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JordanJames

Riverside, CA

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I'm looking to live between Riverside and Camp Pendleton, close to the 215 freeway. My husband will be back east my first year, so closer to Riverside is fine at first. Anyone with thoughts or advice?

I grew up in Redlands, and left the area in 2006. That is a quaint town, and largely conservative. In fact, I think the whole Inland Empire (IE) is largely conservative (I moved to Berkeley when I left, it's a much better fit for me). Readlands is to the north east of Riverside on the 10 freeway. It's largely the same as most of the other towns that cover the landscape between Riverside and Orange County. The smaller towns (like Paris) can be pretty depressing, unless you like smaller towns. One has to pick between strip malls and rusty tractors. The fortunate thing about the IE is that you are a one hour drive (two to three at rush hour) to just about everything. Beach and Mountains.

If you are willing to live close to Riverside to start with, you might just be happiest living in Riverside. The freeway traffic can ware on a person's last nerve. Paris is a decent commute distance, as is Corona (~30 min drive depending on time of day). Of the two, Corona is more populated, and looks to be much like Riverside. Murietta makes for a long commute, and although I have had friends who did that in school, they were leaving the house at 5:30 all the time. Moreno Valley might be a good pick. It's not too far from the 215, and it's a little nicer than Paris. Unfortunately, I don't have a decent estimate on cost of living in these places. Just make sure your car has air conditioning (And that you have a car!!!).

Claremont is the only town with a college in the IE that ever felt like a college town to me.

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Any updates to this post?

We've been looking at a few places downtown (orange at mission, brockton at mission etc.), and canyon crest, but are unsure about what is best. Budget is $850 max (my wife works), and we are keen to live somewhere interesting, near a decent level of amenities, but still safe.

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Can anyone elaborate on the level of pollution in Riverside, CA? Can you health seriously get affected from living in Riverside, CA?unsure.gif

Yes. I'm sorry to say it, but the pollution in Riverside is terrible. During my first quarter as an undergrad there, I had to start using inhalers. There are many days when you can actually see a brown haze over the city as you approach. I think it's worse there than in Los Angeles.

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I will be going to Riverside in the fall and I am trying to find an apartment that is large dog friendly. Does anybody know of any or have any suggestions?

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I'm hoping that by writing this review, I can give prospectives a fair picture of Riverside, CA from my point of view. First off though, let me start by saying that California residents are huge whiners. If you are moving from out of state, take everything a California resident complains about with a large grain of salt. If you are already a California resident, Riverside, CA may not be as nice as the city that you already live in, but the majority of the cities in the United States of America are not.

About where I'm coming from. I spent half of my childhood in Northern California and the other half in the Seattle Area. As a full fledged rent-paying adult I've lived in the Seattle, WA - Hilo, Hawaii - and now Riverside, CA. Compared to Hawaii, everything in Riverside is cheaper. The groceries are half the price, the internet is 4 times faster for $10 less a month, and the rent is very affordable. That being said, my pros and cons of Riverside are as follows.

The Pros -

-The diversity is amazing. Coming from white Northern California, White/Asian Seattle, and Hawaiian/Asian Hawaii, I've never lived somewhere so diverse.

-The people are incredibly friendly and helpful, especially compared to Hawai'i and many areas of Seattle

-The weather is nice. Yes, it's hot during the summer, but I'm in my office from 9-5ish so it's cooler in the morning and the evening. In addition, all of the apartments I've looked at come with pools as well as central AC (which Hawaii surprisingly didn't have).

-Housing is affordable. I pay $790 a month for my one bedroom apartment that I share with my girlfriend. It's 750 sq-ft., comes with a yard, there are two pools, two bbq's, and a hot tub at the complex. Laundry is shared in complex.

NOTE FOR BIG DOG OWNERS - your best bet for Apartments accepting large dogs are Concord Village, Hidden Springs, or Boulder Creek. They're all comprable, but Concord Village and Boulder Creek have units with yards.

