Getting Around Town.
People who have the pleasure of owning their own vehicle also get the added perks of parking tickets, roving packs of hungry tow trucks, and that delightful madness derived from daily battles along the "Orange Crush", a junction of the Santa Ana Freeway (I-5), the Orange Freeway (SR-57), and the Garden Grove Freeway (SR-22.) People who have the pleasure of owning their own bicycle get to enjoy slow, scenic rides along woodsy trails and wide bike lanes. Public transportation isn't bad either, with plenty of bus routes running around town, and the Metrolink, which has tracks running all along the California coast. And, of course, you can always bum a ride for more remote activities, such as snowboarding or hiking through the hundreds of miles of mountain wilderness nearby.
The Bad Side of Town.
There is no neighborhood in the city of Orange so dangerous or dilapidated to be considered the "bad side of town.” However, over the last 10 years, neighborhoods on the borders of Anaheim and Santa Ana have begun to experience some burglaries and vandalism. There are also a few blocks just west of Tustin St., which runs vertically through the city center, where graffiti, drunken college kids, and gangster wannabes make the area feel a little grungy. However, there are plenty of safe apartments located within a few blocks, and you can always spring for the complexes with higher rent and higher gates to ward off drunks and thieves.
Raising the kids in an apartment complex can be tough. With the endless energy and noise that comes with each bundle of joy, it might be a good idea to look into a neighborhood with plenty of safe, fun activities going on outside of the apartment complex. For example, Irvine Park has pony rides and paddle boat rentals. The Discovery Science Center is an amazingly entertaining way for kids to learn, complete with its own 4D Theater, rocket launch pad, earthquake simulator, wind tunnel, and Dinosaur park. Plus, there are plenty of hiking trails and lush, green parks for a more laid back atmosphere. It's all fun, and costs run from free to fairly cheap. Plus, it is so worth the effort to come home to a quiet apartment and grateful, friendly downstairs neighbors.
Neighborhoods in Orange
City Center. At the center of the city is the charmingly quaint Plaza Square Park, encircled by a roundabout, which is surrounded by upscale eats, antiquing stops, bicycle shops, art galleries, and clubs for live music, dancing, beer, and cocktails. It's a vintage-hip, walkable neighborhood with lots of unique apartments, duplexes, and granny-flats surrounded by that old town vibe you can only get from the city's original 1920's architectural styles. Plus, the University of San Francisco and Chapman University are just a hop and a skip away. $$ - $$$$$
Orange Park Acres. Who can afford to charter a yacht these days? Well, in this neighborhood, residents just venture over to Irvine Park to rent ridiculously imaginative versions of paddle boats, cruisers, tandem bicycles, and choppers. Plus, there are train rides, pony rides, a zoo, and plenty of nice picnic spots for fun-spirited family outings. If you are looking to escape the family, then get lost in the miles of rugged territory at Beek's Place, a popular spot for dirt bikers, mountain bikers, hikers, and explorers. $ - $$$$$
El Modina. Follow that fedora-wearing, satchel-toting, bicycle-riding college student to find this neighborhood. It is situated perfectly for students, with downtown, the University of San Francisco, Chapman University, and Santiago Canyon College all less than three miles away. There is plenty of open green space, some hiking trails, and all the fun activities of living near downtown. $$$
Orange Foothills. A quiet family paradise on the hill, this neighborhood is full of breathtaking views, beautiful apartment complexes, and great schools. $$$$
The Block. This neighborhood is located right on the river. It sports a spectacular golf course, the most technologically advanced skate park in the world, and is close enough to Disneyland for you to hear the fireworks every night. $$
Olive. Another neighborhood on the river, these residents enjoy a long riverside hiking trail, plenty of great little shops for tacos and sandwiches, and quick access to highways 91, 57 and 55. $$$
Santiago Triangle. Located in the triangular borders of Santiago Park, I5 and Highway 22, this neighborhood is full of upscale urban lofts and luxury apartments located next door to the huge Main Place Shopping Center. Here, you can get your fix of coffee, cigars, sushi, Thai food, cheesecake, art, fashion shows, live music, stand-up comedy, and maybe some pet fish, or a parrot. Plus, the University of San Francisco, Chapman University, and the Discovery Science Center are all within an easy bike ride. $$$$$
See the Original Orange
Newcomers, history-lovers, and nostalgic cocktail drinkers are all drawn to the center of town, where you can stand in the original one-square-mile town site and see some of the city's original homes and buildings. It's a uniquely Orange experience and a great way to begin your new life in an Orange rental.
-By Kera Zacuto
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