Between Southern California’s gently rolling hills, afternoon sea breezes, and snow-capped mountain peaks lies an oasis of lush green lawns, red-tile roofs, swaying palm trees and streets lined with pepper trees. This is Altavita Village.
Altavita Village, formerly Air Force Village West, opened in 1990 and is located 1,700 feet above sea level, in the southeast corner of Riverside, California. Our community sits across the highway from March Air Reserve Base and just down the street from General Archie Old Golf Course. Riverside has been named the “City of Arts and Innovation” due to the abundance of opportunities available in the city’s universities, its business, technology and sciences sectors, as well as its thriving arts community. Riverside has won numerous awards ranging from being one of the “Top 100 Places to Live,” “One of the World’s most Livable Communities,” and one of the “Top 7 Intelligent Communities,” to mention just a few. Altavita Village is just 10 miles from the city center of Riverside.
Our 221-acre campus sits on land that was formerly part of March Air Reserve Base. Adjoining us to the east is The General Old Golf Course; to the west is property which was once the Strategic Air Command Headquarters (SAC). To the north you’ll find the Riverside County Police and Fire Academies and a large expanse of property to be developed by the County Parks and Recreation Department. Property designated for the expansion program of the Riverside National Veterans Cemetery sits to our south.
Seated in the heart of Southern California, Altavita Village is only 43 miles from mountain resorts, 55 miles from Palm Springs, 57 miles from Newport Beach and the beautiful ocean beaches, 61 miles from Los Angeles, 255 miles from Las Vegas, 121 miles from Mexico, and 91 miles from San Diego.
Riverside’s written history begins with the Spanish expedition of 1774, but Cahuilla and Serrano Indian tribes had long lived on the land, gathering near sources of water. Led by Juan Bautista de Anza, the expedition sought to establish a colonization route. Settlers were sent by the governments of Spain and Mexico to establish and inhabit ranchos, army presidios, and missions which attempted to assimilate the native population. One of the largest land grants was to Juan Bandini, who sold 6,700 acres in 1844 to Louis Rubidoux, a former fur trapper born in Spain to French parents. Rubidoux was an educated man, fluent in eight languages, who took an active part in the settlement. He developed a cattle and grain ranch and established an Anglo community by selling parcels of the land to settlers. His property eventually became part of the city of Riverside.
In 1870, easterner John W. North, with a vision of a utopian colony, purchased land and gathered investors who formed the Southern California Colony Association. North laid out a mile-square town site and attracted settlers from the east with glowing broadside sheets titled “Ho! For California!” Originally called Jurupa — perhaps because the land was part of the Rancho Jurupa land grant — the town’s name was changed to Riverside in 1871. A village was established on the slope of Mount Rubidoux by the Cahuilla Indians, who were available as a labor force.
Matthew Gage, a jeweler from Canada, built the Gage Canal, making possible the irrigation of formerly dry acreage. Eliza Tibbets, wife of one of the colonists, planted two navel orange trees, which thrived and provided cuttings for the establishment of large groves. (One of the two, the Parent Navel Orange Tree, survives to this day, having been transplanted to its own small park on the corner of Magnolia and Arlington avenues). Their success began a “gold rush” of a different sort as horticulturists and investors flocked to Riverside to be a part of the new citrus industry. A large and prosperous society developed, including many English and Canadian investors. Riverside’s warm, dry climate also attracted people for health reasons and as an escape from Eastern winters.
California’s billion-dollar citrus industry has its roots in Riverside. The city’s agricultural heritage led to the development of related services — shipping, marketing, research and product development. With the advent of industry to the town came an influx of newcomers from other parts of the country and around the world. Their traditions and interests enriched and enhanced the city, adding tree-lined streets, stately Victorian homes and the famous Mission Inn, a masterpiece of architectural design. Frequented by presidents, kings and movie stars, the Mission Inn gained worldwide fame, and Will Rogers once described it as “the most unique hotel in America” — a testimony to Riverside’s rich past.
UCR Botanic Gardens
Escape the routine and take a peaceful break amidst birds, bees, blossoms and butterflies by visiting the UCR Botanic Gardens’ 39 acres of flowers, trees, woods, and gardens. There are hiking trails, beautiful spots for picnics, and perfect places just to sit and meditate. A gentle pathway for wheelchair access winds through the main features of the gardens. Twice a year, the Gardens hold a very popular Plant Sale. Open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week. Admission and parking are free. (951) 787-4650.
