Irvine was recognized as Orange County’s Best City to Live In, beating out Anaheim and Huntington Beach in the voting. Mayor Don Wagner and City Manager John Russo accepted the award. Irvine was also a special Silver Anniversary honoree, meaning the city has been voted a Best City to live in (among other categories) every year for 25 years in the Best of Orange County publication.
“Irvine has been voted Best City to Live in for eight of the past 10 years and always places in the top three,” the Best of Orange County publication notes. The publication also cites numerous superlatives and “bests” the city has received recently, including Sunset magazine’s Best Value Towns in the West, which lauded Irvine’s “350 miles of bike lanes and trails, an infinitesimal crime rate, a robust economy, a multicultural population, and the Orange County Great Park.”
For the 25th consecutive year, the OC Register invited readers and Orange County residents to vote for their favorite destinations, restaurants, and places to shop. The winners, which are based on tens of thousands of votes according to the Register, are included in a 156-page glossy magazine written by reporters and editors that newspaper subscribers receive. The winners are also available online at ocregister.com/best
The Orange County Great Park in Irvine was mentioned several times during the evening, including when FivePoint Amphitheatre was named the Critic’s Choice for Best Live Music Venue in Orange County by Register music reporter and critic Kelli Skye Fadroski.
In the Best of O.C. publication Fadroski wrote that “there really isn’t a bad seat in the house” at FivePoint Amphitheatre while lauding the lineup of bands and performers in the first full season at the venue as well as the food and convenient location next to the train station. “FivePoint and Live Nation have continued to work with the city of Irvine to hopefully build a larger, permanent amphitheater inside the Great Park’s growing cultural terrace in the next couple of years.”
One of the presenters also commented on and congratulated Irvine city leadership and FivePoint for the completion of all championship stadiums and fields within the Orange County Great Park Sports Park, major milestones toward the completion of entire Great Park.
Casey Malone, a young singer/songwriter and guitar player who lives in Irvine and perhaps will play at FivePoint Amphitheater one day, sang two classic songs for the crowd of some 350 gathered for the event.
Another highlight of the evening was when Maestro Carl St.Clair, the music director and conductor of Irvine-based Pacific Symphony, presented special awards to Segerstrom Center for the Arts and Bowers Museum. Pacific Symphony is celebrating its 40th season presenting classical and pops music in Orange County.
Many Irvine businesses also scored big in the Best of Orange County voting.
The CUT Handcrafted Burgers in Westpark Plaza came in first in the Best Sunday Brunch voting and second in the Best Burger category, behind only In-N-Out Burger. TAPS Fish House was second in Best Brunch.
Afters Ice Cream, with locations at Diamond Jamboree and Irvine Spectrum, was named Best Ice Cream in Orange County.
Square One Pizza came in second in both the Family Friendly Restaurant and Best Happy Hour categories, displaying unique versatility that should keep parents and kids happy.
The Best Movie Theater winner was Edwards Irvine Spectrum 21, and the Spectrum itself was named Orange County’s Best Shopping/Dining Destination, beating out South Coast Plaza and Fashion Island.
Irvine contractors Sullivan Solar Power and Sea Pointe Construction were honored in the Home and Garden category, while the Irvine office of Taylor Morrison Home Corp. was named Best Home Builder for its work in Beacon Park and Orchard Hill in our city, as well as other O.C. developments. Shea Homes and Toll Brothers came in second and third.
Los Olivos Apartment Village was named Best Apartment Community—part of a clean sweep for Irvine Co. Apartment Communities, with The Village and The Park, both at Irvine Spectrum, taking second and third.
Congratulations to all the Irvine winners!