Surrounded on all four sides by some of the most idyllic mountain ranges in California, Ridgecrest, located in Kern County, is a little slice of the city out in the blazing heat of the desert. Primarily known for the adjacent Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake installation, which is by far the principal employer in Ridgecrest, this city appeals to those who love space and freedom. Ridgecrest had its start as a little town called Crumville, named after a dairyman and primarily a farming community. When the Navy established the NAWS nearby during World War 2, the town turned into a city, with the base providing a steady source of employment as it does today. Nowadays, Ridgecrest is still a city that revolves around NAWS, but more and more people are drawn in by affordable properties in seemingly endless undeveloped land, as well as unique cultural sectors. Ridgecrest is home to a few notable people, such as Blink-182 member Mark Hoppus and young adult novelist Sabaa Tahir.
Ridgecrest, CA Population & Demographics
The town of Ridgecrest has a population of 28,755 distributed over 20.9 miles at a population density of about 1,400 people per square mile. The median age here is 36, which is about the same as the California average of 36.5. The median household income in Ridgecrest is $69,577, which is actually somewhat less than the average household income for the state of California, being $75,235.
Ridgecrest is a fairly diverse place, with 65% of the population being Caucasian, as well as a large Hispanic population, about 22% of the community’s residents, and small black and Asian communities as well. Ridgecrest’s gender ratio is split 50/50 between men and women.
Ridgecrest’s zip codes are 93555 and 93556, while the area codes are 442 and 760. Ridgecrest is so isolated that it’s not bordered by anything except desert and mountains. The nearest urban center is Lancaster, which is an hour and a half drive away. There’s also a local airport, but it does not serve commercial flights, only private.
Thinking about moving to this community, but wondering if Ridgecrest is a safe place to live? Ridgecrest isn’t a crime-free paradise, but it’s still relatively safe, according to Areavibes. The crime rate here is 25% lower than the US average, although violent crime is 29% higher than average. However, property crime is 35% lower than average. Generally speaking, you’ll be safe here.
Cost of Living in Ridgecrest, CA
Ridgecrest’s properties are very affordable, but utilities might offset that affordability, with the cost of living here being 3% lower on average than other places in America, according to Payscale. Homes in Ridgecrest are about one-third the cost of the average home in California, with the average home costing you a mere $180,300, certainly more affordable than most places in California. If you choose to move to Ridgecrest, you should expect to pay more for things like utilities, transportation, and groceries, owing to Ridgecrest’s isolated location. Ridgecrest’s renting is just as affordable as its properties, at only $800 per month on average.
Ridgecrest is a unicorn among Californian cities when it comes to cost of living. You’d be surprised how far your dollar goes here!
Ridgecrest, CA Schools & Colleges
Ridgecrest is served by the small but decent Sierra Sands Unified School District. While there aren’t a whole lot of options here, especially due to Ridgecrest’s isolation, there are still good choices to be had for the discerning parent. Some highlights in terms of local schools include Faller Elementary School, Murray Middle School, and Burroughs High School. Rest assured, your child will be in good hands during your stay in Ridgecrest!
Ridgecrest, CA Climate & Weather
You won’t have to worry about snow here, that’s for sure. Ridgecrest is in the Mojave, and when the summer months come along, you’ll be made acutely aware, because it gets hot! You can expect lows of 32 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter months, and highs of 103 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer months. Ridgecrest experiences far less than the average amount of rainfall when compared with the rest of the United States, with 5 inches per year as compared to 38. Meanwhile, if Ridgecrest is experiencing snow, pigs have likely also taken flight. The best times to visit Ridgecrest, in terms of comfort rating, are April and October.
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Best Neighborhoods in Ridgecrest, CA
Ridgecrest may be isolated, but that doesn’t mean you have to be! This city has plenty of distinct communities and neighborhoods to plant yourself into. Check out some of your neighborhood options below:
Ridgecrest has several unincorporated communities on its periphery that are distinct from the city, such as China Lake, which is located right next to the NAWS. Neighborhoods include areas like Ridgecrest Heights. In terms of price, the most expensive portions of Ridgecrest are down south, located near the Inyokern Airport. Most of the more affordable housing is located in Ridgecrest’s north-east.
If you want to make yourself a part of any of these communities, you should check out the latest listings for homes for sale in Ridgecrest, CA.
Jobs in Ridgecrest, CA
Those planning on making a living in Ridgecrest should know that wages have been decreasing slightly while cost of living has also decreased, according to Payscale. The most popular positions of employment are Licensed Vocational Nurse, Graphic Designer, and Certified Nurse Assistant. The largest employers in the area are Ridgecrest Regional Hospital, City of Ridgecrest, and Altaone Federal Credit Union. The average salary for a worker in Ridgecrest is $72k a year, while the average hourly wage is $20.41.
Ridgecrest’s primary industry is the NAWS, and a profession in military sciences would be especially lucrative here, but the civilian sector is also well-to-do. Check out the latest listings for jobs in Ridgecrest, CA here.
Things to Do in Ridgecrest, CA
While it may not seem like it, Ridgecrest is home to plenty of fun attractions for family-friendly entertainment, and excellent shopping opportunities. Check out shopping centers nearby like the Tivoli Plaza Shopping Center for all your shopping needs! You should also check out some of the best things to do in Ridgecrest, CA below:
Offering vast amounts of space for running, lighted fields for softball and soccer, as well as six tennis courts, Leroy Jackson Park has you covered for outdoor activities in Ridgecrest. Just make sure you drink lots of water in the summer!
Ridgecrest, CA 93555, +17604995151
An attraction that’s sure to entertain the kids, the Maturango Museum is a fascinating exploration of the history of Ridgecrest and the Mojave, be it tours of the famous Amerindian petroglyphs, exhibits on the settlement of the area, or wildlife encounters. Maturango Museum offers a truly wonderful experience for Ridgecrest residents!
100 E Las Flores Ave, Ridgecrest, CA 93555, +17603756900
Ridgecrest, CA Additional Attractions:
Places to Eat in Ridgecrest, CA
Alongside its host of things to do, Ridgecrest is also home to plenty of great eats! Check out some below:
This puts the “family” in “family restaurant”! This charming little joint offers delightful American breakfast in an unassuming, hole-in-the-wall setting, all family-owned! If you’re looking to get your morning grub on in Ridgecrest, there are few better places to do it than Kristy’s!
430 S China Lake Blvd, Ridgecrest, CA 93555, +17603759132
Yes, we know the name’s a little unfortunate, but the same cannot be said of the food! It wouldn’t be a Calfornian city without a Mexican place, and Casa Corona is an excellent example of the finest of Central American cuisine! If you love Mexican food, Casa Corona is your place in Ridgecrest!
1429 N China Lake Blvd, Ridgecrest, CA 93555, +17604465055
Moving to Ridgecrest, CA Pros & Cons
- Affordable property
- Lots of nature and space
- Hot, hot, hot!
- Hard to get places
Ready to take that last step and start your journey to making Ridgecrest your new home? Give Mentor’s Moving a call! Our crew of highly-trained professional movers will ensure your move is a stress-free process at affordable rates! Call now or fill out our online form for a free quote!