Riverside is a city in Riverside County in California. With a population of over 300,000, the city plays host to a diverse cross-section of people and has a rich history. Riverside is approximately 55 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. It is a center for higher education, with one community college, a large state university, and two private universities. A hub of regional commerce and transportation, it is a city with an intriguing past and a promising future, and is worth a visit. While Riverside might be perceived as a "suburb" of Los Angeles, its population of over 300,000 would make it a substantial city in its own right pretty much everywhere else and the twelfth largest in California. It is one of the centers of the Inland Empire and host to UC Riverside.



Sights and Activities

  • The Riverside Metropolitan Museum, 3580 Mission Inn Ave (2 blocks east from Downtown bus terminal), ☎ +1 951 826-5273. Tu W F 9AM-5PM, Th 9AM-9PM, Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 11AM-5PM. The museum rotating exhibits on various topics and standing exhibits on local history, geography and culture. It's a half-hour's walk-through, but well worth the price. Donation, suggested $2.
  • The Riverside Art Museum, 3425 Mission Inn Ave (3 blocks east from Downtown bus terminal), ☎ +1 951 684-7111. M-Sa 10AM-4PM. The museum has rotating exhibits featuring a variety of local artists, including projects from the University of California-Riverside. $5, seniors and students $2.
  • The Mission Inn Museum, 3696 Main St (2 blocks east from Downtown bus terminal), ☎ +1 951 788-9556. Daily 9:30AM-4PM. Located on the ground floor of the historic Mission Inn, this space showcases the history of the building, including a chair crafted for the legendarily girthy President Taft. donation, $2 suggested.
  • UCR Culver Center for the Arts, 3834 Main St (on the Main Street Pedestrian Mall, 2 blocks east from Downtown bus terminal), ☎ +1 951 827-3755. Tu-Sa noon-5PM, 1st Th 6PM-9PM. The renovated UCR Culver Center for the Arts contains two institutions: the Sweeney Gallery, which shows a rotating collection of artistic endeavours from various, often UCR-affiliated, artists; and the UCR-California Museum of Photography, which offers a collection showcasing the artistic and historical uses that photography has been put to over the years. Admission covers both institutions. There is also a performance space in the center which showcases artistic and independent films. $3 (free for students and seniors).
  • The UCR Botanical Gardens, 900 University Ave (back campus – see web site, bus #1, 10, 16), ☎ +1 951 784-6962. Daily 8AM-5PM. These impressive botanical gardens are hidden in the hills above campus. They are usually lightly-visited and offer fantastic views of the city, as well as a large collection of exotic flora. Parking is highly limited, and metered at $0.50/hour. donation, $2 suggested.
  • Mount Rubidoux City Park, west end of 9th St (1/2 mile west of Downtown bus terminal, walk south on Fairmount to 9th, then west), ☎ +1 951 826-2000. Every day, dawn to dusk. For a panoramic view of the city, try climbing Mt. Rubidoux! Well... to say climb is a bit strong. The route up Mt. Rubidoux is a steady, sometimes-paved but mostly sandy incline lined with tall, prickly pear cactus and humongous rocks. A steady gait makes for about an hour round trip. Don’t forget to bring a camera. If it’s a clear day, one can see clear into nearby Corona to the West and Moreno Valley to the East. The sunsets from this vantage are beautiful, too! Be sure you are able to make it down before the sky gets too dark though as there are no lights lining the path. Also, bringing a bottle of water is a good idea as there are no fountains or vending machines anywhere on or around the mountain. The entrance to the park is in a residential area. The park entrance is at the west end of 9th street, under a large iron gate. Parking is extremely limited in the surrounding neighbourhoods. Free!
  • The California Citrus State Historic Park, 9400 Dufferin Ave (#27 bus to Van Buren/Dufferin or Van Buren/Cleveland), ☎ +1 951 780-6222. Daily 8AM-5PM. This park provides a look back to the time when orange groves dominated what is now the city of Riverside, and reminds us where Orange County got its name. A small museum resides at the center of this park, surrounded by a working citrus orchard. If you go, be sure to pick up a sack of fresh oranges, which should run you around $4–5. Riverside is the birthplace of the navel orange, and we still do it best. free, $8 parking.
  • The Original Navel Orange Tree, Traffic Island, corner of Magnolia & Arlington Avenues (#1, 13 or 15 bus). Open 24 Hours. Speaking of that "birthplace of the navel orange" stuff, the original navel orange tree, to which all other navel orange trees trace their lineage, is still growing. It's on a traffic island on the corner of Magnolia and Arlington. There's a bench and a marker, and you can pick oranges off it- if any are ripe. Just don't take them all, it's rude. Free.



