Which City Is Better Temecula vs Murrieta vs Menifee

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When people think of Southern California, they think of sunny beaches, amusement parks, and an overall relaxed atmosphere. SoCal is indeed rife with great cities to live in or to visit. However, if you’re planning to move to SoCal, or any part of California in general, you should take into account factors like cost of living, traffic, and crime rates.

Three cities that may come up on your list are Temecula, Murrieta, and Menifee, which are all in Riverside County. Specifically, Inland Empire, a fast-growing urban region spanning portions of Riverside County and San Bernardino County. 

Which city is better Murrieta or Temecula? How about Menifee?

Let’s take a look at how the cities of Temecula, Murrieta, and Menifee compare against each other as of October 2021.

Temecula, California

Temecula is known as a pleasant town to raise a family or to retire in. In fact, city review site Niche.com ranks Temecula the 6th best place to live in Riverside County, higher than the other two cities on this list. 

Its biggest draws are good schools, diversity, many cultural and outdoor attractions, and driving distance from coastal cities like San Diego. On the downside, housing in Temecula is expensive. In addition, road traffic has worsened in recent years, though this is a typical issue in many California cities.

Crime & Safety in Temecula, CA

Temecula has lower crime rates than California as a whole. The city’s violent crime rate per 100,000 people is 142.3, while its property crime rate is 2,251.6. However, these relatively low crime rates are still higher than those of either Murrieta or Menifee.

Jobs & Economy in Temecula, CA

The unemployment rate in Temecula is 5.9, about the same as the U.S. as a whole. Yet, the city’s income per capita is $32,603, slightly higher than the national average. The average household income in Temecula is also significantly higher than the U.S. average.

Historically, Temecula and other Inland Empire towns were “bedroom communities,” meaning their residents commuted to other cities to work. These days, Temecula itself has diverse occupation sectors, the biggest of which are health care, retail trade, manufacturing, and education.

Traffic in Temecula, CA

On average, a one-way commute to work within Temecula takes 34.9 minutes, longer than the national average of 26.4 minutes. However, California natives experience bad traffic so often that they might consider Temecula traffic tolerable compared to other metros. Arguably the biggest sore spot in this town is the 15 Freeway (Interstate 15), which splits with another major highway, the 215 Freeway (Interstate 215).

Schools in Temecula, CA

There are 26 public schools and 10 private schools in Temecula, many of which have high ratings from students and parents. For example, Great Oak High School is ranked the 96th best public high school among nearly 2,000 California schools examined by Niche.com.

Cost of Living in Temecula, CA

The median home cost in Temecula is $609,200, more than double the U.S. average of $291,700. It’s also much higher than the home values in Murrieta or Menifee. Overall, the cost of living index in Temecula is 142.6, which is more expensive than the national index of 100 but cheaper than the California index of 149.9.

Things to Do in Temecula, CA

These are only some of the attractions in Temecula:

  • Visiting Old Town – “Old Town” is an area of Temecula with a preserved Western-era vibe. Not only is it a historic district, but it also offers plenty of dining, shopping, and live music events. 
  • Golfing – Of the three cities on this list, Temecula is the most known for golf. There are seven golf courses within the city itself, plus more within 20 miles.
  • Wine-tasting – Temecula Valley has nearly 50 wineries, some of which have wine resorts offering hotel accommodations and tours.
  • Nature activities – The Santa Rosa Plateau Wildlife Preserve, Lake Skinner, and Lake Perris are among the family-friendly outdoor places in Temecula. Activities include hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, swimming, fishing, and more.
  • Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival – This summer event features viewing and riding hot air balloons over vineyards. It also has wine tastings, a child-friendly outdoor fair, and live entertainment.

Murrieta, California

Repeatedly named one of the most affordable cities in Southern California, Murrieta is a suburb that has experienced a steady rise in population in the last decade. Its housing prices are low by California standards, and its crime rates are much lower than the national averages. These attract families hoping to settle down, while the city’s many outdoor recreation spaces draw in visitors.

The downside to this fast-growing city is the rapid crowding, especially in terms of traffic. At the same time, locals comment that while Murrieta has family-friendly parks, it may not have many entertainment options for young, single individuals.

Crime & Safety in Murrieta, CA

Murrieta has much lower crime rates than California and the U.S. as a whole, and among the three cities on this list, Murrieta has the lowest crime. The city’s violent crime rate per 100,000 people is only 66.1, while California’s is 441.2, and the national rate is 379.4. Meanwhile, the property crime rate in Murrieta is 1,298.8. In California, it’s 2,331.2, and in the U.S. as a whole, 2,109.9.

Jobs & Economy in Murrieta, CA

The unemployment rate in Murrieta is 6, the same as the U.S. average. The per-capita income in the city is $30,445, slightly lower than the national average. The biggest occupation sectors in Murrieta are retail trade, health care, and manufacturing.