-Proximity to all types of things. (Drive times are with little to no traffic, which is often weekends) Disneyland is a 35 minute drive, Santa Monica is 45-60 minutes, Palm Springs is 45, Joshua tree is 45-60, Big Bear is ~60 minutes, Temecula is 60-70, Los Angeles is 45 minutes. In addition, Riverside has 300,000 residents and has the amount of retail, recreation, and resources necessary to fit a city of that size. For those who arrive attached, there are a number of relatively large neighboring cities (San Bernardino, Corona, Ontario). Depending on their profession, there are job opportunities in those cities as well as Riverside. My girlfriend works for the department of parks and recreation and got two interviews in her first two weeks in Riverside (one in Riverside one in San Bernardino).

-UCR is a UC school that comes with all of the resources of a UC. Especially compared to the University of Hawaii school system, the student resources are extremely nice to have.

-Downtown Riverside. It's beautiful and historical looking. From my understanding, it has been cleaned up significantly over the last 20 years. This is the case for a lot of Riverside because quite a bit of the city looks very new.

The cons -

- Southern California drivers do not drive safe. They'll pride themselves on driving defensively, but that's because many of the other drivers are driving like bats out of hell.

- There are a lot of people who speak only Spanish. I speak enough spanish that it doesn't really bother me but it definitely bothers other people in the area.

- There are days where the smog hovers above the city. The valley Riverside is in naturally catches fog anyways, so on smoggy days it'll catch that as well. Of course knowing about the clean air of the Pacific Northwest it's unfortunate, but I've also lived in Hawai'i which gets Vog (volcanic smog). For me, it's not enough to notice, but from comments on here it seems that some people seem to mind. My girlfriend thought it would be a huge problem for her based on the comments, but in reality it hasn't.

- There are 'bad' areas, but there nothing compared to the bad areas of Hawaii. I think it will depend on your perspective. If having an older part of the city where poverty is more prevalent is something that seriously bothers you, then look somewhere else. If however, you are realistic and understand that that is part of life, you probably won't care at all.

- The public transportation isn't amazing. But there is a lot of housing around campus, so biking to school is extremely doable (that's what I do).

If you're moving here single, get in a shared house, townhouse, or apartment and your stipend will do you just fine. If you are coming with somebody, you're stipend will also be just fine. If you have the chance to visit I would do so. Before my campus visits, I was convinced that Riverside was horrible while Long Island was wonderful. After my visits, I really loved Riverside and Southern California in general, and found that Long Island, NY didn't suit me. Overall, I recommend Riverside, but it'll really depend on your needs.

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Question about commuting: I live in San Diego, and don't plan on moving (husband has well-paying and advancing career here - something pretty precious in today's economy, and we also just bought a home). I am considering attending UCR for an English PhD. Has anyone commuted regularly from SD to Riverside, or vice versa? How was it? Keep in mind I will not be commuting during rush hour, and I will only be doing it three times a week at most. I'd appreciate any insight. Thanks!

~S.

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Question about commuting: I live in San Diego, and don't plan on moving (husband has well-paying and advancing career here - something pretty precious in today's economy, and we also just bought a home). I am considering attending UCR for an English PhD. Has anyone commuted regularly from SD to Riverside, or vice versa? How was it? Keep in mind I will not be commuting during rush hour, and I will only be doing it three times a week at most. I'd appreciate any insight. Thanks!

~S.

I just graduated as an undergraduate from UCR and, coincidentally enough, one of my professors came up from San Diego to teach on campus. She once told me how much she hated the long commute of about 1:15-1:30 minutes. By the way, that's a commute in pretty good traffic from San Diego proper.

Also, she made a point of only scheduling class/office hours on the two days she came to school. If you don't mind driving a lot, you'll be fine! One other thing, I-15 taking you up to Riverside from San Diego has a pretty long stretch where it's just two lanes wide in either direction (a pitiful freeway by California standards!) That being said, rush hour can happen whenever due to a slight uptick in traffic, some guy changing his tire on the side of the road, etc.

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I just graduated as an undergraduate from UCR and, coincidentally enough, one of my professors came up from San Diego to teach on campus. She once told me how much she hated the long commute of about 1:15-1:30 minutes. By the way, that's a commute in pretty good traffic from San Diego proper.

that must be one way; google maps says ~1 hr and 40 min one way.

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I know this thread isn't necessarily active right now but I need to put in my 0.02 since I am an undergrad here right now.

For anyone looking for housing:

DO NOT LIVE IN GRAND MARC APARTMENTS ESPECIALLY AS A GRAD STUDENT.

