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Aerial View of Downtown Irvine Skyline

14 Things to Know About Living in Irvine

Thinking about moving to Irvine? This California city is safe, offers a rapidly growing job market, and has an abundance of family-friendly activities. Plus, Irvine is in close proximity to several major cities, so the possibilities for adventure are endless. Here are 14 things to know about living in Irvine!

Plant Roots in America’s Safest City

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You can expect to find a high quality of life when you move to Irvine! This Orange County city has been recognized as one of the happiest cities in America. Also one of the best U.S. cities for raising a family, Irvine boasts low crime rates and has been named America’s safest city by the FBI every year since 2005. Plus, it’s a great place to drive in due to the work of the dedicated Irvine Traffic Research & Control Center, whose efforts have made driving within the city easier and safer. With convenient access to a variety of local parks, proximity to UCI Health, and more, it’s no wonder why Irvine has also been recognized as one of the healthiest cities in America.

Land Fulfilling Jobs in Irvine

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Looking to take the next step in your career path? Irvine is among the top 15 best U.S. cities for jobs! Secure a position in higher education at University of California, Irvine (UCI), or take your talents to local public schools by working for the Irvine Unified School District. Pursue a career in health and medicine at a nationally-ranked hospital like UCI Medical Center. With the presence of tech giants like Google and Blizzard Entertainment, major retailers like Amazon and Toshiba, and healthcare companies like Endologix, working professionals living in Irvine have tons of job opportunities to choose from. And with a projected future job growth rate of 40.2%, the Irvine job market will likely only continue to expand!

Seek Higher Education

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If you’re moving to Irvine to get your degree, you’ll have plenty of institutions to choose from. Enroll in popular programs like psychology, business administration, electrical engineering, and more at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). This prestigious California university offers over 200 degree programs and is home to Anteater Stadium, where locals gather to watch the men’s and women’s soccer teams and support the women’s and men’s track & field teams. Pursue a degree in one of over 150 degrees/certifications available at Irvine Valley College. Immerse yourself in subjects like graphic design, kinesiology, and anthropology at faith-based Concordia University Irvine. Or study accounting, political science, and more than 140 other degree programs just outside the city at private Chapman University.

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Send Your Kids to Great Schools

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Speaking of education, you can also start your kids out right at top-rated Irvine schools! The Irvine Unified School District has not only been recognized as a top school district in California, but also in the nation. With a wide range of academic and extra-curricular programs, focus on wellness, and commitment to diversity, Irvine is a great place to learn. Look to Santiago Hills Elementary, where over 80% of students score at or above state proficiency standards in both reading and math. Send your kids to year-round K-8 school Vista Verde to get hands-on experience in exploratory classes like Ceramics and Musical Theater. Looking for a great Irvine high school? Check out the variety of academic and athletic programs at Northwood High, ranked in the top 100 high schools in the state. Or let them find their place at Portola High School, which has an inclusive 1:1 Chromebook Program that gives all students access to technology and allows them to thrive in today’s modern educational environment.

Ride Irvine Public Transportation

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While getting around in a car may be the norm in Irvine, you can also get where you need to with Irvine public transportation! Stay active by biking on the hundreds of miles of off-street bike trails and on-street bikeways. Make your way around the Irvine Spectrum Center or hitch a ride to and from work with the iShuttle. Get a ticket for the Amtrak and Metrolink passenger rail services at Irvine Station for easy travel to Los Angeles and San Diego. Or take advantage of wheelchair-accessible transportation service, TRIPS, made for the elderly and adults with physical disabilities.

Hit Up Nearby California Cities

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With big cities like San Diego and Los Angeles both less than a two-hour drive away, Irvine residents can take quick getaways to find even more adventures in California! Head north to catch a Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB), Lakers (NBA), or Rams (NFL) game. Spend a day in Hollywood enjoying studio tours at Universal Studios Hollywood, capturing selfies at the iconic Hollywood Sign, or taking a stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Hang out in San Diego and check out exotic animals like anacondas, bonobos, and the capybara at the San Diego Zoo. Or unleash your inner nerd and dress up as your favorite character, grab a comic, and immerse yourself in pop culture at Comic-Con International: San Diego.

Soak Up Sunny Weather All Year Long

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Orange County is known for its warm weather and sunny days, and Irvine is no exception. The city sees 281 sunny days each year on average and almost never receives snowfall. But you don’t have to worry about extreme heat when you live in this California city! Irvine weather consists of an average annual high temperature of 83 degrees, and its average low is a comfortable 54 degreesperfect for making the most of the area’s many outdoor amenities! Despite its coastal location, Irvine isn’t overly humid and maintains a consistently low dew point throughout the year.

Connect with Nature

Moving to Irvine, CA means having access to urban amenities without giving up natural wonders. Go on a group tour to observe local flora and fauna at Turtle Rock Nature Center. Bird-watch by day and bat-watch by night at San Joaquin Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary. See even more local wildlife—including coyotes, mountain lions, and mule deer—on a bike ride through the massive Irvine Open Space Preserve. Travel through Irvine nature the old-fashioned way with a horseback ride through the scenic Bommer Canyon Preserve. Relax with a picnic or take a ho -air balloon ride on the Great Park Balloon at Orange County Great Park. Or take a 20-minute road trip to embark on a hike, lounge at the beach, and explore the tide pools at Crystal Cove State Park.

