Rancho Cucamonga is made up of Cucamonga, Etiwanda, and Alta Loma. Sometimes these areas will be referred to as independent and sometimes the three areas will be lumped together under the umbrella of "Rancho Cucamonga." Locals may refer to the whole area as just "Cucamonga" or, more commonly, just "Rancho."
Most people are friendly, approachable and helpful; and the city has grown more racially, politically and socially diverse over the past few decades. While many perceive it as a cookie-cutter suburb with similar amenities to other mid-sized cities throughout America, there is more than meets the eye. Its close proximity to beautiful wilderness, metropolitan wonder and both mountain and sea make it an appealing place to live and stay.
Rancho Cucamonga tends to lean more conservative than some neighboring regions, such as Los Angeles or San Diego.
There are several ways to get in to Rancho Cucamonga. If you are driving, the east and west highways include Route 66 (here named Foothill Blvd) and Baseline. Most of the main north and south bound streets run several cities south, on up to the base of the San Gabriel mountains. Interstate 15 runs north and south along the eastern border, I-10 runs east-west on the south side and the 210 freeway passes through northern Rancho Cucamonga, also known as Alta Loma.
The MetroLink San Bernardino Line passes through Rancho Cucamonga @ 11208 Azusa Ct. between San Bernardino & Los Angeles (Union Station).
The Omnibus system has regular hours and routes through most of the city.
There is a bike/pedestrian path that passes through much of the town. Much of the trail is paved and painted and fairly well maintained. If followed to its extremes, this path can take you from the western side to the eastern and back.
Throughout the summer the city of Rancho Cucamonga offers free movies in public parks. The movies start around sundown and are sometimes preceded by a performance by a local band. The locations and times have been known to change. Check local websites for most current times and venues.
Home of the Cucamonga Quakes. Tickets range from $11 to $14. Website is https://www.milb.com/rancho-cucamonga.
The Victoria Gardens Mall is an outdoor mall offering the usual shopping opportunities (Forever 21, Macy's, Lids, etc.), an AMC movie theater, and a large Bass Pro Shop. Also included is the usual mall food court in addition to some sit-down dining locations (California Pizza Kitchen, Johnny Rockets, and The Cheesecake Factory, to name a few).
The stretch of Foothill Blvd. through Rancho Cucamonga has most of the big retail stores you would want. From Best Buy to Target to The Men's Warehouse, they're all here.
Many "mom and pop" stores can be found through Rancho Cucamonga. Dr. Strange Records, for example, can be found here with a large selection of punk music that might be hard to find offline.
Rancho Cucamonga is by far safe, clean and free from many issues plaguing similarly sized cities. Just as in the rest of the United States, call 911 for emergencies. The Rancho Cucamonga Police and the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department serve the city, and are both fairly professional, courteous and even kind. Be aware that since Rancho is a suburb, there tends to be more stringent enforcement of traffic rules and vehicle safety standards. You WILL be pulled over if you have a tail light out, have expired tags, run a red light (or even amber) or forget to indicate when merging lanes. Any signs of alcohol or drug consumption will warrant a search of your vehicle, or a roadside DUI test. Do not test law enforcement here; remain polite and cooperative, and more than likely you will get a warning or a small fine if it is your first offense. Tolerance is low for DUI's, and first time offenders will face hefty fines, jail time and community service. Get a safe ride home if you plan on drinking.
There is little tolerance for vagrancy or perceived vagrancy, which includes backpackers. More than likely, you will get some stares and curious questions, but on the extreme end you will get carded by law enforcement and questioned on site. Expect questions like, "Where are you from?," "Where are you going?," and "Do you have any drugs or drug paraphernalia on you?." Be honest, and you'll be free to go.
Violent crime is very low, but have heightened awareness for property crime such as car break ins, car theft and petty property theft. Lock your car and hotel room door shut, and you will be fine.