Best OC neighborhoods for living & playing?
April 20, 2011 9:08 AM   Subscribe

Help me find the most interesting and walkable neighborhoods in Orange County!

Exciting job opportunity in the far-off Orange County. Posting anonymous as I don't want my current job to know because it might get really jealous and fire me while I figure out if I could be happy there.

My impression is that Southern California is very car-dependent: you can take a bus but it'll take five times as long to reach your destination, and your destination is probably a mall because every square inch of land that isn't beach must legally either be developed as a mall, bland housing community, or freeway. I have a car and expect to use it, but I'd prefer to have a home base where I can walk less than a mile and find grocery stores, non-chain restaurants and stores and coffee shops, and things to do. ("Things to do" is broad: I'd just like to not be the only person out exploring my neighborhood. Parks, college events, yoga classes, improv groups, anything.)

Rent budget: up to $1500, and I would expect to share with roommates. Safety's moderately important, but I've lived in "bad" neighborhoods before with no trouble. has been useful in the past but I need a stronger starting point here.

Thanks in advance!
posted by anonymous to Travel & Transportation around California (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Orange County encompasses a pretty wide area. There is some good info in this question.
posted by Cuspidx at 9:19 AM on April 20, 2011

Orange, near the Orange Circle, is by far your best bet. Other possibilities would be Huntington Beach near downtown (or even Sunset Beach), Fullerton (either downtown or over by the university) or maybe the new downtown Anaheim (the fancy overpriced artists' lofts). Again, I'd say on a scale of one to 10, downtown Orange ranks at about a six or a seven, and the others are all around three or four.
posted by infinitywaltz at 9:46 AM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding infinitywaltz - the Orange Circle area is walkable and interesting.
posted by chez shoes at 10:33 AM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Infinitywaltz's ideas are good ones. In addition, since you don't mind roommates, (and you'd need them given the price of rent in the areas I'll mention) these are some great places to walk and live: Laguna Beach, Corona del Mar, Balboa Island. I've had friends find it affordable with roommates to live in those areas and love it.

Since you don't mind an area that's less safe, but interesting, downtown Santa Ana's loft area is one to consider.

You ought to tell us where your job it though, because walkability will mean a whole lot less if your commute is an hour each way in traffic...
posted by cecic at 10:59 AM on April 20, 2011

Do you know about the metrolink commuter rail? If not, it's something to look into depending on your schedule/location.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 12:16 PM on April 20, 2011

You could explore walkscore which lists the walk-ability of neighborhoods.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 12:20 PM on April 20, 2011

Depending on where your job is, Long Beach, particularly Belmont Shores and the downtown area, is very walkable, has more of a "neighborhood" feeling that I don't get in most parts of Orange County, and is just north of Orange County. Try to follow up with a mod on the location of your job.
posted by thankyouforyourconsideration at 4:14 PM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

« Older Photo Library   |   Yet another albumfilter Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.