Looking California, feeling... California
April 9, 2006 7:37 PM   Subscribe

I know nothing about Orange County, but I need to live there for 5 weeks. Help!

I agreed several months ago to spend part of my summer internship at an office in Irvine, CA (on Main St, just across the 405 from John Wayne airport). It finally hit me tonight that this is really soon and I need to get stuff sorted out.

But I know nothing about that part of California! I need to live somewhere between May 15 and roughly the end of June. I imagine this would entail paying someone 2 months' rent, and I'm fine with that. But where, geographically, should I look? What's commuting like there? Where will I actually be able to find something for this short duration? Anything else I should know?
posted by rkent to Travel & Transportation around California (13 answers total)
Commuting in OC isn't as much of a problem as it is in LA, although I'm not sure what your reference point is.

As a general guideline, most of OC that is south, east, or southeast of Santa Ana isn't bad. The whole area is fairly new and, as far as the aforementioned region goes, is relatively comfortable, although some would say it's a bit sterile. The area where you're doing your internship is near many decent, clean, low-crime neighborhoods. Irvine, Tustin, and Costa Mesa are generally all nice places, and have a moderately wide range of rent levels.
posted by shoos at 8:10 PM on April 9, 2006

There's an Oakwood property in Irvine on Kelvin that's off Jamboree and Main. Oakwood does short-term corporate housing, so you wouldn't have to worry about subletting or anything like that. Depending on exactly where the office is, it should be less than a 10 minute commute.

I lived at that property for a year in 2000-01 and it was nice, but not super close to any nightlife if that's important to you. There's a grocery store around the corner, some major shopping nearby, and it's right by the freeway.
posted by bedhead at 8:16 PM on April 9, 2006

Oh - is the rent covered by the company? If not, the Oakwood pricing will probably make your eyes bug out of your head. I agree with shoos about the surrounding areas. I'd check Craigslist for places in Tustin or Costa Mesa, or look for student-friendly housing around UC Irvine. That'd probably be a less expensive bet.
posted by bedhead at 8:19 PM on April 9, 2006

Response by poster: If not, the Oakwood pricing will probably make your eyes bug out of your head.

Yeah, that's the thing; rent's on me. The only assistance the firm gave me in finding stuff was a list of corporate housing and boy, it's expensive. I'd rather commute a half hour and/or pay an extra week or 2 to avoid that.
posted by rkent at 8:39 PM on April 9, 2006

All housing in southern California is either slums or preposterously expensive. In January I moved from San Diego to Portland and my rent dropped by 55%.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:48 PM on April 9, 2006

Seconding what shoos said. Also, virtually anything south of Irvine (and much of Irvine itself) will get expensive fast--as will much of Newport Beach. Huntington Beach can provide much more reasonable rents, though you're looking at going up and down the 405, which can get ugly during the commute times.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:30 PM on April 9, 2006

If you're OK commuting a half hour, and you want something with a little more character, try downtown Orange (near Chapman University). It's as close to a 'downtown' as you're going to get in OC.

Also, when Steven says that housing in Orange County is either "slums" or expensive, be advised that "slums" in orange county are... well, they aren't really slums. If you have anything approaching a normal income you'll have a hard time not finding somewhere comfortable.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 12:28 AM on April 10, 2006 [1 favorite]

I second BuddhaInABucket -- cities like Orange, Anaheim, Fullerton, and Garden Grove aren't bad at all, and they're all north of Irvine. If you're willing to drive a bit (about 20-30 minutes via freeway), I'd recommend somewhere in Fullerton, because there's a JC and a Cal State there meaning that there's abundant housing and a pretty decent college-aged social scene.
posted by spiderskull at 9:48 AM on April 10, 2006

My wife spent a year building Habitat for Humanity houses in Orange County, and I can tell you there ARE some pretty bad areas. BuddhaInABucket might not have seen these areas, but I have. Also, you can't always go purely based on city; Costa Mesa is generally reasonably nice but has some pretty seedy areas.

If you'd like to email me particularly addresses, I can ask my wife if she knows anything about the area.

My first inclination would be to see if you can find sublets around UC Irvine. It's pretty close to where you're working and I'd imagine there are students desperate to sublet for part of the summer.
posted by JMOZ at 9:56 AM on April 10, 2006

I'd start here at the OC Craigslist for sublets.
posted by junesix at 12:30 PM on April 10, 2006

JMOZ- where? I'm curious.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 1:34 PM on April 10, 2006

RE: Original Question: I would recommend trying to find a sublet on Balboa Peninsula. From there, you'll be walking distance to night life, restaurants, entertainment, and, of course, the beach. It'll be a fun experience for a few months during the summer. The drive to Main & the 405 won't be bad either.

RE: Seedy Areas: Well, there was a (suspected) gang shooting last week right here.
posted by paulychamp at 3:19 PM on April 10, 2006

Not sure how much you make, but Irvine has a lot of nice "low-income" housing you might consider. Here is some info.
posted by edjusted at 3:58 PM on April 12, 2006

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