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Renter’s Guide to Irvine, CA

Irvine is a planned city in Orange County, California, and one of the main suburbs of Los Angeles. In recent years it has ranked among the top 10 best places to live in the U.S. more than 3 times and is consistently listed as the safest city in the U.S. As such, it’s extremely popular with families, though many young professionals also flock to the area, due to a thriving business center.

Irvine has a population of 256,877, making it the 5th largest city in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area. With an area of almost 66 sq. mi, it’s about 7.5 times smaller than Los Angeles proper, though physically larger than almost all other LA suburbs. It’s about 46 miles southeast of downtown LA, which can be accessed by taking Interstate 5.

Irvine enjoys hot, mostly dry summers and warm winters, and with an average 14.3 inches of annual rainfall, relatively little precipitation. July and August are generally the hottest months, with average highs of 85°F. It’s slightly cooler than other parts of California, due to its proximity to the coast, which can also result in increased periods of rain. January is typically the coldest month, with average lows of 41°F.

Cost of Living in Irvine, CA

Irvine is well-connected with public transport links, and residents can take train and shuttle services from Irvine Station to several cities throughout California, including Los Angeles and San Diego. The station is served by both the Metrolink Orange Line and Amtrak Services, with journey times of around 1 hour and 20 minutes to downtown LA. Prices for Metrolink start at $10.75 for a one way ticket, $21.50 for a return, $75.25 for a 7-day pass, and $301 for a monthly pass.

The city is also served by iShuttle, which is managed by the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA). A single fare on a local route should be $2, while an express route will be $7. You can also purchase a 30-day pass for $69 on local routes, or $120 — $210 for express routes. Many residents continue to drive private vehicles to get around, and a gallon of gasoline will cost around $4.18. However, commute times can be long and frustrating, especially to downtown LA.

A meal in an inexpensive restaurant will normally cost $15, while dining out for 2 shouldn’t cost more than $55. A regular cappuccino will generally set you back $4.20, while a pint of beer will be around $5.

Irvine's residents typically pay $147 per month for basic utilities such as water, cooling, heating, electricity, and garbage disposal. This amount is based on a typical 915 sq. ft. apartment, and it’ll be an extra $58 per month for a good internet connection.

Living in Irvine, CA

Frequently regarded as one of the cleanest and safest cities in America, there are plenty of benefits to be enjoyed by Irvine’s residents. Crime rates are extremely low, while local schools and colleges rank very highly. The city is also home to a huge number of international businesses, ensuring a plentiful supply of job opportunities.

Additionally, it’s close to several outdoor national parks, as well as the beach. At the same time, it’s close enough to the big city to enjoy the nightlife and culture that some residents say is lacking in the actual town. Despite being a college town, it’s rather quiet, with limited options for things to do in terms of the arts.

Things to Do in Irvine, CA

Irvine’s residents have more than 40 neighborhood parks to enjoy, as well as 20 community parks, offering a vast array of facilities. The Mason Regional Park is especially popular, and is great for dog walking, hiking, and biking, with trails crisscrossing the 339 acres of parkland.

The city has everything you need within its limits, and with various shopping venues, residents have plenty of choice. The Oak Creek Shopping Center is central and is home to some big-name brand stores, as well as smaller boutiques. For something a little different however, check out The LAB (Little American Business) Anti-Mall, which pays homage to independent stores rather than big names.

Irvine is a well-known foodie haven, and the city offers tastes from across the globe, with a huge array of top-quality Asian restaurants. Any shopping center will be home to dozens of restaurants, and plenty more are dotted throughout the city.

Employment & Economy in Irvine, CA

With a median household income of $95,573, Irvine is well above the national average, though slightly behind some neighboring communities. A broad spectrum of businesses, local and international, have plants, offices, and headquarters in Irvine, and as a result, employment is rather evenly spread across various industries.

The most common industry however is in the professional, scientific and technical services sector, closely followed by manufacturing, education, and healthcare. In terms of occupations, the most common jobs held by residents of Irvine are in management roles, sales, and business and finance positions. The highest paid Irvine residents are in law enforcement roles, architecture and engineering, and legal occupations.

Notable businesses with headquarters in Irvine include Blizzard Entertainment, LA Fitness, Quicksilver Software, Asics, Bosch and Siemens, Mazda Motor Corporation, Samsung Electronics, Sega, and Toshiba Corporation, among a great many more.

Education in Irvine, CA

The majority of Irvine is served by the Irvine Unified School District, while a minority, such as the well performing Beckman High School, fall under the Tustin Unified School District. There are 88 public schools in Irvine, many of which are among the best in California. The top-rated high school in Irvine is Northwood High School, which ranks 6th best high school in California. A further 5 more of Irvine’s high schools are among the top 50 in the State, with Orange County School of the Arts ranking second in the city.

Rancho San Joaquin Middle School is the top-rated middle school in Irvine, and places 13th best in California, and Turtle Rock Elementary School is the top-rated elementary, ranked 27th best in the State. In addition to many great public school options, there are also 21 private schools in the city.

Additionally, there are several colleges and universities within Irvine, including the University of California.

Tips for Renting in Irvine, CA

Moving to Irvine can be a great choice for those fed up with the hustle and bustle of the big city, but who still crave certain amenities and features. It’s also fantastic if you’re looking to spend more time outdoors, and its proximity to various national parks, forests, beaches, and city parks, paired with great weather year-round, make it an attractive choice.

However, if you are moving to Irvine from Los Angeles, be prepared for a change of pace, as life is slower and quieter here, with late night entertainment far harder to come by. If you’re moving to Irvine from Boston, or anywhere else up north, the heat of summer, and the mild winters may take some getting used to, although it is slightly cooler than other nearby cities. Also, it’s a relatively newly built, planned city, lacking the history you may be accustomed to.

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