Temecula VS Riverside Pros & Cons

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Temecula Vs Riverside Pros & Cons

In this blog post, I’m going to compare one of the more well-known cities in the Inland Empire, Riverside to my favorite city in Southern California, Temecula. I have personally lived in both of these cities and will go into detail about some of the pros and cons of both Temecula and Riverside. We will talk about population, traffic, amenities, schools, real estate, and overall quality of life.

First, I wanted to talk about some statistics. As of 2019, the city of Riverside has a land area of around 80 square miles with a population of around 330,000 people. Temecula, has an area which is 30,000 square miles with a population of 100,000. Over the past 20 years, Temecula has grown by over 100%. When talking about population density, Temecula is going to be less in this area.

The area of Temecula that is more densely populated is east of the 15 freeway. West of the 15 freeway you have de Luz which is an agricultural area and most properties are zoned 5 acres plus. As you move East, you start to get into the wine country which of course has larger parcels of land, and homes are much more spread out.

When it comes to Riverside, the downtown area or right off the 91 freeway is the most densely populated area of Riverside. In Riverside, if you’re looking for larger lots places like Woodcrest or Alessandro Heights would be areas to look at. Yes, there are pockets of Riverside that do have more of the country feel but overall, these two areas would be your best bet. Homes are also going to be a little more expensive in these areas.

Communities To Live In

The one thing that he’s very unique about Temecula is that the whole city is safe and I would personally live in any area of Temecula. I cannot say the same for Riverside. Yes, there are communities like Orangecrest, Canyon Crest, parts of Woodcrest in Riverside that I would live in but there are also several communities I wouldn’t. If you are planning on moving to Riverside, you need to be very careful in regards to what area you decide to live in. Riverside is very similar to many cities across southern California in the fact that one specific area is nice, but 5 blocks over it get sketchy.

One area of Riverside that people seem to be drawn to is the wood streets. Many of these homes are over a hundred years old! One of the things you get with an older community in Southern California is the beautiful lush landscape, mature trees, and homes that have a ton of character.

One of the things I like about the majority of Temecula communities is the sense of peace within the community and the abundance of amenities like pools, tennis courts, basketball courts, beach volleyball courts in virtually 70% of them. Yes, many of the communities of Temecula do have HOA fees but they are relatively inexpensive for what you get. On average an HOA monthly payment in Temecula is going to be around $100 per month.

If you would like specific information on communities that I have personally produce videos and information on when it comes to Temecula click on any of these links below.

Paloma Del Sol


Crowne Hill

Temeku Hills


When it comes to traffic you really can’t get away from it anywhere in Southern California. People come here for the beautiful weather. Regardless of what you hear on the news channels, Southern California will always be a destination more people want to live in. Traffic in both Temecula and Riverside can be bad, but Riverside is the winner. The 91 freeway has to be one of the worst freeways in all of America. If you are not from Southern California and are moving because of employment, I strongly suggest that you are very strategic in regards to where you work and where you live. A simple 10-mile difference could end up being an hour a day extra in your car. 

The worst area in regards to traffic in Temecula is the 15 freeway going north, starting at around 3 pm to 7 pm, Monday through Friday. Riverside has horrible traffic along with the 91, where the 91 and 15 interchanges connect, and where the 215 and the 60 connect. When planning your move or purchase, not only do you have to navigate traffic but find a community in these areas that are nice to live in. Yes, it’s great to live half an hour closer to work but if the community is unsafe then is it worth it? If you want more information or my opinion on communities throughout Riverside please don’t hesitate to reach out. 

Cost of Housing

If you would like a monthly cost of living video which breaks down all of our bills in detail, click here. I am only going to compare the cost of housing in Temecula and Riverside in this blog post. There are so many variables and the “home cost” question is loaded but I would say the average price per square foot is going to be more in Riverside than in Temecula. In Riverside, you’re also going to have more communities that are much older. The average age of a Riverside home might be 1960, whereas Temecula is going to be in the 1990-2000 range. It just depends on what you’re looking for. If you like the old neighborhood, if you like the old look like a craftsman style and less of the new, larger tract homes, you will probably like Riverside a little more when it comes to homes. 

In Riverside, our kids grew up in Orangecrest which I feel is a nice community and would still live in if we hadn’t found Temecula. Orangecrest has pretty good schools, parks, activities, and sports and is one of the safer communities in Riverside. Many of the kids walk to school and Orangecrest has multiple elementary and middle schools for your convenience. 

As I mentioned earlier in this blog post, Temecula has more communities with amenities for its residents in my opinion. If you like swimming, playing sports, parks, open spaces Temecula is going to be a better fit for you.  

Most Temecula communities have middle and elementary schools within walking distance or no more than a 2-3 minute drive, which makes it very convenient for anybody with school-age children. Overall, in my opinion, if you have active kids and are starting or growing a family, Temecula is going to be a better bet. This brings me to my next subject, schools and school ratings. 


Riverside does have a few schools that are okay but as I mentioned there are many areas of Riverside that have pretty bad school choices. I started my career, very early on as a teacher and quit within six months haha. Some of the school districts you need to do your research on. I would never send my kids to some of the schools in Riverside. Make sure you read a lot of reviews, talk to parents and check out the neighborhoods extensively before making a move.

When it comes to Temecula schools they are in the top percentile for both school ratings and test scores in all of California. Temecula schools have consistent ratings out 8 and above and one of the many reasons people choose to move to Temecula. Many of my community blog posts on the exploring Temecula website talk about specific schools and ratings. You really can’t go wrong though, it doesn’t matter what community you move to in Temecula there will be a high-rated school right nearby.


In regards to lifestyle, Riverside and Temecula definitely have differences. In Temecula we enjoy the wineries and going out to eat. We like using the community pool and going for walks around the lake in Harveston (blog Here). We also love the convenience of Temecula. It doesn’t matter what community you live in, grocery stores, restaurants, outdoor activities, hiking, pools, or Sports parks are just minutes away. 

There are far fewer communities in Riverside that have amenities like pools, tennis courts, hot tubs Etc. During the summer months, if you do not have a pool of your own, it does get pretty hot and it is definitely something we take advantage of on the hundred-degree days.

 We lived in Riverside in a community called Orangecrest for many years. Although it is a great community and very good for kids, there’s not a whole lot to do.  If you feel like going out for a nice dinner, you have to go to the downtown area, which at night has become more unsafe over the years in my opinion. A few of our favorite restaurants to go to in Riverside include Mario’s and the Mission Inn. It’s a great place to go people watch but if you live up in Orangecrest, it takes 20 minutes to get down to the restaurant. That’s an expensive Uber if you plan on drinking that night.

If you are a golfer, both Riverside and Temecula offer a great variety of courses  That won’t break the bank. Both cities have multiple courses that you can play during the week that will cost around $40. One of the courses that I played often was called General old golf course,  it was actually in Orangecrest and was a quick 5-minute Drive. The greens are always great, Fairways suspect haha. 

Thank you for reading our blog, if you have any interest in moving to Temecula or the surrounding area please read the  Google Reviews here for Greenleaf Real Estate & Appraisal.

We are licensed as both Real Estate Brokers & a Certified Residential Appraiser. We love what we do and will bring a great deal of passion, experience and expertise to the table for you.

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