History: In 1769, a Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portola established forts, missions, and cattle herds in the area now known as Irvine, California. In 1821, following Mexico’s independence from Spain, the Mexican government distributed land to Mexican citizens. Ownership of the lands became tangled up in the Mexican-American War, and in 1878, the Irvine family fell into ownership of a large portion of land that was named as Irvine in 1914. In 1947, the Irvine Company began designating areas for urban development. In the 1960s, the Irvine Company began executing the design of a master-planned city that would join the Orange County, California area. On December 28, 1971, residents of Turtle Rock, University Park, Westpark (at the time named Culverdale), El Camino Real, and Walnut voted to incorporate a larger city than originally intended by the Pereira plan. Since then, Irvine has grown to be one of the best places to live in the entire United States of America.
Top City Highlights
Top Ranked Schools
Fantastic Retail Options
Great Dining Establishments
Signature Art and Entertainment
Nationally-Ranked Safety Statistics
Location: Irvine, CA is a city southeast of Los Angeles. More specifically, Irvine is the central location of Orange County, known for the Anaheim’s Disneyland Resort and beaches. As the heart of the famous Orange County, Irvine’s neighboring cities include Huntington Beach to the southwest, Lake Forest to the southeast, and South Coast Metro to the northwest. Limestone Canyon Regional Park and Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park border Irvine to the northeast. The location of Irvine, CA allows for fast access to all areas of Orange County, from the beautiful parks inland to the white, sandy beaches that border the Pacific Ocean.
Commutes: San Diego Freeway cuts through Irvine from the west and east, and Laguna Freeway runs from the south and northeast. As popular freeways, these roadways allow for fast transportation throughout Irvine’s neighborhoods. Beyond Irvine, Crystal Cove State Park is just south of Irvine, and only a thirty minute drive from the center of Irvine will see you to the coast. Additionally, John Wayne Airport is located right outside of Irvine’s southwest border. As one of the most customer-friendly airports in the country, John Wayne Airport makes national and international travel by air easy.
Culture: From the start, Irvine was intentionally designed to be a modern, family-friendly city with a safe, affluent community. The lifestyles of Irvine’s residents are largely influenced by beautiful landscapes, outdoor retreats, and great shopping centers and eateries located nearby. With an estimated population of over 266,000 residents, 45% of residents are Asian American, while 50% are white, 9.2% are Latino or Hispanic, and 1.8% are African American. 31.4% of the population are aged 25-44, and 14% are under the age of 18. The majority hold college degrees and have high-income households. Irvine’s residents are all about giving back and enjoying life.
Irvine City Council hold regular meetings on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month in the City Council Chamber located in Irvine City Hall. As the legislative branch of Irvine, the City Council also makes policies and oversees the city’s major goals.
Address: 1 Civic Center Plaza, Irvine, CA 92606
The City of Irvine’s mayor serves on multiple committees, including but not limited to budget, health, revenue, education, and taxation. Many mayors also are involved with Orange County businesses and legal institutions. As a committed part of the Irvine community, the mayoral office is involved in the city’s charity fundraisers and local events.
Address: 1 Civic Center Plaza, Irvine, CA 92606
Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to advancing Irvine’s economic vitality through investing in Irvine’s community and businesses. The Irvine Chamber of Commerce represents more than 800 businesses in the area and offers elite membership for those who qualify.
Address: 36 Executive Park, Suite 100, Irvine, CA 92614
Overview: The schools of Irvine, CA distinguish themselves as a great contributor to why Irvine CA is one of the best places to raise a family in the entire United States of America. As the #1 Best School District in Orange County, IUSD earns top marks for excellence. Beyond high school, Irvine is home to the University of California, Irvine. Irvine campuses are consistently and constantly praised for excellently qualified teachers who encourage students to do the best of their abilities in and outside of the classroom, in addition to providing necessary resources for counseling and college preparation. GreatSchools, centered on how students are prepared for postsecondary success, lists Santiago Hills Elementary School, Lakeside Middle School, and University High School as only a few of the many 10/10 IUSD campuses. Overall, Irvine’s schools are highly acclaimed educational services.
Established June 6, 1972, Irvine Unified School District is a nationally recognized and ranked school district. Twenty-two elementary schools, six middle schools, and six comprehensive high schools make up IUSD. Since 1986, schools of IUSD have held the honor of receiving the California Distinguished School award 43 times in total. Individually, all IUSD schools have earned the status of Blue Ribbon Schools, which is the top title able to be awarded for K-12 campuses. IUSD serves around 34,000 students with a student-teacher ratio of 30:1 and services Central, Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, and Southeast communities.
The elementary schools of IUSD and other campuses, including private, are often highly reviewed primary school facilities with supportive, diverse community members. Many elementary schools are Blue Ribbon award-winning schools that include Santiago Hills Elementary, Turtle Rock Elementary, Vista Verde, and Orchard Hills School.
The middle schools servicing Irvine’s neighborhoods are usually extremely diverse and focused on individual student improvement with an effort to eventually lead to overall success. Student-teacher ratios hover around the 30:1 mark, which means class sizes stay small so children can learn under careful guidance. These star campuses include Lakeside Middle School, Vista Verde, and Jeffrey Trail Middle.
Both public and private high schools in Irvine feature state-of-the art facilities, multimedia resources, and often consist of campuses that have earned the Blue Ribbon School title from the U.S. Department of Education. Many are also California Distinguished Schools due to academic excellence, such as University High School, Woodbridge High School, and Irvine High School.
Private School options range between Lutheran, Catholic, and non-religious institutions; however, all are dedicated to the academic and personal success of each and every student. Private schools can be found throughout Irvine’s neighborhoods. Spectrum Montessori, LePort Montessori, and New Horizon School are a few that specialize in unique approaches to challenging children and teens to achieve greater levels of success.
