Harvard Square

Overview

Overview: Harvard Square is a neighborhood in Irvine, California. It is a gated, master-planned neighborhood spanning 827 acres and containing 455 homes in the community of Walnut Village. Built primarily in the 1970s, Harvard Square retains much of the architectural aesthetic of the period. Three developments tracts are found in Harvard Square—Cambridge, Centennial and Revere.

Many neighborhood amenities are available to Harvard Square residents, including swimming pools, tennis and basketball courts and a clubhouse. An outstanding feature in the community is Harvard Community Park, a large, circle-shaped park directly in the center of the neighborhood.

A wide variety of shopping and dining is available at the nearby Walnut Village Shopping Center, Culver Plaza Shopping Center and The Market Place. Shopping is also available at Heritage Plaza.

Harvard Square public school students attend College Park Elementary School, Venado Middle School and Irvine High School. There are also several private schools in the area.

Neighborhood Highlights

A Beautiful Park
Abundant Recreation
Excellent Shopping
Great Schools
Safe, Gated Community
Easy Access to Major Thoroughfares

Location: Harvard Square is located in the Walnut Village community on the northwest side of Irvine. It is bordered by Harvard Avenue on the west. Interstate 5 runs along the north edge of the neighborhood. Culver Drive marks Harvard Square’s eastern edge, and Walnut Avenue runs along the south side. Peters Canyon Creek runs along the western edge of the neighborhood.

To the east of Harvard Square are the El Camino Real and Northwood communities. To the south are the Irvine business district and the West Park and Woodbridge communities. Tustin and Santa Ana lie to the west.

Commutes: With an average one-way commute of twenty-two minutes, commuting is relatively convenient for Harvard Square residents. Interstate 5 (Santa Ana Freeway) may be taken northwest to Tustin, Santa Ana or Anaheim or southward to Mission Viejo or San Clemente. Highway 261 connects to Interstate 405 and Highway 73 for commutes to Costa Mesa and Newport Beach. Highway 261 also connects to Highway 241, which intersects with California 91 Expressway for traveling to west to Compton or northeast to Riverside. During rush hour, the I-5 and I-405 freeways can be cluttered, so an alternate route, such as Culver Drive, is recommended during the heaviest traffic.

Culture: The Harvard Square neighborhood is populated largely by white collar workers. The median age is thirty-eight years. Roughly fifty-six percent of families in the area have children under eighteen living at home. Over fifty percent of residents own their homes. Top interests of residents include hiking, sports, gardening and landscaping.

Many of the activities in Harvard Square are family-oriented and are centered on parks and recreation. A hub for much of this activity is Harvard Community Park, with its abundance of sports amenities and beautiful community center. A highly anticipated community event in the neighborhood is the Oktoberfest weekend, held in Harvard Square every October.

Schools

Overview: Public schools serving Harvard Square are in the Irvine Unified School District. These schools are College Park Elementary School, Venado Middle School and Irvine High School.

College Park Elementary School has a primarily English-speaking student body with a large number of students from various ethnic backgrounds who speak several different languages. This international population creates a diverse culture the school is proud of.

Venado Middle School provides an academically challenging, comprehensive education. The school’s main goal is to lead students to reach their highest potential by recognizing their greatest gifts. School staff and teachers strive to empower students with the knowledge, skills and values needed to meet the challenges of a changing world.

Irvine High School is a top-rated school whose mission is to enable each student to become a contributing member of society by providing a high-quality educational experience. Irvine High operates under the belief that successful education is the shared responsibility of students, educators, parents and the community.

Schools

Elementary Schools

College Park Elementary School

College Park Elementary School is a highly-rated school with 773 students in grades Kindergarten through 6th. There is one teacher for every twenty-nine students. Based on state assessment tests, 72% of students are proficient in mathematics, and 69% are proficient in reading. College Park is ranked at 125 out of 5,881 best public elementary schools in California.

