Since the early days of the Gold Rush, the allure of California has been undeniable. People from around the United States – and around the world – still flock there in search of sunshine and the laid-back lifestyle that typifies the state.
Despite its unusual name, Rancho Cucamonga is a popular place to live. It has a long and interesting history that give it a unique flavor that’s sure to be appealing.
About Rancho Cucamonga
Rancho Cucamonga is a small city located in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in San Bernardino County, California, about 37 miles from Los Angeles. It gets its name from the Native Americans who originally settled there. Called the Kukomongan people, their name derives from a word that means “sandy place,” an apt description for many parts of Southern California.
The origins of the city date back to the 18th century, when it was made part of California’s Mission System by Father Junipero Serra. It stayed in Spanish control for half a century before coming under Mexican control. Mexico’s president ceded a large parcel of land to Spaniard Tubercio Tapia, who started a winery.
To this day, the area is known for its agriculture. In addition to wine grapes, other crops include peaches, olives, and California’s famous citrus fruits. With the arrival of the railroad in 1887 and the addition of irrigation tunnels, the town became an important hub.
Rancho Cucamonga was incorporated in 1977 with the merging of three unincorporated areas: Alta Loma, Cucamonga, and Etiwanda. The estimated population as of 2014 is 174,305.
Part of what makes Rancho Cucamonga an ideal place for wineries is its climate. The climate is a warm, Mediterranean climate that averages 287 days of sunshine every year. (Compare that to the national average of only 205 sunny days per year.)
The annual rainfall here is low, coming in at 17.68 inches per year. As you might expect from a dry climate, bodies of water are rare and make up only .5% of Rancho Cucamonga’s area.
Rancho Cucamonga is a desert, and so you should be prepared for some very hot days in the summer months. The average monthly high temperature in July and August is over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and it’s only slightly cooler in June and September.
On the flip side, the average low temperature will usually be above 40 degrees, although lower temperatures are possible, especially at night in the winter months. Still, the overall climate is pleasant, and you can expect to enjoy a lot of nice weather when you move here.
Education in Rancho Cucamonga
If you have children now or plan to have them in the future, then you’ll want to learn about Rancho Cucamonga’s public schools and how they stack up. We have good news for you.
The city’s children are served by schools in several districts, including:
- Alta Loma School District
- Central School District
- Cucamonga School District
- Etiwanda School District
- Chaffey Joint Union High School District
All four of Rancho Cucamonga’s high schools have received a Silver rating from US News and World Report. In addition to it’s traditional public schools, Rancho Cucamonga is also home to charter schools and the Upland Christian Academy.
If you are wondering about higher education in the area, there are options too. Chaffey College is located inside the city limits. There are satellite campuses of several colleges, including Cambridge College, the University of Redlands, the University of La Verne, and Everest College, as well as the University of Phoenix.
The Cost of Living in Rancho Cucamonga
One of the most difficult things about relocating to California from another state is adjusting to the high cost of living. Overall, California is about 37% more expensive than the national average cost of living, and that holds true for Rancho Cucamonga as well.
The primary culprit in driving the cost of living up is housing. In fact, housing in Rancho Cucamonga is nearly twice as expensive as the national average. That means owning a home here is something that requires a high income, a significant down payment, or both.
The other costs aren’t quite as high by comparison, but they may still cause some sticker shock if you’re moving here from an area with relatively low costs. Here’s how it breaks down.
- Utilities are about 3% more expensive than the national average
- The cost of healthcare and general goods and services is 7% higher than the national average
- Groceries are approximately 13% more than the national average
- Transportation costs (including gasoline and insurance) are a whopping 38% above the national average
California’s gas prices are notoriously high. The combination of high prices and long, slow commutes can make the expense of transportation feel very high to people who move here from other parts of the country.
Preparing to Move to Rancho Cucamonga
As you plan your move, it’s important to be strategic and make as many arrangements ahead of time as you can. For example, if you will be moving furniture yourself, you’ll want to get an early start if your moving day is in the hot summer months. Otherwise, plan on booking with a moving company early.
You’ll want to call and arrange for your utilities to be turned on as soon as possible. You’ll need electricity and water the day you arrive. Here are some links that may be helpful to you:
Southern California Edison (electricity)
Rancho Cucamonga Municipal Utility (electricity)
Burrtec Disposal (trash and refuse)
Charter Communications (cable and internet)
Frontier Communications (cable and internet)
Time Warner Cable (cable and internet)
You should check to see which cable companies service the specific neighborhood where you’ll be living so you can make the appropriate arrangements. Your real estate agent, homeowner’s association, or landlord should provide that information to you.
We also want to note that California has strict laws regarding driver’s licenses, emissions, and vehicle registrations. They have some of the strictest emissions standards in the country, and if you’re new to the state your car will have to pass an emissions test before you can register it. The only exception made is for cars manufactured prior to 1975.
New California residents have only 10 days to apply for a California driver’s license. You can register to vote at the same time you get your license. Keep in mind, too, that California requires automobile insurance. You can find the full details at the California DMV website.
Rancho Cucamonga’s Culture and Entertainment
One of the best things about moving to California is the abundance of outdoor activities. If you enjoy being outside in the sun, then you’re in for a real treat in Rancho Cucamonga. There are 30 parks within the city limits, offering amenities for every taste. There are reserved picnic areas, playground, dog parks, and golf courses. You can also find skate parks, tennis courts, basketball courts, shuffleboard, and more.
We already mentioned the city’s rich history. You can find Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, a reminder of the city’s Mexican heritage, as well as Chinatown House, which documents the role Chinese laborers played in building the city’s infrastructure.
The city has plenty of restaurants and entertainment. We wouldn’t say it’s within easy distance of Los Angeles. The traffic can make the drive a lengthy one, but it’s worthwhile to have access to that city’s historical sites, live music, and entertainment. The city is also a reasonable drive from Orange County and its attractions, which include Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure.
There’s no denying that despite the expense, California is a great place to live. The warm weather, beautiful landscapes, and friendly people make it a popular destination for people from all over the world.
Your new life in Rancho Cucamonga is waiting for you. We hope you enjoy it!