Overview: The first master-planned community village in Irvine, California, University Park is a neighborhood located in Irvine’s southern region. The 250-acre community has a population of over 16,000 and is near the University of California, Irvine and Concordia University, Irvine. The neighborhood is bounded by Interstate 405, Culver Drive and University Drive. University Park contains detached and attached single-family homes built in the California architectural style. The homes in University Park are generally midsize homes that are of high value. The community was primarily developed in the 1960s, but some development has continued over the years. The neighborhood offers an urban feel and has many options for renters, who comprise a large portion of the population. Residents tend to be young, highly educated professionals. University Park is considered one of the best places to live in California. The neighborhood includes multiple amenities and various options for shopping, dining and recreation. Schools in University Park are highly rated.
Greenbelts and Bikeways
Highly Rated Schools
Convenient Access to Dining
Easy Access to Major Freeways
Location: University Park is located in the southern portion of the city of Irvine, California. It is bordered on the north by Interstate 405 and on the west by Culver Drive. University Drive provides the southern and eastern borders. William R. Mason Regional Park spans the southern border of University Park south of University Drive. Just to the west of University Park is the community of Rancho San Joaquin. To the south is Turtle Rock, and to the southwest is University Town Center. Quail Hill, Orange Tree and East Irvine lie to the east. North of University Park is the Woodbridge community.
Commutes: Interstate 405 runs along the northern edge of University Park. I-405 provides a direct, ten-minute commute to Irvine Spectrum Center to the east and a 12-minute drive to John Wayne Airport to the west. I-405 connects both with I-5 and Highway 55 for commutes northward to Tustin and Santa Ana (15 minutes and 17 minutes, respectively). It takes about 11 minutes to reach South Coast Metro via 1-405 N. Costa Mesa can be reached in about 11 minutes via I-405 and Highway 55 S. A drive to Anaheim via I-5 N takes about 27 minutes. In addition to I-5 South, other southward routes are Highway 133 and Highway 73.
Culture: Most people living in University Park are younger, highly educated people with a liberal bent. The neighborhood has a strong urban feel. There are more people in the 18 to 34-year-old age group than any other age group. At least 22% of residents have an associate’s degree or some college. About 33% of residents have a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Over half of residents of the neighborhood are renters. The median household income is about $94,000 per year. There are more whites and Asian Americans than any other ethnic group. Recreational activities in University Park include biking, hiking, golfing and gardening.
Overview: University Park is served by a number of public and private schools. The public schools are in the Irvine Unified School District. Elementary schools serving the neighborhood are Westpark Elementary School, Meadow Park Elementary School, University Park Elementary School, Springbrook Elementary School and Culverdale Elementary School. Middle Schools serving University Park students are Rancho San Joaquin Middle School and South Lake Middle School. University Park high schools are University High School, Woodbridge High School and Creekside High School. The one private school within the community is Village Montessori School of Irvine. An alternative public school that accepts Kindergarten through 12th grade students is Alternative Education-San Joaquin High School. This school is a highly rated school that serves 76 students in Kindergarten through 12th grade. With one teacher for every 20 students, 85% of students are proficient in math and 75% in reading. The school ranks at 373 of 2,534 best public elementary schools in California.
Westpark Elementary School
Westpark Elementary School is a highly rated school that has 798 Kindergarten through 6th grade students. There are 28 students to each teacher. Based on state assessments, 78% of students are proficient in mathematics, and 79% are proficient in reading. Westpark Elementary ranks at 51 of 5,881 best public elementary schools in California.
Meadow Park Elementary School
Meadow Park Elementary School is a top-rated school with 706 students in grades Kindergarten through 6th. The student/teacher ratio is 29 to one. Sixty-nine percent of students are proficient in math and 77% in reading. Meadow Park ranks at 84 of 5,881 best public elementary schools in California, with 219 of 5,748 best public elementary school teachers in California.
University Park Elementary School
University Park Elementary School is a highly rated school that serves 541 Kindergarten through 6th grade students. There are 28 students for each teacher. Sixty-five percent of students are proficient in math, and 64% are proficient in reading. University Park Elementary ranks at 135 of 5,881 best public elementary schools in California.
