Irvine, California, incorporated in 1971, is one of the nation's largest planned urban communities, encompassing more than 65 square miles and located an hour down the coast from Los Angeles, in the center of Orange County. Irvine is considered by its residents to be an ideal location with close proximity to Laguna Beach, Long Beach, Disneyland, and San Juan Capistrano-San Clemente. The city is comprised of "villages," which are residential areas with common architectural themes, as well as commercial and industrial areas. Because of its good schools, jobs, and housing, Irvine was chosen in 2008 by MONEY Magazine as the fourth best place to live in the United States. Businessweek listed Irvine as the 5th best city in the US, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported that Irvine had the lowest violent crime rate among cities in the United States with populations of more than 100,000. With safe neighborhoods, clean streets, and well-maintained municipal services, Irvine attracts an affluent and upwardly mobile population.
Gabrielino Indians peacefully occupied what is now Irvine for more than 1,500 years until the arrival of the Spanish explorer, Gaspar de Portola in 1769. With the Spanish came forts, missions, and cattle ranching. In 1831, Mexico gained independence from Spain and assumed control of the missions and ranch lands, which were parceled out to inhabitants. California joined the United States at the end of the Mexican-American War. The Irvine family acquired extensive land holdings starting in 1864, and The Irvine Company was formed in 1894 to manage the enterprises owned by the family. Over time, business shifted from cattle ranching to field crops, olives, and citrus orchards. Sections of Irvine-owned land were opened up to development during the 1950’s and 1960’s, and a substantial gift of 1,000 acres was granted to the University of California for the construction of a new campus. The Irvine Company planned and constructed a community of 50,000 which was completed by 1970. Irvine has since grown to a city of more than 220,000 residents.
Irvine enjoys an average of 280+ sunny days a year. Winters in Irvine are mild, with no snow and average monthly lows that rarely dip below 40 and daytime temperatures that climb to the high 60s and low 70s. In the warmest month of the year, August, the average high is only 85, with an overall average of a beautiful 73 degrees. Rainfall in Irvine is also moderate and spaced throughout the year, with 2-3 inches a month in winter and only brief, occasional showers in the summer. Get more weather information with the following links.
Bus service in Irvine is provided by the Orange County Transportation Authority with a network of daily bus routes linking Irvine to neighboring communities. The Metrolink rail service provides transportation to San Bernardino, Oceanside, and Union Station in Los Angeles where you can easily catch a shuttle to Los Angeles International Airport. John Wayne Airport serves Irvine and Orange County with flights from eleven major commercial carriers and twenty destinations across the United States, plus international flights to Canada and Mexico.
Cost of Living in Irvine
The city of Irvine enjoys a near-perfect setting for raising a family and this comes at a cost. The cost of living in Irvine, California is more than 80% higher than the national average, and almost 40% above the California average. Housing costs are the biggest contributor to the higher cost of living. Calculate your cost of living using these links.
The Irvine Unified School District consistently ranks among the finest educational systems in the nation. Irvine schools offer innovative educational programs, open-style classrooms, team-teaching, and excellent community involvement. The school district educates a diverse student population numbering over 24,000 (K-12), in 22 elementary schools, 5 middle schools, 4 comprehensive high schools, and 1 continuation high school. The Irvine Public Schools Foundation is a nonprofit partner that supplies financial support and enrichment programs that are no longer funded by the state.
The most prestigious hospital near Irvine is the University of California, Irvine Medical Center, in Orange, California. This general medical facility and teaching hospital is recognized for its high performance in several adult specialties and is ranked as the ninth-best hospital in California. If you’re planning a move to Irvine, it’s a good idea to know the medical resources available to you.
Irvine Real Estate
With most homes built after 1960 and properties that are well maintained, the median home price in Irvine, California is a substantial $744,000. The most affordable homes are in the older neighborhoods of Oak Creek, University Town Center, Rancho San Joaquin, and El Camino Real. The most prestigious neighborhood is Shady Canyon. Explore homes currently available for sale using these links.
When looking for a place to stay, you will find many favorite name brand hotels located near the Irvine Business Complex and John Wayne Airport. Additional accommodations are located near the Spectrum Center shopping and entertainment district. If you are seeking a change of pace, there are several boutique stays, spas, and resorts on the beaches just west of Irvine. For a romantic escape, the Casa Laguna Inn and Spa is an award-winning Inn that is close to the beach and just 20 minutes from downtown Irvine. Find the perfect place to stay during your visit to Irvine using these links.
When it’s time to grab a bite, Irvine has plenty to offer your taste buds. Steelhead Brewing Company is popular among locals and offers a casual dining experience with an eclectic array of upscale pub grub ranging from burgers to pasta dishes. Bistango offers artful New American cuisine and an impressive, award-winning wine list with over 400 varieties. They also feature live entertainment and a revolving art exhibit incorporated into the decor. Wasa Sushi serves top notch Japanese Cuisine and friendly service in an elegant, yet simple environment. Find more great restaurants in Irvine using these links.
Things to Do in Irvine
The San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary is undoubtedly one of the natural gems of Irvine. Located near the UCI campus, this sanctuary offers a peaceful walk through a natural, well preserved habitat. Marshes and flower gardens house an abundance of wildlife. You can explore several miles of winding trails with a variety of vegetation, trees, flowers, and foliage, depending on time of year. When it’s time to join the crowd, you will find great shopping and a fine array of dining options at the Spectrum Center, an open-air shopping district that includes a 108-foot-tall Ferris wheel. Automotive buffs can take in the collection of exotic and race cars at the Marconi Automotive Museum and then take a few laps with the kids at K1 Speed, an electric go-cart track. The Lyon Air Museum features a collection of WWII and Vietnam-era military vehicles, including the impressive B-17 and B-25 Bombers. And every Irvine resident knows that some of the best beaches on the Pacific Coast are just 20 minutes away. Disneyland, the original theme park of the Disney World franchise, is a short 20 minutes drive from Irvine. Discover more places to visit and things to do in Irvine using these links.