Middle Schools

Venado Middle School

Venado Middle School has 642 students in 7th and 8th grades. The student to teacher ratio is 25 to one. At least 74% of students are proficient in math. Seventy-seven percent of students are proficient in reading. Venado Middle School ranks at 24 of 2,534 best public middle schools in California.

High Schools

Irvine High School

Irvine High School serves 2,031 students in 9th through 12th grades. There is one teacher for every 27 students. According to state test scores, 65% of students are proficient in math, and 77% are proficient in reading. Irvine High School is ranked at 49 out of 1,334 best public high schools in California.

Private Schools

New Horizon Elementary School

New Horizon Elementary School is a Muslim school serving 185 students in Pre-Kindergarten through 6th grade. The school has one teacher for every eight students. New Horizon has a commitment to provide students with an excellent academic education and firm grounding in moral and ethical values.

St. Cecilia School

St. Cecilia School is a Catholic school in nearby Tustin. This school serves 301 students in Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade. The student to teacher ratio is 17 to one. St. Cecilia promotes its status as “more than a school,” but an institution that welcomes God into the daily curriculum, partners meaningfully with parents and enhances each student’s learning through technology.

Housing

Overview: Master planned by the Irvine Company, Harvard Square is a gated community in the Walnut Village area of Irvine. Most of the 455 homes in Harvard Square are single-family homes built in the 1970s.

There are three development tracts that comprise the Harvard Square community—Cambridge, Centennial and Revere. These areas are lined with gorgeous, mature trees, and many of the homes sit on large lots.

A typical older single family home in Harvard Square is a two-story, three-bedroom, 2.5 bathroom home with an attached two-car garage and a full two-car driveway. A typical newer single-family Harvard Square home might include five bedrooms and three bathrooms with walk-in closets and a two-car garage.

Although Harvard Square is comprised primarily of single-family homes, there are apartments available in the community, including the Villa Hermosa Apartments, located in the southwest region of the neighborhood near the intersection of Harvard Avenue and Walnut.

Housing options

Single Family Homes

Nearly all the homes in the Harvard Square neighborhood are single-family homes. Most of them were built in the 1970s, and they reflect the architectural style of that period. A typical single-family home in Harvard Square has two stories, three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and an attached two-car garage with a full driveway.

New Construction

Most homes within the Harvard Square neighborhood were built in the early 1970s, when the neighborhood was constructed, based on a master plan. A handful of newer homes were constructed in the area, however, in the 1980s and 1990s. The newest construction in the area dates to the late 1990s.

High Rises

There are no high rises within the geographical boundaries of the Harvard Square neighborhood; however, there are some high rise apartment buildings in the nearby Irvine business district. One such complex is Marquee Park Place at 3131 Michelson Drive. Marquee Park Place offers two-bedroom units in a luxury setting that includes a spa, pool, fitness center and business center.

Apartments

There’s an abundance of apartment complexes available near the Harvard Square neighborhood. An apartment complex that’s located within the geographical boundaries of Harvard Square is the Villa Hermosa Apartments, located at 14501 Harvard Avenue near Walnut in the southwest region of the neighborhood. Other nearby complexes are Windwood Glen Apartments, Santa Maria Apartment Homes and Parklands Apartments.

If you’re interested in buying a home in this area, check out currently available Harvard Square homes for sale. You can also browse through the entire database of all the available Irvine homes for sale.

Real Estate

Overview: There are usually only a handful of homes for sale at a given time in Harvard Square. As of January 2019, three homes in the neighborhood were for sale.

From 2014 to 2018, a number of homes sold in Harvard Square. In 2014, fifteen homes in Harvard Square sold for $715,000 to $1,200,370. In 2015, eight homes sold for $735,000 to $1,320,000. Thirteen homes sold in 2016, ranging from $820,000 to $1,375,000. Throughout 2017, a total of ten homes in the community sold for $880,000 to $1,400,000. During 2018, six homes sold from $918,000 to $1,275,000.

The median list price and median sold price of homes in Harvard Square remained nearly equal from 2016 through 2019. In July of 2018, however, the median sold price rose considerably above the median list price. This disparity between the median list price and the median sold price has narrowed since peaking in 2018.