Events and Festivals


  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.


  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.



Getting There

By Plane

Riverside is part of the Inland Empire of Southern California. It is about a 17-mile drive from Ontario International Airport. This medium-sized airport has direct flights to many American cities (and Mexico), an uncrowded terminal, and generally easy freeway access. Travelers interested in flying into Ontario should probably look into Southwest Airlines which generally has reasonable prices. Flying into the other Los Angeles-area airports to reach Riverside is certainly possible, but not recommended. LAX, Burbank Airport, Long Beach Airport, and Orange County's John Wayne Airport are all about an hour's drive away; and that's without congestion, which isn't likely. If you have your own aircraft, Riverside Municipal Airport is centrally located and offers easy access to the city. No commercial passenger flights serve this airport.

After arriving at Ontario Airport, you can use Southern California's infamous freeway system to get to Riverside. Follow the signs for Interstate 10 East, then get on the I-15 South, and get on the CA-60 East. You will spend only about 2 miles on the I-15, so stay in the two right-hand lanes. After that interchange, you're only about 15 miles outside of the city.

It is possible to take public transport from Ontario International to Riverside. However, it is most certainly difficult. For non-drivers or frugal travelers, here's the information: Take the airport shuttle around to the Omnitrans bus stop on Airport Dr, and wait for the Omnitrans 61 bound for Ontario/Fontana. This will cost you $1.15, exact change only. If it is during commute hours on weekdays, get off at the Ontario Mills transit center, near the mall. Board a red Riverside Transit Agency route 204 bus headed towards "Riverside". It will cost you $2.25 and take about half an hour. If it is not during commute hours on the weekdays, buy an Omnitrans day pass ($3.50) on the #61 and ride it to Fontana Metrolink. From there, board either the #10 or #14 to San Bernardino, and get off downtown. Cross the street and board the #215 to Riverside. Either will eventually drop you off at the Downtown Riverside Bus Terminal.

By Train

Riverside is a hub of the Metrolink commuter rail system, served by the Riverside, 91 and Inland Empire-Orange County lines on weekdays, and by the San Bernardino and Inland Empire-Orange County lines on weekends. The Metrolink station is about a mile outside of the city center, with ample parking. The only facilities available are public telephones and ticket machines- no restrooms. The station is served by RTA 1, 16, and CommuterLink 208, 210 and 212.

There is a second Metrolink station, Riverside-La Sierra, in the south of the city. It is served by the 91 and Inland Empire-Orange County lines on weekdays, and the Inland Empire-Orange County line only on weekends. It has the same facilities, and is served by RTA 12 and 15. The city utility has installed solar generating arrays over much of the parking lot.

Amtrak serves the Downtown station with one trip per day on the long-distance Southwest Chief. Arrival from Los Angeles/Departure to Chicago is at 8:03PM each evening, and arrival from Chicago/Departure to Los Angeles is at 5:48AM each morning. Traveling to Riverside from out-of-area by rail is not convenient or cheap, but it can be done. Amtrak personnel are not available at Riverside station- if you are boarding the train in Riverside you must have advance reservations. (For spontaneous trips, this is as simple as a call to 1-800-USA-RAIL.) You may pick up your ticket from the Metrolink kiosks at the station, or from the staffed stations in Fullerton, Anaheim and Los Angeles.