Overview: Irvine, California is proud to uphold its lasting status as a secure and safe community that boosts its reputation as being one of the prime locations across the United States of America to raise a family. Irvine’s residential areas largely consist of high market value homes ranging from single family homes, condominiums, apartments, and new construction. Homes typically are valued at or above the $700,000 mark, and the average price per square foot for Irvine properties traditionally sits around $400, while more higher-end properties reach $800 per square foot. On average, Turtle Rock has higher-valued homes, University Town Center has more affordable housing, and the communities of Woodbridge, Northwood, and Orange County Great Park are priced higher per square foot. As a master-planned city, Irvine’s neighborhoods are sleek, modern, and sophisticated: all are traits that continue to attract affluent residents to buy or rent properties and make Irvine their home.
Single family homes are Irvine’s bread and butter. Homes throughout Irvine’s neighborhoods average between 3 to 4 beds and 2-3 baths per residence. While neighborhoods vary, many single family homes have a 1 or 2 car garage and yard space. That said, residences can range at an upwards of 5 beds and 5 baths with large lawn spaces.
Irvine’s recent residences have been completed in the last five to ten years. These modern neighborhoods include Woodbury, Woodbury East, and even older neighborhoods like Turtle Rock have had construction completed in 2018. These recently built properties are often more expensive and may be priced at exceeding $1M.
From studio setups to large layouts, Irvine has a healthy and varied apartment market and availability. Commonly, apartments come with 1-2 bedrooms and 1 bath. While most consist of one floor, two-story layouts can be found. Parking typically consists of designated driveways or garages, and apartments typically range between $1,500-$3,000.
If you’re interested in buying a home in this area, check out currently available Irvine homes for sale.
Overview: 2018 marked the 13th consecutive year Irvine earned the rank of the Safest City of 250,000 or more across the entire United States of America. WalletHub’s national ranking system placed Irvine as 27th in best real estate market thanks to Irvine’s attractive housing market and economic growth. Also, Irvine is ranked 2nd in the Best Places to Raise a Family survey. Irvine, CA is comprised of prime real estate residential properties. The median sales price of properties on average shows a steady increase over the last four years from $750K to the last few years’ status of $870K. The last five years show the number of annual sales is expected to experience an upturn to 700 properties per year. The number of rental properties also shows a steady increase from the last three years. These are only a few of Irvine’s attractive qualities.
Things to Do
Overview: Amusement parks, natural beauty, outdoor activities, museums, retail therapy, and more: these are only a few of the many attractions in Irvine, CA. Visiting Irvine Spectrum Center is the #1 thing to do in Irvine known for excellent shopping and nightlife opportunities. Extreme Adventures offers the chance to drive exotic sports cars with a pro instructor in the passenger’s seat. The Irvine Museum is a local gem that showcases Californian artists and a lovely collection with no entrance fee. Orange County Great Park has it all, from a large sports complex to historic collections to a giant hot air balloon ride. Explore San Joaquin wildlife Sanctuary, photograph birds, and walk along pristine water. And of course, Disney California is only 10 miles away. Irvine’s neighborhoods has it all: from the best of urban living with shopping centers and a range of restaurants to the great outdoors of California.
Retail & Entertainment
Parks & Recreation
Irvine is nationally recognized for well-planned parks, open space areas, greenbelts, and interconnected bike networks. With 19 community parks and more than 40 neighborhood parks, visitors have a range of locations to choose from. Plus, regional parks and wildlife reserves are also nearby.
Irvine has several shopping options that cover a range of needs. Whether you’re looking for an intimate outdoor setting or a conglomerate of the top-rated shops and stores, Irvine has a location for you. The Irvine Spectrum Center, the Diamond Jamboree, Harvard Place Shopping Center, and Orchard Hills Shopping Center are only a handful of the many locations.
Art & Culture
Irvine is big on art and culture, as seen through the city’s large number of attractions. The Irvine Fine Arts Center is open for art classes, events, exhibitions, and studio programs for all ages. The Irvine Museum houses a rotating display section of American art and CA landscapes. These are only two of Irvine’s shining stars in arts and culture.
Pubs, bars, lounges, oh my! Irvine has it all, from watering holes with craft brews on tap to coastal-inspired craft cocktails in modern surroundings. Whether you’re looking for a cozy, intimate night out or a fun night dancing and singing karaoke with friends, Irvine has you covered.
The local cuisine of Irvine features upscale eateries that serve anything from burgers to sushi to French entrees. While there are many familiar chains that can be found in Irvine’s neighborhoods, highly-rated locally owned businesses like Two Left Forks, Habana Restaurant, and HiroNori Craft Ramen promise to delight the senses.
Overview: All in all, there are 24 neighborhoods in Irvine, CA. Of the 24 villages, Woodbridge is the largest neighborhood according to population and also has an almost nonexistent crime rate and perfect weather. Great Park has lovely amenities and a nice cost of living ratio with housing. Turtle Rock, Oak Creek, and University Park all typically consist of high value market homes with amazing educational opportunities. Northwood Point, West Park, Walnut Village, and El Camino Real are only a few of the top-rated places to live in Irvine, CA. The largest neighborhoods in Irvine besides Woodbridge are Northwood, West Park, and Lowers Peters Canyon according to population density. The Irvine Spectrum Center is a prime retail and shopping destination, while the Great Park area is best known for its stunning natural landmarks and nearby proximity to Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park and the Limestone Canyon Regional Park. All in all, Irvine’s neighborhoods enjoy low crime ratings, high satisfaction rates, and make up a cohesive, diverse city.
If you want to learn more about this city’s neighborhoods, check out full list of Irvine neighborhoods page.