Irvine is a city nestled between the San Joaquin Hills to the south and the Loma Ridge at the north of the state of California. The city is positioned at the center of Orange County, California,
Irvine has a population of only 200,000 and is spread over roughly 45 square miles.
There are quite some unique things to do in Irvine, It’s beautiful weather throughout the year makes it a tourist hub. Interestingly, Irvine is ranked by the FBI as the “Safest Big City” and this makes it the perfect choice location to spend your vacation, even with the kids.
During your visit, walk through the Orange County Great Park, view a performance at Irvine Barclay Theatre, get absolute art delight at Irvine Museum, go bird watching at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary and try your racing skills at K1 Speed Irvine,
Are you planning to visit?, have you made your bucket list for this city?, here are the best things to do in Irvine, California.
Things to Do in Irvine
1. Pretend City Children’s Museum
The Pretend City Children’s Museum is one of the best fun attractions in Irvine, especially for children who would learn and enjoy the experience.
It was established in 1997 as an anatomized city with facilities and features like a cafe, a fire station, a theater, a farm, a post office, and lots more.
Platforms through which children learn include hands-on learning exhibits, role-playing, and educational programs.
There is one special section of the museum, the “Imagination Playground”. In this part, children are encouraged to use their “creative power” to build diverse things like houses, space rockets, and animals.
This is one of Irvine CA attractions, the museum also plays host to many events like “Family Autism Event” and “Healthy Halloween”.
Address: 29 Hubble, Irvine, CA
2. The Botanical Gardens At UCI Arboretum
The Botanical Gardens At UCI Arboretum offers you the opportunity of seeing local plants of the California Floristic Province.
If you are interested in seeing a collection of South African plants or native California plants, then this is the right place to be.
This park is positioned on the UCI campus and covers 12.5 acres of space. The garden offers you and any plant lover an awesome walk time in the sun.
This makes one of the fun things to do in Irvine for Nature lovers.
The area is open for public access from Tuesday to Saturday and is free of charge, so take a walk through the Botanical Gardens At UCI Arboretum!.
3. Tanaka Farms
Tanaka Farms is situated on University Drive, is one educational experience which families and groups who wish to learn about farm produce should not miss.
The farm kicked off in 1940 and grows its produce in addition to some items purchased from local farmers.
You can visit their stand any time to purchase freshly harvested produce as it is open throughout the year.
Tanaka Farms also offer diverse tours all through the year. This is however dependent on the season.
The Watermelon Tours are held from July through August, the Pumpkin Patch Tours are conducted from September to October and the Watermelon Tours take place from July through August.
Also, join their awesome events like the cooking classes while in Irvine.
Address: 5380 University Drive, Irvine, California.
4. The Irvine Museum
One of the best things to do in Irvine, California is visiting the Irvine Museum. This museum is a fine arts museum that features diverse works by various artists.
Here, exhibits are displayed in rotational manners, showing painted scenes of California in the American Impressionist period from 1890 to 1930.
These paintings are awesome and thrilling, depending on the scene.
Some of these exhibitions include “Scenic View Ahead: The Westways Covers Art Program, 1928-1981”, “Sunlight & Shadow: The Tradition of Plein Air Painting,” and a lots more.
The Irvine Museum also encourages education programs such as “Art Meets Science,” school field trips, and several lectures all through the year.
The museum is open for access from Tuesday through Saturday while a docent-led tour is offered on Thursday. Private group tours in this museum are arranged by appointment.
Address: 18881 Von Karman Avenue, Irvine, California
5. UC Irvine Anteaters
The University of California, Irvine has got a very rich history in sports. So, if you are a sports lover (any kind), just get ready for a treat.
There are 18 different sports teams representing the university and strangely, the UC Irvine Anteaters is the nickname used by each of them.
There is a big pool of diverse sports you can come and watch, including baseball, golf, basketball, athletics, volleyball, tennis, and more.
The Anteaters have represented honorably with 28 National championships won by them in their respective categories and have had about 53 people compete in the Olympics.
Go, enjoy your favorite sport, and as well fan your choice teams!
6. Beall Center for Art and Technology at UCI
The Beall Center for Art + Technology at UCI is an art and science center situated at the Claire Trevor School of Arts at the University of California, Irvine.
