Irvine’s Woodbridge

May 5th, 2007  
by IrvineRenter  in Community Profile

Woodbridge is a large community in the heart of Irvine. Started in 1975 and completed in the early 1990's, the community covers approximately four square miles bounded by Culver, Irvine Center Drive, Jeffrey and the 405. It is one of Irvine's premier neighborhoods.

Woodbridge is bisected into two residential segments, called North Lake and South Lake, by a broad stripe of retail, commercial and institutional development between Alton and Barranca. The lakes are between three and six feet deep and each is crossed by a large wooden footbridge, owing the village its name. A four-lane circular loop road, Yale Loop, runs around the interior of Woodbridge, connecting all its housing blocks and major streets. The village is walled off from the rest of Irvine by a row of pine trees and a continuous, 20-foot-high Privet hedge.

In Great Streets by Allan B. Jacobs (MIT Press), Pinewood (street name) on the Northern edge of the village off of the Yale Loop, is cited as one of the great "new urban" streets. The houses of Yale Loop and the wall and hedge which surround the development act as a shield to disguise the high-density residential products which are situated between them.

The design concept works very well. A casual observer seeing Woodbridge comes to believe the entire community is composed of large single family residential homes giving Woodbridge a high-end veneer.

Woodbridge, for the most part, is uniformly designed in a New England Cape Cod style, creating a classical seaside village feel. Shed style houses are also abundant in Woodbridge.

Even the more modest homes are very well maintained and show real pride of ownership.



Residents who really "know" Woodbridge will tell you there is a hierarchy of desirability radiating outward from the center. Neighborhoods closer to the lakes have larger homes and are more desirable. People in this area are the creme de la creme, and they defecate without odor.

Those who live outside the loop are the "wannabes" who really aren't worthy of Woodbridge's aura of greatness. You must pardon my facetious banter, but I was given a very similar description by a long-time resident. Interesting that even within one of Irvine's best neighborhoods, the competition to put oneself above others is notable.

A Lexus and a BMW. A HELOC perhaps? No, everyone in Irvine makes enough money to afford a big house and two luxury cars...

There are other attractive streets in Woodbridge...

Each one of Woodbridge's lakes has a "beach club" next to it, where there is a "lagoon" (a sand-surrounded fresh-water swimming pool that empties into the lake), a dock facility to rent pedal boats, kayaks, canoes, sailboats, and hydro-bikes.

Swimming is prohibited in the lakes, but many people swim or fall off of their boats into the water. The beach clubs also have two volleyball courts each. South lake has a recreation room and a snack shop in it also, which is only open at certain times throughout the year.

There are also two "swim clubs," Stonecreek and Bluelake, on each side of Woodbridge. These have lifeguards all day 10-10 during summer, and weekends 10-5 during the winter. Stonecreek has a two-meter diving board, and Bluelake has a one meter and a three meter diving board. The Woodbridge swim teams are based out of Stonecreek. Woodbridge is home to Woodbridge High School.

Twenty-four tennis courts, twenty of which are lit for night play, pathways, bikeways, and a plethora of recreational parks within the four square miles make Woodbridge a community of interest to young families as well as retirees who enjoy outdoor activities. Its community tennis club regularly trains young players who are ranked in the first hundred in their USTA age group.

There are four elementary schools (there used to be a fifth, an alternative school, Alderwood, which got moved to Quail Hill), two middle schools, and Woodbridge High School.

One of the weaknesses of Woodbridge is the lack of a strong commercial gathering place. There isn't a suburban plaza in Woodbridge that is very successful. The Woodbridge Community Center has been recently renovated because many of the retail businesses left and have been replaced by high end office tenants.

There are other successful retail centers in Woodbridge, but none with a good suburban plaza. The center on Jeffrey and Alton has a suburban plaza which is designed correctly to be successful, but it is across from the successful Oak Creek suburban plaza and for whatever reason, it has not done as well.

In my opinion, the best public space in Woodbridge is the southern half of North Lake. This section of north lake is adjacent to the semi-successful community center, and it is connected with a walkway over Barranca Parkway.

