With its pleasantly warm climate, stunning desert mountain ranges, and world-class vineyards, Ontario, CA couldn’t be more different than its northern namesake. It just goes to show that you don’t have to cross the border to enjoy an excellent quality of life.
The city’s leisurely lifestyle is precisely why 185,000 people call it home. Spanning 50 square miles, Ontario, CA is located in San Bernardino County. It’s part of the Riverside–San Bernardino–Ontario metropolitan area, often dubbed as the Inland Empire because of its landlocked position between the Pacific Ocean and Los Angeles.
This peaceful suburb is just 35 kilometers east of the City of Angels and its urban hotspots. It’s bounded by Riverside County to the north, the Mojave Desert to the east, and Chino to the south. The city is mainly served by I-10, I-15, Pomona Freeway, and State Route 83, making trips to surrounding areas a breeze.
With its majestic surroundings, ease of access, and relaxed living, Ontario is a city that should be on every homebuyer’s radar.
Fun facts about Ontario, CA
Life is never dull when you live in an area as colorful as Ontario, CA. Below are just some of the things that make this city charming:
What’s in a name?
The city was founded in 1881 by George and William Chaffey, Canadian engineers who wanted to build a “model colony” that, in many ways, was to be the polar opposite of their hometown, Ontario. By creating an elaborate irrigation system, the brothers were able to turn the desert landscape into arable land that was used as citrus farms for decades.
For a fairly small city, Ontario, CA is surprisingly home to the 15th busiest international airport in the country. Ontario International Airport is regarded as one of the best airports in the area and is known for offering discounted flights.
Gateway to leisure
Ontario, CA is often referred to as the gateway to Southern California because of its strategic location. The “most magical place on earth,” Disneyland, is only 35 minutes away, while the posh desert getaway of Palm Springs is just a 90-minute drive. Nature lovers, meanwhile, will be glad to know that mountain resorts like Big Bear and Arrowhead are also nearby.
You can drink to that
Who would have thought that the once-arid landscape of Ontario, CA would eventually be home to renowned vineyards? San Antonio Winery is the city’s most famed vintner, and it offers lessons in the fine art of appreciating wine.
History of Ontario, CA
The history of Ontario, CA is a story of determination, innovation, and reinvention. Despite being founded by Canadians, the city epitomizes the all-American pioneer spirit.
And what a journey this city has been through: from overlooked desert land to thriving citrus farmland, to in-demand suburb. It’s this dynamic and colorful history that makes Ontario, CA a truly fascinating place to call home.
1881 – George and William Caffey purchase the 6,218-acre “San Antonio lands” that would eventually become Ontario, CA.
1887 – Ontario, CA launches its “gravity mule car” – a unique streetcar that was manually hauled up Euclid Avenue by mules before coasting downhill. Operations concluded in 1895 when this was replaced by an electric streetcar.
1891 – Ontario, CA was officially incorporated as a sixth-class city under the purview of the State of California. It adhered to the city council-city manager form of governance before switching to a direct-vote system.
1920s – Aviation enthusiasts Archie Mitchell and Waldo Waterman establish Latimer Field, which would become a training ground for World War II pilots. Ontario International Airport would open shortly thereafter in 1923.
Present – The city has become a popular option for residents who want to live in a tranquil suburban setting while still having easy access to downtown L.A. The local economy shifted from agricultural to industrial over the decades, and there are now over 10,000 acres allotted for manufacturing facilities.
Homes for sale in Ontario, CA
While the entire city was originally bought for a measly $60,000 back in the 1800s, these days you can expect to pay about $424,000 for a standard home here. While this number is roughly double the national average, it is 26% lower than California’s median property price.
There’s a variety of real estate properties to choose from, whether you’re a homeowner or an investor. Below are the most common property listings in the city and who they cater to:
Given that Ontario, CA is a suburb, most of the available properties here are single-family homes. These houses are ideal for growing families who want more space and privacy, as well as the expansive yard that always seemed out of reach to them in L.A.
More affordable than single-family homes, condominiums are the ideal property for young families and ambitious professionals. These multi-family properties often have amenities like pools and gyms that enrich residents’ lifestyles. Repairs are covered by association dues, so you can leave the maintenance work to the building administrator. You can also rent a condo to get a feel for the city before buying a property.
High-net-worth individuals are especially drawn to Ontario, CA because of its scenic views and sunny weather. Luckily, the city is home to deluxe real estate that are gateways to elite living. Unsurprisingly, these architectural marvels command a premium, with many listings priced in the seven-digit range.
Similarly, there’s a broad range of home styles in Ontario, CA, ranging from Spanish-style abodes to contemporary constructions. Note that the downtown section is historically significant, so properties must adhere to approved architectural styles to maintain the character of the area. These include house designs such as Victorian Period, Mediterranean Revival Period, and Mid-century Modern.
Real estate in Ontario, CA is a significant investment, but it does come with excellent features. These include oversized master suites, walk-in closets, sports amenities, solar panels, and rustic fireplaces. The materials are top-notch, too, such as quartz countertops and natural wooden floors. A quick search shows that the average listing has four bedrooms and three bathrooms, and typically measures about 1,300 square feet.
If you’d like to know more about the local property market, work with a trusted Realtor to get the best advice and service.
