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City of Aliso Viejo

The City of Aliso Viejo is a master-planned community located in the San Joaquin Hills of Orange County, California with award winning schools. Aliso Viejo consistently ranks as one of the safest places to live in the United States. The city’s residents enjoy local employment opportunities with several large corporations headquartered in the city limits. Aliso Viejo was derived from Spanish for “old alder” or “old sycamore.” The city’s tagline is “Live Life Inspired.” The City of Aliso Viejo profile includes city history and information for residential services, shopping, dining, and points of interest throughout the city.

City of Aliso Viejo, California
About Aliso Viejo
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City of Aliso Viejo

Aliso Viejo is in Orange County, approximately 50 miles south of Los Angeles, and is bordered by Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, and Laguna Woods. The city was developed around Pacific Park, a 900-acre business district with a town center, with the intention to grow local jobs and provide nearby residences. Median income according to a 2007 study is over $92,000. The city is a well-balanced mix of business, entertainment, and residential.

Entertainment and shopping are primarily offered in the Aliso Viejo Town Center and the Commons. It features restaurants, stores, markets, and the Grand Park. The Aliso Viejo Community Association often uses the park as a gathering site for community functions like outdoor movies and concerts, and the annual 4th of July event. One can join the Aliso Viejo Country Club with a variety of amenities. Guests can check into the Renaissance ClubSport that features an on-site spa, and is part of the Marriott hotel chain.

The athletic fields, nature walks, hiking trails, golf courses, and parks make Aliso Viejo an ideal location for outdoor adventure seekers. The Orange County park system runs The Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park where visitors can learn about regional plants and animals with park rangers, or independently explore some of the 30-plus miles of hiking and biking trails within the 4,500-acre park. One of the highlights here is Robber’s Cave, or Dripping Cave, a place where local legend says that stagecoach robbers and cattle thieves hid out in the 1800s.

The city often holds special events like pet fairs, 5Ks, educational seminars, seasonal celebrations, and international festivals. Like many cities, Aliso Viejo has recreation classes which you can register for via their course catalog.

Soka University of America was established in 2001 as a private, liberal arts college and graduate school. This 103-acre campus is consistently ranked in the top 25 national liberal arts colleges and emphasizes an international focus along with a robust offering in the arts. The Soka Performing Arts Center is a 1000-seat facility with amazing acoustics where you can see live entertainment.

The children of Aliso Viejo attend the award-winning schools of the Capistrano Unified School District. According to Niche, the district received an A and was ranked in the top 100 schools in the state. The Aliso Viejo Library is operated by the Orange County Library System and opened in 1998. This partnership provides a variety of community programs.

United Parcel Service, Pacific Life, Quest Software, and Fluor are some of the companies that are located within the city limits. They employ a number of residents who work and live locally. Businesses are supported by the Aliso Viejo Chamber of Commerce which offers numerous events throughout the year.

Healthcare is provided at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills along with other medical centers in the same city. There are numerous religious centers like Baha’i Faith of Aliso Viejo, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and megachurch plants like Saddleback Church Aliso Viejo.

Aliso Viejo History

The Aliso Viejo region was originally part of Moulton Ranch, which was outlined by the Juan Avila land grant. Lewis and Nellie Gail Moulton operated this land with sheep and cattle which were the primary source of income for the region. Moulton Ranch was commercially developed as the local economy shifted. The Mission Viejo Company bought part of this territory, 6,600 acres for a master planned community in 1976. Homes were constructed and sales of the new residences began in 1982. A large portion of this land, 2,600 acres, was selected to be used for the Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park which border Laguna Niguel. An additional 800 acres were dedicated for parks, schools, recreation, and other community venues.

The Aliso Viejo Community Association (AVCA) was created to help manage not only residential livelihood, but the community facilities. Part of the Moultons’ lasting legacy is the 7-acre Aliso Viejo Ranch. This project is rehabilitating historic structures and constructing a new barn for people to use for city events. Additionally, the site will feature community educational programs and sustainable farming operations.

Aliso Viejo Statistics

Size: Approximately 6.92 Square Miles 
Population: 52,176 (2020)

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Heidi Deal
Heidi Deal is the author of the Newcomers Handbook to Living In Los Angeles & Orange County, and a children’s book author specializing in history and human rights. When she's not writing you can find her solo hiking and going on new adventures with her kids and pup.