The center has got his name after Don Beall, who was chairman of the Board of Rockwell Corporation. Some exhibits in this center include “Sight & Sound”, “Origins of Life: Experiment #1.X”, “Wall of Sound: New Work by Zimoun” and some other interesting ones.
Education outreach programs like Family Day are organized by the center, during which children and the family at large can enjoy art and science exhibits, videos, activities and so much more. Other programs include lectures, summer camps, and private tours.
Address: Claire Trevor School of the Arts, 712 Arts Plaza, University of California, Irvine.
7. K1 Speed Irvine
K1 Speed Irvine is a massive indoor go-kart racing center with the facility having two race tracks designed professionally to give you a thrilling experience. This electric go-karting suits all skill levels and all ages.
Aside from the tracks, you can satisfy your belly with food offered at the “Pit Cafe.” You can relax also relax on the leather couches equipped with plasma televisions.
You will love the collection in this center which features racing-related art and memorabilia. K1 Speed Irvine also hosts events including birthday parties and corporate meetings.
This is one of the best things to do in Irvine, CA for a fun time, do consider for your Irvine, CA bucket list.
Address: 17221 Von Karman Avenue, Irvine, California.
8. San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary
The San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary is situated on Riparian View. It is a freshwater marsh that occupies 300 acres, with over 11 miles of nature trails and series of ponds.
This sanctuary (which has the majority of it created by a wildlife lover, Peer Swan), is home to a large variety of birds like ducks, geese, cormorants, herons, egrets, and grebes.
There are also diverse animals like coyotes, raccoons, and bobcats in here as well as many amphibians, reptiles and fish species.
If you need something to do in Irvine with kids, here is a great place.
There are also nice trails, an observation area, a boardwalk, and the Audubon House, which is known as the Duck Club.
Address: 5 Riparian View, Irvine, California.
9. Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial
The Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial is situated within the Northwood Community Park. This is the only memorial in America which lists every American serviceman and woman who lost their lives fighting in the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts.
The memorial has the name of every single individual who sacrificed for their nation listed. As at the time of opening, this memorial had 5,714 names on it, but with time the memorial after revisions now has the names of 6,786 brave Americans.
This is one of the top tourist attractions in Irviner, do visit this memorial, it holds a special place in the heart of Americans. Come and remember those fallen heroes who died for this great nation.
Address: 4531 Bryan Ave, Irvine, CA 92620, United States
10. The Irvine Bike Club
Now here is one perfect item for you if you love cycling, Irvine Bike Club.
The Bicycle Club of Irvine is laid back and very friendly, treating every visitor with complete recognition and acceptance.
The club has been in operation for over 30 years with various cycling events tagged to its name throughout the week.
This is an excellent way of meeting new people in and around Irvine, as a lot of people from inside and outside the city always engage.
You may not necessarily be a member to enjoy this ride, so why don’t you go for a ride with members and see how it works out.
11. Irvine Barclay Theatre
Located in Campus Drive, the Irvine Barclay Theatre is a venue for arts performance, this is one of the top things to do in Irvine CA.
The theatre was opened in 1990 with performances taking place in the Cheng Hall, a popular hall loved for its superb acoustics.
This theatre is a joints business between the University of California, Irvine, and the city of Irvine. You can enjoy contemporary dance, theatrical performances, music, and presentations focused on local and regional art groups and artists.
Amongst the varieties of programs presented here are the King’s Singers, the Danish String Quartet, “Run River North” and more!.
You can also partake in the tours offered by the theatre around its facility with its “ArtsReach” program linking the backstage.
Irvine Barclay theater is open for rent as a venue for private and public events.
Address: 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine, California.
Granada meets you with lots of places to see, would you be considering a vacation, check out our guide through Granada, this presents the best things to do in Granada for a fun time.
12. Marconi Automotive Museum
The Marconi Automotive Museum is a nonprofit museum with showcases historic, luxury & rare cars.
Though located in Rustin (few miles from Irvine), you should miss out on this museum.
Here, you will see a stunning display of car collections worth more than 28 million dollars. The majority of these cars are racing cars and will certainly leave an auto-enthusiast or adrenalin addict soft in the belly.
