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Old 02-20-2009, 08:59 AM
 
18 posts, read 131,409 times
Reputation: 15

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Hello,
I am 28, originally from Europe, and I live in Silicon Valley. I am an electrical engineer considering a job opportunity in Orange County. I really like the job but I am a little scared about moving to the unknown. So I am going to make a list of the things I like and I am really hoping somebody could recommend a town/city (Irvine? Newport Beach?) where I could happily live with my husband (also an electrical engineer). We do not have children.
- a mid-size city, say >50,000 but <1,000,000 people
- a real downtown ("european" style) where my husband and I could walk to coffee places, clothing shops, bookstores, restaurants, movies...and possibly live close to it.
- the possibility to buy at least a small condo or townhouse (2br, 2bath, ~1,000sq.ft) for less than $500,000. A family house on the beach would be great but I can live without
- in alternative, the possibility to rent the same place for <$2,200
- a reasonable commute to where the job is (not too far from the J. Wayne O.C. airport)
- lots of people who like variety and having fun and don't judge if you are wearing pink pantyhose
- a museum would be nice. I love photography!
- low crime rate
- a short ride to the beaches! (or, a short walk to the beaches...that'd be nice )

What I really don't like is the feeling of living in a huge dormitory of XX square miles... Have you ever had this feeling???

Thanks so much for your recommendations!!

Alice
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Old 02-20-2009, 09:51 AM
 
916 posts, read 3,262,784 times
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There are no real downtowns in Orange County. The closest thing would be a beach town. It will not feel like a real downtown but at least it will be walkable.

The only thing that resembles what you're looking for is in LA. From a commute perspective the only viable option would be Long Beach (downtown or belmont shore area). The commute to John Wayne is going to be 45 minutes each way. If you can't handle that commute, look at Newport. That would be your only other option.
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Old 02-20-2009, 09:52 AM
 
2 posts, read 9,528 times
Reputation: 10
anaheim has downtown disney
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Old 02-20-2009, 10:39 AM
 
Location: Denver
9,224 posts, read 15,898,476 times
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NaplesRes is right.

The only places you will find a nice European style downtown are in older established areas, so that automatically throws all of South OC out of the competition. If you are used to all the downtowns in Silicon Valley (San Mateo, RWC, PA..etc) shoot even places like Pleasanton(EastBay) have a nice downtown...you will be disappointed in OC.

Now to be fair to OC:

Fullerton and Orange (city) have small and very cool downtowns...but very small, they will be a rough commute to the Irvine Business Center. The good news about Fullerton and Orange is that you can find a 2/2 condo and possibly bigger, for that price range with no Mello Roos and low HOA's.

Sadly if you are going to work in Irvine, you should live closer to work and to live close to Irvine means you will be in the heart of Beige "Cookie Cutters" with no downtowns.

P.S. I am an engineer who moved to Irvine from Redwood City for the last 2 years, back to SV for me though...2 weeks I am moving back up.

Last edited by Mach50; 02-20-2009 at 10:49 AM..
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Old 02-20-2009, 02:29 PM
 
18 posts, read 131,409 times
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Hi NaplesRes, Mach50 and ariel_22...
It's a little sad to know that there aren't great options but ...better be sad now than sorry after moving there.
Thank you very much for your answers!
Alice
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Old 02-20-2009, 03:44 PM
 
2,653 posts, read 4,711,254 times
Reputation: 1903
Quote:
Originally Posted by alice2w View Post
Hello,
I am 28, originally from Europe, and I live in Silicon Valley. I am an electrical engineer considering a job opportunity in Orange County. I really like the job but I am a little scared about moving to the unknown. So I am going to make a list of the things I like and I am really hoping somebody could recommend a town/city (Irvine? Newport Beach?) where I could happily live with my husband (also an electrical engineer). We do not have children.


What I really don't like is the feeling of living in a huge dormitory of XX square miles... Have you ever had this feeling???

Thanks so much for your recommendations!!

Alice
Quote:
- a mid-size city, say >50,000 but <1,000,000 people
OC is like one big sprawling suburb. (As is most of So Cal) different areas may have a different flavor, buts its all the same dish.

Quote:
- a real downtown ("european" style) where my husband and I could walk to coffee places, clothing shops, bookstores, restaurants, movies...and possibly live close to it.
There are'nt any "real downtowns", but there are a few fake ones. Irvine, Foothill Ranch, Tustin, and many others all have area designed to offer the specifics you are looking for, but they are not true downtowns, they are master planned faux city centers or outdoor shopping/entertainment areas.

