Irvine is a large and populous city in the heart of the Orange County
region of Southern California. It borders at least a half dozen OC municipalities, including Newport Beach
, Santa Ana
, and Lake Forest; it also borders unincorporated land to the east. Over the past decade, Irvine has received recognition from several major magazines and websites as one of the nicest places to live in the United States.
Like some of its Orange County neighbors, Irvine was planned ahead of time and then purposefully developed, a level of forethought that, combined with a continually strong economy, has begotten an improbable big-city/small-town/urban/suburban hybrid with good schools, well-kept public spaces, and a notably high median income for its 200,000-plus population. Irvine is home to the University of California, Irvine, a large public research university that stands as the city's largest employer as well as its center for higher education. Primary arteries include the 5, 405, 241, 261, and 133 freeways.