Moving to Orange, California

There’s a reason we call California “The Golden State.” It’s a beautiful place to live. The landscapes are stunning, the ocean beckons, and in the Southern parts of the state, the sun shines most days.

These things are certainly true of Orange, California. As its name suggest, it’s located in the heart of citrus country. If you’re considering a move to Orange, you’ll want to learn a little something about the city and its people. We’re here to help.

About Orange

Orange, California is a small city located in Orange County, just south of Los Angeles County. As of the 2014, the population was 139, 812 people. Orange County, as you may know, is the home of the original Disneyland.

The city itself has an interesting history. Prior to the arrival of the Spanish, the area was inhabited by people from the Tongva, Juaneño, and Luiseño ethnic groups. When Father Junipero Serra arrived, he named the area Vallejo de Santa Ana, the St. Ann Valley. The area in what is now Orange County houses one of the state’s most storied missions, the Mission at San Juan Capistrano.

In 1869, two lawyers named Alfred Chapman and Andrew Glassell accepted 1,385 acres of land as legal fees. Gradually, their holdings grew to more than 4,000 acres. In 1888, they incorporated the area as the City of Orange.

The two built the town around a central plaza. Unlike many cities in California, the city of Orange has preserved its older buildings. Many of them sit around the plaza in the city’s Historic District.

California Sunshine

One of the first things people notice when they visit Southern California is the sunshine. This area, which is considered a Mediterranean climate, gets 277 days of sunshine per year.

The precipitation here is significantly lower than the national average of 39 inches per year. Orange gets about 14 inches of rain per year and no snow. Given the ongoing issues with drought in California, these numbers shouldn’t be surprising.

It might surprise you to learn that this part of California is subject to microclimates. There can be clear, hot weather inland, and just a few miles away on the coast the day might be 15 degrees cooler and cloudy.

It’s also worth noting that there are sometimes large swings in temperature from day to night. It’s not unusual for there to be a 30-degree difference between the daytime temperature and the nighttime temperature.

The summer weather here is warm but not as blazing hot as in some other parts of California. You can expect daytime highs in the 80s and 90s.

Of course, you’re probably aware that Southern California experiences earthquakes. Most are not large, and residents tend to largely ignore them unless they’re very large. They can be unsettling if you’re not accustomed to them, but you’ll get used to them.

Education in Orange

If you have children now or plan to have them in the future, then you’ll want to learn something about the Orange schools and what they’re like.

The children of Orange are served by the Orange Unified School District. The school district includes:

  • 27 elementary schools
  • 6 middle schools
  • 5 high schools

Also within the city limits are several alternative and charter schools, as well as private schools if that’s your preference. Many of the city’s schools have received high ratings, but others have not. You should check out specific schools to get more information.

If you’re interested in higher education, there are opportunities in and around Orange. The city has campuses for Chapman University and Santiago Canyon College. It’s also within relatively easy driving distance of Los Angeles and its many colleges and universities.

The Cost of Living in Orange

If you’re planning a move to Orange from a low-cost area of the country, then you are in for some serious sticker shock. Living in Southern California isn’t cheap.

The average cost of living in the United States is listed as 100 for easy comparison. Orange has a cost of living of 187.2, which makes it nearly twice as expensive as the national average. That’s a big difference – and it can be a scary one.

The most expensive part of living in Orange is housing. Home costs here are nearly three-and-a-half times the national average. However, the cost of renting – while still high – is not as astronomical as the cost of buying a home.

Fortunately, Orange isn’t as far over the average in other areas. You can expect to pay a bit more than you might be used to for groceries, healthcare, utilities, and transportation. It’s important to keep the cost of living in mind when you’re determining the salary you need to live here.

Planning Your Move to Orange

Any time you’re planning a big move, it’s best to do as much of the legwork ahead of time to simplify the move. Book your movers as far in advance as possible, especially if you’re moving at the beginning or end of the school year. Orange’s proximity to Los Angeles means that there are lots of students in the area.

If you’re moving in the summer, try to plan for the heat. You don’t want to be lifting heavy furniture with the sun beating down on you. You might try to move the heaviest items early in the day, so you don’t end up with heat exhaustion. Likewise, make sure to have plastic sheeting to cover your furniture in case it rains. The area might not get much rain, but when it does it tends to be torrential.

You’ll want to get your utilities connected and make appointments for cable and internet hook-up before you arrive. Here are some useful links:

Southern California Edison (electricity)

SoCal Gas Company (natural gas)

Cox Communications (cable and internet)

City of Orange (trash, water, recycling, and voluntary paramedic services)

Storage Facility Locations (Storage West also has storage facilities in Anaheim and Santa Ana)

Orange, California Storage Facilities

At the minimum, you’ll want to make sure you’ve signed up for water, trash, and electrical service before you arrive. If you choose to, you can also make an appointment to have your cable connected.

California has strict laws regarding emissions, driver’s licenses, and vehicle registrations. If you’re new to the state your car will have to pass an emissions test before you can register it. The only exception made is for cars manufactured prior to 1975.

New California residents have only 10 days to apply for a California driver’s license. You can register to vote at the same time you get your license. Keep in mind, too, that California requires automobile insurance. You can find the full details at the California DMV website.

Culture and Entertainment

When you move to a new area, it’s important to learn about the culture and entertainment opportunities. Moving to Orange is an opportunity to learn about Southern California and its history, and to embrace the SoCal lifestyle.

Let’s start with Orange’s Historic Plaza. This is one of the only cities in Southern California to have some of its original buildings intact. That makes it an interesting and beautiful place to live – and you can start your exploration of the area with a tour of the plaza.

Orange is home to dozens of beautiful parks, so the city has all the green space you could possibly want. The parks feature picnic areas, playgrounds, sports fields and courts, and much more. They play host year-round to outdoor events including concerts and festivals.

As we mentioned previously, Orange County is home to Disneyland. It’s also the home of Disney’s California Adventure Theme Park, the Mission San Juan Capistrano, and the Orange Zoo. If you like baseball, Anaheim is also where you can see the Anaheim Angels play their home games.

If you’re in search of some big city nightlife, Orange is located just under 32 miles from Los Angeles, Given the nature of California traffic, that’s probably not a drive you’ll want to make every day. However, in an hour or a little over that, you can be in reach of some of the country’s best music, live entertainment, and nightlife.


Planning a move takes time and patience. If you’re relocating to Orange, you can prepare with a smile on your face, knowing that Southern California’s legendary sunshine and friendly people are waiting for you.