Jensen Alvarado Ranch
Historic ranch completely restored to portray rural life. You will find cattle, sheep, chickens, rabbits, a duck pond and goats. There are citrus groves, peach, apricot and plum orchards, and a grape vineyard. Observe plowing with horses and general farm life by those dressed in period clothing. The Winery Museum and Gift Corner are open 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on weekends. 4350 Briggs St.(951) 369-6055.
Jurupa Mountains Cultural Center
Earth science museum, horticulture information, and Saturday field trips. Museum open 1:00 p.m. -4:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Don’t miss the dinosaurs! 7621 Granite Hill Dr. (951) 685-5818.
The Mission Inn, a family-run hotel which now fills an entire block, began as the Glenwood Cottages. In 1876, the C.C. Miller family began taking paying guests into their Riverside home. When the first large construction, the Mission Wing, opened in 1903, the hotel was renamed Glenwood Mission Inn. 3649 Mission Inn Avenue. (951) 784-0300.
Walk to the top of Riverside’s most historic landform and site of the nation’s first outdoor interdenominational Easter Sunrise Service in 1909. Overlooking the Downtown, from this vantage point it’s obvious there is lots to see and do here.
The University of California in Riverside (UCR) opened its doors in 1953. Within five years it was acclaimed as one of the 10 best undergraduate institutions in the country. Today, UCR offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 55 fields, and Osher Lifelong Living classes.
Riverside Community College (RCC) offers associate’s degrees, vocational certificates, transfer courses and general interest classes. Designed to prepare students for careers and to act as a transition to four-year colleges and universities, RCC also offers specialized programs in continuing education that are open to the entire community.
California Baptist University is an accredited private Christian University. The four-year college of arts and sciences offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
La Sierra University is owned and operated by the Seventh-day- Adventist Church, with its College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, Division of Religion and Graduate School. In 1979 the site, which features more than 140 species of trees from all over the world, was declared an arboretum.
Loma Linda University (LLU) is a Seventh-day Adventist educational health-sciences institution with 3,000 students and more than 55 programs. Curricula offered range from certificates of completion and associate degrees to doctor of philosophy and professional doctoral degrees.
The Galleria at Tyler covers more than 1.1 million square feet. It includes 195 stores featuring a Nordstrom, Macy’s, and J. C. Penney’s.
Riverside Plaza has over 50 specialty stores, restaurants and theaters.
Canyon Crest Town Center is a 22-acre theme neighborhood center featuring large supermarkets and drugstores, a health club, several restaurants and small shops.
Canyon Springs includes Walmart, Sam’s Club, Costco, a medical clinic and retail outlets.
Ontario Mills, just 25 miles from Altavita Village, is the size of three football fields and features over 300 outlet stores. A large food court in the center provides an array of food and specialty restaurants. The Mills also provides entertainment for all ages, including 32 big-screen theaters, Dave & Buster’s, a king-size video arcade, and a Jungle Walk.
March Air Reserve Base has a large commissary and a large exchange, located just 4 miles from Altavita Village.
The Santa Fe Railway, Southern Pacific and Union Pacific Railroad Co. and Metrolink lines provide dependable daily service for Riverside.
Ontario International Airport, just 28 miles from Altavita Village, provides flights to cities all over the country and Mexico. Commuter service also is available. Several major air freight carriers serve Ontario, and this growing airport has both International and Domestic terminals.
More than 60 visual and performing arts organizations are represented in the city.
The Riverside Arts Foundation promotes the cultural life of Riverside through leadership in educational, financial and technical assistance to artists, arts organizations and community groups.
The Riverside County Philharmonic has been performing since 1959. Concerts in Riverside are held at the Municipal Auditorium.
The Riverside Concert Band first performed on July 4, 1876, for the United States centennial. It is one of the oldest bands in the United States and the oldest performing group in Riverside County.
The Riverside Master Chorale and the John T. Hamilton Chorale are both are open to singers by audition and present several concerts each year. The Inland Cities Opera, founded in 1926, presents performances and musical events at the Riverside Municipal Auditorium.
The oldest continuously active community theater group in the United States is Riverside Community Players, founded in 1926. Six plays are offered each year, as well as workshops on acting and staging techniques.
Riverside Community College’s Civic Light Opera uses a combination of student, community and Equity actors in its productions. Visiting guest artists and touring shows also perform at the college’s Landis Auditorium.
Riverside Ballet Theater presents professional performances. Founded in 1969, RBT has a history of developing fine young talent and providing dancers to major accompanies, all over the world.
The Riverside Film Festival showcases art films from around the world. Located east of Los Angeles and north of San Diego, Riverside is the seat of Riverside County and its largest city.
