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Riverside Bests L.A. in Ranking of 20 ‘Coolest’ Cities in America: Forbes

Riverside is the eighth coolest city in America, according to a list recently released by Forbes.

Forbes' "America's Coolest Cities" list for 2014 including eight in California, in an order that might raise some eyebrows in the Golden State.

Forbes’ “America’s Coolest Cities” list for 2014 including eight in California, in an order that might raise some eyebrows in the Golden State.

A 2014 list of the 20 coolest cities to live in was released Wednesday by Forbes, which teamed up with Sperling’s BestPlaces, a website dedicated to gathering data meant to help people find an ideal place to live.

On the “America’s Coolest Cities” list were eight locations in California, with Riverside ranked — perhaps surprisingly — highest among those in the greater L.A. area.

In a ranking some Angelenos might quibble with, Los Angeles came in behind San Francisco (No. 5), San Diego (No. 6), Riverside (No. 8), Oakland (No. 12), and Sacramento (No. 14) among California cities on the list.

Los Angeles tied with San Jose for 16th place. Santa Ana was No. 20.

The landmark Mission Inn in central Riverside is one of the Inland Empire city's attractions. (Credit: KTLA)

The landmark Mission Inn in central Riverside is one of the Inland Empire city’s attractions. (Credit: KTLA)

Researchers looked at how much entertainment, recreation and food was offered in each location as well as the percent of 20- to 30-year-olds, overall population growth since 2000 and the ethnic diversity of people living there.

Riverside, Santa Ana and L.A. were all found to have a high number of local, family-owned places to eat rather than large chains. The number of 20-somethings for all three also hovered around 30 percent.

Riverside residents walking through downtown Thursday morning said they weren’t taken aback to be ranked so highly.

“I wouldn’t be surprised one bit,” said one man who was told of the rankings. “I can honestly say that this vicinity in Riverside is a really awesome place.”

The complete list of cities ranked was as follows:

  1. Washington D.C.
  2. Seattle
  3. Austin, Texas
  4. Houston
  5. San Francisco
  6. San Diego
  7. Denver
  8. Riverside
  9. Boston
  10. Dallas
  11. New York
  12. Oakland 
  13. Miami
  14. Sacramento
  15. San Antonio
  16. (tie for 16th) San Jose
  17. (tie for 16th) Los Angeles 
  18. Raleigh, North Carolina
  19. Bethesda, Maryland
  20. Santa Ana