When people think of California, the first images that come to mind tend to be a vast land of sandy beaches with eternal sunshine, Napa’s wine country, the City of Angels, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, San Francisco, or National Sequoia Park.
But there’s a lot more to the most populated state in America than that. Still, many excellent cities that don’t fall into those particular categories get left off the map for those seeking to live in the sunny state.
However, there are many advantages, along with some disadvantages, of living in California towns that are charming but less crowded and bustling than big cities.
Temecula, California, is such a place. Temecula has a lot to offer and its own personality. It’s within driving distance from San Diego and Los Angeles and is situated in Southern California’s wine country. But is it right for you? Here, in no particular order, we explore 17 pros and cons of living in Temecula, California.
#1 Proximity to Los Angeles
Do you love Los Angeles but hate the traffic, crowdedness, pollution, high prices, and crime? Temecula is 85 miles driving distance from LA and is considered part of the Greater Los Angeles Area. Temecula is an appealing option for those who work or play in LA but want to increase their quality of living and value for their money.
Averaging a speed of 55 mph without traffic, the drive from Temecula takes about 90 minutes to reach downtown Los Angeles. There are also bus, train, and tram transit options, but these take considerably longer.
Rarely are driving conditions favorable enough to ensure an easy 1 ½ hour drive each way. Plan for at least 2 hours in both directions, and more with LA traffic. That adds up if you go to Los Angeles regularly.
#2 Proximity to San Diego
Despite its status as part of the Greater Los Angeles Area, Temecula is much closer to San Diego, a mere 58 miles south. Residents of Temecula can visit the sandy beaches, experience excellent surfing, and check out the thriving cultural scene of San Diego in about an hour-long drive. Orange County and Palm Desert are also about an hour away.
The cost of living in San Diego is outrageously expensive. This desirable location is also one of the most pricey places to live in the United States. Residents of Temecula save a bundle and are a short drive away.
While Temecula is closer to San Diego than Los Angeles and there tends to be less traffic en route, commuting daily becomes costly if you work there.
#3 Distance to the Closest Airports
Driving is one thing, but what about flying? Temecula is conveniently located in proximity to five airports. The closest airport is Santa Ana Airport (SNA) which is about 45 miles of driving distance.
The other nearest airports are Ontario/San Bernardino (ONT) at 48 miles away, then San Diego at 53 miles. For international flights, Tijuana, Mexico (TIJ) is 67 miles, and LAX is about 80 miles away.
There are some affordable public transportation options to get to these airports, but they add time, plan accordingly.
It’s great to have so many options for airports, but the closest one, Santa Ana Airport (SNA), is primarily for domestic flights or international flights to Canada or Mexico. While the nearby Ontario/San Bernardino (ONT) has recently added a few long flights, you will need to fly out of LAX for most international flights.
#4 Distance to Beaches
One of California’s biggest draws is being close to the ocean and many beautiful beaches. There are numerous beaches just a short drive away from Temecula. Most of them are in San Diego County, and some are part of Orange County.
The closest coastal beaches open to the public are under 30 miles from Temecula, about 25-45 minutes. Some of the best beaches nearby are Oceanside Beach with a vibrant pier, Harbor Beach, Buccaneer Beach, and Carlsbad State or Municipal Beaches.
Temecula is part of the Inland Empire and does not have any beaches of its own. So if having an ocean view is a must for you, plan on living closer to the shore.
#5 Value for Your Money
This is one of the best reasons to choose to live in Temecula. Many cities in California are notoriously expensive, but because Temecula is inland and not a major city or beachside town, housing and cost of living are very affordable, especially for California.
Rents and house prices are considerably cheaper than San Diego or Los Angeles and have been called one of the ten most affordable places to live in California.
If you work in Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, or even nearby Riverside, you’ll need to add your commuting costs into your living expenses budget. This can get costly, but it generally balances out with the money saved in housing and other expenses.
#6 Golf Courses
The city of Temecula is a golfer’s dream! There are seven courses within Temecula and 23 within 20 miles. The courses are scenic, well maintained, luxurious, and challenging. They also feature outstanding amenities and superb service.
The most popular courses are Temecula Creek Golf Club, Redhawk Golf Course, Cross Creek Golf Club, The Legends Golf Club (aka Temeku Hills Golf and Country Club). Journey at Pechanga Resort and Casino has an 18-hole public golf course and driving range that’s free for guests.
Golf is fun to play, but living near a course has its drawbacks. In addition to the occasional golf ball through a window, those living near a golf course might be affected by the sprays, dust, and pesticides used to protect the turf.
#7 Southern California’s Wine Country
Though Sonoma and Napa Valley may get much of the credit, Southern California has an exquisite wine country, and Temecula Valley is right at the center of it. With around 50 wineries, there’s no room for sour grapes!
The microclimate of morning mist, warm sunshine, and cooler night fosters the ideal combination for delicious wines.
Temecula Valley Wine Country has a lot to explore, from winery tours, fine dining, and wine resorts, all with breathtaking, picturesque views. It’s a romantic getaway that’s close to home.
Though Southern California Wine Country deserves its due, it’s hard to compete with the sweeping views and extraordinary selection of one of the premier winemaking regions in the world, Napa Valley, followed closely by Sonoma and Anderson Valley.
#8 Hot Air Balloons
What could be more fanciful and magical than seeing a colorful hot air balloon floating in the sky? Being in one! Imagine the views of Temecula’s vineyards from a bird’s eye view high in the sky? That’s precisely what Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival offers.
The annual event is typically held the first weekend of June or late May and includes activities for kids, wine tasting, live entertainment, and plenty of beautiful hot air balloons.