It is very loud all of the time and is the biggest piece of crap ever. For 750/month (furnished) you can certainly do better in the area considering this place is old, has paper thin walls, HORRIBLE management, and is all around a terrible place. I strongly, strongly, strongly, suggest everyone to live anywhere but here.

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Hi,

I'm moving to Riverside in a few months to start the PhD program, so wherever I choose I want to live there for 6-7 years.

What I'm looking for:

1. Close to campus (walking/short biking) distance

2. Close to bus/shuttle stop - especially if the bus/shuttle runs till 9 or 10 at night

3. Close to businesses, like supermarket and starbucks

4. Studio or efficiency apartment is fine, I don't need a full kitchen or a lot of space.

5. I'm a non-smoker, single female, no pets, no loud noise. That said, I honestly don't mind if other people have pets, loud noise or smoke.

6. I live in a (fairly) bad neighborhood right now, and I'm doing just fine. I'm not fussy about having to live in a "pretty" neighborhood, and petty crime/vandalsim doesn't bother me either, especially if it means that the rents are cheaper.

I'm planning on moving in on sept 1, but I'll be out of town till late August, so I will need to get a sense of which neighborhoods and buildings are good in the early summer. Any suggestions/ideas?

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Hi,

I'm moving to Riverside in a few months to start the PhD program, so wherever I choose I want to live there for 6-7 years.

What I'm looking for:

1. Close to campus (walking/short biking) distance

2. Close to bus/shuttle stop - especially if the bus/shuttle runs till 9 or 10 at night

3. Close to businesses, like supermarket and starbucks

4. Studio or efficiency apartment is fine, I don't need a full kitchen or a lot of space.

5. I'm a non-smoker, single female, no pets, no loud noise. That said, I honestly don't mind if other people have pets, loud noise or smoke.

6. I live in a (fairly) bad neighborhood right now, and I'm doing just fine. I'm not fussy about having to live in a "pretty" neighborhood, and petty crime/vandalsim doesn't bother me either, especially if it means that the rents are cheaper.

I'm planning on moving in on sept 1, but I'll be out of town till late August, so I will need to get a sense of which neighborhoods and buildings are good in the early summer. Any suggestions/ideas?

If crime (i. e. robberies) doesn't bother you, Eastside (west of campus) is cheap and has shopping along University Ave. The Iowa/Blaine/Linden area often has apartments available, it's techincally not in Eastside, but it's close and there are robberies there pretty often. There's also the area east of campus, which is somewhat safer, but more residential. As far as I know, it only has one grocery store: Goodwin's organic, which is probably relatively expensive. Canyon Crest, south of campus, is a nicer area, with shopping (canyon crest town center), but somewhat more expensive. It's a long walk, because the agricultural experiment station is south of campus, and canyon crest is south of that, but it is bikeable and there's a shuttle too (look up RTA bus route 51). I don't think you'll have much of a problem finding an apartment a few weeks before the start of the quarter, esp. if you aren't looking for anything particularly nice. From my experience, there aren't many studio apts in Riverside. You can get a 1 bedroom apt for ~$700/month. With roommates, you can get a room for ~$400-500.

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Hi,

Thanks for all the info, I'll definitely look for a 1Bdr in the Eastside area.

In terms of robberies, is it limited to property or do people get hurt? Where I live now there's a lot of vandalism and theft, but very little person on person violence. I've learned to get good locks on my doors and windows here, and been perfectly fine. Also, I've heard about car windows getting smashed in Riverside. Is that for theft - like someone left a laptop in the car - or vandalsim - criminals just like breaking car windows? There are a lot of broken car windows in my current neighborhood, but it's always to steal a radio or something expensive. My building has garage parking so I'll probably look for that in Riverside as well.

How's the bus service to the cheaper neighborhoods west of UCR? Is it worth it to live a little farther away from campus, save rent and take the bus, since it's free?

Thanks for your time, BTW, this has all been very helpful.

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Hi,

Thanks for all the info, I'll definitely look for a 1Bdr in the Eastside area.

