locals love being in the center of the mix. Located 55 miles east of Los Angeles, Riverside carries urban appeal in a desert-like climate. Summer temperatures can hit 112 degrees, but the heat doesn't slow down this vibrant city.
A part of the Inland Empire region, downtown Riverside holds a proud motto: "The art of the city." Art fans head to area galleries to view stunning exhibits and watch film screenings at University
of California Riverside's Artsblock. The city also provides locals with a wide range of shopping choices, and renowned restaurants draw brimming crowds that celebrate the neighborhood's hip, young vibe. Outdoor enthusiasts take advantage of fantastic hiking at Mount Rubidoux.
Schools in Downtown Riverside
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Restaurants & Nightlife
University Avenue and Market Street serve as main arteries to downtown, where a wide range of restaurants satisfy locals' hunger. You find much more than traditional fast-food fare in this region, although those options exist if you crave a quick burger or pizza.
For the best authentic Mexican food, locals direct you to Tio's Tacos. Found on Mission Inn Avenue, Tio's attracts attention with a huge metal statue hanging outside the restaurant. Walk past the conversation piece and order the al pastor torta, a savory sandwich stuffed with tender beef, veggies and guacamole. Locals also rave about the carnitas tacos with fresh salsa verde. Before you leave, try one of Tio's homemade agua frescas for a refreshing drink.
When residents want social energy in the hottest spot in town, they head to The Salted Pig on 12th Street. Try the dry aged rib-eye and filthy fries made with beer cheese. To satisfy your sweet tooth, be outrageous and order the pig sammy, a dessert sandwich served with caramelized-bacon ice cream.
Described by locals as a dive bar, Sire Bar & Grill on Magnolia Avenue earns its name. The gigantic horseshoe over the entrance invites visitors in for a good time. Known as a place with familiar faces from the neighborhood, Sire's carries a nice vibe. The jukebox gets crowds rocking, and the nightly menu specials never disappoint. Check out taco Wednesday, or order a late-night burger special for $2 to go along with your drinks.
History & Culture
Riverside has a prosperous history. Founded by John North in 1870, the area was dedicated to furthering education and culture. Once a Spanish rancho, the region garnered investors from England and Canada, who built the first golf course and polo field in Southern California, right in town. The first orange trees were planted in 1871, spawning the state's citrus industry. By 1882, more than 500,000 citrus trees covered California, and nearly half were in Riverside.
famous Mission Inn drew royalty, presidents and movie stars to the stately
hotel. In homage to the "citrus gold rush" birthed in Riverside, the California Citrus State Historic Park holds exhibits to commemorate the state's valuable agricultural history. Visitors may also take guided tours through the citrus groves and sample fresh fruit off the trees. The city celebrates the Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony to recognize excellent leadership and service in the downtown community.
Most locals drive personal vehicles to get around town. Parking remains limited, and drivers must pay to park on city streets. Downtown Riverside lies conveniently close to State Routes 60 and 91, along with Interstates 215 and 10, though these main roads are known to harbor heavy traffic.
Riverside Transit Agency services the area with buses, and commuters may also use the train system. Metrolink and Amtrak run through the Riverside station located on Vine Street. You find the Greyhound station on University Avenue. Taxis may be utilized by calling ahead, and Uber services the area.
Pedestrians enjoy walking to several destinations with ease. Clearly marked crosswalks contribute to safety. Cyclists commute by bike, but must use caution due to limited bike lanes downtown.
Residents of downtown Riverside pay a bit more for housing compared to nearby Moreno Valley. The average cost for a one-bedroom
sits at $1,152, while comparable quarters average $905 in Moreno Valley. This contributes to downtown's higher cost of living, which hovers around 9 percent more by comparison.
Locals enjoy an affordable cost for public transportation. A trip to the city center runs $1.50 on a Riverside Transit Agency bus. Drivers pay close to 25 percent above the national average for gas, and a beer at a local pub costs about $4.
Among downtown Riverside's top choices for shopping, Kelly's Boutique at the Mission Inn Hotel and Spa stands apart from the rest. Kelly's sells quaint keepsakes, clothing and fine cigars that come at a premium price. Pick up a memorable trinket or accessory pouch. The Main Street Pedestrian Mall, where you find the boutique, is an outdoor haven for taking a stroll.
To visit a mall that has it all, head to Riverside Plaza Drive off of Central Avenue. The Riverside Plaza holds a unique charm that defines the area, offering shoppers grocery options with Trader Joes and Vons, and the best choices for clothing. Peruse the bargains at Marshalls, then head to Nordstrom Rack for designer bargains. Pick up a Tory Burch satchel paired with the hottest boots of the season. For sunny weather, try on a cool pair of Chanel shades. Catch a movie at the Plaza's theater, and check out their events calendar for a list of entertainment.
Satisfy your shopping bug and fight a great cause while you're at it. The Pink Ribbon Thrift Shop on Magnolia Avenue provides shoppers with an amazing collection of vintage items, furniture and contemporary clothing. Owned by the Pink Ribbon Place, a program founded by the Riverside Community Health Foundation, the thrift shop aids in assisting breast cancer patients, survivors and their families. With 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Pink Ribbon Place and its resources, this thrift store shines as a true neighborhood gem.
For Riverside's farmers market, head to Main Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues. Here you find baked goods from Old Towne Baking Co. and aged Gouda cheese by Winchester Cheese Company. Quality flowers, vegetables and fresh fruit also line the stalls.
Touted as a great family park, Andulka Park on Chicago Avenue provides a host of amenities. Runners hit the trail for an invigorating workout, while baseball fans take to the field. Bring your basketball or tennis racket for a day of recreation, and don't forget the sand volleyball courts. Children enjoy the play area equipped with slides. For your convenience, Andulka provides restrooms and a free parking lot.
Let Fido run free at Riverwalk Dog Park. Located on Pierce Street, this community favorite acts as a social meeting place for pets.
Riverwalk has a jungle gym
for pooches to burn energy, and it provides water bowls to keep them hydrated. Big and little dogs have their own accommodations, so owners can rest easy. The weekends get crowded, but it's worth the effort for the fun the park promises. Locals advise all visitors to kindly remember to pick up after your pets. The parks host no annual events, but patrons can enjoy recreational activities year-round.