Your Opinion Matters

Don’t forget to take the Riverside Community Quality of Life Survey! Let the City know what you think about living in Riverside. There is a lot to like about the quality of life that we enjoy, but there is also room for improvement. Staying involved and making your voice heard is the best way to help make Riverside even better.

Click on the link below to take the survey because your opinion does matter. The entire survey will take about 8-10 minutes to complete, but it is well worth your time.

Community Survey!

Community Survey!

Time to Garden

April is here and the gardening season has begun! Charlotte has been working feverishly in her garden preparing for this Month’s Riverside Flower Show & Garden Tour. This is the same tour that Connie’s garden was featured on last year. The show will take place at the end of the month on April 27th & 28th.

20130404-094346.jpg This picture is a sneak peek of Charlotte’s garden, come see the tour for the full experience. In addition to the flower show at the Elks Club, (6166 Brockton Ave.), there are 6 gardens on the tour. It is going to be a fun event to be sure! Check out this flier for more information on where to get tickets and tour times.


As we move into the warmer days of spring, more of us are getting outside and thinking about what we’re going to do with our gardens. This weekend, the UCR 39th Annual Botanic Gardens Spring Plant Sale is open to the public, Saturday & Sunday (April 6th & 7th). This is a fabulous opportunity to find native plants that will thrive in your Riverside gardens. There will be Master Gardeners on hand to answer your gardening queries and a plethora of plants to choose from. For more information, visit the UCRBG website.

The Wood Streets Green Team is also hosting a “How-to-Garden” tour this month. This is an annual event that has really taken off. This year’s tour is the 4th Annual event for this very popular tour. As you visit local gardens you will learn techniques for various garden tricks, get recipes for fresh, healthy food, and enjoy a tour of the Wood Streets neighborhood. There is also an Eco tour at RCC in conjunction with this event. Donations of $5 will go towards the Green Team’s efforts to support local community gardens in Riverside. For more information, visit the Green Team’s website.

Last, but not least is the Riverside Community Medical Center Foundation’s Garden Tour the first weekend in May. This year is the 18th year for this event which will feature five unique gardens. The proceeds from this garden tour event support the Child Abuse and Neglect Unit at RCMC. This tour also includes a lunch at one of the garden locations where you can meet with Friends as you travel around town visiting the gardens. For more information on this tour, visit the RCMC’S Website.

Have fun gardening!

We LOVE Riverside’s Farmer’s Markets

Heart RaincrossWe’ve talked about shopping local for gifts and books, but what about veggies and meats? Are you a Locavore? “What is a Locavore?”, you ask.  According to Jennifer Maiser, founder of the “Eat Local Challenge” group, “Locavores are people who pay attention to where their food comes from and commit to eating local food as much as possible.” We have recently seen a surge of Locavore activity popping up around town.

The great thing about thinking like a Locavore, is that it does not have to be an all or nothing proposition. Start small, like deciding to get your produce at one of our local farmer’s markets. We’re fortunate in Riverside to have numerous markets to choose from. Here is a list of our local Farmer’s Markets.


Riverside Certified Farmer’s Market
Every Friday, Rain or Shine
8:00am – 12:00pm
5261 Arlington Ave. (Sears Parking Lot off of Streeter)
Riverside CFR Website

Downtown Farmer’s Market Riverside
Every Saturday Morning
8:00am – 1:00pm
Main Street between 5th & 6th Street
DFMR Website

Galleria at Tyler Riverside Farmer’s Market
Every Sunday Near TGI Fridays
9:00am – 1:00pm
Pacific Costal CFM

Riverside Kaiser CFM
Every Other Friday
10:00am – 2:00pm
At the Riverside Kaiser Hospital Campus
Southland Farmer’s Market Association

These are just the markets that are here in Riverside. If you’re adventurous and would like to travel further, or if you travel and like to visit local markets where you are visiting, there are phone apps that will help you locate a local market.

This Market Finder app is available for i-phones or Androids

This Market Finder app is available for i-phones or Androids

The app we used to help write this blog entry is called “Farmer’s Market Finder”. It will help you find markets wherever you are by city, day of the week, or as pins on a map.  There are some great markets in surrounding cities such as Redlands or Temecula as well.  With this app or one like it you’ll be able to keep your locavore status even when traveling.

Purchasing your food from local vendors is one small step towards living local.  An added bonus is that it is fun go get out to visit the vendors and see friends there too enjoying the wonderful quality of life we have here in Riverside.

