Everything About Menifee, California

History

Menifee has a rich history dating back to the early 19th century when it was largely an undeveloped region used for cattle ranching.

In the 1880s, farmers began settling in the area, growing a variety of crops and establishing communities. Some key events and developments in Menifee’s history include:

  • 1884: The Santa Fe Railroad establishes a transcontinental rail connection through the region, attracting settlers and business opportunities. Several communities sprout up along the rail line.
  • Late 1800s: Farming and ranching drive early economic development in Menifee, with key crops including citrus fruits, grains, hay, and potatoes. Dairies also become prevelant.
  • 20th century: Population slowly grows as the area develops into a small agricultural town. Local farmers and businesses serve the surrounding rural communities.
  • 2008: In the 2000s, Menifee sees a major population boom as inland Southern California communities expand. Residents vote to incorporate Menifee as its own city in 2008.
  • Today: Menifee is now the 16th largest city in Riverside County with over 100,000 residents. It’s a vibrant bedroom community with residents commuting to jobs in surrounding cities while maintaining a touch of Menifee’s agricultural roots.


Geography

Menifee is located in southwestern Riverside County in Southern California. It sits in the heart of a valley, surrounded by rugged hills and mountains. Some key details about the geography:

  • Total area covers about 46 square miles
  • Elevations range from 1,300 to 1,900 feet above sea level
  • It is situated just off a major highway (Interstate 215) which connects Los Angeles and San Diego.
  • The community is about a one hour drive from Riverside, Orange County and San Diego metro areas.
  • To the north are the Sedco Hills; to the south are the Simpson Hills and Salt Mountain; and to the east lie the Paloma Valley.

The relatively flat valley that Menifee sits in has made it attractive for agriculture and development. However, the surrounding highlands and mountains define the landscape and scenery of the community.


Geology

Menifee’s landscape contains elements of a rich geological history that spans millennia. Some key geological features in the region include:

  • Granite mountains, hills and boulders formed from the cooling of magma deep underground nearly 80 million years ago
  • Layers of sedimentary rock packed with fossils and minerals reflecting ancient marine environments

-Evidence of tectonic plate movements in faults and soil deposits over massive timescales

  • Remains of volcanos visible as ridges of hardened lava and igneous rock
  • Extensive quarrying and mining in the 20th century for materials like limestone, silica and gypsum

The Menifee Valley sits on an alluvial plain, with soil deposited by streams flowing down from the mountains. Earthquakes shaped sections of this landscape as recently as the late 20th century (1992 Landers Earthquake).

Mineral hot springs also dot the region. Overall, Menifee’s terrain clearly demonstrates key geological forces in Southern California’s history.


Neighborhoods

As a recently incorporated city, Menifee is still establishing distinct neighborhoods and communities within its boundaries. Some of the major residential areas include:

  • Sun City – A large active adult retirement community of over 9,000 homes. It has an extensive club and recreation complex for residents 55+.
  • Quail Valley – One of Menifee’s older communities, founded in the 1960s. Known for scenic landscapes and golf courses.
  • Canyon Hills – A planned housing development built in the early 2000s around a country club. Features large custom homes.
  • The Countryside – Located in northern Menifee, this very new neighborhood has suburban-style detached single-family homes.
  • La Cresta – A newly built community centered around a French Provençal theme. Home to many young families.

Commercial and civic development is focused around Menifee’s city center along the main Newport Road corridor. Agricultural lands still surround much of the area. Ongoing growth will likely establish more distinct neighborhoods.


Climate

Menifee has a very warm, sunny, dry climate typical of inland Southern California regions. Some key details include:

  • Average year-round temperatures ranging from lows of 37°F in winter nights to highs up to 97°F in summer days
  • Precipitation averages just over 12 inches per year, with most rainfall occurring from November to March
  • Winter low temperatures can drop below freezing on some nights
  • Hot, sunny conditions persist from early spring through early fall with very little rain during that period
  • Although it doesn’t snow in Menifee, the elevated terrain nearby can see light snowfall rarely in some cold winter storms
  • Summer months bring hot, dry winds from the desert adding to heat and fire dangers
  • Being semi-arid, Menifee has a high number of sunny, cloudless days year-round

The climate allows for year-round outdoor recreation and activities, with some adjustments needed for extremes in hot summer and cooler winter temperatures annually.


