I've lived here for 37 years, basically my entire life. Some "rough" areas of the city aren't necessarily bad areas. There are many many great family neighborhoods scattered throughout the city. Most of the schools are great and the city allows and open enrollment period which allows you to choose which schools you'd like your kids to attend if there is the space available.
There is shopping restaurants and lots to do. We're a short distance from Disneyland and knotts berry farm. Lots of trails, hiking, etc. it's only about a 30 min drive to the beaches and 1.5 hours to the mountains and an hour or so to deserts.
The communities and people are fantastic and I seriously love the diversity. There are people from all walks of life. Fullerton can easily be referred to as a little big town. With 130 thousand people you'd never know by the small town feel.
The only drawback is that housing is very expensive as with any where you go in Southern California. But if California is what you're looking for then the price can be worth it here.
Fullerton is a warm, friendly, eclectic community that offers many activities to it's diverse residents and visitors. The highlight of Fullerton is Downtown, where vintage shops, unique and delicious restaurants, and charming coffee houses can be found along tree-lined streets with lights. Several recommended places are Ye Olde Ship (an authentic British pub), Rialto Cafe, Brownstone Cafe, Rutabegorz (great menu for all tastes- has healthy options as well as vegetarian and vegan options), Kento's Greek Kitchen, Chomp Rock 'n Roll Sushi (explosion roll is the best!), Old Spaghetti Factory, Out of Vogue, Brick Basement, Buffalo Exchange, Roadkill Ranch, Tranquil Tea Lounge, Green Bliss Cafe, Night Owl Cafe, and Cafe Veronese. Also, there is a charming train station that has a great view of Disneyland fireworks. Metrolink trains run through here, which makes commuting to L.A. a breeze. You can even take special trains to some events at Edison Field in Anaheim and avoid the parking crunch.
If you are moving to Fullerton, be aware that it can be categorized into several neighborhoods (some of which are recommended over others). South of Commonwealth has some parts that are a little rougher than others. To the far East lies Cal State Fullerton and Hope University, which draw many college students to the apartment complexes nearby. Moving a little West you will find a quiet, affordable, and friendly residential area close to good schools. Several streets from this neighborhood set up great displays for Christmas! A little further West than this is the Downtown neighborhood which has many historic bungalows. In this neighborhood is Fullerton Junior College and the Continuation College Campus, so streets close by can have parking issues in the evening. On the West side of Harbor Blvd (the center of Downtown) is the central library and new Community Center, right next to Downtown. Further West is another safe, quiet, residential neighborhood. North of Chapman Avenue is where most of the expensive Fullerton homes exist in the hills with beautiful views of Orange County and the ocean (facing South), or the hills of Carbon Canyon (East and North). There are many hiking trails in this area. Parks are scattered all throughout the city.
Having been a resident of this community for nearly ten years, I have been really happy living in Fullerton. I would recommend it for fun young couples, families, and retirees.
I have lived in Fullerton for 40 years. When I came the police department was "Local" most of the officers were from Fullerton. And they were "Peace Officers" . If you called them for excessive noise after ten PM they would come, and talk to the offender and try to get them to turn down the music. Then they would talk to the caller and try to get them to tolerate slight loud music.
Now they are "Law Enforcement Officers" when they are called out they cite the law breaker, and if they find the caller in violation of any law they cite him as well.
I am afraid if we do not do something to reign them in they are heading toward para-military officers.
In July of this year 6 Fullerton Police Officers beat a homeless to death. The police reports said he was "SUSPECTED" of breaking into cars near the downtown area. The City Council did nothing. All six cops stayed on the job, which sent a signal to the citizens that the police must have been justified in the severe beating because the offender must have put up some major (perhaps on PCP) resistance. To confirm this assumption two of the officers reported broken bones.
As the truth began to emerge the homeless man was not breaking into cars, The cops knew him, they knew he was mentally ill. And aside from trying to run away, did not resist the cops. But he was beaten to nonrecognition, tazzed at least five times and while laying face down cops with their weight on the homeless man compressed his lungs and he suffocated to death.
There can be no reason for a 135 pound man to require six officers to restrain and handcuff.
I have only visited Fullerton once but I was impressed by its cleanliness and concern for nature. Th city of Fullerton is unlike larger cities in California which have been modernized at the expense of natural vegetation. During my stay over the weekend, I visited one of my friends, who works at an Equestrian Center in Coyote Hills. Coyote Hills is a low lying, somewhat barren hilly area, by the Sea. It is popular because of its numerous bicycle, motorbike, equestrian and walking trials.
If you have a family then you should consider moving here because the Fullerton public and private schools are regarded as some of the best in Nation. My friend's son goes to University of California Fullerton campus, even after getting scholarship offer from the famed Los Angeles campus.
It seems that everyone is spellbound by the artistic atmosphere of Fullerton. I haven't visited any theaters but my friend told me that someone coming from New York will never miss anything, as several music companies and Civil Light Opera perform daily shows in many historic theaters, around Fullerton. It also has a great nightlife for people who are Rock N Roll, Punk and Hip Hop, types.