We LOVE Riverside’s Nature Preserves for Hiking & Biking!

Heart RaincrossBesides the mountains which we can enjoy from afar or drive to for pleasure, the City of Riverside has numerous opportunities for exploring nature or playing in the out of doors.  This is doubly important because we live in one of the most temperate climates in the US.  The State of California is behind Arizona as the state that gets the most days of sunshine per year. (According to a USA Today Weather News report).  We all know that rain does not grace our skies very often.  This means that we can get out and enjoy the outdoors almost daily! Today is a perfect example, here we are in the middle of February (winter?) and our high is expected to get up to almost 80 degress (F).  Now that’s impressive!

View of snow capped mountains from Sycamore Canyon Preserve.

View of snow capped mountains from Sycamore Canyon Preserve.

Nature surrounds us, with Sycamore Canyon, Box Springs Mountain Preserve, Santa Ana River Trail, California Citrus State Historic Park, Mount Rubidoux Memorial Park all within our city limits, opportunities to get out and about abound.

Sycamore SignSycamore Canyon Park is actually an ecological reserve put in place to help restore the habitat of the local endangered species, most notably the kangaroo rat.  Sycamore is a great place to go for a hike or a mountain bike ride.  In fact, it has become renowned for the great bike trails that spider through the area.  When Bob & Jared go biking there they often meet bikers from San Diego and Orange County who come out to see this great place for mountain biking.  And guess what? The Kangaroo Rats are very happy too!  As it turns out, the bike trails throughout the park have helped these little critters to thrive, providing them pathways to explore their habitat.

Sycamore Canyon Spring & Summer sheep & BikeIt is perfect for biking year round,  the pictures here give you an idea as to what you’ll see in the Spring with beautiful wildflowers, and in summer, when the sheep are grazing. We’re lucky to have Sycamore Canyon in our own backyard.

Mount Rubidoux Memorial Park is our most visible outdoor recreation area.  If you’ve been there recently, you’ll know that it is always busy!  Hikers, bikers, joggers, and dogs are always enjoying the views as they get their daily exercise.   There are even rock climbing clubs that meet to practice on the granite boulders on the “back side” of the mountain. The fact that this outdoor playground is just minutes away from our back doors makes it even more special.

Hundreds of Riversiders enjoy exercising on Mt. Rubidoux every day.

Hundreds of Riversiders enjoy exercising on Mt. Rubidoux every day.

If you’re familiar with Mount Rubidoux, than you may also frequent the Santa Ana River Bike Trail.   It is a safe and fun way to get some spinning time in out in the real world.  Bikers from all around ride this trail which links up to trails in San Bernardio, Redlands, Corona and beyond.  This trail is planned to connect the Inland Empire to the coast and we’re almost there.  If you’re not up for riding all the way to Huntington Beach, one of our favorite rides is from Tequesquite or the Martha Mclean Anza Narrows Park to the Hidden Valley Wildlife Preserve where there are great views from the trail and a bench to rest on before heading home.

View from the Santa Ana Bike trail at the Hidden Valley Nature Center.

View from the Santa Ana Bike trail at the Hidden Valley Nature Center.

Another extraordinary park is our California Citrus Heritage Park in the heart of the city’s greenbelt district.  Preserving the heritage of our City’s first love, oranges, is just one of the benefits of this beautiful landmark. It is currently a State run park, but the City is looking into the option of taking over the management of the location.  Located off of Dufferin & Van Buren on the west side of the city, this park offers another opportunity for getting outdoors and experiencing nature.  If you’re looking for something to do with your kids over the 3-day weekend, the museum at the park offers a great learning experience as well.

Sitting up on the hill above the visitor's center is a great place for a picnic.

Sitting up on the hill above the visitor’s center is a great place for a picnic.

A favorite local hideaway, which is also great for family jaunts and picnics, is the UCR Botanic Gardens.  Located on the backside of the UCR campus the Botanic Gardens offer opportunities to hike through various botanic regions.  There is a cactus & succulent garden, an herb garden, a butterfly garden, even gardens featuring foliage from other countries such as South Africa & Australia.   As you hike through the trails, there are benches and places to sit and enjoy the beauty of the plants, or listen to the singing birds which grace the land.  It is worth marking your calendars to visit this serene habitat.  If you would like more information, their website offers a list of all the different regions you can visit.