A special highlight of this museum which people fancy seeing is one 1996 Ferrari Formula One race car driven by Michael Schumacher,
Corporate and special events can be hosted in the museum and the profits generated from its hire are invested in the Foundation for Kids – a charity that supports at-risk children.
Fundraisers are organized in this bid and free-will donations are also appreciated.
Address: 1302 Industrial Dr, Tustin, CA 92780, United States
13. Strawberry Farms Golf Course
Strawberry Farms is situated on Strawberry Farm Road and is home to one of the best golf courses in Southern California.
The Strawberry Farms Golf Course is an awesome par-71 18 hole golf course that sits on a nice landscape featuring breathtaking scenery of natural waterfalls, granite boulders, hills, and also a reservoir of 35 acres.
This course, designed by a “green lover” Doug DeCincesd is 6,700 yards in space and features massive manicured greens nestled in a natural local habitat of canyons and wetlands.
Discount rates are offered to Irvine residents, seniors, and youths (from the age of 17 and below) by the club.
This club has also gained a good reputation as the venue for wedding ceremonies, thanks to its beautiful setting.
This makes what to do in Irvine for Golf lovers, this should be added to your bucket list if you love some tee time.
Address: 11 Strawberry Farm Road, Irvine, California.
14. Irvine Korean Festival
The Irvine Korean Cultural Festival is one annual event that attracted multitudes of people from over Irvine and beyond.
This festival is liver by the locals and visitors as it reinstates the relevance and dignity of the Korean culture.
Historically, 1903 marked the entry of the first Koreans on American soil, and rolling the years forward (over 100 years later), the government of California recognized their presence. January 13th is declared as the ‘Korean American Day’.
The festival features Korean dances, musics and other performance categories. You will see also a large array of food stalls selling uncommon and enticing types of food.
15. Irvine Global Village Festival
Irvine Global Village Festival is an annual gathering of the city of Irvine.
Every September, locals and residents of the city come together to celebrate. This festival is held at Bill Barber Park and is recognized as one of the top cultural festivals in the entire Orange County.
This event normally kickoff by 10 am and features over 100 dance shows and musical performances.
Just like other international festivals, food stores are open everywhere, allowing you to taste awesome delights from different countries in the world.
Attending this event is free and there are free shuttle buses usually put on to cushion the “no parking” protocols at the event.
16. Buccaneer Cove
This list of fun things to do in Irvine would not be complete without this waterpark, Your kids will surely love the Buccaneer Cove especially if they enjoy swimming.
Buccaneer Cove is a water play area segmented into five levels with each of them having water slides, splash buckets, loops, and tunnels.
There is an impressive total of over 1000 feet of water slides which you can ride with your loved ones.
It is super fun for everyone and there are different slides to accommodate different age brackets.
For kids, the kiddies slide provide a perfect experience for them.
Parents can maintain their relaxed mood by sitting back in a cozy chair whilst watching the children have fun under the guidance of trained professionals.
You will certainly love Buccaneer Cove and your children will love it the most, so give them that treat.
17. Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre
Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre (used to be Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre) was built in 1980 and opened in 1981.
It was established by an Irvine Meadows Partnership (with 4 local investors) and is the biggest amphitheater in Orange County.
Designed by Gin Wong Associates of Los Angeles, its unique design built on a hillside has its seats slope steeply towards the stage.
This awesome music venue has a top capacity of 16,085 (there are 10,418 reserved seats and an additional 5,667 on the lawn) and has had famous artists feature on its stage.
On three occasions, Michael Jackson performed here to a sell-out audience during his 1988 Bad tour. Also, Ozzy Osbourne and The Offspring have performed in front of their fans.
Address: 8808 Irvine Center Dr, Irvine, CA 92618, United States
18. Boomers Irvine
Boomers is an amusement center located on Michelson Drive, Irvine.
It has special features which provide top fun and entertainment. There are several attractions like go-karts, miniature golf, bumper boats, rock wall climbing, laser tag, and a lot more.
You will love the Buccaneer Cove, a large water play area boasting special loops, five levels, wet tunnels, multiple slides, and other activities.
Boomers also has a state-of-the-art arcade room that houses games like snowboarding and virtual racing.