Find Family-Friendly Activities

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There are plenty of fun things to do in Irvine for the entire family! Perform in the amphitheater, create your next art masterpiece, and learn about multicultural dishes at Pretend City Children’s Museum. Kickstart your adrenaline with rides like Starship and Tilt n Shout, go miniature golfing, ride bumper boats, and more at Boomers Irvine. Pick fresh fruits, go on wagon rides at the pumpkin patch, and see a variety of barnyard animals at Tanaka Farms. Lace up your bowling shoes and see who can get a strike first at Irvine Lanes. Cool off from the hot California weather when you slide down the Aquaconda, relax on Castaway River, and explore Cooks Cove at Wild Rivers. Or let your kids enjoy the great Irvine weather by playing in the treehouse, wandering the sensory garden, or frolicking through the meadows and natural play areas at Adventure Playground.

Spend a Day at the Irvine Spectrum Center

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Want to find a variety of ways to stay entertained, all in one place? Look no further than the Irvine Spectrum Center, a family-friendly multiplex of fun in Irvine. Ride the iconic Giant Wheel to see a beautiful view of Orange County when you get to the top. Step back in time and take a spin on the Center’s antique Carousel. Laugh the night away watching local comedians perform at Irvine Improv. Compete with your friends in a variety of augmented reality virtual races or live out your theme park dreams at Odyssey VR. Shop ’til you drop at any of the Center’s many apparel, beauty, and home decor shops. And be sure to check the Spectrum Center event calendar for updates on weekly live music performances, fitness classes, movie nights, and more!

Attend Irvine’s Festivals & Events

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The many festivals and events in Irvine will keep you busy all year round! Play games, make crafts, visit with barn animals, and more at Tanaka Farm’s Seasonal Harvest Festivals. Experience food, art, and music from across the globe at the annual Irvine Global Village Festival. Support local vendors, try out different cuisines, and rock out to live music at Irvine Nights. Discover unique cocktails with friends, check out a new restaurant with the family, and sample some of the best food in Irvine during Orange County Restaurant Week. Get in tune with your artsy side and explore local artist showcases, attend demonstrations, and buy a piece to take home at the Studio Arts Festival. Or find your holiday spirit when you take the family to meet Santa, gaze at Christmas lights, and more at the Irvine Park Railroad‘s Annual Christmas Train Event.

Admire the Arts

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A lot of entertainment in Irvine comes from its impressive arts and culture scene. Marvel at beautiful works from the California Impressionist period at The Irvine Museum. Attend pottery or printmaking classes, participate in open studio programs, explore exhibitions, and more at the Irvine Fine Arts Center. Watch everything from film screenings to live music performances at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Take acting classes or grab tickets to see modern twists on classic theatre shows at South Coast Repertory. Enjoy Shakespeare plays like Julius Caesar and As You like It and take part in educational seminars during the summer months at the New Swan Shakespeare Festival. Get tickets to catch dazzling circus acts, classical music, live performances, and more at the Irvine Barclay Theatre. Or pack your lounge chair and enjoy live outdoor music performances from artists and bands like Sam Hunt, The Smashing Pumpkins, and The Offspring at the FivePoint Amphitheatre.

Get to Know the Diverse Dining Scene

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Curious about the best restaurants in Irvine? Treat yourself to an authentic French Crepe, like the Fruits Du Jour, Napoleon, or the Caprici Crepe at Mr French Crepe. Munch on the Avo Toast, Breakfast Burrito, and Granola Bowl at Everyday Eatery. Fill up on the Cold Turkey Supreme Sandwich, Hot Chicken Garlic Sandwich, and more for lunch in Irvine at the quaint Le Diplomate Cafe. Chow down traditional Vietnamese fare like Vegetable Pho, Tempura Prawns, or Grilled Meat Rolls at Pho Saigon Pearl. Make a reservation and select farm-to-table eats like Cornbread, Oysters, and Quiche from seasonal menus at New American restaurant, Porch and Swing. Searching for romantic places to eat in Irvine? Or enjoy a plate of Original Meatballs, Burrata Ravioli, Lamb Chops, and other gourmet Italian dishes at nearby Antonello Ristorante.

Experience the Nightlife

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While Irvine may not be known for bustling clubs and bars, there are hidden gems scattered throughout the city that adults are sure to enjoy. Spend an evening taking in stellar views of the city and delicious craft cocktails like the Bees Knees, Hive Mind, or Wasp’s Nest at Hive & Honey Rooftop Bar. Cheer on your favorite team at Anthill Pub & Grille, a local sports bar offering craft beers like the Avery White Rascal, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Russian River Blind Pig. Attend themed parties, order bottle service, and go dancing at Legacy Nightclub & Lounge. Sip craft cocktails and fill up on delicious food like Tomato Toast, Spanish Mac & Cheese, and Filet Mignon Medallions at Bacchus Bar & Bistro. Grab some liquid courage and sing along to your favorite lyrics with friends at Plush Karaoke. Or visit Whoop Axe Throwing for their Tomahawk Tuesday & Sunday events, featuring line dancing, axe throwing, and a lounge perfect for socializing.


Moving to Irvine? Extra Space Storage has storage facilities throughout Orange County that can help your move go smoothly. Find self storage near you!


About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.