Flowering Cactus in the Botanic Gardens

Flowering Cactus in the Botanic Gardens

If you’re a little more adventurous and looking for some fabulous views and more experienced hiking opportunities, why not try Mt. Baldy or Mt. San Jacinto?  Both of these mountains, which tower over our valley, are less than an hour away from Riverside and offer excellent views along with a good workout.  Bob & the boys enjoy hiking up to the peaks to see the views, and to enjoy the experience of hiking  peaks over 10,000 feet high.  A great way to get up Baldy is to ride the ski lift in the spring or summer, it cuts down the journey and there is a restaurant at the top so you can enjoy a nice meal before heading home.  Mt. San Jacinto has the same option if you want to head up from Palm Springs.  Just take the Palm Springs Tramway and you’re well on your way to the top.

Spectacular views from Mt. Baldy.  The peak is over 10,000 ft.

Spectacular views from Mt. Baldy. The peak is over 10,000 ft.

So, whether you stay local, or head out to the towering peaks beyond, there is never a lack of places to get outside in Riverside.  We hope you’re able to enjoy some of these places that we are so fortunate to have here in our city.  Just one more reason that we are in LOVE with RIVERSIDE.

We are in LOVE with RIVERSIDE!

Heart RaincrossLet us count the ways! With Valentine’s Day this week, we thought it would be fun to highlight all of the things we love about the quality of life we enjoy in Riverside.   We’ll be adding a new story each day for the next several days on this Blog Riverside! page.  The countdown starts today! We could not decide on our absolute FAVORITE thing about Riverside, so these are in no particular order.  (Although, you all know we love the Arts!)

Our First Love is Riverside’s Rich History

Riverside's Fox Theater is one of our City's finest historic landmarks.

Riverside’s Fox Theater is one of our City’s finest historic landmarks.

Riverside has a long history – for California. More importantly, the people of Riverside have a willingness to preserve history. Native cultures, early Hispanic settlements, frontier immigrants from the Midwest and east as well as immigrants from Europe, China and Japan add to the fabric of Riverside.

The Gage and Riverside Canals were instrumental in setting our agricultural importance.  The first section of the Gage Canal was constructed in 1885 at the peak of our Citrus Industry boom.  Without the resources the Gage Canal offers our City, we would not be where we are today.  The City’s citrus boom would have been bust.

The Gage Canal Company building on Duffrin Ave.

The Gage Canal Company building on Duffrin Ave.

Frank Miller, builder of, and keeper of, the Mission Inn, was a leader who invested in our infrastructure (canals and parks) and the notion of international relations. He championed the rights of minorities and immigrants.  His leadership still resonates today as the City fosters relationships with eight sister cities throughout the world.

The Municipal Auditorium was just given a facelift & a retrofit.  This magnificent building was first built as a Veteran Memorial.

The Municipal Auditorium was just given a facelift & a retrofit. This magnificent building was first built as a Veteran Memorial.

Riverside has been forward thinking regarding preserving the historic architecture as well as our agricultural history. Travel along Magnolia Avenue or Victoria Avenue and enjoy the changing seasons – the blossoming trees and roses.

The Julia Morgan designed YWCA is now home to RAM.

The Julia Morgan designed YWCA is now home to our Riverside Art Museum.

Visit the Mission Inn, Heritage House, the Riverside Metropolitan Museum, the Harada House, the Riverside Art Museum or the Municipal Auditorium. These are only a few of the notable historic landmarks which have been preserved in Riverside.

The line of palm trees, and blooming roses is loved by hikers, bikers, and commuters throughout the city.

The line of palm trees, and blooming roses along Victoria Avenue is loved by hikers, bikers, and commuters throughout the city.

We are proud of our city and the historic heritage that has been preserved here.  The rich history, and pride in our city’s historic roots is one of the things that we LOVE about RIVERSIDE.

Culver Center Free Concert!

Labrynth & Teslim: Free Concert
Thursday, October 18, 8:00pm

Featuring original compositions and traditional music from Greece and beyond.  This free concert is part of UC Riverside’s Voices of Change series which is dedicated to the “lively exploration of art, artist, and self, one event at a time.  Free events like this are another reason that we enjoy such a great quality of life here in Riverside.

Revered Crete-Based composer-performers Ross Daly and Kelly Thoma of Labrynth join the exploratory string duo Teslim (Kalia Flexer and Gari Hegedus) in a mesmerizing evening of instrumental music inspired by the modes and odes of Greece.  The quartet displays astonishing skill at presenting instrumental songs wrung through impossibly complicated rhythms rooted in the musical traditions of the Mediterranean and Near East.

