Mission Viejo, CA
One of several master-planned communities in Orange County, California, Mission Viejo occupies 19 square miles of what was once considered "undevelopable" land, due to its hills and complex geography. Those challenges were overcome by planners and developers, and Mission Viejo is now considered one of the most successful master-planned communities ever built, as well as one of the largest.
Planning for the city began in the 1960s, with the first homes sold in 1966. The master plan specified the number of parks, homes, retail spaces, recreational areas and activities. Very few changes were made to the initial plan, the exceptions being the addition of Saddleback College and Lake Mission Viejo. Mission Viejo was incorporated as a city in 1988.
Mission Viejo enjoys the mild Mediterranean climate shared by most of Orange County. The average high temperature in July is 81 degrees Fahrenheit; the average low in January is 46. The area averages 13 inches of rainfall each year.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
With Orange County's high-tech clusters surrounding the city, Mission Viejo residents have an easy commute to the many large employers in the area. Only 10,000 of Mission Viejo's approximately 98,000 residents actually work in the city. Major Mission Viejo employers are the school district, community college and medical center, and Unisys Corporation's Mission Viejo office has more than 1,000 employees.
The median family income in Mission Viejo is $110,000 and median home prices average around $600,000.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
A central feature of the town is Lake Mission Viejo, a large man-made lake with fishing, boating and swimming. The shopping district centers on two malls, The Shops at Mission Viejo, home to upscale department stores, and Kaleidoscope Courtyards, an entertainment-focused mall. As a planned community, Mission Viejo has a mix of housing, including some condos but mostly single-family residences. The neighborhoods of Mission Viejo have a housing density of around 1,760 houses or condos per square mile.
- John Wayne Airport serves Orange County and is located 16 miles away in Santa Ana.
- Ontario International Airport is located 31 miles away in the city of Ontario.
- Mission Viejo is located along the I-5 freeway corridor, with five exits in the city and access to I-405 nearby. Mission Viejo is also close to access points for the Foothills and San Joaquin Hills toll roads.
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
- The Saddleback College Art Gallery: Part of Saddleback College's fine arts department, the gallery hosts a variety of professional, student and faculty art exhibits.
- McKinney Theatre is the primary theater at Saddleback College, and is home to a variety of touring theatrical and musical performances as well as student and faculty productions.
- West Coast Dance Academy is the home of Orange County's Backhausdance Company and is a credentialed dance training facility.
- Mission Viejo Nadadores Swimming Club: A USA Swimming Gold Medal Club located at the Mission Viejo Aquatics Swim Complex, the Nadadores has produced more than 135 All-American swimmers and won numerous championships and medals. Swimming lessons are offered at the complex.
- Kaleidoscope Courtyards: This retail, dining and entertainment complex offers major retail stores, a fitness center, movie theaters, restaurants and live entertainment.
- Lake Mission Viejo: The lake is a members-only benefit for residents within the association boundaries of Mission Viejo, and it charges monthly dues. The lake is stocked with fish, and several types of boat rentals are available.
- O'Neill Regional Park: Located in nearby Trabuco Canyon, the park covers 3,100 acres of woodland, grass meadow, chaparral and sage scrub habitats. Hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and camping are some of the activities available in the park.
- Mission Viejo is also located within driving distance of some of Orange County's major tourist attractions and beaches. It is just 30 miles southeast of Knott's Berry Farm, 25 miles from Disneyland and fewer than 15 miles from Laguna Beach.
- Street Painting Festival: Started in 1999, the festival features noted artists gathering in Mission Viejo and creating works of art on asphalt. Recreations of masterpieces as well as original works can be seen at the festival, which also features live entertainment, art workshops and food.
- July 4 Street Faire and Fireworks: Mission Viejo's biggest celebration features games, concerts and a fireworks display.
Mission Viejo is primarily served by the Saddleback Valley Unified School District, with a portion of the city served by the Capistrano Unified School District. Capistrano has six elementary schools, one middle school and two high schools. Saddleback Valley has eight elementary schools, two middle schools and two high schools. In addition, there are several private, continuation and adult education schools in the city.
Saddleback College is a community college in Mission Viejo. Other colleges and universities in the area include:
- California State University-Fullerton
- Chapman University (Orange)
- Concordia University (Irvine)
- Soka University (Aliso Viejo)
- University of California-Irvine
- Irvine Valley Community College
Mission Viejo depends on Los Angeles and other cities in Orange County for most of its media. Television stations that broadcast in Mission Viejo include:
- KCBS-TV (Channel 2; Los Angeles)
- KNBC-TV (Channel 4; Los Angeles)
- KTLA-TV (Channel 5; Los Angeles)
- KABC-TV (Channel 7; Los Angeles)
- KCAL-TV (Channel 9; Los Angeles)
- KSCI (Channel 18; Long Beach)
- KWHY-TV (Channel 22; Los Angeles)
- KCET (Channel 28; Los Angeles)
- KMEX-TV (Channel 34; Los Angeles)
- KXLA (Channel 44; Rancho Palos Verdes)
- KFTR (Channel 46; Ontario)
- KOCE-TV (Channel 50; Huntington Beach)
- KVEA (Channel 52; Corona)
- KAZA-TV (Channel 54; Avalon)
- KDOC-TV (Channel 56; Anaheim)
- KHIZ (Channel 64; Barstow)