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City of Laguna Niguel

The city of Laguna Niguel was developed in the 1960s with residential communities like Monarch Bay and Niguel Terrace. Local shopping centers with entertainment were created for these residents such as Ocean Ranch Village which now features Cinepolis Luxury Cinemas Laguna Niguel. You can enjoy the Laguna Niguel Farmer’s Market on Sunday where you can purchase fresh produce, meet artisans, and buy local. The Laguna Niguel profile includes city history and information for residential services, shopping, dining, and points of interest throughout the city.

City of Laguna Niguel, California
About Laguna Niguel
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About Laguna Niguel

City Of Laguna Niguel

Within the Orange County boundary, Laguna Niguel serves primarily as a residential community. Most people who live here commute out of the area for work in other cities. It is positioned near the I-5, 405, 73 toll road, and has access to PCH via Crown Valley Parkway. Laguna Niguel is bordered by Aliso Viejo, Dana Point, Mission Viejo, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, and San Juan Capistrano.

The City of Laguna Niguel is situated in the southern hillside of Orange County. This nearly 15-square mile site has more than 63,000 residents. According to the city’s website, “Over one-third of Laguna Niguel is designated as open space” that was created from the 1959 master plan. This emphasized its ability to provide parks and recreation. The Orange County Parks system developed and maintain the 4,000 acres of Aliso & Woods Canyon Wilderness Park which offers over 30 miles of trails. The Wilderness Park gained a new visitor’s center in 2018 through a partnership with the State Coastal Conservancy. Note that there is a parking fee. Interpretive programs are available by request to the ranger. These trails are excellent for hiking, mountain biking, and scenic views of the city. Equestrian trails are also available. There are several lookout points, most notably Top of Moulton Peak, Top of the World, and Top of Meadows Trail. Visit the park office for a map or use the county’s interactive app. The city emphasizes maintaining natural areas to rehabilitate natural species of flora and fauna.

Orange County Public Library system operates the Laguna Niguel Library branch off of Crown Valley Parkway. Patrons are offered an array of programs for all ages. Capistrano Unified School District manages the seven elementary schools and one middle school within the city limits. The high school students attend in Dana Point and Aliso Viejo.

The city has cultural arts programs and attractions such as the Botanical Preserve, Community Contests, and Laguna Niguel Community Theater. Residents have a Military Support Program and Laguna Niguel Military Support Committee that holds an annual Veterans Day ceremony.

Laguna Niguel offers its residents and local community a dynamic Laguna Niguel Regional Park. The lake is one of the most popular fishing lakes in the area and visitors can rent small boats if they prefer not to fish from shore. The scenic lake-side trail is ideal for walking the dog, and there is a bridge crossing, trickling stream, and rolling hills of grass. Sites can be rented for special events such as Area 10, which is often used for weddings. Community-organized and personal events such as Maypole are also held here.

Laguna Niguel History

The Native Americans lived in a village called “Niguili.” It was near Aliso Creek which was a natural source of water. It also provided natural dietary options with fish and other food. The Acjachemem village lived peacefully with other regional tribes such as the Tongva Nation that bordered them.

The Spanish colonized the region and established the neighboring San Juan Capistrano mission system in 1776. Private land grants were issued until Mexico’s independence from Spain. The Avila land grant was transferred to new owners in 1842. The region transformed in 1895 when Lewis Moulton and Jean Pierre Daguerre purchased this area that was once part of Rancho Niguel. Basque sheepherders used the area to manage their flocks. Eventually, The Moulton Company was established. They moved from sheep to cattle due to shifts in the topography with the development of the region. In 1959, the Laguna Niguel Corporation formed to create the master-planned city. It was incorporated in 1989.

The Native American treaties, land grants, and other regional history were once stored in The Chet Holifield Federal Building, commonly referred to as “the Ziggurat Building,” designed by William Pereira. Completed in 1971 for North American Aviation, it later became the home of The National Archives and Records Administration for the Pacific region. The archival collections have since moved its facilities to Perris, CA, but is still a federal government office.

You can learn more about local history with the Laguna Niguel Historical Society or Laguna Niguel Family History Center that provides genealogical resources. In 2011, the Laguna Niguel City Hall opened to serve its residents with resources.

Laguna Niguel Statistics

Size: Approximately 14 Square Miles
Population: 64,355 (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.