There is a unique children's tot lot which juts out into the lake on the north side of the bridge. This play area is a bit unnerving when your children are very young because it is so close to the water, but when your children are a bit more self-sufficient, it is a great place to sit and enjoy the lake while they play nearby. (Notice the little girl chasing the ducks.)

North lake is beautiful.

Toy sailboating, anyone?

The gazebo is the lakes focal point.

Fine dining at the Waters.

Canadian Geese...

Children feeding the ducks...

A framed view of the distant mountains.

Woodbridge is a community of all ages.

The Senior's Center is first rate.

Don't forget South Lake. It is nice too.

South lake looking north from Yale Loop.

A community garden plot place in a retention basin.

There is a wide variety of activities.

There are a great many parks and pools...

This one is heated year round.

Anyone play horseshoes?



My "Irvine" day was full of playing with the family between taking pictures. This style and quality of life is what makes Irvine such a unique place. I thoroughly enjoyed creating this community profile.

Irvine's Woodbridge: a great place to live.

If you liked the pictures above, see what the pros can do. Check out:

Hidden Woodbridge

Woodbridge North Lake

Astute Observations

Astute Observation by Aaron
2007-05-06 07:06 AM

Only 25% of Woodbridge is SFD.  I was surprised when I learned that - doesn’t feel like it at all.  Then again, the SFD streets I’ve seen here feel crammed like every other middle class CA neighborhood.

Astute Observation by IrvineRenter
2007-05-06 07:40 AM

Testament to how good the land plan really is, particularly the impact of the veneer of homes on Yale Loop.

Astute Observation by No_Such_Reality
2007-05-06 09:01 AM

IR, When were the photos taken?  It looks like a beautiful spring day (last weekend?)  yet except for the main pool, all the parks and play areas are mostly stark raving empty or at best, a few people.  The exception appeared to be the one family picnic occuring.

Must admit, I’d prefer having the park to myself, but given the large lack of outside space other than these public spaces for families and people, makes one wonder where exactly they are?  Shopping?

Astute Observation by Schahrzad Berkland
2007-05-06 09:19 AM

Nice job!  I love those homes.  Well, just dreaming, I’m sure they are totally unaffordable.

NSR is right:  where are all the people?

Astute Observation by Irvine_native
2007-05-06 10:51 AM

I grew up and currently live in Woodbridge.  I even worked for the woodbridge village association for a few years.  It really is a wonderful area.  Thanks for the post.

Irvine Co. is closing and selling the south woodbridge elementary school to developers.  They are going to put in 11 homes per acre.  These will be the only new homes in Irvine with no Mello Roos.  Should be interesting.  Incidentally, the woodbridge village assoc is fighting to make the new development SFH’s instead of condos.  Gotta keep those comps high I guess.

BTW, it is not surprising that they are closing the school.  Woodbridge is basically a senior citizen (55+) area.  All of our neighbors are old and our son is usually alone at the playgrounds and parks.  The few kids we have run into at the parks are usually grandkids of the locals.

There is a concern about the quality of the water under woodbridge.  A toxic plume from the El Toro marine base has seeped into the groundwater.  Do a google search for “woodbridge plume” for more info.  It is probably harmless, but it is interesting to note.

We will probably buy here (we currently rent) but right now the prices are ridiculous.

Astute Observation by Melissa
2007-05-06 11:56 AM

I actually grew up in Woodbridge in the 80s (outside of the loop - in the not-as-nice section:) and remember that there were lots of kids my age there.  Maybe that’s because we were in the townhomes, so they were less expensive.  This was a great place to grow up with the pools and the lagoon and plenty of grassy areas between the houses.  It’s too bad that the community is aging and there are less kids.  I have gotten the sense that many of these communities have a similar problem (see the previous post about University Park, for example) and was wondering if there were any communities in Irvine that are the new “young family” spots.

Astute Observation by nirvinerealtor
2007-05-06 01:26 PM


People go after new schools; therefore, new neighborhoods such as Northpark and Woodbury are “young family” hot spots.  Just check out the school attendance record.


