There’s a lot to be said about living in the Golden State — sunshine, beaches, mountains and stellar sunsets. But one of the brightest stars of California is the city of Irvine, located in the heart of Orange County. The population of Irvine is just over 250,000, making it the 15th largest city in the state. This young city was incorporated in 1971 and today is one of the largest planned communities in the nation. The Master Plan for Irvine balances residential and business development with the preservation of open space, parks and trails. Professional office buildings in strategically located business centers ensure a strong economic base. Residential areas are planned around a Village concept, with parks, schools and shopping nearby.

Irvine is well known for its excellent schools and low crime rate. It was listed as the best-run city by 24/7 Wall Street in 2014 for its thriving economy, well-run government and high median income. MyLife also named Irvine as one of the 10 Best Cities to Raise Children in 2014.

California is famous for unbearable traffic, but not in Irvine. State-of-the-art traffic systems monitor traffic flow and automatically adjust traffic lights to prevent pileups.

To say that Irvine is a magnet for jobs is an understatement. Numerous Fortune 1000 companies are headquartered here, and Irvine has more jobs per resident than any city in the nation. Irvine is not only home to the University of California, Irvine (UCI), but also to seven other universities and colleges.

If you are not on your way to one of the nearby beaches, parks or hiking trails, there are so many other things to do in Irvine. Take a ride in a tethered hot air balloon at Orange County Great Park to see a magnificent view of the entire county. Attend one of the many annual festivals hosted by Irvine or head over to Irvine Improv, which has been voted the “Best Comedy Club” in Orange County. Foodies will be absolutely delighted by Irvine’s vast array of restaurants that offer cuisine to satisfy any palate.

The median home value in Irvine is $869,423. With so many great neighborhoods, it’s hard to go wrong, but some of the most popular are West Park, Woodbridge and Lower Peters Canyon. If a city in Southern California is your destination, Irvine is definitely a top contender.