Rancho San Joaquin Middle School
Ranking at 13 of 2,534 best public middle schools in California, Rancho San Joaquin Middle School serves 863 7th and 8th grade students. The student to teacher ratio is 28 to one. Based on state test scores, 83% of students are proficient in both math and reading.
South Lake Middle School
South Lake Middle School is a top-ranked school serving 706 students in 7th and 8th grades. There are 25 students to each teacher. Seventy percent of students are proficient in math, and 71% are proficient in reading. South Lake Middle School ranks at 31 out of 2,534 best public middle schools in California.
University High School
University High School is a top-rated school with 2,617 students in 9th through 12th grades. The student to teacher ratio is 27 to one. Seventy-three percent of students are proficient in math. Seventy-eight percent are proficient in reading. University High ranks at eight of 1,334 best public college preparatory high schools in California.
Woodbridge High School
A top-rated high school with 2,447 9th through 12th grade students, Woodbridge High School has a student to teacher ratio of 26 to one. Based on state test scores, 69% of students are proficient in math and 79% in reading. Woodbridge High ranks at 35 of 1,334 best public college preparatory high schools in California.
Creekside High School
Creekside High School is an above average alternative school serving 92 students in grades 9th through 12th. There is one teacher for every nine students. Only ten percent of Creekside students are proficient in math. Twenty-five percent are proficient in reading. Creekside is ranked at 793 out of 1,774 best public high schools in California.
Village Montessori School of Irvine
Village Montessori School of Irvine has 115 students in Pre-Kindergarten through 3rd grade. The student to teacher ratio is 23 to one. This school served as a prototype for a Montessori school on the campus of the University of California, Irvine.
Overview: University Park, built in stages, beginning in 1965, is a varied community in terms of housing. The neighborhood includes a mixture of attached and detached single-family homes. Homes in the area generally sit on average-sized lots and have three bedrooms and two bathrooms, although some homes are larger. The community was designed and constructed with Garden City urban planning concepts. Several attributes related to Garden City concepts distinguish the neighborhood. Zero-lot line construction was used to maximize developable and open space areas and to minimize maintenance of private lawns. Master planning was undertaken to include a variety of housing types to attract a broad range of demographics, including single-family detached and attached homes and townhomes. Planners also reinvented the cul-de-sac design to include rectangular cul-de-sacs that allow for more parking and play areas in the middle of cul-de-sacs. This element also reduced the need for two-car driveways for most housing units.
Single Family Homes
As the first master-planned community in Irvine, University Park was designed to include both detached and attached single-family homes. Therefore, single-family housing includes a fairly even mixture of detached two-story homes, ranch style homes and townhomes with windows facing greenbelts and open spaces. Homes tend to have 1,200 to 4,400 square feet and up to four bedrooms and six bathrooms.
Between 2010 and 2019, there were seven new homes built in University Park. The two most recent homes built in the neighborhood were built in 2016 and 2017. The home built in 2016 is a four-bedroom, 4.5 bathroom, 3,192 square foot, two-story house. The second home, built in 2017, has two stories, five bedrooms, 4.5 baths and 4,519 square feet.
The only apartment complex in University Park is Parkwood Apartment Homes. Parkwood offers spacious one, two and three-bedroom units with swimming pools, lushly landscaped greenbelts and tree-lined pathways. In 2019, the starting price for a one-bedroom unit was around $1,800. The starting price for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment was about $2,800. All units come with storage units and high-speed Internet.
If you’re interested in buying a home in this area, check out currently available University Park homes for sale. You can also browse through the entire database of all the available Irvine homes for sale.
Overview: The real estate market in University Park has varied greatly over several years. For example, in March 2014, the median list price was $845,000. By July of the same year, the median list price had risen to $920,000. By June 2015, the median list price had dropped to $630,000 but by November rose again sharply to $767,500. In July of 2018, the median list price rose to $919,000, the highest since July of 2014. As of December 2018, the median list price was down to $830,000. As of February 2019, there were 18 homes for sale in University Park, ranging from $680,000 to $1,458,000. The types of homes for sale were split fairly evenly between single-family houses and condominiums. Between August 2018 and January 2019, a total of 29 homes sold in University Park. Most of these were single-family houses, although some were condos or townhomes. Sold prices during this period ranged from $600,000 to $1,280,000.
