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Renter’s Guide to Laguna Niguel, CA
Laguna Niguel is a suburb of Los Angeles, and a city in Orange County, California. Unlike other planned towns in the region, Laguna Niguel was designed in a way to ensure the social, cultural, and economic needs of its families were met, and put a large emphasis on parks and open green spaces, which account for almost a third of the original area. As such, the city is popular with families, and ranks as one of the top 50 LA suburbs to live in.
Laguna Niguel has a population of 65,429, making it one of the principal cities in the LA metropolitan area. It has an area of almost 15 sq. miles, around the same as neighboring San Juan Capistrano, making it a mid-sized, medium density suburb of LA. Compared to LA proper, it’s around 60 times smaller, and can seem a world away from the hustle and bustle of the big city.
Downtown LA is around 60 miles northwest of Laguna Niguel, though few residents make the journey as their daily commute. Instead, many work in the nearer central and north Orange County hubs, such as Irvine (18 miles northwest), or Newport Beach (20 miles west). Interstate 5 passes through the northwest corner of the city and can take you 75 miles south to San Diego in just over an hour.
Hot, dry summers and warm winters ensure pleasant weather year-round, with proximity to the coast preventing the scorching, arid summer days you might experience in more inland areas. August is typically the hottest month, with highs of around 80°F, while January is normally the coldest, with lows of 44°F. Rainfall is sparse in summer, but picks up between November and March, with February generally the wettest month, and average rainfall of around 3.4 inches. Throughout the year, expect at least 228 sunny days, and around 14.2 inches of rain.
Cost of Living in Laguna Niguel, CA
While the majority of residents use a private vehicle, Laguna Niguel has its own Metrolink station in the northeast of the city. The station is served by the Orange County line, which takes you directly to downtown LA, via Irvine, and the Inland Empire line to San Bernardino, also via Irvine. A one-way fare to downtown LA costs $12, a 7-day pass is $84, and a monthly pass is $336. Tickets to Irvine start at $4.50 one-way, $31.50 for a 7-day pass, and $126 for a monthly pass.
Those with private vehicles can expect to pay around $3.65 for a gallon of gasoline, while taxis typically start at $3.20. You can expect to pay around $80 for a 3-course meal for two people in a typical mid-range restaurant, though a meal in a less expensive restaurant should cost around $18. A combo meal at a fast food restaurant should cost no more than $7, and you can expect to pay $4 for a regular coffee, or $6 for a pint of draft beer.
Your basic monthly utilities, including water, electricity, heating, cooling, and garbage disposal, should cost around $150, while a high-speed internet connection will be an additional $60.
Average Rent in Laguna Niguel, CA
- Laguna Niguel, CA Average Rental Price, February 2020 $2,195 /mo
Laguna Niguel, CA Apartment Rent Ranges
- > $2,00067%
Laguna Niguel, CA Rent Trends
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Living in Laguna Niguel, CA
With its wide open spaces, plus plenty of neighborhood and county parks, Laguna Niguel is a great place for a breath of fresh air. It’s also close to the coast, and a short drive from the mountains, making it a fantastic place for outdoor enthusiasts. The city is proud of its green spaces, and maintains them regularly, making the city spectacular all year round.
It’s a safe place to call home, with very low crime rate and a mostly family-orientated community. With great schools in the area, and good transport links to nearby business hubs, it’s a popular suburb for families.
Younger adults may find the lack of nightlife frustrating, and the peace and quiet may soon become tedious. It’s also a long commute from downtown LA, and if you plan to make that journey each day, you can expect to lose a lot of time. As a planned community, it can feel a little ‘copy and paste’ and lacks the history and architecture of more established communities.
Things to do in Laguna Niguel, CA
Home to 4 county parks and 31 city parks, Laguna Niguel is a haven for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. The Laguna Niguel Regional Park is among the most popular, and with its central location, plus 227 acres that contain an extensive trail network, plus sports facilities, picnic areas, and the iconic Laguna Niguel lake, it’s easy to see why it’s popular with everyone from families, to dog walkers.
There are several strip malls throughout the city, such as Plaza de la Paz, and the more central Laguna Niguel Plaza. Both offer a wealth of stores, covering all the basics, from groceries to pharmacies, and clothes to hardware supplies. In addition, a wide range of restaurants can be found, providing food from across the globe. The farmer's market at Plaza de la Paz shopping center is great for fresh, local produce, and is open every Sunday morning.
While there’s no movie theater within the city limits, residents can enjoy the Sunset Cinema every Friday evening in June through mid-September. All the latest blockbusters are shown for free, by the lake in Laguna Niguel Regional Park.
Employment & Economy in Laguna Niguel, CA
With a median household income of $99,206, residents of Laguna Niguel earn well above the state average, and almost double the national average. While many residents work outside of the city, the most common industries in Laguna Niguel include health care and social assistance, professional, scientific, and technological services, and retail trade. The highest paying industries are management of companies and enterprises, manufacturing, and finance and insurance.
The most common job groups include management occupations, sales and retail roles, and office and administrative support jobs. The highest paid residents are employed in legal occupations.
According to a recent financial report (2017), the United States Government is the city’s largest employer, with 2,200 residents employed in a variety of service roles. Costco is the second biggest employer, with 637 employees.
Education in Laguna Niguel, CA
Laguna Niguel is served by the Capistrano Unified School District, and is home to 10 public schools, with a further 3 in nearby cities. While there are no high schools within the city limits, both Aliso Niguel High School (in Aliso Viejo), and the Dana Hills High School (in Dana Point), fall under the same district. Both rank very highly in terms of test scores and college readiness, and Aliso Niguel High ranks among the top 100 best public high schools in California.
Niguel Hills Middle School is a top-ranking middle school that accepts students between grades 6 and 8, while the Community Roots Academy accepts students from K-8, and also ranks highly. The top-rated elementary school is the John Malcom Elementary School, which scores well above average in terms of quality, test scores, progression, and equity.
Tips for Renting in Laguna Niguel, CA
If you’re planning to move to Laguna Niguel from downtown LA, or another larger, more urban city, it’s worth considering how quiet things will seem in your new home. Laguna Niguel is very much a bedroom community, with many residents working, or even attending high school, elsewhere. Most shops close by 9, and there are few, if any late night bars and clubs.
For nature lovers and exercise enthusiasts, Laguna Niguel is a great option, and the planned city took into account the importance of green spaces. There are a plethora of hiking routes and trails to enjoy, and with a network of 60 miles worth of cycle lanes, getting around town by bike is quick, safe, and easy.
The city is relatively hilly, offering fantastic views in certain neighborhoods, in particular those along the more northern section of Niguel road. This is where you’ll also find a number of older neighborhoods, dating back to the 60s.
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