Great pictures, I hope you do not mind I “grab” some for my listings.  Are you some kind of journalist?

Astute Observation by No_Such_Reality
2007-05-06 05:01 PM

Speaking of listings, is Redfin horribly out of date, or is there something else up with Woodbridge’s requirements for signs. 

They have the approved Woodbridge “for Sale” Remax (Coldwell) groups, but only about half of the homes I identified on Redfin for for sale had a sign up near the home.

Astute Observation by IrvineRenter
2007-05-06 07:30 PM


You can use the pictures if you wish. Make sure to download them rather than link to them. I am glad you like them.

Astute Observation by IrvineRenter
2007-05-06 07:34 PM

I have noticed that the newer areas have more kids.

Although, I thought there were lots of kids out when I was taking the pictures. A few of the parks were empty, but the small, local parks are often empty even in the neighborhoods with lots of kids. I don’t know what people expect. It was by no means a ghost town.

Astute Observation by guest
2007-05-07 08:14 AM

Where were the cars parked on the lawns?  Maybe they are gone now, but last summer when I was touring open houses, there were a few streets where it seemed acceptable to drive on up and park there.  Needless to say, it didn’t leave the picture perfect image of Woodbridge that your photo’s show.  Nice pictures!

Astute Observation by irvine_grad
2007-05-07 09:50 AM

Woodbridge is a great area but the “feel” of the area definitely seems geared toward the older crowd.  Besides Northpark and Woodbury, I’ve also noticed a lot of young families in the Westpark area.

The Woodbridge HOA fees are outrageous, but many people say the Woodbridge assoc. is one of the best in the nation.

Astute Observation by Bkshopr
2007-05-07 12:22 PM

I think the resale prices of homes this older and well established neighborhood are so high and families with younger kids can not afford them.

Irvine Renter is right the newer neighborhoods have higher density housing where price is not as high due to smaller footages and less yards therefore one would see many kids in the newer neighborhoods.

Woodbridge’s “young generation from the mid 70’s and mid 80’s” are now working adults now they are bringing their young children to grandmas’ house.

The home owners who live in Woodbridge love their woodsy, grassy and spacious picturesque neighborhoods they would not buy a more expensive place in the new communities with grid patterns and straight run streets.

The older floorplans in Woodbridge may not appeal to the families with small children while the newer model homes are much more appealing with much more updated finishes, appliances and more stylish

Astute Observation by Irvine Wanna Be
2007-05-08 07:08 AM


These neighborhood overviews are great!  Thanks a lot for all the work on it.  I’ve read all of your neighborhood overviews and it really shows your admiration of Irvine.  Hopefully, your day of homeownership in this great city that you love will come soon.

I was wondering if you or Zovall could create a link to group all the neighborhood overviews in one area so people can easily access them with one click.  I know I will want to go back and read them several times when we are ready to buy and I don’t want to have to do a search for each neighborhood, which could produce a lot of irrelevant results.

Thanks again.

Astute Observation by IrvineRenter
2007-05-08 07:30 AM

Irvine Wanna Be,

If you click on the tag called “community profile” on the left side of the screen, it will only show the community profiles.

There is a lot to like about Irvine. As someone who has worked as a community planner, I appreciate how they designed the communities. As a resident, I enjoy the results of their work.

These community profiles are fun for me. I usually go out with the family, stop at all the parks, and have lunch at the local commercial plaza. It makes for a nice day in Irvine.

Astute Observation by Irvine Wanna Be
2007-05-08 11:32 AM

Thanks! Found it.

Astute Observation by Joe
2007-06-20 01:07 PM

Moved to Woodbridge in ‘85 near South Lake.  It sometimes had a stuffy, elitist feel with people who look down their noses at you.  Used to walk down the street and nobody would say hello to each other (although Donnie Osmond did say hello once when I passed him near south lake one time…oh and so did Peter Vidmar).

Now I live in Tustin where I feel more of a sense of community and identity. Houses there actually have yards (i’m on a 10,000 sq ft lot).  Tons of good Japanese restaurants.

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