Riverside Metropolitan Museum
Baskets, brilliant stones and dinosaur bones greet you at the Riverside Metropolitan Museum. Built in 1914 in the Italian Renaissance style, this former U.S. Post Office building now highlights Riverside’s diverse communities and rich cultural heritage. The Museum’s natural history section tells the story of the Southland’s plants and animals with life-sized dioramas of the desert and mountains. You will even find a mountain lion crouched on a ledge and hear it roar.
UCR California Museum of Photography
The innovative contemporary exhibitions of UCR/CMP explore photography’s relationship to politics, art and society. Housed in a “dime store” that was renovated in 1990, this facility of the University of California, Riverside, also exhibits Ansel Adams photographs, examples of cameras from 1839 to the digital present, and a world-renowned collection of stereoscope cards.
Riverside Art Museum
Contemporary and historic Southern California artists are showcased in changing exhibitions at the Art Museum, once the city’s Mediterranean-style YMCA. Julia Morgan, architect of the Hearst Castle, designed this small gem of a building in 1929. Converted to a museum later in the century, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
Mission Inn Museum
Experience the sights and sounds of turn-of-the-century Riverside at one of the nation’s grand hotels, The Mission Inn. Its collections, gathered from around the world by the hotel’s founder, Frank Miller, have adorned The Inn’s mix of architectural styles since its earliest days. Many of these artifacts are now housed in the Mission Inn Museum.
La Sierra University Museum of Natural History
Founded by Billy Hankins, M.D., who developed a technique for preserving animals so perfectly you will think they are really alive. Specimens are prepared by sculpture and freeze-dried taxidermy.
La Sierra University Stahl Center Museum of Culture
The Stahl Center Museum of Culture is a rich cultural experience. View unique items from around the world. Exhibits have included “Tools for War, Tools for Change, Tools for Peace” and “Games, Puppets, and Toys from Around the World,” in addition to the permanent collection of the Ana and Fernando Stahl Family.
March Field Air Museum
Exhibits depicting the history of March Air Force Base, plus 53 vintage aircraft and memorabilia dating from World War I to the present. The museum is open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily (10 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. weekends in Summer Months). Closed Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Interstate 215 at Van Buren Boulevard. March Air Force Base. (951) 697-6602.
Orange Empire Railway Museum
Explore the West’s largest collection of railway locomotives, passenger and freight cars, streetcars, interurban electric cars, buildings and other artifacts dating from the 1870s. Ride streetcars, interurban cars and trains on the museum railway. Trolleys and trains operate every weekend and on most major holidays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Disney’s California Adventure
Smaller park with white-water rafting and other rides taking visitors to real and imaginary places in California: Hollywood backlot, a winery, etc. Learn more…
Silly and expensive? Perhaps. Fun? Well, take the necktie off for a day and the 50+ rides and shows will keep you entertained until total exhaustion. Learn more…
Knott’s Berry Farm
Western-style amusement park with some darned good roller coasters, Camp Snoopy, etc. Soak City Water Park now requires separate tickets ($24/17)! Learn more…
Rather quaint park built out of over-sized LEGO blocks will entertain younger children, but seems to be overpriced for what it has to offer. Learn more…
Six Flags Magic Mountain
With the yearly addition of more roller coasters, it is perhaps the wickedest collection of thrill rides on the planet. Enjoy! Learn more…
Universal Studios Hollywood
An actual movie+TV studio shows the tricks and magic of movie-making via thrilling rides and behind-the-scenes looks. Take the tour first! Learn more…
Los Angeles Zoo, Griffith Park
Smaller than the more famous San Diego Zoo, but the new open exhibits are great for both the inhabitants and the visitors: Chimpanzees of Mahale Mountains in photo.Learn more…
San Diego Wild Animals Park, Escondido
1,800-acre wildlife preserve with 3,000+ animals and 3,500 species of exotic plants, provides a safari-like experience of animals in the wild. Between Los Angeles and San Diego, off I-15. Learn more…
San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park
One of the world´s largest Zoos with over 800 animal species; large natural environments with 6,500 species of exotic plants. Endangered species conservation program. Learn more…
Marine life theme amusement park on 190 acres, with shows including the famous killer whales, aquariums, 4 rides and other marine attractions. Learn more…
Castle Amusement Park
Offers rides and attractions, four 18-hole miniature golf courses and a three-level video arcade. Ride park 6-11 p.m. Fridays, noon -11 p.m. Saturdays, noon – 8 p.m. Sundays, noon – 8:00 p.m. Arcade and miniature golf open daily at 10 a.m. 3500 Polk Street. (951) 785-4140