure 35

#82. Riverside, CA

Like the rest of Southern California, Riverside offers residents wonderfully mild weather, stunning mountain views and easy access to pretty much every kind of outdoor activity one could desire. But what sets Riverside apart from cities like Los Angeles and San Diego is its affordability. Oh, and it’s an easy drive to famous SoCal attractions like Disneyland, Temecula Valley Wine Country and the ski slopes in the San Bernardino Mountains.

Top Colleges/Universities: University of California, Riverside

Top Industries & Employers: Government offices, health care, education, manufacturing

Weekend Plans: Set in the foothills of the Box Springs Mountains, UC Riverside’s Botanic Garden garden offers 40 hilly acres of 3,500-plus plant species, more than 200 types of birds and 4 miles of scenic trails to explore.

Favorite Place to Feast: Since 1990, artist Martin Sanchez, owner of Tio’s Tacos, has been expanding the impressive collection of folk art that fills the famous Mexican restaurant, indoor and out, earning a devoted following of locals and tourists eager to see the quirky space.

Outdoorsy Activity: Paddleboats might not be the coolest outdoor activity, but it’s certainly fun. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, visitors can rent the small, leg-powered vessels at Fairmount Park.

Why Your Pet Will Love It, Too: Leashed dogs are allowed to accompany their people on the popular Mount Rubidoux Trail, a 2.7-mile, heavily trafficked path featuring a river and lovely views of its namesake park.

Remote Work Perk: Downtown Riverside and its surrounding burbs are dotted with dozens of parks – from urban Mount Rubidoux to untamed Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park – so lots of folks choose to take a quick hike or walk during lunch.

One More Thing … The University of California Riverside Citrus Variety Collection boasts more than 1,000 varieties of citrus (two trees of each) – and occasionally opens its gates to the public.

– Brittany Anas

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