Irvine residents Chelsea Hardin and Stephen Vitek enjoy a meal at Cucina Enoteca at Irvine Spectrum Center, which was recognized by The Orange County Register as the best shopping and dining destination in the county. Irvine Spectrum features more than 50 restaurants and 150 retail stores.

Irvine, once again, named OC’s best city to live in

OC Register readers voted Irvine the best place to live in Orange County.

by TOM BERG

OC Register readers voted Irvine the best place to live in Orange County – topping the county’s 33 other cities.

Irvine claimed top honors in this year’s “Best of OC Awards” because of its high quality of life, where residents enjoy the best parks in California (The Trust for Public Land) and the top-ranked school district in Southern California (SAT scores) in the safest city in America (FBI).

The Register’s ranking mirrors national surveys that regularly place Irvine among America’s top cities for health, safety, education, raising a family, finding a job and simply being happy.

“We’re living the good life here,” says Portola Springs resident Chris Banks, noting that he and his family love the opportunities to hike, bike and swim throughout the city. “It’s fantastic.”

The Register’s “Best of OC Awards” also distinguishes Irvine Spectrum Center as the best shopping and dining destination in the county.

“Irvine Spectrum, which attracts about 17 million people annually, always has been about more than shopping,” the Register notes, praising its “Giant Wheel, carousel, 21-screen movie complex and Improv comedy club, as well as its many dining establishments.”

Master-planned for success

What’s behind Irvine’s success? The OC Register points to the Irvine Master Plan.

The Master Plan was designed to counter Los Angeles’ unbridled growth in the 1950s. As the sprawl of housing tracts approached The Irvine Ranch, Irvine Company asked famed architect William Pereira to design a brand-new city – one with a major university at its core.

It wanted a city that balanced population with employment and open space, maintained the highest standards of architecture and design, and that focused on education.

The Irvine Master Plan delivered on that vision.

This forever changed the course of Irvine, creating one of America’s best cities.


Other Irvine Accolades:

  • No. 1 in public safety in U.S.
  • No. 1 in fiscal strength in U.S.
  • No. 1 park system in CA
  • No. 1 school district in SoCal
  • No. 1 city to find a job in SoCal
  • No. 1 place for families in SoCal