In terms of robberies, is it limited to property or do people get hurt? Where I live now there's a lot of vandalism and theft, but very little person on person violence. I've learned to get good locks on my doors and windows here, and been perfectly fine. Also, I've heard about car windows getting smashed in Riverside. Is that for theft - like someone left a laptop in the car - or vandalsim - criminals just like breaking car windows? There are a lot of broken car windows in my current neighborhood, but it's always to steal a radio or something expensive. My building has garage parking so I'll probably look for that in Riverside as well.

How's the bus service to the cheaper neighborhoods west of UCR? Is it worth it to live a little farther away from campus, save rent and take the bus, since it's free?

Thanks for your time, BTW, this has all been very helpful.

I only know the full story (more or less) for crimes that happen fairly close to campus, because then the campus police sends out an email. In those cases, people have been threatened with weapons (guns, knives), but no one's been hurt in the half year that I've been here. Here's a quote from the police dept: "the suspects have used force ranging from grabbing the victim’s property and running to pointing a firearm. In most cases, the suspect was not alone and was normally found working in conjunction with at least one other person. In a majority of the incidents, the victim was using or carrying openly at least one item of value that was stolen (Such as a lap top, tablet PC, smartphone and similar items)." I recommend crimereports.com for more info. I don't know about car break-ins near campus. Someone's motorcycle was stolen from the campus parking lot, though. If you want garage parking, you'll probably need to rent in a nicer building geared towards students- those will only be cheap if you are sharing an apt, but the landlord can help you find a roommate. I actually live farther west of UCR, near downtown, and take the bus. It's 40-50 minutes one way. If you live near the 16 or 1 bus routes, it could be less, because I need to walk to get to the bus stop. Those are the best routes to get to campus, other than the 51 which is the campus shuttle (but only runs on school days).

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If you can afford it I would suggest living in the Canyon Crest area. In my opinion it's the nicest place around the campus. The houses on the east side (I believe) are okay too but in terms of wanting to rent an apartment I would definitely look near the canyon crest area. The shopping center is nice, it's close to campus, and it just feels a whole lot safer over there.

I've lived here for 3 years so that's my opinion so far on my experience.

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I've driven around Canyon Crest, and you're right, it's quite lovely. I'm just a little concerned that it's out of my price range. What are the rents like for 1BR? Can you walk or bike to campus? Is there shuttle/bus service to the area?

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I've driven around Canyon Crest, and you're right, it's quite lovely. I'm just a little concerned that it's out of my price range. What are the rents like for 1BR? Can you walk or bike to campus? Is there shuttle/bus service to the area?

A quick look at padmapper.com suggests that the cheapest apts are likley to be in the high 700 or low 800- almost $100/month more than Eastside apts. There's one studio apt listed for $595, though. A walk to campus would be a little long- 1.5 miles, but that's defintiely bikeable, and as a mentioned earlier, there's a shuttle (RTA route 51) on school days, and the 16 route that runs all the time. I would have loved to rent a 2 bedroom with someone else there, if I didn't have other limitations. Personally, I don't think a Canyon Crest 1 bedroom without roommates is affordable on a TA stipend- which for me will be about $16.5K next year (I have a more generous fellowship for my first year), but maybe you can get a nice, quiet grad student as a roommate.

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I'm also strongly considering Riverside for Fall 2013. Looks like the smog is worth a great school that is perfect for my research interests.

 

The recommendations so far for bike commuters have been great, please keep them coming. Also, anyone going for 2013 who is looking for a roommate, please ping me!

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I'm local to Riverside.  As far as housing, if you don't mind a short commute (like 10-15 minutes), you can get less expensive housing in Moreno Valley or Perris.  Some in Riverside would say that crime is bad in those cities, but its not a general thing.  They are certainly more diverse that Riverside.  There are a lot of suburban neighborhoods with tract homes that have very reasonable rents and are safe in both Moreno Valley and Perris.  Also Moreno Valley has some newer apartment complexes around the mall area that look nice.  

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I'll be attending Riverside this fall for a Ph.D. in history.

 

What's a good monthly food budget in the Riverside area?

 

Also, does campus housing for graduate students mix you in with undergrads who will be playing Freebird ninety-three times in a row at three AM?  I'm from Indiana so I won't have much of an opportunity to hunt for an apartment before I get there, but I want to know if I'll be able to get some work done in campus housing or if it's worth it to fly out for a day or two ahead of time to find a place.

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