Known for beautiful people, amazing beaches, unbeatable weather, and year-round surfing, Orange County is one of the finest regions in the country. It’s tough to differentiate between all of the outstanding places to live in OC, so Class Realty Group did the research for you. Take a look at our list of the best cities in Orange County:
Looking For: Shopping and Entertainment
Best Place to Live: Costa Mesa
Nestled between Newport and Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa is without a doubt one of the best cities in Orange County. This ideal destination for serious shoppers, foodies, and patrons of the fine arts. Costa Mesa is home to the renowned South Coast Plaza, a luxury shopping mall with 250 stores and a host of gourmet restaurants. Residents and visitors enjoy productions at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and Segerstrom Concert Hall. Those looking for trendy, unique restaurants and boutiques can visit The Camp or The Lab Anti-Mall. Just a few miles away, The OC Mix hosts Orange County’s largest farmer’s market alongside design and fashion showrooms.
Looking For: Beach Living
Best Place to Live: Newport Beach
Newport Beach is a breath-taking stretch of coast along the Pacific, bordering Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach. Beach-goers flock to Newport to indulge in the pristine beaches and OC sunshine. Surfers venture to The Wedge for a challenge in the large waves. There is no shortage of things to do in Newport, truly one of the best cities in Orange County. You may find yourself riding a beach cruiser on the boardwalk, stopping in at a local bar with ocean views, strolling down the pier, or taking a ride on the ferris wheel at the Balboa Fun Zone, a small beach-front amusement park. Newport is also home to Fashion Island, a large outdoor mall of upscale shops overlooking the coastline. Travel a little farther up the coast and you’ll find yourself in Corona Del Mar, home to a bustling downtown area filled with shops and restaurants.
Looking For: Family Friendly
Best Place to Live: Irvine
Once known as “America’s Safest City,” Irvine boasts an award-winning, top-rated school district. This master-planned community continues to be developed, but has no shortage of things to do for families. Irvine is filled with parks in every neighborhood, two lakes with docks and beach lagoons, and the Pretend City Children’s Museum. The OC Great Park is home to the numerous athletic fields, artists’ studios, the Farm + Food Lab, and the Great Park Balloon, which takes up to 30 passengers at a time 400 feet into the air for stunning views of the city. Families can also enjoy shopping and a movie at the Irvine Spectrum center, riding go-karts at K1 Speed, miniature golfing at Boomers, bowling at Irvine Lanes, or spending a day on a farm at Tanaka Farms.
Looking For: Affordable Beach Living
Best Place to Live: San Clemente
Living at the beach can seem financially out of reach for most people, but the city of San Clemente offers beach living at an affordable price. San Clemente is a tight-knit community known for its laid-back, beach town vibes. Resting against the Pacific Ocean, San Clemente offers incredible beaches, a bustling pier and downtown, and a family-friendly community filled with entertainment and community events.
Looking For: Luxurious Living
Best Place to Live: Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach is one of the most beautiful– and expensive– and best cities in Orange County. Culture meets coastal living in this unique city. Widely known for its stunning cove beaches and sparking turquoise water, Laguna is also home to a host of art galleries and museums, gourmet restaurants, wineries, and the annual Festival of the Arts. Local parks sit atop cliffs overlooking the ocean and trails run throughout the canyon for hikers and cyclists alike. Main Beach is home to restaurants, shops, frequent local vendor fairs, and volleyball and basketball courts on the sand. Architecturally unique homes are built along the steep cliffs for optimal ocean views. Laguna Beach is truly a dream destination to call home.
Megan Campbell is a Realtor Associate at Class Realty Group in Orange County. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 949-943-9011.
* Approximate Rent According to RentJungle.com
** Approximate Median House Price Provided by Zillow.com