Demographics

Menifee has experienced explosive population growth in the last two decades since its incorporation in 2008. Some key demographic statistics:

  • Population in 2023 estimates around 107,000 residents, making it the 16th largest city in Riverside County
  • Growth projections forecast the population exceeding 130,000 by 2030
  • Median age is 40 years old, with nearly 22% aged 55 and up
  • Roughly 77% White, 12% Hispanic/Latino, 5% Asian, 3% Black/African American, 3% Other
  • Median household income is just over $89,000 as of 2020
  • Most common occupations are in healthcare, retail trade, construction, education and hospitality sectors

The rapid growth of this bedroom community means Menifee has a large population of young families with children. The economic profile reflects solidly middle-class status for most of the suburb’s residents.


Economy

While historically agricultural, Menifee now has a diverse suburban local economy supporting its growing population. Some details on the economic landscape:

  • Median home prices currently around $460,000 (late 2022), reflecting an influx of more affluent residents
  • Healthcare is the top industry, with the 250 bed Menifee Medical Center and many clinics/offices that employ over 2,000 people
  • Retail jobs account for about 19% of employment. Stores and restaurants are abundant in the city’s core districts.
  • Manufacturing and construction industries also provide many local jobs
  • Various shopping centers provide essential retail, grocery, services and more to the community
  • Menifee’s central location makes it popular with distribution/logistics businesses
  • Many residents commute to jobs located in surrounding larger cities while spending incomes locally

Menifee will see its economy continue evolving as the city grows through the 2020s, with an emphasis on serving the families living in this fast-growing suburb.


Culture

As a newly developed suburban community, Menifee is still cultivating a local culture all its own. Some aspects defining the cultural scene:

  • Strong family-friendly atmosphere with emphasis on youth activities, parks and amenities for households.
  • Popular community events include seasonal festivals, holiday celebrations, farmers markets, and summer concerts/movies in the parks.
  • Retirement communities contribute to a peaceful, relaxed pace of living. Golfing and senior-focused amenities are plentiful.
  • With families moving in from across Southern California, Menifee welcomes cultural diversity in its growing population.
  • Historic rural landscapes and some remaining farmlands allow for countryside living within a suburb.
  • Developing arts scene including live music venues, galleries and public art displays across the city.
  • Abundant shopping and chain dining options provide conveniences of contemporary American suburban lifestyles.

As the city matures, Menifee’s civic identity and cultural assets will continue taking shape to match the values of residents.


Colleges and universities

While Menifee has experienced rapid growth, it does not yet have its own four-year university or college campus for post-secondary education. However, students can take advantage of several options in nearby cities:

  • Mt. San Jacinto College (MSJC): Local junior/community college with campuses in San Jacinto (15 miles) and Menifee. Offers two-year Associate’s degrees and technical certificates.
  • California State University, San Marcos: Comprehensive public university located less than 30 miles away in northern San Diego county. Awards Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees across many subjects.
  • Brandman University: Private non-profit university based in Irvine, CA with a satellite campus in Temecula (15 miles). Features degree completion and professional graduate programs for adult learners.
  • University of Phoenix: Private for-profit institution with a learning center in Murrieta (10 miles) focused on flexible online degree options.
  • Nearby Riverside is also home to additional universities, extension campuses and vocational training


Media

As a newly developed community, Menifee currently has minimal major media outlets or companies based locally. However residents have access to regional publications as well as expansive online news and information sources.

