Irvine’s residents are healthy, happy and fit

by Ellen Bell

IRVINE HAS TWO AWARD-WINNING HOSPITALS in the heart of the city – by design.

Hoag and Kaiser Permanente anchor the Sand Canyon Medical Corridor that was master planned to put comprehensive medical care within a few minutes of everyone’s home. (In comparison, less than half of Orange County cities have even a single hospital.)

The Master Plan’s promise of “balance” also includes a healthy lifestyle with abundant parks, open space, bike trails, athletic fields and farm-fresh food.

As a result, three recent studies — by Anthem Foundation’s “Fittest Cities in America,” and Niche’s “Healthiest Places to Live in America,” and WalletHub’s “Healthiest U.S. Cities” — all ranked Irvine among America’s top 10 healthiest cities.

Nature Connection

Irvine’s Master Plan has created one of the greenest cities in America, with 271 parks and access to 57,500 acres of open space that has been compared to a “national park in our backyard.” The benefits? Walking in all this nature, according to recent research, makes us feel calmer, happier and more creative.

UCI Health

Irvine’s Master Plan designed the city around UC Irvine, so residents today enjoy the benefits of its medical research, education and network of medical facilities. “Irvine residents have access to care that is provided only at the best institutions in the world,” says UCI Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs Dr. Steve Goldstein.

Bike Trails

Irvine is regarded as one of the most bike- friendly cities in Southern California, offering 301 miles of on-street bike lanes and 63 miles of off-street bikeways. The system stretches from the mountains to the coast, connecting neighborhoods with parks, shopping centers and business hubs. Irvine’s Mountains to Sea Trail has been designated a National Recreation Trail.

Tree City USA

Irvine is forested with 550,000 trees, making it a Tree City USA. Years ago, the Irvine Master Plan called for hundreds of thousands of trees to be planted for environmental and aesthetic benefits. These tree canopies lower temperatures by up to 15 degrees and add 71 tons of oxygen each year into the air we breathe.

Active Sports

Irvine is home to 124 sports courts, 98 tennis courts, 81 athletic fields, 10 pickleball courts and dozens of pools. Its ballfields? “I’ve had the privilege of traveling around and seeing how lucky we are in Irvine,” says softball coach Kim Wojciechowski. “Our fields are laser-leveled and pristinely maintained. They’re the best.”

Medical corridor

The Sand Canyon Avenue Medical Corridor stretches nearly a mile from I-405 to Barranca Parkway. It includes dozens of specialty care facilities and is anchored by Hoag Irvine and Kaiser Permanente hospitals. This provides over 2,000 doctors and nurses in addition to a network of specialists and family doctors throughout the city.

Farm to table

Irvine residents have access to some of the freshest fruit and vegetables anywhere. You can pick your own fruits and vegetables at Tanaka Farms; purchase seasonal produce boxes there or at Manassero Farms; browse two weekly farmers markets; or get fresh avocados that are grown on the 100,000 avocado trees rising above Orchard Hills.


Irvine’s 400 medical technology companies offer 18,000 jobs and generate billions of dollars in economic activity – pushing medical research to the forefront in Irvine. Heart-valve maker Edwards Lifesciences has spawned hundreds of medical-device companies in Irvine, while Allergan has helped make Irvine the ophthalmology and eye- care capital of the world.

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