planning to move to So Cal- need input! — The Bump
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planning to move to So Cal- need input!

Hi ladies!  We are currently living in Austin, but once our house sells, we'll be moving somewhere in Southern California.  We're looking as far North as Manhattan Beach, as far South as Newport Beach.  Other than the coastal cities in between Manhattan and Newport, we've really only considered Irvine. 

 Would love to hear any and all feedback on living in these areas:

 Manhattan Beach

Redondo Beach

Huntington Beach

Newport Beach

Hermosa Beach

Irvine

 

Any great places that we're leaving out of our search?  (in this general vicinity)

 

 

Re: planning to move to So Cal- need input!

  • Long Beach is a great city
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  • I grew up in the South Bay (which includes Manhattan and Redondo) and I loved living there... in fact, I'm moving back to Torrance soon!  I also went to college in Irvine, so I know a lot about all the places you are asking about.  I'm not sure what your top priorities for a location are, but out of all of these I would recommend Manhattan Beach.  It's smaller and has a great community feel, plus there's tons of things to do and it has a fun, beachy atmosphere.   I would avoid Huntington and Hermosa if possible.... those have much more of a younger/dirty bar scene.  I like Irvine the best in OC-- it's very clean (almost too much so) and safe.  Newport feels like it tries waaaaay too hard.  Manhattan, Irvine and Redondo are much more family friendly without the pretentious attitude.  GL on your search and if you have any more questions, let me know!
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  • thanks so much!  i have no idea why, but my dh doesn't care for long beach.  like is said, i don't know why, but he's more familiar with the area than i am, so i haven't argued it.

     

    Hapastar5- thanks for all the info!  We are going to be in so cal for a few days in june and plan on spending a day in Irvine.  (that's my top choice just b/c I feel like we can afford so much more there than the beach cities).

     Any recommendations for how to spend our day, in terms of figuring out if we like it there?  I know that's a weird question, but we will probably get there by 9:30/10:00 and leave around 6:00.  We might spend a few hours with an agent to see a few houses in our price range.  Other than that, where would you go to just get a feel for the city??  

     Your response was great, b/c my dh's top choice is Redondo, I'm leaning towards Irvine and either of us would love Manhatttan, but it's the most expensive of the 3, so we're trying to be realistic Smile

  • I agree with what Hapastar said. ?It depends on what you want form life, doo you want easy access to the beach, cycling, running trails and beach life, or do you want to buy a house? ?I hear good things about Irvine, I'd avoid Long Beach, but I'm biased toward Hermosa and Manhattan. ;-)

    Good luck with everything.?

  • Glad I can be of some help!  If you were spending the day in Irvine, I would definitely drive around the city and see how you feel about it.  I can't even tell you what kind of vibe it has... it's just pretty laid back but very indistinct.  Nothing really defines Irvine because it is so vanilla and sterile.  It is a great place to raise a family, however it does not have much of a 'flavor'.... so if you're looking for something with more attractions or activities (besides soccer practice and going to the movies) then Irvine wouldn't be the place for you.     

    It is a pretty large city, and just because it is big, it doesn't mean there's a lot of things to do.  There's mostly eating and shopping (not that I'm complaining about that)!  When I lived there I would usually go to Newport, Costa Mesa or Huntington Beach to do 'things' since it's easy to get bored there (of course I was a college student then).  But there are tons of good places to eat and laid-back things like shopping.  There's large shopping places like the Irvine Spectrum- an oudoor shopping center complete with a ferris wheel- and the Tustin Marketplace and South Coast Plaza are nearby. 

    I recently took my DH to the UCIrvine campus (where I went to college) and walked around there and through the park in the middle of school.  Then we walked across the street for lunch.  It was his first time in Irvine and he really liked it.  We previously lived in the city of LA, so a slower and quieter environment is nice to experience.  I like the area around the University-- though it can get a little traffic-y when school is is session, it's a clean, safe area that's more upbeat than in the outlying areas. There's also places to go on long nature walks with bike trails and lots of parks. 