By Bus

Riverside has a Greyhound bus terminal on Fairmount Boulevard between Mission Inn and University Avenues in Downtown. This is a full-service terminal with routes to most domestic destinations, ticketing, and a restroom that they will let transit customers use, as the Greyhound terminal is across the street from the main city bus terminal.

Riverside's Greyhound terminal will remain open until it is moved to the future multi-modal transit center.

Megabus offers service from Las Vegas. The bus stop is at the Downtown Riverside Metrolink/Amtrak station (4066 Vine Street).



Getting Around

By Car

Riverside is in Southern California and Southern Californians are slaves to the automobile. Most of the time, getting around in Riverside will involve some form of car, and traffic congestion can ruin your day, and the poor driving habits of some other drivers may make you want to pull your hair out.

The CA-60/I-215 runs along the north side of the city. (Confusingly, the two freeways merge at the Riverside 60/91/215 interchange and then split again at the Moreno Valley Interchange, which is still actually within the city limits.) The Market Street exit provides access to Downtown, the 3rd/Blaine and University exits allow easy entry into the University neighborhood, and the Martin Luther King exit will allow you run of the mostly-residential Canyon Crest area. If you proceed on the CA-60 just past the interchange, get off at Day Street and you'll arrive at one of two area malls, the Moreno Valley Mall. It isn't in Riverside proper, but many people shop there rather than brave city traffic to go to the Galleria at Tyler.

The CA-91 runs from its origins at the 60/215/91 interchange in the north of the city, and runs the length of Riverside, eventually extending into Corona, Orange County and terminating in Long Beach. Notable exits include University Ave., which borders Downtown, Central Ave., which is near the new, upscale Riverside Plaza, Tyler St., immediately next to the Galleria at Tyler mall, and La Sierra Ave., which is near the city's second Metrolink station, and Castle Park.

The major crosstown arteries are Arlington and Magnolia Avenues. Congestion on these streets is interminable, and travelers would be well-advised to use other routes. Jurupa Ave. largely parallels Arlington, and Indiana and Victoria avenues parallel Magnolia. Victoria avenue is lightly-used, and is quite scenic. If you're willing to drive slightly out of your way, it's well worth the extra distance to cruise among the city's old orange groves.

By Public Transport

While the vast majority in the city do use automobiles, there is public transit available in Riverside. The Riverside Transit Agency provides fixed-route bus service on around 15 routes in the city, as well as three express commuter services and a few new community-based trolley-bus routes. Trips up and down Magnolia Ave. on route 1, on University Ave on route 16, and on route 15 along Arlington Ave are relatively frequent, with 20, 30, and 40 minute headways, respectively. Weekends and other routes can cause more delay. The entire Riverside city bus service essentially stops running at 8PM; with a few routes running through 10PM. There is no service at night.

The Riverside bus system has two main hubs – the Downtown Terminal, and the Galleria at Tyler in the south of the city. Chances are you will have to travel to one of these transfer points to get anywhere in the city. Commuter express routes 204 and 216 stop at the Downtown Terminal with destinations of Montclair/Ontario and Orange County, and 216 and OCTA 794 stop at the Galleria, both headed towards Orange County. Local routes serve all surrounding areas.

Taxis have been known to congregate on Fairmount Ave. between the Greyhound and city bus terminals. This is helpful if you end up caught by the sudden unavailability of public transport at night. Trip planning is available on the web site, on Google Maps, and by calling +1-800-800-7821 M-F between 7AM and 7PM, and Sa Su 8AM and 5PM.




