Orange County is the third-largest county in California by population and is the sixth-largest county in the nation. While it is a large area, it is still only one-third the size of nearby Los Angeles County. Although it isn’t the biggest, there are many great cities in Orange County offering newcomers great opportunities and nice places to live.
There is a difference between cities and census-designated places (CDP). A CDP is a concentrated population of people that is monitored and tracked by the United States Census Bureau.
Orange County is known worldwide for its amazing theme parks, popular tourist attractions, gorgeous beaches, fashion industries, high-tech companies, and envious weather.
If you’re thinking about moving to the area, you can use data from the US Census to learn all about Orange County cities, their benefits, and what amenities they have to offer.
Orange County Demographics
Before learning about local cities in Orange County, CA, you may want to first get a general idea of the area’s overall demographics.
- Population: 3,175,692 residents
- Median Age: 39 years old
- Median Household Income: $95,934
- Median Home Price: $725,100
- Area of County: 792.8 square miles
- Density: 4,005.6 people per square mile
- Educational Attainment: 86.1% high school graduate or higher
Cities in Orange County
As one of California’s most densely populated counties, it’s a good idea to get a general feel of what it’s like living in Orange County.
Located 26 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles, the area of Anaheim is the largest city in Orange County by population. It was established in 1857 and has long been one of the most popular places to live in the county.
Anaheim is often referred to by the nickname “The Heart of Orange County”. The city is known for hosting the world-famous Disneyland Park and Knott’s Berry Farm theme parks. It is also home to the Angel Stadium of Anaheim where the MLB Angels baseball team plays.
Top-rated employers offer plenty of great jobs in Anaheim such as A and G, MFLEX, PacSun, and RSI Home Products.
The culture in Anaheim offers plenty of art displays and local venues such as the Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center and Bowers Museum.
Some notable people who were born in Anaheim include actress Ashley Benson, actor Milo Ventimiglia, NBA player Lonzo Ball, and country singer Brett Young.
- Anaheim Population: 349,964
- Anaheim Area: 76.8 square miles
- Anaheim Median Age: 35 years old
- Anaheim Median Household Income: $71,763
- Anaheim Median House Price: $575,600
- Anaheim Density: 6,962.4 people per square mile
- Anaheim Map
2. Santa Ana
About 9 miles southeast of Anaheim is the city of Santa Ana, which was founded back in 1869. Santa Ana is the county seat of Orange County, making it the financial and governmental center of the area.
Known for its strong Hispanic culture, people from Hispanic backgrounds make up more than 80% of the local population in Santa Ana.
People interested in moving to Santa Ana will find plenty of fun things to do around the city at places like Discovery Cube Orange County and the local Santa Ana Zoo.
A few of the most notable people from Santa Ana include actor Michael B. Jordan, actress Diane Keaton, actress Michelle Pfeiffer, and former NFL quarterback Matt Leinart.
Many jobs are available in Santa Ana with companies like Universal Protection Service, TTM Technologies, First American Financial, and Yokohama Rubber Company.
The local Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) in Santa Ana is ranked among the top 40 high schools in California.
- Santa Ana Population: 332,794
- Santa Ana Area: 27.2 square miles
- Santa Ana Median Age: 31 years old
- Santa Ana Median Household Income: $66,145
- Santa Ana Median House Price: $491,300
- Santa Ana Density: 12,146.2 people per square mile
- Santa Ana Map
As one of the safest cities in Orange County, Irvine is located about 8 miles southeast of Santa Ana. Residents living in Irvine enjoy a comfortable lifestyle with plenty of amenities and things to do nearby.
The top things to do in Irvine are available at the Irvine Spectrum Center and the William R Mason Regional Park.
Irvine is best known for its local colleges and for hosting the massively popular video game design company, Blizzard Entertainment, the creators of games like World of Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft.
The University of California Irvine is one of the top-rated colleges in the state and offers many strong degree programs to its students. Two of the best high schools in Irvine include University High School and Northwood High School.
The family-oriented culture in Irvine makes it a nice place to live thanks to its many beautiful homes and walkable paths throughout the city.
- Irvine Population: 273,157
- Irvine Area: 65.6 square miles
- Irvine Median Age: 34 years old
- Irvine Median Household Income: $105,126
- Irvine Median House Price: $838,000
- Irvine Density: 4,379.6 people per square mile
- Irvine Map
4. Huntington Beach
Huntington Beach was founded in February 1909 and is located on the western border of Orange County along the Pacific Coast. Best known for its 8.5 miles of beachfront, people love living in Huntington Beach.
With the nickname “Surf City”, the culture in Huntington Beach is perfect for surfers and sunbathers, thanks to its mild weather all year round. The city is also recognized for having great places to shop such as the local Bella Terra mall.
The job market in Huntington Beach offers positions with companies like BJ’s Restaurants, Boardriders, Staff Pro, and Confie Seguros.
Strong education programs are available for teams at top-rated schools in Huntington Beach like Fountain Valley High School.
- Huntington Beach Population: 200,259
- Huntington Beach Area: 27 square miles
- Huntington Beach Median Age: 42 years old
- Huntington Beach Median Household Income: $95,046
- Huntington Beach Median House Price: $771,100
- Huntington Beach Density: 7,378.1 people per square mile
- Huntington Beach Map
5. Garden Grove
Located immediately southwest of Anaheim, Garden Grove has been one of the best Orange County cities since it was established in 1874.
Garden Grove is widely known for its popular Strawberry Festival that is held every year during Memorial Day weekend.