Living in Ontario, CA
Upscale suburban is the best way to describe the vibe in Ontario, CA. With its proximity to nature and its unhurried lifestyle, the city offers everything a family could ever want in a community. Take a deeper look at what it’s like to live here:
Cost of living
According to BestPlaces.net, the cost of living in Ontario, CA is about 28% higher than the national average. Compared to the statewide average, however, the city is actually 21% cheaper to live in. This makes the city an ideal alternative for buyers who’ve been priced out of the Los Angeles property market. Housing will be the biggest cost of moving here, but rent is fairly affordable at $1,429.
Agriculture still plays a big role in Ontario, CA, with Sunkist Growers, Inc. and Graber Olives being two of the city’s biggest employers. By and large, though, the economy is driven by light manufacturing. Among the top industrial employers are Mag Instrument, Inc. and Hewlett-Packard. Unemployment is fairly low at 4% and job growth has been positive in recent years.
Snowbirds are sure to love the city’s warm and sunny climes. Ontario, CA enjoys about 205 days of sunshine a year and receives just 18 inches of rain. BestPlaces.net gives the local weather an impressive 8.8/10 comfort rating. Summers can be hot and humid, but winters are mild with no snow. Average temperatures peak at 93°F and rarely fall below 37°F. The weather is especially pleasant between late May to mid-October.
As a family-friendly suburb, Ontario, CA boasts of many excellent schools. A large chunk of the city’s students is served by the Ontario-Montclair School District, the recipient of 18 academic excellence awards.
There are 36 public and nine private schools in the area; the renowned Chapman University also has a satellite campus here. Edison Elementary School, Vista Grande Elementary School, and Elderberry Elementary School are all highly rated by GreatSchools.org.
Ontario, CA is a driving city, with almost 8 in 10 residents driving a car. However, it also has an excellent road network, including major highways like the I-10 and I-15. For longer trips, residents often board the Amtrak and MetroLink lines, which ferries passengers to destinations like L.A., New Orleans, and Texas. And flying in and out of the city couldn’t be easier thanks to the Ontario International Airport.
It’s been said that Ontario, CA is just an hour away from anywhere you want to go, but there are plenty of enjoyable things to do within the city itself. From museums to public parks, to great restaurants, you won’t have to venture far to find fun in this city:
Cucamonga-Guasti Regional Park. This beautiful park caters to water and land lovers alike. It features two lakes where you can enjoy fishing and boating, as well as a water park where you can cool off during hot days. If water sports aren’t your thing, you can just sit back and relax in the park’s scenic picnic areas.
Glen Ivy Hot Springs. Built on a sacred site, this spa has 19 mineral hot springs that purportedly have healing properties. Glen Ivy Hot Springs’ acclaimed spa pavilion is located at the foot of the Sta. Ana Mountains, where guests are treated to a relaxing massage in an open-air cabana surrounded by ancient oak trees and a waterfall.
Whispering Lakes Golf Course. The newly renovated golf club has an 18-hole, par-72 fairway with emerald green grass, water features, and picturesque palm trees. The course is fairly easy, but if you need to sharpen your putting you can get instruction from PGA-pro Gary Nichols.
San Antonio Winery. There are several vineyards in the city, but San Antonio Winery is the foremost name in good wines. With offerings such as sparkling wine, dark reds, and crisp whites, you’re sure to find a bottle that suits your fancy.
El Pescador. Mexican cuisine doesn’t get any more authentic than this. As the name suggests, this restaurant specializes in seafood, with dishes like shrimp fajitas and seafood molcajete being crowd favorites. Even its signature cocktail, Back to Life, incorporates squid, shrimp, and abalone into the mix.
Alina’s Lebanese Cuisine. For a taste of the exotic, book a table at this beloved restaurant. The Riz A Djaij and Kafta Kebab are especially popular and are made with halal meats and all-organic ingredients.
Ontario Mills. For some high-end shopping, drop by Ontario Mills. Visited by over 20 million shoppers a year, this mall is home to 200 retailers, including high-fashion brands such as Coach, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Calvin Klein.
Eastvale Gateway. Just a 20-minute drive away, this shopping center has something for everyone: restaurants, sports equipment, jewelry, medical clinics, cinemas, and more. That’s why it’s a favorite destination for families on weekends.
Victoria Gardens. Located in nearby Rancho Cucamonga, the open-air Victoria Gardens lets you shop as you stroll its pedestrian-friendly streets. Whether you’re looking to buy skincare essentials or get a stylish haircut, this upscale shopping center has it all.
Chaffey Community Museum of Art. Looking for inspiration? Let the artworks at Chaffey Community Museum of Art spark your imagination. It’s one of the oldest museums in the area, and it shines a spotlight on both local and nationally recognized artists alike.
Scandia. Ontario, CA is also home to its very own theme park called Scandia. This Nordic-inspired attraction has a variety of rides, from the heart-pounding Swedish Swing to the relaxing Baltic Sea Bumper Boats.
Graber Olive House. Experience the city’s agricultural history first hand at the Graber Olive House. Book a tour to see the meticulous harvesting and canning process behind each can of tasty olives.
In search of the best Ontario, CA real estate? Let Julian Lopez be your guide.
With over 20 years of experience in helping people to buy and sell properties, Julian is the leading Realtor in the Inland Empire region. If you’re looking for condos, single-family houses, or multi-family properties, you can rely on Julian’s expertise.
With his access to exclusive properties, deep know-how of multichannel marketing, and hands-on service, it’s clear why Julian is one of the area’s Top 1% producers. Get your home search with Julian started by calling 909.996.4470 or by sending a message here.
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