In CNN Money’s “Best Places to Live for 2012,” four Southern California cities made the list: Irvine, Chino Hills, Diamond Bar and Yorba Linda.
Irvine (6): “Irvine has all the surf, sand, and sun Southern California is known for, with 44 miles of bike trails, 20,000 acres of parks and preserves, and a beach 10 miles away. Thanks to smart planning, this big city can feel surprisingly small. The 40-year-old community is divided into 40 villages, and a minimum of five acres of park space is added for every 1,000 newcomers. Home prices are high, but new development is creating more affordable options – along with new schools, bike paths, and green spaces.” CNN Money
Chino Hills (34): “This ethnically diverse Southern California community an hour outside Los Angeles claims a higher median income than that of Beverly Hills. Excellent schools and safe neighborhoods are par for the course, and the city maintains its hallmark rural feel by clustering development – there are still 3,000 acres of publicly owned open space. Many residents do face a long commute to work, though. 40% drive at least 45 minutes each way (and the infamous Los Angeles traffic doesn't help).” CNN Money
Diamond Bar (41): “The residents of Diamond Bar take pride in their homes. Witness the annual Holiday Home Decorating Contest, in which neighbors vie to be deemed the one with the best holiday spirit, best lawn display, or most energy-efficient decorations. Not that community spirit is lacking. Locals boast of their first-ever dog park (Bark Park) and relocated library. What's not so hot? High taxes, and long commutes to Los Angeles.”
Yorba Linda (42): “Home is where the horses are, at least in this affluent community 45 minutes from Los Angeles that boasts 100 miles of horse trails and three state-of-the-art equestrian arenas. In Yorba Linda, 2012 has been a celebration-filled year, with the graduation of the first class of students from its new high school and events related to Richard Nixon's birth here 100 years ago. The living may be easy, but it isn't cheap: Homes cost upwards of half-a-million dollars.” CNN Money
And finally, one more accolade for Irvine, named one of the “10 Best U.S Cities for Raising a Family” in 2012 by 24/7 Wall Street.
Irvine (4): “Irvine is a perfect city for parents who want their children to enjoy the outdoors. The planned community was developed with a focus on greenbelts, and features many bike paths and parks, including the recently established Orange County Great Park, which is still under construction. Irvine has one of the lowest rates of violent crime among all major cities. Its unemployment for 2011 was relatively low at 6.7%. Like much of Orange County, Irvine suffered far less than other areas from the housing crisis.” 24/7 Wall Street