Things to Do

Overview: Whether it’s spending the day at a children’s museum or enjoying an outdoor concert, there’s a great variety of fun and interesting things to do near Harvard Square. And shopping and dining are close at hand.

Three shopping centers within walking distance or a short drive have everything residents need, from banking to dentistry to home furnishings. These beautifully landscaped centers are The Marketplace, Walnut Village Shopping Center and Culver Plaza.

Irvine Historical Museum and Ranch Historic Park offer a rich collection of local historical photography and information. Irvine Fine Arts Center provides a showcase for local artists and studios for learning artistic skills. The Five Point Amphitheater brings national performers to the area for star-lit concerts in the open air. The Pretend City Children’s Museum allows kids to practice grown-up skills in an interconnected, kid-size city. The highlight of fun for Harvard Square residents, however, is the annual Oktoberfest weekend, kicked off with its world-famous HONK! Parade.

Retail & Entertainment

The Marketplace

The Marketplace is a 164-acre shopping center that includes a variety of restaurants. The shopping center is also home to fitness centers, home furnishing stores, sporting goods stores and grocery stores. Clothing stores at the Marketplace include White House Black Market and Jos. A. Bank. Restaurants include Koja Kitchen and Islands Fine Burgers and Drinks.

Walnut Village Shopping Center

The Walnut Village Shopping Center also has something for everyone, including banks, dentistry, pharmacies, cleaners and food. The many eateries within the center include Chronic Tacos, BURNTZILLA Modern Eats, Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza and the Potbelly Sandwich Shop. Ice cream, pastries and coffee are also available.

Culver Plaza

Culver Plaza has a wide array of shopping, dining and other businesses for the convenience of Harvard Square residents. Businesses include 24 Hour Fitness, 99 Ranch Market, Baskin Robbins, Chase Bank, Chevron, CVS Pharmacy and the All That Barbeque restaurant.

Irvine Historical Museum and Ranch Historic Park

The Irvine Historical Museum, located in the San Joaquin Ranch House, was commissioned by James Irvine in 1868. The museum offers an extensive historic photo collection and a research library. The Irvine Ranch Historic Park is the original site of the Irvine Ranch headquarters. Several original buildings are still standing, including the home of James Irvine II.

Irvine Fine Arts Center

The Irvine Fine Arts Center offers classes, open studio programs and exhibitions for all ages in fully-equipped art studios. The center features a Holiday Faire each holiday season that showcases more than 100 local artists’ handmade gifts. The center’s Studio Arts Festival, held each summer, showcases original works by Southern California artists.

Harvard Community Park

This beautiful 27-acre park has a great number of amenities for family enjoyment. The community center has a kitchen and a multipurpose room that can be reserved for gatherings. The park has two restrooms, many drinking fountains, a concession stand and several picnic/barbeque areas. Also available are lighted baseball diamonds and soccer fields, batting cages and bike trail access.

Five Point Amphitheater

The Five Point Amphitheater is Orange County’s destination for star-lit concerts. The amphitheater, located in Irvine’s Great Park, is a 12,000-seat outdoor venue that hosts a wide variety of events and musical programming each concert season. Performing acts include Florida Georgia Line, Third Eye Blind, Toby Mac, Train and Goo Goo Dolls.

Pretend City Children’s Museum of Orange County

Pretend City is an interconnected interactive “city” in which children can play grown-up by shopping for groceries, visiting the doctor and going to work. The museum presents “the world in a nutshell” as an opportunity for children to learn how the real world works. The child-size city is staffed by professionals who help children learn math, reading and science skills.

Oktoberfest Weekend

For over forty years, the Harvard Square Business Association has been holding an annual Oktoberfest weekend-long street festival. A highlight of the festival is the HONK! Parade, a global phenomenon that is a horn-honking, hand-clapping, foot-stomping spectacle that kicks off the celebration. Oktoberfest features live music, food, arts, crafts and vintage goods—with dancing in the streets.