Tickets for riding a hot air balloon are usually around $200-$300 (more if it is a private rental), including a complimentary glass of wine or champagne.
While Temeculs’s festival is charming, if you want to see the most spectacular hot air balloon event in America, check out the one in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
#9 Resort and Casino
Temecula boasts the largest casino in California. Never mind driving to Las Vegas, Pechanga Resort and Casino has everything you could wish for!
There are over 5,000 slot machines, 158 game tables, a smoke-free 38-table poker playing place, and a 700-seat bingo room.
Pechanga also has a golf course, indulgent spa and fitness center, excellent dining, and world-class entertainment like comedy, boxing, and concerts.
Though 188,000 square feet is a lot of room to play, some avid gamblers prefer the variety that casino-hopping offers and might seek places where there are more options.
#10 Outdoor Activities
Outdoorsy adventurers will appreciate all that Temecula has to offer! You can enjoy a hike on the beautiful Santa Rosa Plateau Wildlife Preserve to check out the local flora and fauna.
Or spend the day at Lake Skinner or Lake Perris, where you and your family can go fishing, boating, camping, swimming, horseback riding, and picnicking.
With year-round good weather, it’s hard to find many drawbacks to outdoor activities, though some places offer more variety and most of these places still require driving to and from.
#11 Family Activities
Temecula is a great place to raise a family and also offers a lot of child-friendly fun. In addition to the annual Hot Air Balloon Festival that brings out the kid in everyone and plenty of outdoor activities, Temecula has engaging options that are educational and entertaining.
Try the interactive Temecula Valley Museum and Pennypickle’s Workshop at the Temecula Children’s Museum, bowl them over at Temecula Lanes, or enjoy one of the many wonderful local parks, public gardens, and farms.
With a strong focus on wineries, golf courses, and the state’s largest casinos, Temecula might appear to be an adults-only haven, but it’s actually very family-friendly. Just keep them out of the casinos and bars!
Temecula may seem like a sleepy inland town, but it comes alive at night! On weekends you can experience live jazz or smooth rock while sipping on local wines.
Temecula Stampede is the West Coast’s largest country music venue that features live music, line dancing, and a mechanical bull.
Pechanga Resort and Casino has excellent live entertainment and the Eagle’s Nest Night Club, where you can dance your cares away for those seeking a different atmosphere.
While there are certainly some enjoyable hot spots in Temecula, nearby LA or San Diego are better options if you are looking for a real party scene.
#13 “Old Town” Scene
Take your horse (or vehicle) to Old Town Road and experience everything this charming area has to offer! Temecula’s Old Town has a fun “Wild West” vibe and features various places to eat, drink, and listen to live music.
A few of the top places are Temecula Stampede, the upscale meets casual dining Bailey’s Old Town Temecula, and Old Town Blues Club has an outstanding lineup of live music events Thursday through Sunday.
Most places close at or before midnight with a few notable exceptions, and while weekends can get lively, there isn’t as much activity on a weeknight.
#14 Dining Out
When in wine country, do as the natives do! With 50 wineries, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to pairing delectable dishes with your favorite glass or bottle.
If you’re a beer lover, you’ll appreciate the craft breweries like Stone Church Brewing or Old Town Pub and Grub, local pubs with appetizing food that pairs nicely with its laid-back environment.
There are dozens of fantastic restaurants in Temecula that feature Californian cuisine and tastes from around the world. And dining al fresco is a must with such remarkable weather year-round!
Because Temecula is located inland, those who like their catch of the day, oysters, or fresh sushi might find beachside offerings more appealing. However, the fish is bound to be a lot fresher than the Midwest.
#15 Climate and Natural Disasters
Like most places in Southern California, Temecula enjoys comfortable weather during the majority of the year, with mild winters. The summers aren’t as hot and humid as other places, but the temperatures can rise to the mid-80s in Fahrenheit degrees.
Because it’s considered a microclimate, it is cooler in the mornings and at night, so be sure to keep a jacket or hoodie handy.
Temecula, California, does experience occasional earthquakes and fires, which are an unfortunate reality for much of Southern California.
With rising crime rates across the nation, safety is paramount when choosing where to live and raise a family. As far as safety goes, Temecula ranks highly among the top ten safest cities in America.
You can rest assured and sleep more soundly knowing that there are under 100 reported violent crime cases for over 114,000 Temecula residents.
Ranking sixth among the safest cities in the nation is an impressive feat. Still, the neighboring city of Murrieta, California, was dubbed the second safest city in America that same year, after Irvine.
Related: Living in Brentwood California
Because of its location, proximity to the beaches and larger cities, recreational activities, safety, and value for money, Temecula is growing steadily. As it expands, so does the city’s diversity, including people from different backgrounds, cultures, races, and places of origin.
With a population of over 114,000 at the last census report, an overwhelming majority of Temecula, California residents are considered white (68%), with over 50% being white (non-Hispanic), followed by Hispanic (under 30%).
Asians make up less than 10% of the population, and those who claim two or more races are around 7% of Temecula residents. Under 5% of residents are African American, and less than 1% are Native American or Pacific Islander, despite Temecula’s American Indian origins.
As you can see, the southwest anchor of California’s Inland Empire region has a lot to offer. Living in Temecula, California, has plenty of worthwhile benefits, as long as those advantages outweigh the drawbacks for you.
If you love wine, golfing, outdoor adventures, and an eclectic live music scene, it’s the place for you! However, if you want to live in California for the beaches, bright lights, and big city feel, there might be better options.
What do you think? Is there anything we missed? If you live in Temecula, California, or have visited and have any suggestions, please add them to the comments section. We’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback!