This is an archival story prior to the current editorial management. Eight Golden State cities made the cut (including Santa Ana in 20th), beating the East Coast in being cool. This may make you wonder what's best in the eyes of Forbes, who partnered with BestPlaces to rank the 60 largest metropolitan areas. It's not hard to see how Riverside made the cut when you look at some of the criteria.
They analyzed areas with large populations of young adults aged 20 to 34, population growth since 2000, and cities with ethnically and culturally diverse populations. That describes Riverside a T. They also added up the number of entertainment options per capita in the area. And for entertainment, they talk about professional and university sporting events, golf courses, zoos, theatrical performances and national parks.
Riverside is a large college town with Joshua Tree National Park and the Riverside County Philharmonic.