They also welcome youth, corporate, and school groups with the center offering diverse package visits.
Boomers have gained popularity for being a venue for the birthday celebration because of the numerous options already on the ground.
Address: 3405 Michelson Drive, Irvine, California.
19. Wipeout Run
One of the fun things to do in Irvine, California is to see The Wipeout Run, this is a long run that takes place on a course of over 5km. This run has different obstructions along this route, thereby making it a bit more fun.
You will encounter the foam of fury, wrecking balls to keep away from, get down the slides and monkey bars to best your way through.
The Wipeout Run attracts people from the nook and cranny of the city and provides gives every participant an awesome experience on the day.
Get involved in this run if you would like to exercise, have top fun and also join in raising money for charity. You can run as an individual or come on as a group of friends who wants to run!
20. Xtreme Adventures
Xtreme Adventures, located on Irvine Center Drive is an exciting driving experience.
Being a family-owned business, it operated by Michel, Alex, and Daniel Lombrozo – all exotic car lovers.
This company provides multiple car experiences spanning across their Exotic Car Rentals, Exotic Autocross Challenge, Exotic Car Tours, and a lot more.
The Exotic Autocross Challenge gives guests the privilege of choosing between a Lamborghini, a Ferrari, and a Porsche.
Some ready professionals give instructions to visitors before they commence their adventure.
If you are below the age of driving or you have someone who below that age, then you are still covered. The company grants them the opportunity of riding in one of the classic cars with a professional driver taking the wheel.
Xtreme Adventures also entertains groups who wish to host corporate and private events.
Address: 8808 Irvine Center Drive, Irvine, California
Bistango is a situated in the Atrium Building, an award-winning edifice in downtown Irvine trending because of its revolving art exhibition.
The intriguing diversity of arts here makes Bistango one of the loved places in town.
There are lots of arts on the walls, in the room and on the plates. The bar is Enjoy New American cuisine tastefully served in the spacious dining room.
Their meals are so spectacular both at sight and in taste, with the modern American concentrated with high-quality seafood and fish.
There is also a list of pastas and other specials like Cherry Demi-Glace, Brandied Peach, and Bison Ribeye to choose from.
The bar is full of variety with their award-winning “Wine Spectator ” wine list having over 400 labels.
You can relax in the private patio area with a glass of wine and a fantastic dish. Enjoy the live entertainment every evening, ranging from Latin to R&B to Jazz and more!
This is one of the top things to do in Irvine for a romantic time, do plan a visit.
Address: 19100 Von Karman Avenue, Irvine, California.
22. The Counter
The Counter is one of the hottest and recent high-end casual dining chains in the world, with over 45 locations scattered across the United States and the world at large. They have a spot in Irvine.
Launched in 2003 by Jeff Weinstein, this restaurant is recognized for its superb gourmet customizable burgers and is approved by internationally-renowned celebrities such as Alan Richman and Oprah Winfrey.
In crafting their perfect burger, Dldiners have a wide list of protein options to choose from ranging from chicken patties or local beef to mahi-mahi fillets (plant-based Impossible burgers) to bison burgers.
Enjoy sauces, cheese, and customizable standard and premium toppings. From the tomato and standard lettuce to uncommon toppings like quinoa, grilled pineapple slices, and apricot sauce.
The Counter serves a full menu of specialty burgers all through the day, a draft beer list with nice appetizers, alongside standard and boozy milkshakes – the restaurant’s signature.
Address: 2981 Michelson Dr Ste C, Irvine, CA 92612.
For every lover of chocolate, here is something you will cherish: All things Chocxo.
Established by the top professional in the chocolate industry, Richard Foley having spent 30 years in the industry went on to combine his wealth of experience in the creation of some of the best chocolate not just in Irvine, but North America.
A visit to the factory will enlighten you as you watch people using the recent technology to ensure that the quality of chocolate produced is of top standard.
You can walk into the on-site café where you can have a taste, compare the assorted chocolate coffee’s and then make your selection on which ones would go home with you.
This makes what to do in Irvine for a fun time, do consider a visit here.
24. Orange County Great Park
Orange County Great Park, which opened in 2003 is the name of the county park situated on C Street.
