April and May are a good time to start looking for apartments in Riverside. If you allow yourself two months to look for an apartment you should find that you have plenty of time. Just be aware that you may not get your very first choice of places, so you need to allow enough time to apply for more than one place.
Whenever rent costs get higher than normal, you can expect the landlords to need some sort of verification that you're able to make the payments. This can certainly happen in Riverside. Don't be surprised if a landlord wants to run a credit check or requests some sort of income verification before renting to you.
Riverside is a typically Californian city with its focus on automobile-based transportation. However, traffic congestion is extremely bad in the city, especially on major thoroughfares like Arlington and Magnolia. The Riverside Transit Agency does run 15 bus routes through the city for those who want to leave the car at home.
The Mount Rubidoux City Park provides some of the best views of the city after a relatively easy hike to the top. A visit to the California Citrus State Historic Park gives you a view into the citrus industry that was so critical to the area's economy for so many years. The Getaway Café is the most well-known college pub in town, and a great place to get a bite to eat as well.