Things to Do
Overview: Although the University Park community covers only 250 acres, there are many things to do inside or just outside the neighborhood. Two shopping centers in the community—University Park Center and Parkview Center—offer a great number of services, retailers and restaurants for the convenience of residents. Facilities for fitness training, swimming, tennis and racquetball are just across Culver Drive at Racquet Club Irvine. Unique Taiwanese cuisine is available at Class 302 Café, a popular, classroom-inspired restaurant, and Vietnamese and Chinese food are also offered in the neighborhood. The many open spaces in University Park include University Community Park, a large neighborhood park with soccer courts, baseball diamonds, picnic areas, a community center and more. Providing creative fun for kids from all surrounding areas, Irvine Adventure Playground is also located at the community park. For residents who want to golf or pick fresh produce, the Rancho San Joaquin Golf Course and Tanaka Farms are only minutes away.
Retail & Entertainment
University Park Center
University Park Center is a shopping center on the west side of University Park that includes retailers, restaurants and services. The center contains several restaurants, such as Ameci Pizza & Pasta and Tacos & Co. Services include banks, a filling station, eye care and hair care. An anchor business at the center is the Wholesome Choice food store.
Parkview Center is a shopping center located conveniently on the east end of University Park. This beautifully landscaped center contains a variety of services, retailers and restaurants. Services found at Parkview Center include optometry, veterinary, dental, cosmetology and banking. There is also a mail center. The center’s anchor business is Zion Mart grocery store.
Racquet Club Irvine
Racquet Club Irvine is located just outside University Park on the west side of Culver Drive. The members-only club features activities, events, junior programs and tournaments. The club contains facilities for fitness training, tennis, racquetball and swimming. There is also a bar and grill.
Class 302 Café
Class 302 Café is a unique Taiwanese restaurant that uses classroom-inspired desks and chairs for furniture. The school-themed, cash-only venue offers Taiwanese comfort food and Shaved Snow Honey Boba tea drinks. Dishes include Salmon Fried Rice, Spicy Seafood Noodle Soup and Calamari.
PhoTasia Authentic Vietnamese Cuisine
The PhoTasia Vietnamese restaurant is Irvine’s premier destination for Vietnamese food. It’s located in the southeastern region of University Park at 5329 University Drive. PhoTasia specializes in pho (rice noodle), com (rice) and bun (vermicelli). PhoTasia offers dine-in meals, take-out and party trays.
King Fu Master
King Fu Master, at 18040 Culver Drive, is a popular Chinese restaurant in University Park. This small but busy diner offers fast and friendly service as well as an outdoor dining area. Some favorite dishes include Szechuan Pepper Grilled Fish and Beef Brisket Soup. A favorite drink served at King Fu Master is Watermelon Juice.
University Community Park
University Community Park is a large, beautiful park near the center of University Park off Beech Tree Lane. The park includes a shaded picnic area and tennis/handball courts, soccer fields, a basketball court, a sand volleyball court and a baseball diamond. All areas are lighted. There’s also a community center that can be rented.
Irvine Adventure Playground
Irvine Adventure Playground, located at University Community Park, is one of only three such playgrounds in the United States. The large spaces at the playground allow kids to build forts, play in the mud and be creative for hours of unstructured, self-directed play. The playground includes a castle-like play structure, a bamboo forest, a sensory garden and a tunnel slide.
Rancho San Joaquin Golf Course
Rancho San Joaquin Golf Course is located in the Rancho San Joaquin community a few miles west of University Park off Michelson Drive. Irvine’s first public golf course, the course offers some of Orange County’s finest, most challenging greens. New golfers and experienced professionals are welcome. The course features a remodeled clubhouse.
Just south of University Park, Tanaka Farms can be reached by taking Michelson Drive to Strawberry Farms Road. Featured at Tanaka Farms are Strawberry Tours, Melon Tours, Corn Picking Tours, a Pumpkin Patch Tour, a Holiday Tour, U-Pick Vegetable Tours and Cookout Tours. Tanaka Farms also has a produce market and Christmas tree farm. There’s a Harvest Festival each autumn.