Irvine is an entirely planned and incorporated city. It is the economic center of Orange County, which you should never refer to as “the O.C.” as it brings up bitter lamentations of a cheesy television show. O.C. will work just fine.
Because of the master plan, the city is littered with 44 parks, over 300 miles of bike trails (on and off road) and three universities: UCI, Concordia and CSU Fullerton. Because of the jobs and housing in 2008 CNNMoney rated Irvine as the fourth best city in which to live in the US. Times have changed but it's still in the top #25. Yours truly is a transplant which is unfortunate for my spell check. All jokes aside, a shockingly high 98% of their high school graduates attend college.
When you're looking for an apartment in Irvine, here are some helpful hints:
The closer to the ocean the more you're gonna pay.
Any neighborhood referencing an amphibian will be more reasonably priced (Turtle Ridge).
University Hills (with 240 rental units) was specifically designed with the idea of affordable housing in mind.
If you want to be close to the “action”, Quail Hill is near the major dining and entertainment district.
Northpark is quite upscale, few rentals, with 50% of the population above 40 years old.
There are 27 major apartment complexes. The complex is the big thing here so be prepared for reference checks, credit checks, employment checks, Corn Chex and application fees.
Don't Panic. There are thousands of places for rent, so you’re bound to find something within your price range either in a complex or a nice neighborhood (as in Irvine they are all pretty much nice neighborhoods).
The magic price for studios/1 bedroom apartments hovers between $1300 and $1500.
Ah, the economics of California. Something to keep in mind when budgeting for your apartment is that you will pay more for everything, with one exception. Gas and groceries are well above national averages. Going to the movies and/or out to eat could require sacrificing one of your future children. “What's the exception,” you ask? Your heat/AC bill. The average temperature ranges from 50F-76F so you kiss those high cooling and heating bills goodbye.
Remember all that California dreamin' you were doing? Well even in a fairly milquetoast locale like Irvine you are still only minutes away from swimming, surfing, skiing, beach-life, parks, hiking, biking, LA, Laguna Beach, Disneyland and so much more...but without the rental price ranges of those areas. So even if you're still in your swinging single years, Irvine has much to offer.
Public transportation in Irvine consists of the OCTA-bus, the Metrolink (train) and the iShuttle. While these public transportation options do exist, this is Southern California and most residents get around via car. Lucky for frequent flyers, John Wayne Airport is right here in Irvine, and with many domestic carriers and non-stop destinations throughout the country you might never need to make the not-so-fun trip to LAX. And how cool would it be to say, “I just flew outta John Wayne.”
To get your Irvine apartment search started, check out the reviews of Toscana Apartments, where residents are thrilled with the close proximity to the Pacific Ocean, on-site basketball court, tennis court, state-of-the-art gym, and pool! If that's not your style, take a look at the reviews of Kelvin Court Apartments. Renters are over the moon about the friendly, responsive, and extremely helpful onsite staff. Many folks attribute their residency to the team... and the pet policy!
Best of luck on your Irvine apartment search & enjoy the southern California sunshine.