Mission Viejo is considered one of the largest master-planned communities ever built under a single project in the United States, and is rivaled only by Highlands Ranch, Colorado, in its size. Mission Viejo is suburban in nature and culture. The city is mainly residential, although there are a number of offices and businesses within its city limits. The city is known for its picturesque tree-lined neighborhoods, receiving recognition from the National Arbor Day Foundation. Mission Viejo was named the safest city in the United States by the Morgan Quitno crime statistic survey. The city was also ranked safest in California and third in the nation by CQ Press.
The community has numerous recreational areas such as the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center there are about two parks per square mile. The city has three golf courses, The Mission Viejo Country Club, Casta del Sol Golf Course, and the Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club. At the center of the city is a man-made lake, Lake Mission Viejo, a private association for Mission Viejo residents with custom waterfront homes, condominiums, boat rentals, and swim beaches.
Mission Viejo is served by two school districts, the Capistrano Unified School District and Saddleback Valley Unified School Districts.
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