Irvine, California

Love the beach and can’t get enough of the sun? It might be in your best interest to head to Irvine, California, located in Orange County and only 20 minutes from the coastline.

Irvine has a whopping 278 sunny days a year on average and is close to Huntington, Newport and Laguna Beach. But perfect weather isn’t the only reason Irvine was named one of MONEY’s Best Places to Live; the area also has a low unemployment rate at 2.9% — and a growing economy.

This is definitely considered a college town: University of California, Irvine is the city’s top employer, with 16,000 employees, and the university itself was ranked as the No. 1 college in the country on MONEY’s 2019 Best Colleges in America list. The area is known for great schools overall with a district high school graduation rate of nearly 95%.

Irvine has some of the amenities of a big city without the price tag. Go hiking at Bommer Canyon, take advantage of free admission at the UCI Institute and Museum for California Art, or settle in at Tim Ho Wan, the Michelin-starred dim sum restaurant that just expanded into Irvine this year. — Olivia Raimonde