Post # 1
DH and I are thinking of moving to Orange County CA next year…..
I am just getting started looking into the area….
Please tell me everything you know….. best areas, worst areas, do you need a car to get around, property values, best schools, etc…..
Post # 3
@californiabride2013: Hi there! Sounds like an exciting move. Just wanted to let you know that I moved your post into the local orange county boards – hopefully you get some help there! 😀
Post # 4
I grew up in Huntington Beach =) It’s a great place, very laid back beach/surf community. Other good places are Newport, Corona Del Mar, and Laguna, all a little more high end and artsy but still very relaxed. Nice farmers markets in almost every coastal city, generally seem to be the nicest areas to live
Inland (Anaheim, Garden Grove, Santa Ana) tends to be warmer and have more low income communities. Costa Mesa has a lot of low income neighborhoods, but the Mesa Verde community is very nice.
Best public schools are typically in the coastal neighborhoods as well, but none are bad.
Public transit is ok, but having a car makes life a lot easier as most people depend on the freeways to get places quickly.
The weather is beautiful most of the year no matter where you live =)
Post # 5
Where are you two looking for? It really depends on what recommendations we can give.
If you want what you see in tv shows and the stereotype then you’ll be looking into Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, and Dana Point, Anaheim Hills.
I think a nice median would be Irvine, Costa Mesa, or Huntington Beach (beach-y, but has a lot of bars for nightlife).
I grew up in Garden Grove, Anaheim, Huntington Beach, Fullerton, and went to school in Costa Mesa and Anaheim Hills.
@Nferrari: Sorry, I beg to disagree about those being low income communities. Every city has their low income parts. Santa Ana for example has them, but they also have a beautiful community near Main Place Mall called Floral Park. A few of my teachers lived there.
I went to school in Costa Mesa and a vast majority of the students were wealthier Caucasians with nice cars.
I’ve since moved to the Inland Empire (living in San Bernardino, Loma Linda, Rancho Cucamonga, and Alta Loma). I’ve looked up comparitive crime rates to a lot of Orange County cities I lived in that got a bad rap, and they were rated safer than the nice neighborhood I live in now.
Post # 6
@californiabride2013: Oh, and yes, you’re definitely going to need a car to get around.
Post # 7
@petalpetal: True, I know there are some nice communities in each city. I guess growing up around there, I only ever seemed to see the worst areas in those cities. Went to high school in Ahaheim and was afraid to be out after dark there, constantly had people making innapropriate comments at the bus stop.
My Mom worked at Newport El in Costa Mesa and Estancia and said most of the children were Latino and Asian (and a lot of low income immigant families), and that the whites were a minority in those schools. My illegal immigrant nanny lived in Costa Mesa. I didn’t have much else to go on, sorry if I got the wrong impression.
Post # 8
You ABSOLUTELY need a car. Seriously, there is no question about it. Public transportation around here is basically non-existent, unless you’re just going down the street (and even then, it’s piss poor).
Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, Anaheim, Garden Grove, Westminster, etc are all lower income communites, as someone else already suggested. The housing isn’t great, and neither are the neighborhoods. Given that, they’re the most affordable places to live in the OC.
We live in Laguna Niguel, which is SUPER expensive. We got REALLY lucky when we were searching for an apt 3 years ago, though, so that’s how we’re able to afford living here. We paid (at the time) $1550 for a 2 bedroom, 2 1/2 bathroom townhome. 2 master bedrooms with walk-in closets, sky lights and vaulted ceilings. Wood and carpet, washer and dryer hookups, and a fireplace. Basically, now, that would cost around $1900-$2100 (or more). Our rent has gone up each year, since they don’t do rent control in OC, but not that high.
The really nice areas are Irvine, Tustin (the irvine side), Laguna Hills, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Niguel, and most of the beach cities.
Post # 9
@Nferrari: Sorry, in case I came off as a jerk.
I guess I’ve been fortunate to grow up with a wide variety of people who were diverse, ethnically and economically speaking.
It just bothers me that those places get such a bad reputation, when in reality they’re pretty safe and do have some really nice neighborhoods. Especially considering Anaheim has Disneyland, the Honda Center, and the Anaheim Stadium.
I’ve always felt very safe walking around late at night in Orange County. The only place I’ve ever not felt that way is living in San Bernardino. I was proved right because my fiance was robbed at gun point while we lived there. I digress though.
Post # 10
Eh, don’t let them scare you off. There are a lot of great places all over Orange County, even the “lower income” spots. I really think that’s just a euphemism for: where the ethnic people live. lol
I remember I looked up crime rates by cities in Orange County and a ton of the “lower income” areas were well under the national crime rate average.
The richer areas are Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, and Corona Del Mar.
Other places to look into are Lake Forrest, Irvine, Huntington Beach, Fullerton (more into the hills part), Orange, and Anaheim Hills.
Anaheim is still nice depending on where exactly you are. You’ll have Disneyland and tons of other attractions.
Garden Grove you’ll have the Crystal Cathedral and the Strawberry Festival every year.
Orange has The Block (shopping area) and further up the hill is the Orange Circle. Every year there’s a huge Internation Food Fair there.
Santa Ana has some nice parts to it. They also have a hipster area called Artist Village where there are tons of art shows, and vegetarian cafes.
What are you looking for in a neighborhood?
Post # 11
@californiabride2013: I don’t spend a ton of time in Orange County, so I’m no help with neighborhoods but as a fellow Southern California bee (living in LA county) I wanted to say YES you need a car. Public transit is ok but nothing like other big cities. Metro is virtually useless in OC so you’d be stuck with just buses which are going to sit in the same traffic + be making stops. It’s ugly. Plus, since public transit isn’t a great option there isn’t as wide a variety of people using it as, say, the Bay Area.
Post # 12
@SerendipityBride: “Eh, don’t let them scare you off. There are a lot of great places all over Orange County, even the “lower income” spots. I really think that’s just a euphemism for: where the ethnic people live. lol”
+1 Anaheim is being thrown around as a bad city but there are great areas that are very safe and very diverse. I feel safe walking from my car to my front door at night + there’s good food nearby = great neighborhood to me. And an immigrant population = good food, so bring on the ethnic diversity!
Post # 13
The DH and I would love a spot close to a beach….. any idea how much a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom condo goes for near the beach?
What are the better beach towns?
Where do most people in Orange County work? LA?
Post # 14
@californiabride2013: in Huntington Beach you’re looking 2k+ monthly. Also, working in LA would be torture considering the traffic in the morning to LA and the traffic back to OC from LA in the evening is horrific.
Post # 15
- Wedding: July 2012 - Muckenthaler Cultural Center
Most people who live in OC work in OC. OC and LA are not close time wise as traffic can be a nightmare. I would use trulia.com or some other real estate site to help you with pricing.
Post # 16
- Wedding: July 2012 - Muckenthaler Cultural Center
Have you considered Redondo Beach or Torrance in LA? They’re both beach towns and have decent pricing.