  • The weekly Menifee Valley News launched in 2020 as the city’s first dedicated news publication covering local government, business and events.
  • Nearby Murrieta and Temecula have affiliated regional newspapers that include some Menifee stories.
  • Network TV affiliates provide breaking news and weather from studios in Los Angeles and San Diego markets.
  • Popular radio stations based in Riverside and San Diego reach Menifee airwaves.
  • Digital news sites, social media groups and blogs help residents stay connected and informed on a hyperlocal level.
  • National print newspapers like the Wall Street Journal and New York Times are home delivered or easily purchased.
  • Cable and streaming TV/entertainment services supply mainstream and specialty programming options.

With a digitally savvy, educated population, Menifee citizens enjoy access to a huge spectrum of media. More locally focused outlets continue developing as well.


Roadways

Key highways, arterial roads and transit routes provide the circulatory system moving Menifee’s populations. Major thoroughfares include:

  • Interstate 215: North-south freeway bisecting Menifee, connecting Riverside/San Bernardino and San Diego metro areas. Exits at Newport Road and Scott Road serve city.
  • Newport Road: Primary commercial east-west route across Menifee’s center. Bridge over freeway links both sides.
  • Scott Road: Heavily traveled four-lane road crossing the city north to south past the Town Center district.
  • Antelope Road: Crosses Menifee carrying commuters to employment hubs in Murrieta along I-215 corridor.
  • Menifee Road/Rigsby Road: Historic roads predating city development. Still rural two-lane routes lined by residences and farms.
  • Commuter buses operated by Riverside Transit Agency serve routes along Newport Road and Scott Road during weekday peak periods.

Planned future road capacity expansions will upgrade other arterials to major streets as development continues outpacing infrastructure in Menifee’s growth boom.


Major Landmarks

Despite its short existence as a city, Menifee offers some distinctive institutions, structures and sites shaping community identity. Notable landmarks include:

Civic

  • City Hall – Opened in 2013, the two-story building is the center of Menifee’s new municipal government operations, services and meetings.
  • Menifee Library – Part of countywide system, the recently built branch features bold contemporary architecture and bustling activity hub.
  • Wheatfield Park – Menifee’s largest public park at 50 acres, popular for sports and the site of many local events and gatherings.

Commercial

  • The Junction at Menifee Shopping Center – Open-air mall with 50+ stores and restaurants attracting shoppers from around region.
  • Countryside Marketplace – Retail power center in northern Menifee anchored by Walmart Supercenter store with many satellite shops.

Historic

  • Menifee Lakes Country Club – Established in 1962, the pioneer golf club brought early development. Its two courses remain regionally renowned.
  • Motte Historical Museum – Run by nonprofit historical society, displays artifacts illuminating Menifee Valley’s farming and ranching legacy.

As it evolves from a fledgling suburb into a full-fledged municipality, Menifee will likely see iconic architecture, institutions and destinations emerge across the community.

For now, local landmarks reflect a mix of civic services, shopping conveniences and pastoral roots.

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Directions

  • The first set of directions starts by taking the I-215 S highway towards San Diego. Take exit 33 for Scott Rd and turn right. Drive east on Scott Rd for 4 miles then turn left into the business park. Go to the end of the side street and turn into the parking lot on your right. Suite 110 is the second door of the brown building.
  • Another way to get there is to take I-215 S and exit on McCall Blvd. Turn left onto McCall and continue for 3.2 miles. Turn right onto Newport Rd and after 2.6 miles turn left onto Scott Rd. Drive 1 mile on Scott Rd going east then turn left into the business park. Go to the end of the side street and turn into the parking lot on your right. Suite 110 is the second door of the brown building.
  • The third option is to take Highway 79 S for 17 miles then exit onto Domenigoni Pkwy. Turn right and continue west for 5.3 miles before turning left onto Newport Rd. After 2.1 miles turn right onto Scott Rd then drive east for 1 mile. Turn left into the business park, drive to the end of the side street and turn into the parking lot on your right. Suite 110 is the second door of the brown building.