As a great city for people who love the theater, Garden Grove’s culture offers residents access to three popular performing arts landmarks: Garden Grove Playhouse, Gem Theater, and the Festival Amphitheater. Additional attractions in Garden Grove include the Great Wolf Lodge Water Park and the Nickel! Nickel! 5 cent Games arcade.
- Garden Grove Population: 173,258
- Garden Grove Area: 17.9 square miles
- Garden Grove Median Age: 38 years old
- Garden Grove Median Household Income: $69,278
- Garden Grove Median House Price: $554,400
- Garden Grove Density: 9,559.9 people per square mile
- Garden Grove Map
Directly north of Santa Ana, the city of Orange boasts the same name as its county. Along with sharing this name, Orange is best known for being the location of Sunwest Bank, which is the oldest operating bank in Orange County. Orange also features a top-rated attraction known as “California’s Original Soda Fountain” at Watson’s Cafe.
As the most affluent location on this list of cities in Orange County, residents in Orange make a median household income of $139,887 per year.
A couple of the most fun things to do in Orange can be found at the Irvine Regional Park and the local Orange County Zoo.
Chapman University, a highly-rated California college, is located in the city of Orange, CA.
- Orange Population: 139,887
- Orange Area: 25.7 square miles
- Orange Median Age: 35 years old
- Orange Median Household Income: $139,887
- Orange Median House Price: $656,100
- Orange Density: 5,402.6
- Orange Map
On the north side of Anaheim, Fullerton is considered one of the best cities in Orange County for millennials and young professionals. The community was founded in July 1887 and has a culture that fits many lifestyles.
Fullerton offers some of the best nightlife activities in the area with places like Ziing’s Nightclub, Bourbon Street Fullerton Bar, and 2J’s Lounge.
The city of Fullerton also hosts more than 50 local parks including outdoor destinations like Hillcrest Park, the Fullerton Arboretum, and Craig Regional Park.
Troy High School is located in Fullerton and ranks as the number one rated high school in Orange County. The area also has its own local Fullerton College.
- Fullerton Population: 139,611
- Fullerton Area: 22.4 square miles
- Fullerton Median Age: 35 years old
- Fullerton Median Household Income: $79,978
- Fullerton Median House Price: $650,000
- Fullerton Density: 6,180.7 people per square mile
- Fullerton Map
8. Costa Mesa
Next on the list of Orange County cities is Costa Mesa, which is located east of Huntington Beach and north of Newport Beach. The community was established in 1906 and offers locals a quiet, comfortable place to live.
Costa Mesa is called by the nickname “City of the Arts” for its handful of local performing arts centers. It is home to Orange County’s only two Michelin-starred restaurants, Taco María and Hana Re.
Other top attractions in Costa Mesa include the OC Fair & Event Center and South Coast Plaza, which is the fourth-largest shopping mall in the United States.
- Costa Mesa Population: 113,159
- Costa Mesa Area: 15.6 square miles
- Costa Mesa Median Age: 35 years old
- Costa Mesa Median Household Income: $84,138
- Costa Mesa Median House Price: $749,400
- Costa Mesa Density: 7,154.6 people per square mile
- Costa Mesa Map
9. Mission Viejo
Along with being the 9th largest city in Orange County by population, Mission Viejo also ranks 9th among the safest cities in California. Mission Viejo was established in March 1988 and is mainly a residential community.
Many people in the area consider Mission Viejo one of the best places to live in Orange County. It is known for being one of the biggest master-planned neighborhoods in the nation. There are plenty of fun activities, local parks, and shopping destinations like The Shops at Mission Viejo.
Mission Viejo is home to the Mission San Juan Capistrano museum, which offers a unique look at the area’s history.
Some of the best places to work in Mission Viejo are Ensign Group, James Hardie Building Products, and Providence Mission Hospital.
- Mission Viejo Population: 95,516
- Mission Viejo Area: 17.7 square miles
- Mission Viejo Median Age: 46 years old
- Mission Viejo Median Household Income: $118,477
- Mission Viejo Median House Price: $693,000
- Mission Viejo Density: 5,331.6 people per square mile
- Mission Viejo Map
Located to the southwest of Garden Grove, Westminster has a motto that calls it “The City of Progress Built on Pride”. The area of Westminster was incorporated on March 27, 1957 when it officially became one of the cities in Orange County.
Westminster is known for having the highest concentration of Vietnamese Americans in the United States with over 33,819 coming from that background. This statistic has had a significant impact on the culture in Westminster as the area features many Asian restaurants, shops, and other Vietnamese-inspired locations.
Fun things to do in Westminster include Sigler Park and the Atlantis Play Center.
The best places to work in Westminster are Kindred Hospital, the local Westminster School District, and the government with the City of Westminster.
- Westminster Population: 91,137
- Westminster Area: 10.1 square miles
- Westminster Median Age: 42 years old
- Westminster Median Household Income: $62,625
- Westminster Median House Price: $603,700
- Westminster Density: 9,028.8 people per square mile
- Westminster Map
Map of Cities in Orange County
How many cities are there in Orange County?
There are 34 incorporated cities in Orange County along with more than 19 unincorporated communities.
What is the most populous city in Orange County?
Anaheim is the largest city in Orange County with a population of 349,964 residents.
How many people live in Orange County?
The population in Orange County is 3,175,692 residents.
Which of Orange County’s Cities is Right for You?
Once you’ve learned all of the important details about local cities in Orange County, it’ll be easier for you to decide which of them will best fit your lifestyle needs. Here at SafeWay Moving, we have Orange County movers who are prepared to help with your upcoming relocation to the area. Give us a call at (949) 639-0330 or complete the Request a Quote form for a free moving estimate!