About 40 miles from the utter chaos of Los Angeles is the quiet town of Ontario, California, named by two brothers who escaped the barren hinterland of Ontario, Canada and found the complete opposite place in California, but decided to give it the same name anyway. Go figure. Hey, creativity isn’t everybody’s strong suit. Now, some would say Ontario is “quiet” in a pejorative way, but we choose to say “quiet” in a peaceful, relaxing kind of way. Sure, it may lack a tad in the trendy California culture, but it definitely still has the sickeningly perfect weather and scenery. And isn’t that half the reason you’re moving here, anyway?
One of the few states to have its own architectural style, California housing patterns are predictable but in an aesthetically pleasing sort of way, and Ontario is no different; in simplest terms, Ontarians really like palm trees and nouveau Spanish styling and red tile roofs, so you’ll be living in one whether you like it or not. You may have also heard that property costs are through the aforementioned red-tiled roof here, but you’d be wrong. We’d say they’re somewhere near the third layer of the atmosphere. However, that’s neither here nor there because you’ll be renting in a market where prices are somewhat less painful. If you’re coming from San Francisco or L.A., though, prepare to rejoice at your bargain delight: median rent here is a California pittance at $1000.
The tough thing about the Inland Empire, as interior California and San Bernadino County is referred to, is that the neighborhoods and towns sort of blend together. If you’re working in Ontario, living in Upland, San Bernadino, Chino or other similar areas is not out of the question by any means, but there are still plenty of good rental options in Ontario itself.
Provided that you have L.A. style money, relish a nice mountain view, and really need to impress someone, luxurious Archibald Ranch on Ontario’s western side may be what you’re after. You don’t have to have horses to live here, in fact, we’re not sure there are horses or ranch animals of any kind here, but there are fabulously large and imposing homes! While the vast majority of these big, fancy abodes are owned, a surprising number are available for rent due to the total bottoming out of the California real estate market. A four bedroom executive home, if available, will cost between $2,000 and $3,000 a month. There’s probably an extra fee for being able to brag about your address, too.
Ontario is basically lacking in a major downtown business district (unless you count L.A.), but there are still numerous historical areas with a number of vintage houses available for your homesteading and dinner-party-hosting needs. The areas off of Euclid Avenue are the oldest, and College Heights and Armsely Square are home to the old money. Not much is for rent here, but if you can pry it out of old money’s hands, it’ll go for around $2,000 - $3000 a month. There are also a small number of apartments available here; but they’re typically upscale as well, meaning you’ll pay around $1500 for a two bedroom. Failing that, you can probably find work as an au-pair to some spoiled children and quietly worm your way into the family’s will. You know, in case you need to.
If you happen to be young and carefree and on a young person’s budget, (i.e., tiny) central Ontario is a possibility. Though some areas are certainly not ranked high in terms of desirability, there are still quite a few safe, economical options if you’re willing to take a downgrade on amenities and don’t mind the occasional raucous neighbors or turf wars. There are plenty of apartment complexes to choose from, some starting at $600 and ranging up to $1300 for higher-end varieties. It is especially important to evaluate the neighborhood on a case-by-case basis, as safety can be an issue on some streets and not others.
If you’re more safety-conscious and worried about your offspring, wishing to nurture them with good schools, a respectable house and water sports at a nearby lake, then the Creekside area to the south should be your destination. It’s by a lake, not a creek, so why it’s not called Lakeside is beyond us. Regardless, this area is upscale and provides access to Chino schools, which are slightly more desirable than Ontario’s. Rents here are a little lower and a four bedroom house will run from $1700 to $2000, but childless people (What have you been doing with your life? No children?) are welcome here, too, with one bedroom condos and apartments ranging from $700 - $900.
Ontario is admittedly not the country’s next Miami or Chicago and you’re not going to find scads of ballets and operas taking place here, but you will find a Dave and Buster’s, which is basically the same thing except with more burgers and arcade games and less singing and dancing. Everyone knows the California real-estate market is a scary, scary place right now, so if you need to rent an abode, there are enough options here that you can more than likely find something serviceable. You’ll often have to put down a large deposit and undergo a background check, but in the grand scheme of things, Ontario is a pretty decent little town with plenty to offer someone who’s looking. Besides, at least you don’t live in Ontario, CANADA. Blech.
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