Local Atmosphere

Riverside, CA
Tuition (in-state)
$35,838 ($12,960)
Admission Difficulty
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3 Recent Alumnus

Local Atmosphere: Pretty small. Most you can get to by driving or taking the bus, such as to the Moreno Mall. But if you want to get out of the city, there is always Downtown Riverside. They have a small shopping center and a few museums students can visit for free or at a discounted price.

4 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: Downtown Riverside is filled with many great art museums. There is a mall not too far from campus and many hiking trails in the area. Many places are free or provide free admission to students and are welcoming towards UCR students.

3 Recent Alumnus

Local Atmosphere: There's not much to do off campus. There are shopping areas one can go, but it's far from campus. Takes at least 15-20 mins to get there. There are some food places, but the food culture in general is not rich. Most of them are your typical fast food chains. I think most locals are somewhat indifferent of students. Safety off campus depends where you go within Riverside. Some areas are decent in safety while other places seem unsafe and rundown. Since Riverside is your low-income blue collar neighborhood, I would not say there is much cultural activities organized from what I understand.

4 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: The atmosphere at UCR is very nice and welcoming.

4 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: museums nearby in downtown riverside, events, beautiful scenery, friendly people, hiking trails, and lots of things to do


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Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Hayley Cruz
Grad Year
View all previous student authors

While Riverside comes across as the smaller and less impressive cousin of Los Angeles, the city still has a charm all its own. Newcomers may find the historical aspects more entertaining than long-time residents, but sites like the Mission Inn keep the interest high. Riverside is a big city, almost sprawling, and there's not enough of a community to make newcomers feel especially welcome, but not uncomfortable, either. College students can usually be found sticking close to campus or in the immediate area, and those who do venture farther out are typically working in a part-time job or seeking some nighttime fun.

Outside of Riverside, Los Angeles can be an attractive option, but California's infamous traffic may cause some to seek less populated options. For sheer proximity, Moreno Valley and Corona are good choices for familiarity, but clubbers and gamblers are advised to seek districts like Orange County or Temecula. Although a viable option all year-round, Lake Arrowhead and the beach cities are especially attractive choices for retreats in the winter and summer, respectively. The Student Recreation Center actually offers group weekend getaways through the Outdoor Excursions program. Through these planned trips, students can snowboard, kayak, horseback, swim, and rock climb throughout Southern California at a discounted rate. Sometimes the center even has vouchers for amusement parks like Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, and Six Flags. Overall, students can find plenty of entertainment either in Riverside or its surrounding areas.

Facts & Statistics

Fun Local Trivia
  1. The Mission Inn is a historic hotel in downtown Riverside. It is generally considered the center of the city and hosts a number of seasonal, holiday, and political functions, as well as other major social gatherings. Eight presidents have visited the Inn, including Ronald and Nancy Reagan, who honeymooned there, and Richard and Pat Nixon, who were married at one of the two wedding chapels.
  2. Twenty-five films have been shot, at least in part, in Riverside.
  3. The first two navel orange trees in the US were from Brazil and planted in Riverside in 1875. Virtually all navel oranges now grown in the US are offspring from these trees.
  4. The first public preview of "Gone with the Wind" was shown in the Fox Theatre in Riverside in 1939.
  5. The first prerelease screening of the controversial film "Birth of a Nation" was shown at the Loring Opera House.
  6. The March Field Air Museum in Riverside is home of the world's fastest manned airplane: the SR-71 Blackbird.
Notable Natives
  • Barry Bonds - baseball player
  • Don Imus - radio personality
  • Kellie Martin - actress
  • Reggie Miller - former NBA player
Local Slang
  • Hella: A synonym for "really," as in, "This food is hella good!"
  • So Cal: Southern California
Points of Interest
  • Benedict Castle
  • Castle Park
  • Downtown Riverside
  • Heritage House
  • Jensen Alvarado Ranch
  • Jurupa Mountains Cultural Center
  • Life Arts Center
  • March Field Air Museum
  • Mission Inn Hotel & Spa
  • Mount Rubidoux
  • Riverside Art Museum
  • Riverside County Philharmonic
  • Riverside Metropolitan Museum
  • Riverside Municipal Auditorium
  • UCR Botanical Gardens
  • UCR Sweeney Art Gallery
  • Victoria Avenue
Shopping Centers
  • Canyon Crest Towne Centre
  • Fiesta Discount Mall
  • Galleria at Tyler
  • University Village
Movie Theaters
AMC Tyler 16
3775 Tyler St.
(888) 262-4386
Movie Theaters
Mission Grove 18
121 E. Alessandro Blvd.
(909) 789-8483
Movie Theaters
Regal Riverside Plaza Stadium 16
3535 Riverside Plaza Drive
(951) 784-4600
Movie Theaters
Regency University Village 10
1201A University Ave.
(909) 784-4342
Movie Theaters
Van Buren Drive-In Theatre
3035 Van Buren Blvd.
(951) 688-2360
Major Sports Teams
  • Los Angeles Dodgers: MLB
  • Los Angeles Galaxy: MLS (soccer)
  • Los Angeles Kings: NHL
  • Los Angeles Lakers: NBA
Distances to Nearest Major Cities
  • Los Angeles: : 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • San Diego: : 1 hour, 30 minutes
Did You Know?
  • In 2011, Riverside was named one of the top "Digital Cities" in the United States.
  • In 2012, Riverside was chosen for a "Smart21 Communities" award, which recognizes the top 21 tech-savvy cities worldwide. Riverside was one of only six US cities to receive the recognition.
  • Riverside is ranked as the 12th largest city in California and the sixth largest city in Southern California; it has a population of more than 300,000 residents.

Student Polls

Rate the local atmosphere on the following topics    Based on 124 responses

Very poor
  • Cost of living
  • Dining
  • Friendliness of locals toward students
  • Museums/cultural attractions
  • Nightlife
  • Parking
  • Parks and recreation
  • Professional sports
  • Safety
  • Scenery
  • Shopping
  • Transportation

What is the local atmosphere like at your school?    Based on 124 responses

  • 10% Painfully remote.
  • 51% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 8% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 25% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 6% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 124 responses

  • 30% There aren't any nearby schools.
  • 44% There are nearby schools, but students do NOT interact much.
  • 26% There are nearby schools that students often interact with.

Can you see yourself living here after graduation?    Based on 124 responses

  • 37% No way.
  • 52% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 11% Totally.



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