The concert will take place  at the Culver Center of the Arts on Tomorrow Night at 8:00.  The doors open at 7:00pm and seating is on a first come, first served basis.  For more information on the artists, visit UC Riverside Presents’ information page.

Help spread the word about this free event.  Share our blog with your friends & family so that everyone has a chance to enjoy these events!

Fox Entertainment Plaza


The City of Arts & Innovation is preparing to celebrate the opening of yet another venue to support the arts, entertainment and growth downtown.  The Fox Entertainment Plaza is close to completion!

Construction is moving along quickly on the parking structure (right), Entertainment Plaza (center) and Black Box Theater.

The complex will include a 400 space parking structure, 10,000 square feet of exhibit space for the Riverside Metropolitan Museum, and 12,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space.  The restaurant occupant has not yet been confirmed but the City says they are in talks with numerous options.  In addition to the retail and parking, there is going to be a 4,000 square foot Black Box Theatre.  A black box theater is a flexible space that can be reconfigured to accommodate different types of performances.

The Fox Entertainment Plaza connects to Route Six of the City’s Seizing our Destiny plan.  This route is titled Around the City, Around the Year, Around the Clock.  This route states:

Riverside buzzes with an unmatched array of nationally recognized and regionally distinctive destinations delighting people of diverse interests, age groups and lifestyles by providing a mix of popular venues for dining, shopping, entertainment and socializing.

When the Fox Entertainment Plaza is complete, and the space is full, it will most certainly add to the diverse venues available Downtown.

Artist’s rendering of the Fox Entertainment Plaza’s front facade along Market Street.


The City is asking our residents to help out with the naming of the Black Box Theater and the Exhibit Hall portion of the Plaza.  You can cast your votes up to October 22, 2012 by clicking on the “Vote Here” link below.  If you don’t like the name options given in the survey, you even have the opportunity to add your own suggestions.  As we anticipate the arrival of this venue, it is fun to have the opportunity to participate in the project one last time.


Let us know what you think!  Keep the conversation going Riverside.

More Fun in Riverside!

Well, we had a fabulous time at the Long Night of Arts & Innovation.  How about you?  It was wonderful seeing Downtown teeming with activity.  The exhibits along Main street between University and Mission were loads of fun, and all of the galleries and museums put a lot of effort into having great exhibits and activities going on.  What was your favorite part of the evening?
If you’re looking for fun events this weekend, there is something for everyone.  Two events that caught our eye are the Mayor’s Ball for the Arts & Innovation tonight, and the Citrus Classic Bike Ride event tomorrow.  Both are events which support great causes.  The Mayor’s Ball, which will be celebrating their 35th year tonight, supports the Arts Council, and the Citrus Classic Supports Riverside Educational and Enrichment Foundation (REEF).


One of Riverside’s longest running and most exciting annual events arrives with a whole new look as the Mayor’s Ball for Arts and Innovation transforms the sixth floor of Downtown Riverside’s elegant Citrus Tower into a celebration unlike any other.  The event highlights the City’s finest artists and arts organizations, along with the technology research and education that have helped make Riverside the Most Intelligent City in the World.  Music, performance, exhibition, dancing and a Taste of Riverside-style representation of some of the City’s best restaurants combine with the most unique event location of all time to create a night to remember.  Tickets are $75, and all proceeds from the event support the Riverside Arts Council and their Community Arts Partnership program, serving nearly 80,000 residents through grants provided to non-profit arts and cultural organizations.  For more information, visit the Arts Council’s Website today or call (951) 680-1345 !


The Riverside Citrus Classic is a fundraising event which was started by the Leadership Riverside Class of 2010.  They felt that creating an event which would support our local schools with grants and funding for classrooms was an important endeavor.  Little did they know who successful and fun the event would become.  Three years later, we’re expecting over 1,000 riders to participate in the event.  There is something for everyone!  Organized rides include a 100 mile, 50 mile , 28 mile, 7mile, and a Kiddie ride.  Come out and enjoy the fun!!  They are holding registration in the old Boarders at the Riverside Plaza today from 2-6pm!  It is not too late to join the fun.  If you’re pre-registered for the event already, beat the crowds and go down today to pick up your number, shirt, and goodie bag.

For more information on the event, visit the City’s Page for the Citrus Classic event.