Quote:
- the possibility to buy at least a small condo or townhouse (2br, 2bath, ~1,000sq.ft) for less than $500,000. A family house on the beach would be great but I can live without
You can do pretty good on a condo in OC for $500 nowadays, But unless you are prepared to stay here for 5+ years, I would rent for a year until things settle down in the RE market. Doubt you could actually buy w/in walking distance to the ocean for less the $800k.

Quote:
- in alternative, the possibility to rent the same place for <$2,200
Same as above

Quote:
- a reasonable commute to where the job is (not too far from the J. Wayne O.C. airport)
Anywhere in OC along the 405, the 5 up between the 57 and Mission Viejo would will put you w/in 30 min of JWA.

Quote:
- lots of people who like variety and having fun and don't judge if you are wearing pink pantyhose
As long as their DESIGNER pink panty hose, you'll be fine

Quote:
- a museum would be nice. I love photography!
Not so much on the culture thing. We have a good preforming arts center, but ex. the Bowers, you'll have to go to LA for Art museums

Quote:
- low crime rate
In General, avoid any city that touches the 22 (Except Huntington) and you'll be fine

Quote:
- a short ride to the beaches! (or, a short walk to the beaches...that'd be nice )
Almopst all of OC is w/in 30 min of the beach.
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Old 02-20-2009, 06:44 PM
 
Location: RSM
5,113 posts, read 17,421,399 times
Reputation: 1892
Quote:
Originally Posted by NaplesRes View Post
There are no real downtowns in Orange County. The closest thing would be a beach town. It will not feel like a real downtown but at least it will be walkable.

The only thing that resembles what you're looking for is in LA. From a commute perspective the only viable option would be Long Beach (downtown or belmont shore area). The commute to John Wayne is going to be 45 minutes each way. If you can't handle that commute, look at Newport. That would be your only other option.
This is your best option. Seal Beach may fit as well, but is smaller than what Long Beach has to offer and heavily influenced by the beach. There are coffee shops, wine bars, restaurants of all types, clothing places, cafes, etc, but it's the quaint type and not the New York type. Otherwise, pricing and housing stock are very similar to coastal Long Beach
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Old 03-21-2009, 06:20 PM
 
674 posts, read 1,405,214 times
Reputation: 277
The only place in Southern California that has a European touch feeling small and approachable by foot is Laguna Beach (I'm European). Laguna Beach is the french riviera of California. But housing is a problem in Laguna and way out of your budget. So I would suggest you keep somewhere nearby, maybe a bit inland, like Aliso Viejo or Laguna Niguel? Its a bit more quiet and subdued and you would need your car for everything. Not exactly walking distance to shops or beach, which I am sure you prefer, but few places are in Southern California. You could be inlands, towards Irvine? Its descent. For me, too boring. I'm 100% Laguna. Most Europeans prefer Laguna because of the approachable feel to it. Its also very stunning.

So I suggest you check out your options within the radius Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Irvine. Expect to spend almost one hour driving to JW airport from your longest destination point (Dana Point). If I were you, I'd rent for a few months or a year to get a feel or to know the area before making the final effort to find a long term place.

If you insist to be close to JW airport Newport is the best option, but like Laguna, Newport is on the more expensive side. Newport is snooty and boring. I don't think you would like it. Balboa (next to Newport) is small but too much a party place and full of students, although its on a peninsula and otherwise has both beach access and walking access to places which I know as a European is something you'd prefer to have rather than having to take a car everywhere, and be locked in a car all the time. Huntington Beach is another option for you, close to beach and more within your price range but its almost 1 hour from JW airport. I wouldn't recommend Long Beach. Its a part of LA county and on the cusp where the more serious gang and ghetto problems begin. Its seedy.

The best places for a European feel in California is probably north, closer to San Francisco, like Carmel, Santa Cruz apart from maybe Santa Barbara. These places has that small 'community' feel with possibility to walk around the areas, to shops and stores that Europeans prefer.

Last edited by antibes; 03-21-2009 at 06:47 PM..
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Old 04-15-2009, 04:48 PM
 
26,579 posts, read 52,046,854 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antibes View Post

The best places for a European feel in California is probably north, closer to San Francisco, like Carmel, Santa Cruz apart from maybe Santa Barbara. These places has that small 'community' feel with possibility to walk around the areas, to shops and stores that Europeans prefer.
I tend to agree... You might also be surprised by the number of Europeans living in the North Bay... I know I was. The wine region seems to attract as does cities of San Francisco and Berkeley.

**** Luck on your search!!!
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Old 04-18-2009, 05:44 PM
 
4 posts, read 7,218 times
Reputation: 10
I am renting my condo in Laguna Hills that is within your price range, let me know if you are interested. It is only a 15 min drive to Laguna Beach which is my favorite spot in OC.
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