This is probably one of my least favorite things about Riverside. Unfortunately, the rumors are true- there is nothing to do here. Unless you have a car, you might spend most of your days in your own apartment or dorm, or visiting the same fast-food restaurants and boba places again and again. The campus is beautiful but the moment you step off of it, there are homeless people walking around and trash littering the streets. To be fair, Riverside looks a lot better than it did a few years ago, and really does progress every year. However, if you are someone who gets bored easily or likes to visit amusement parks, be by the beach, or go to nice restaurants and hangout places often, it's best to bring your car.
That depends on the direction. If you're going southwest, you'll find orange groves and empty land. If you go east, you'll find houses all the way to the mountains with nothing much there. To the west, you'll find miles of businesses, with most of them being eating establishments. Lots of art galleries and historical sites are that way. That road leads vaguely to the nearest mall, which is huge. I'm not quite sure what is north and northeast, other than more housing, but I think there are more stores, I just haven't gone much that way.
Going off campus at UCR in one direction points you to the Box Springs Mountains, where students regularly climb up to the giant C and get to experience a wonderful view of the city and beyond. The other directions surrounding include off campus apartments where many upperclassmen reside, and the UV. The UV is the University Village where there is a Starbucks, Pho restaurant, Theater, Fat Burger, Dennys, Del Taco, 711, Pizzaria, Boba house, and many other food options. It is a fun place to study, hang out, or just goof off.
The campus is located in Riverside and while University avenue is very similar to any other area around a big college (plenty of chain restaurants and apartments, movie theater, etc) however admittedly a few blocks away from the main street the area is known for being a more concerning neighborhood. Since most students go home on weekends the most popular spots are wherever student organizations or fraternities/sororities are holding events.
usually the closet place i know of is the unversity village where there is a movie theater and a lot of places to eat. Other then that its only a short bus ride away to the moreno valley mall or you can catch the metrolink to L.A. one day
Off campus there is an array of different restaurants and activities near by. Literally around the corner is a movie theater and hooka bar and different food like thai, pho, boba tea, and many more.
The University Village that has lots of fast food places and a theater.