    Sorry I can't really suggest actually going to a place in Irvine to get a better feel of the place.... it's just Irvine doesn't really have a 'feel'.  What you see is what you get--  a nice city with nice amernities but no real flair.  The good thing is that it's close to all the other cities that are a bit more exciting (museums, beach, film festivals, etc), and it's cheaper to live there.  Good luck!!

     

  • thanks again hapastar!  that information is really helpful.  in my house search, i could see that irvine seemed to be a lot of "planned communities" and i wondered where the "real irvine" was.  i am starting to question if that is really the right place for us.  we'll definitely spend some time there before ruling it out, but your description doesn't sound like what we're really looking for.

     a few other people (on other boards) have suggested Torrance, Cerrito, Lawndale and El Segundo.  Do you have any feedback on these areas?  (I'm leaning more towards wanting to be closer to LAX to make our lives easier, but MB and RB are sooo expensive, I'd rather get inland a tiny bit, but DH is set on the beach towns...)

  • Well I don't blame him for wanting to stay in a beach town!  Smile  So much of the culture of SoCal revolves around it.... and when you're not close to it you keep trying to get there.  If I could, I would definitely buy near the beach, however that takes a lot of $$$.  Right now I rent a mile from the beach and like to ride my bike along the Strand up to Santa Monica or down to Redondo.  Good times!  If you live here, you have to get a bike to go beach cruising!

    If you are really confused about where to finally settle down, I would suggest renting for a bit.  You can get the best idea of what you want within a few months and feel more confident in your decision to buy.  It's a great time to buy here but you shouldn't rush into such a big decision.... no matter what kind of advice you're going to be getting from us Bumpies, nothing compares to your own perceptions of a new place, especially only you and your DH know exactly what you want.

    I would rule out Cerritos or Lawndale personally.  They aren't the safest neighborhoods (with a high Hispanic and African American population, just fyi).  I would never live there.  There are some parts of Torrance (North/East sides) that are kind of sketch but I would suggest South and West Torrance.  You could even try Lomita which is further inland but some parts of that small town are nice (such as the Lomita Pines area which borders Rolling Hills), it's much more affordable and close enough to the beach to get there in 20 minutes.  I like El Segundo a lot and it's close to the airport which is convenient.  It's a cute, smaller beach town and probably more affordable than MB.  I live in Playa del Rey which is directly north of LAX and I love it here.  It's very small and kind of in it's own little bubble with less traffic since it's protected by the airport to the south, and the wetlands and Marina to the north.  The beaches are less crowded and you're close enough to "the city" in order to go there for events (fun bars for date nights, touristy stuff like Hollywood, etc).  

    Basically, try to stay West and South of the 405 freeway, wherever you end up.   That's a good landmark to use as a basic border while searching.  If you need to find a place to rent, you can sign up for a Westside Rentals account (Westsiderentals.com and I think it's $60 for 2-month access) that gives much better search results than Craigslist or other sites IMO.   I hope this helps.  I'm really interested in where you end up so keep us posted!! 

  • Hi! Just thought I'd give you an input as well, since I have lived in Hawthorne, Gardena, Carson, Lomita, Torrance, Harbor City and work in Redondo Beach! Like the other post said, Torrance and REdondo are personally the best to me.  Torrance, stay in 90503, 90505 zip codes (these are west and south parts).  The other zips esp 90501 & 90502 are not good areas (lots of gangs/crimes).  Lawndale is a big NO! Redondo Beach, only do 90277 zip and some of the most southern parts of 90278.  Torrance is more spacious, you can actually have a big backyard and neighbors not right on top of you.  Redondo is a little more cluttered bc its right at the beach.  Only some parts of Long Beach are nice (near the downtown area, Belmont Shores, near Skylinks golf course and the airport).  I don't know much about Irvine.

    But my recommendation is Torrance, 90503 or 90505.  Great schools, great police departmetn (my FIL works there)...my DH is a Redondo Beach cop too.  Prices are more reasonable compared to Redondo.  Good luck!

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