  • No trip to Riverside ought to be complete without a greasy hamburger at The Lucky Greek on Magnolia and Merrill, close to the 91 at Central and short walk from the #1 and #10 buses. The Lucky Greek has been serving up their signature greaseballs and pastrami for over 20 years. Expect to pay around $5.50 for a burger, fries and a coke. The decor hasn't been updated since they opened, but the food will make you forget about it shortly. +1 951-686-2621.
  • Mi Tortilla! on Mission Inn Ave. just east of the 91 freeway and two blocks north of the Downtown train station, serves excellent Mexican food at a decent price. The atmosphere, a Mexican village motif, is a little overdone, but the salsa is excellent and the price will not disappoint. Expect to pay around $7 a plate. +1 951-341-5979.
  • For more Mexican food, the Tortilla Grille is at the corner of Canyon Crest Ave. and Central Ave. The atmosphere is warm, modern and inviting, and a full bar with sports on two flat-screen TVs is also included. Come on Tuesday or Saturday nights for $0.99 tacos, or any other night for reasonably priced, fresh Mexican fare. $7/plate, off of routes 16 and 51. +1 951-680-9870.
  • Templo Del Sol is a run-down looking establishment on University between Iowa and Cranford. The service is friendly but excruciatingly slow, but the food is inexpensive, authentic and excellent. Happy hour specials Monday through Thursday include $2 beer and $1 tacos. $5–7/plate, routes 1, 14, 16, and 51.




  • Getaway Cafe, 3615 Canyon Crest Dr # B. The college pub (beer & wine, but delicious pub grub).
  • Sire Restaurant, 6440 Magnolia Ave. A total neighborhood dive bar.
  • Lounge Thirty-Three, 3639 Riverside Plaza Dr Ste 530. Riverside's Ultra-Lounge serves up some great cocktails and has a great DJ most nights of the week.
  • El Torito Restaurant, 3740 Park Sierra Dr. The bar is a pretty good size and they have karoake nights and Taco Tuesday at this location.
  • The Yard House, 3775 Tyler St (next to the Galleria at Tyler). The Yard House is an excellent choice for a beverage or two.
  • Killarney's, 3639 Riverside Plaza Dr. Next to Lounge Thirty-Three, this is a great Irish pub. Bands perform select nights of the week.




  • Best Western of Riverside, 10518 Magnolia Ave (Bus routes 1, 15, short walk from 10, 12, 13, 14, 21, 27, 216.), ☎ +1 951-359-0770, fax: +1 951 359-6749.
  • Comfort Inn Riverside, 1590 University Ave (Bus routes 1, 14, 16, 22), ☎ +1 951-683-6000. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Free deluxe breakfast, free Wi-Fi, business center, and spacious parking for tour groups/buses. $79.99+.
  • Courtyard Riverside, 1510 University Ave (Bus routes 1, 14, 16, 22), ☎ +1 951-276-1200, fax: +1 951 787-6783.
  • Days Inn Riverside Tyler Mall, 10545 Magnolia Ave (Bus routes 1, 15, short walk from 10, 12, 13, 14, 21, 27, 216), ☎ +1 951-358-2808, fax: +1 951 358-0670. $60.
  • Historic Mission Inn (Short walk from the downtown bus terminal.), 3649 Mission Inn Ave, ☎ +1 951-784-0300. The glorious historic Mission Inn is one of the great landmarks of California, with many quirky architectural features and featuring a pool and spa and three restaurants. Tours are offered of the Mission Inn for a fee.
  • Motel 6 Riverside East, 1260 University Ave (Bus routes 1, 14, 16.), ☎ +1 951-784-2131, fax: +1 951 784-1801.
  • Motel 6 Riverside South, 3663 La Sierra Ave (Bus routes 1, 15), ☎ +1 951-351-0764, fax: +1 951 687-1430.
  • Riverside Marriott, 3400 Market St (Bus routes 12, 16, 29, 50, long walk from downtown bus terminal.), ☎ +1 951-784-8000, fax: +1 951 369-7127.



Keep Connected


There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.


See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.


The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.


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This is version 5. Last edited at 9:44 on Jun 14, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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