Riverside Newcomers & Neighbors

We’re always surprised when we hear people ask if there is “anything to do in Riverside”. Granted, we’re not Los Angeles or San Francisco, but The City of Arts & Innovation has a lot to offer our residents. Not only are there exciting arts venues in the City, we also are host to a plethora of community organizations that offer opportunities for residents to get together and find common interests to gather around.

One such group is the Riverside Newcomers & Neighbors group. When Charlotte moved back to Riverside after a 20 year hiatus this was a group she and her husband joined. It offered a link to new and old acquaintances in the city and an opportunity to socialize with people who had like interests. Whether you are new to Riverside or not, this is a fun group of individuals. There are people who have been members for over 20 years alongside people who just joined 2 months ago. This provides a great way for you to get to know Riverside from a multitude of perspectives.

Join Riverside Newcomers & Neighbors at their Open House this Week.

We bring this up today because this week, the Riverside Newcomers & Neighbors will be holding their annual Open House at City Hall! The event will take place on the 7th floor in Grier Pavilion. This is an opportunity to learn more about the group, including information on their various interest groups.  Join fellow Riversiders and become a member of this vibrant group as we celebrate the start of a new year with Friends & Neighbors. The event details are listed below.

Date: Wednesday, September 19th
Time: 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Place: City Hall’s Grier Pavilion, 7th Floor

Please e-mail the RNN at if you plan to attend.

If you can’t make it to Wednesday’s event but would still like to join.  You can fill out an application online to join the club.  Just click here to visit the RNN website.

Riverside’s Levitated Mass Connection

As we mentioned in our post last week discussing Riverside’s quality of life, we have a rich connection to the arts in Riverside.  This connection extends out to our surrounding cities as well.  Southern California in general is a mecca for artists, and we’re withing driving distance to the hub of arts in both Los Angeles and Orange County.

This past weekend Charlotte’s family took their exchange student into LA to view the sights.  This is something we don’t often do, even though we’re so close to the “City of Angels”.  One of the destinations on the trip was to see the recently installed exhibit Levitated Mass at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. (LACMA)  This piece had a particular interest to us since the core of the installation, a giant boulder, came from the Riverside area.  Connie and Roger also journeyed into LA to see the exhibit after seeing Charlotte’s postings on Face Book so it became a virtual Team experience!

Levitated Mass from the “top”

The story of the boulder’s journey from The Quarry in Jurupa Valley to it’s new home on exhibit at LACMA is an amazing one.  You may have seen the news last spring when the Boulder was moved under the cover of darkness from Riverside to Los Angeles.  However, the real vision for the installation and the search for the perfectly shaped boulder began years before.  Artist Michael Heizer first conceived of the idea in 1969.  Heizer, who is known for oversize, site specific sculptures, tried his first version of this piece to no avail.  The boulder chosen at that time broke the crane being used to move it and the vision was left incomplete.  Since that time and after years of searching and study the perfect rock, a 340 ton piece of granite, was located here in Riverside!

Back to March 2012 and the boulder’s 11 night journey from the Quarry in Riverside to LACMA.  Connie went out to see the giant rock as it rested during the day on one of the legs of it’s journey.  The logistics of getting it to LA were quite extensive.  People came out in droves just to see the spectacle of a 340 ton boulder being moved through the city streets and freeways.  Just to give you an idea as to the size of this piece, here is a picture of the truck it took to get the boulder from point A to point B.

Moving the Monolith

While the boulder, or monolith as LACMA has been calling it,  is one component of the artwork, the 456-foot-long slot beneath it and the surrounding environment complete the entire Levitated Mass installation.  According to the artist and LACMA the installation ” speaks to the expanse of art history, from ancient traditions of creating artworks from megalithic stone, to modern forms of abstract geometries and cutting-edge feats of engineering.”

Looking up from the underside of the monolith.

One of the most remarkable things about this piece is being able to walk under the boulder as you walk along the trench.  It is a very awe inspiring perspective.

Overall, a visit to Los Angeles and LACMA is a great adventure.  If you have children, there is a great program at the museum where children under 18 get in free, and they can bring an adult “guest” in with them for free!  The Levitated Mass is not the only exhibit there that children will enjoy, there are plenty of activities to keep everyone in the family occupied.

The entire installation encompasses much more than just Riverside’s boulder.

For those of you looking for more information regarding the Levitated Mass installation, check out this time elapsed video of the installation site construction. Time Lapse Video Of Levitated Mass Construction