Traffic in Murrieta, CA

A one-way commute to work within Murrieta takes 36.1 minutes on average, about ten minutes longer than the national average of 26.4. Like its neighboring city Temecula, Murrieta is situated along Interstates 15 and 215, where much of the traffic congestion occurs.

Schools in Murrieta, CA

There are 20 public schools and six private schools in Murrieta, many of which are rated highly by students and parents. For example, Vista Murrieta High School is ranked the 12th best school for athletes and the 70th most diverse public high school among the more than 2,000 California schools examined by Niche.com.

Cost of Living in Murrieta, CA

The overall cost of living index in Murrieta is 132.4, cheaper than the California average of 149.9. In particular, the median home cost in this city is $575,800, lower than the California average of $684,800. In fact, Murrieta’s median home price is lower than Temecula’s, despite the two cities being next to each other.

Things to Do in Murrieta, CA

These are only some of the attractions in Murrieta:

  • See the super bloom – Murrieta has a share of California’s famous “super bloom,” a period when desert landscapes spring to life with blooming flowers. This typically occurs in March, April, and May, at places like Lake Elsinore and the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve.
  • Visit a nature park – There are 50 parks and natural areas in Murrieta, which are great for hiking, biking, picnicking, and fishing.
  • Sample craft beers – Murrieta has a Craft Beer Week, an October event that combines beer-tasting and a golf tournament. Outside of this festival, Murrieta has four specialty breweries that are open all year round.
  • Engage in extreme sports – For those who enjoy an adrenaline rush, various venues in Murrieta offer skydiving, motocross, auto speedway, and more. Top places include the Cahuilla Creek Motocross Park and Lake Elsinore for water-skiing and skydiving adventures.

Menifee, CA

In terms of population, Menifee is the sixth fastest-growing city in Southern California and certainly the fastest-growing among the three cities on this list. While locals still consider Menifee a suburban town, the population boom and numerous housing developments have given this city a more urban atmosphere than Temecula or Murrieta. This growth brings more shopping centers and restaurants to the community, but it also comes with increased traffic congestion.

One of the most significant advantages of living in Menifee is the lower cost of living, the lowest among the three cities examined on this list.

Crime & Safety in Menifee, CA

Menifee’s crime rates are lower than the averages of California and the U.S. as a whole. The city’s violent crime rate per 100,000 people is only 153.3, while California’s is 441.2, and the national rate is 379.4. In terms of property crime rate, it’s 2,000.1 in Menifee, 2,331.2 in California, and 2,109.9 in the entire U.S.

Jobs & Economy in Menifee, CA

Unfortunately, Menifee has a higher unemployment rate at 8.4 (the U.S. average is only 6). The city also has a lower per-capita income at $26,087, whereas the national average is $31,177. The largest occupation sectors here are retail trade, health care, and construction.

Traffic in Menifee, CA

In recent years, Menifee’s urban growth, combined with its proximity to other growing cities, has worsened its vehicle traffic. A one-way commute to work within Menifee takes an average of 41 minutes, nearly double the national average of 26.4. Much of the congestion occurs at Exit 10 (I-215 to Newport Road), which is surrounded by numerous establishments.

Schools in Menifee, CA

Menifee has 13 public schools and three private schools. A few of these, such as the Santa Rosa Academy, are highly rated by students and parents. However, the overall rating for the school system in this city is only a B-, according to Niche.com.

Cost of Living in Menifee, CA

Overall, Menifee has the lowest cost of living among the three cities. Menifee’s cost of living index is 130.4, while Temecula’s is 142.6, and Murrieta’s is 132.4. In particular, the median home cost in Menifee is $461,900, lower than that of Temecula or Murrieta.

Things to Do in Menifee, CA

These are only some of the attractions in Menifee:

  • Enjoy the waterpark – The Drop Zone Waterpark is one of the most popular sites in Menifee, featuring giant water slides and other rides for the whole family.
  • Spend time in the outdoors – Recreational spaces in Menifee include McCall Canyon Park and Discovery Park. There’s also a space that’s specially meant for dogs – the Aldergate Dog Park.
  • Relax with pottery – A pottery studio in Menifee called Painted Earth offers paint-your-own workshops for kids and adults.
  • Visit a farm – Children and adults can enjoy petting the cute animals at the Alpacas of Menifee Valley. Another place to visit would be The Wickerd Farm for pumpkin-picking and Christmas tree-shopping during autumn and winter.
  • Try a microbrew – The Mason Jar Brewing Company puts a unique spin to beer-tasting by putting their samplers in mason jars.

In Southern California and Riverside County in particular, Temecula, Murrieta, and Menifee are good cities overall for raising a family, relocating for a job, or just visiting. 

If you or a family member is injured in an accident in these cities, call The Zucker Law Firm for legal help. We’re a highly trusted personal injury firm in Southern California, having helped many SoCal residents obtain fair compensation.

For a free consultation, call us at (951) 699-2100 or send us a message.

The accident lawyers at The Zucker Law Firm in Temecula offer legal services exclusively in the areas of personal injury and wrongful death.

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