Thinking about moving to Irvine? Recognized as one of the happiest cities in America and one of the best U.S. cities for raising a family, this California city is incredibly safe, offers a rapidly growing job market, and has an abundance of family-friendly activities. Here are 11 things you need to know about living in Irvine!
Plant Roots in America’s Safest City
Irvine has been named America’s safest city by the FBI every year since 2005. But it isn’t just one of the safest cities in the U.S—it’s also one of the safest places to live in the world! With its low crime rates and the work of the dedicated Irvine Traffic Research & Control Center, whose efforts have made driving in the city easier and safer, Irvine is truly one of the best places to live in America for people of all lifestyles!
Soak Up Sunny Weather All Year Long
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. And extreme heat isn’t an issue either. The city of Irvine’s average annual high temperature is 73 degrees, and its average low is a comfortable 52 degrees—perfect for making the most of Irvine’s many outdoor amenities! And despite its coastal location, the weather in Irvine isn’t overly humid and maintains a consistently low dew point throughout the year.
Pursue Your Career Here
Looking to take the next step in your career path? Irvine is among the 50 best U.S. cities for jobs. Thanks to 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. Irvine’s job market is growing quickly, too. With a projected future job growth rate of 40.2%, Irvine exceeds the average U.S. projection, meaning the job market will only continue to expand!
Seek Higher Education
If you’re moving to Irvine to get your degree, you have plenty of institutions to choose from! Enroll at the distinguished Association of American Universities’ newest inductee, University of California Irvine. This prestigious public university offers over 200 degree programs and is home to Anteater Stadium, where locals gather to watch baseball, basketball, soccer, and other collegiate sports. Get your prerequisites or earn a two-year degree in one of the 70+ majors available at Irvine Valley College. For a faith-based learning experience, take classes at Concordia University Irvine, an institution known for its comprehensive nursing program. Or get your start in the world of fashion at the renowned Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising‘s Orange County Campus!
Send Your Kids to Great Schools
Speaking of education, you can start your kids out right at top-rated Irvine schools! The Irvine Unified School District celebrates diversity, inclusion, and the joy of education. Santiago Hills Elementary promotes holistic student learning and ranks in the top 5% of all California schools for test scores, while year-round K-8 school Vista Verde offers exploratory classes like Filmmaking and Musical Theater. Have older children? Send them to Northwood High, which offers a variety of academic and athletic programs and is designated a Gold-Ribbon School by the California Department of Education. Or let them find their place at Portola High School, which has a 1:1 Chromebook Program that gives all students access to the technology that’s necessary for thriving in today’s modern educational environment.
Connect with Nature
Moving to Irvine means having equal access to urban amenities and natural wonders. Go on a group tour led by a professional naturist at Turtle Rock, where you can observe local flora and fauna. See even more local wildlife like coyotes and mule deer on a bike ride through the massive Irvine Open Space Preserve. Birdwatch by day and bat-watch by night at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. Travel through Californian nature the old-fashioned way—go horseback riding through the scenic Bommer Canyon! Enjoy a more manicured version of the outdoors with a picnic or take a hot-air balloon ride on the Great Park Balloon at Orange County Great Park. Or see stunning plant exhibits like the aloe gardens or Mojave Desert collection at UCI Arboretum.
Spend a Day at the Irvine Spectrum Center
Looking for fun things to do in Irvine? Go for a ride on the jewel of the Irvine Spectrum Center—the Giant Wheel. 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. Unleash your inner baker at Duff’s Cakemix, a DIY dessert design studio where you can experiment with icing techniques on delicious, pre-baked cakes. Shop at any of the Center’s many shops, or check the Spectrum Center event calendar for updates on weekly live music!
Celebrate Local Festivals & Events
There are awesome things to do all year long in Irvine! Experience food, art, and music from across the globe at the annual Irvine Global Village Festival. Sample different cuisines from some of Irvine’s best food vendors during Orange County Restaurant Week. Get in the holiday spirit with family fun at the Irvine Park Railroad’s Annual Christmas Train Event. See local artist showcases, attend demonstrations, and buy a piece to take home at the Studio Arts Festival. And don’t forget to keep an eye on the Irvine events calendar to learn about the other unique local events!
Admire the Arts
A lot of the entertainment in Irvine centers on its impressive arts and culture scene. Marvel at beautiful works from the California Impressionist period at the The Irvine Museum. Attend classes in subjects from pottery to printmaking and beyond at Irvine Fine Arts Center, where visitors can also see rotating exhibitions from local and national artists. Watch everything from ballet to sensory-friendly shows at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Take acting classes or see modern twists on classic theatre at South Coast Repertory. See Shakespeare, seminars, and more at the New Swan Theater. Or get tickets to the The Barclay Theatre to catch dazzling circus acts, classical music, live theater, and so much more.
Get to Know the Diverse Dining Scene
Curious about where to find the best restaurants in Irvine? There are plenty to choose from! Fill up on traditional Vietnamese fare like Vegetable Pho or Lychee on Ice at Pho Saigon Pearl. Make a reservation at Porch & Swing, a New American restaurant featuring dishes like Fried Chicken and Creamy Grits. Looking for romantic places to eat in Irvine? Get a table at Antonello Ristorante and enjoy a plate of Gnocchi Di Ricotta, Spaghetti Alla Pescatora, or any of their other gourmet Italian dishes. Treat yourself to an authentic French Crepe, like the Fruits Du Jour Crepe or the Caprici Crepe at Mr. French Crepe. For a great lunch, head to the quaint Le Diplomate Cafe and order a Cold Turkey Supreme Sandwich. Or sit down for some Spicy Noodles or Pan-Fried Dumplings at Paper Lantern, one of Irvine’s best Asian restaurants.
Experience the Nightlife
Wondering what to expect from Irvine’s nightlife? Spend an evening at rooftop bar Hive & Honey for stellar views of the city and delicious craft cocktails like the Bee’s Knees or Wasp Nest. Cheer on your favorite team at Anthill Pub, a local sports bar specializing in craft beer and pub eats. Attend themed parties, order bottle service, and go dancing at Legacy Nightclub & Lounge. Sip on cocktails like the Honey Mule or Icy Hot and listen to live DJ sets at Red Bar & Lounge. Spend a laid-back evening with a bottle of William Hill Chardonnay at Habana, a Cuban restaurant by day that doubles as a lounge by night. Or join the Wine Club at Bacchus Bar & Bistro to enjoy rare, hand-picked wines in-house or at home.
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