Located about 65 miles north of San Diego, Murrieta is primarily a residential community. It is considered the safest city in Riverside County and the 44th safest city in the United States. After experiencing dramatic growth following Interstate 15's expansion in the 1980s, Murrieta incorporated as a city in 1991. Today, it has a population of approximately 100,000, many of whom headed north after the cost of living in San Diego County became too expensive. About a third of the population is between 25 and 44 years old, and another third is 18 and under.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
Murrieta is filled with upscale houses that cost a little more than homes elsewhere in the region. However, the recent real-estate crash has affected Murrieta adversely, with prices dropping and foreclosures increasing.
Some of Murrieta's most notable neighborhoods include:
- Historic Downtown has seen significant investment by the city in an effort to create a downtown center. Improvements include a new town square with city offices, a library and a neighborhood park with an amphitheater.
- Mapleton, on the north side, east of Interstate 215, has a mixture of upscale single-family homes and rental apartments.
- Bel Flora, on the north side, west of Interstate 215, is a small, gated community with its own park and pool.
- RoseCrest, on the southwest side, is a community filled with large, exclusive homes.
- The Colony is a gated retirement community in central Murrieta. It features its own swimming pool and 18-hole golf course.
- Bear Creek is a wooded area in the foothills west of Interstate 15. Controversial baseball great Barry Bonds is its most famous former resident.
- Grizzly Ridge, on the southwest side, has upscale homes near the Grizzly Ridge Reservoir.
- Murrieta Hot Springs is a planned community between Murrieta and Temecula. The area has a conference center and spa with hot mineral baths.
- Murrieta Ranchos, on the west side, features upscale, single-story homes on large lots.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
The retail sector employs the majority of people in Murrieta, followed by education, small sector services and health care. The city also has a small manufacturing base. Many Murrieta residents work outside the city.
Murrieta's sudden population boom means that the city's economy - which consists primarily of small businesses - is constantly expanding. The addition of the Rancho Springs Medical Center has boosted employment in health care, and the planned Loma Linda University Medical Center is expected to add around 500 jobs to the area.
- The Wings and Rotors Air Museum, located at the French Valley Airport, pays a tribute to Vietnam veterans with exhibits about flying and war.
- The Datsun Heritage Museum explores the history of the Datsun (now Nissan) automobile.
- Murrieta maintains hundreds of acres of parks for hiking, biking, swimming, skating and playing team sports.
- Just outside the city is the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve, an 8,300-acre area that protects ecosystems unique to the area, including chaparral, bunchgrass prairie, riparian wetlands and Engelmann oak woodlands. Visitors to the reserve can go horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking.
- Town Square Park, which is located downtown, features concerts at its amphitheater.
- Murrieta is home to three golf courses, including the Jack Nicklaus-designed Bear Creek Golf Club.
- Murrieta Block Party is a festival featuring the annual firefighter's barbeque. It is held every April.
- Tour de Murrieta is a two-day cycling race that takes place downtown in March.
- Father's Day Car Show showcases classic cars each June.
- Fall Spooktacular is a Halloween carnival featuring carnival games, food and a haunted house.
- Holiday Push Cart Parade showcases local Christmas lights with a parade and festival each December.
Azusa Pacific University, a Christian college, has a regional center in Murrieta. Murrieta is also located close to several other colleges and universities, including:
- University of California, Riverside
- Riverside Community College
- University of California, San Diego
- University of Southern California
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Murrieta sports fans root for professional sports teams from both Los Angeles and San Diego, including:
- Baseball: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres
- Basketball: Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Sparks (WNBA)
- Football: San Diego Chargers
- Hockey: Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings
- Soccer: Club Deportivo Chivas USA and Los Angeles Galaxy
DID YOU KNOW?
- Murrieta was named for Esequial Murrieta, a Spaniard who bought 52,000 acres of land in the Temecula valley in Southwest California. Although he himself never settled here, his brother took over the land in 1873 and brought his flock of more than 100,000 sheep to Murrieta.
- Cyclist Floyd Landis lives in Murrieta with his family.
Murrieta residents get their news from two local newspapers-North County Timesand the Press-Enterprise, as well as from the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Most TV and radio stations aired in Murrieta are from Los Angeles, though residents also receive some broadcast channels from Palm Springs.