This land used to be the base of the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro in Irvine, with the park occupying about 1,347 acres of space.
This park has unique and beautiful features that give visitors a thrilling experience. This includes “The Great Park Balloon”: an attraction with the capacity to rise 400 feet above the ground and even hold close to 30 people up in the air thereby serving as an observation patio.
In the park is the Palm Court Arts Complex, which contains the Great Park Artist Studios, the 10,000 sq ft Hangar 244, the Great Park Gallery, and an events center.
On Sundays also, the “Certified Farmers Market” takes place in this park, so do consider a visit.
Address: C Street, Irvine, California.
25. Irvine International Film Festival
Irvine International Film Festival is an annual event that brings Irvine today.
This festival has been occurring for several years and is a competition that attracts some of the best films in the world into Orange County.
Quite a good number of these films celebrated at this festival often go on to receive Oscar nominations and Academy Awards.
Year in, year out, top names in the industry grace this festival to sort out talent that sustains and provides some great stars to Hollywood.
This is one of the best Irvine tourist attractions, a worthy addition to your checklist of fun things to do in Irvine, CA.
26. William R. Mason Regional Park
Positioned on University Drive in southern Irvine, the William R. Mason Regional Park is a park named in honor of William R. Mason (former Irvine Company President), hence it is sometimes called Mason Park.
The park was originally opened in 1973 and contained 45 acres of land, however, 50 extra acres were added in 1978, including a lake of 9 acres.
It is split into two parts: the west side look more traditional as it contains an artificial lake, a grassland, and numerous trails while the east side of the park is made up of irregular hills, a bike trail, and a small creek; thereby looking more like a natural desert area.
A visit here makes what to do in Irvine for some outdoor time, it is one of the best Irvine tourist attractions to check out.
Address: 18712 University Drive, Irvine, California.
27. The Wine Artist
The Wine Artist is an amazing winery in Irvine, as they also run cookery classes. This makes our list of the best things to do in Irvine.
If you are interested or wish to improve your cooking skills, then this place is for you.
The cooking classes and series are in popular demand with the locals and visitors alike. Here, you will learn how to make sushi and any kind of appetizer for the Superbowl.
Join the class on New Orleans classics to try making a better brunch.
You can visit with your teams as corporate groups are welcome also baby showers and hens are allowed here.
28. Oak Creek Golf Club
The Oak Creek Golf Club is the base of a public golf course situated on Golf Club Drive.
The design of this course was done by Tom Fazio, a very famous golf course designer and one of the best in the world.
The was opened in 1996, and this land used to be an orange grove. Its is loved by all because of its flexibility in accommodating players of all skill levels
This green is an 18-hole course, beautified by the surrounding picturesque scenery of lakes bunkers, fairways, and greens.
Also, here is the habitat of diverse kinds of birds like hawks, owls, egrets, herons, and other animals.
This makes what to do in Irvine, CA for golf lovers, the course is open every day of the week with subsidized fees running from Monday through Thursday.
Address: 1 Golf Club Drive, Irvine, California.
29. Irvine Historical Museum
One of the best things to do in Irvine, CA is a visit to Irvine Historical Museum, You want to improve your knowledge of the city, then walk into this awesome Museum.
This museum is run and managed by the Irvine Historical Society to preserve and protect the heritage of the Irvine Ranch.
At one time, the Irvine Ranch was the one the biggest private ranch in the United States.
Built-in 1868 by James Irvine, when he sought for a place they could use as a house when he came for a business in Irvine.
He however encountered several problems with the house, including flees, coyotes, and wild cats.
This house was destroyed in 1971 but sojourners can still visit the Irvine Historical Museum to know more about this absorbing story.
30. Irvine Improv
Irvine Improv won the votes of the “Best Comedy Club” in Orange County and promises to deliver up to expectations.
This club has a holding capacity of more than 500 people and with the state of the art technology system on the ground, you will enjoy the wide range of comedy act which the club offers.
Take a trip to Umami Burger, if you are a lover of burger. They’ve got delicious and mouth-watering burgers that will love you full, excited, and asking for more.
Irvine Improv has seen a large number of the established comedians in America perform in it over the years and still serves as a starting point for future greats.
Once success at the Improv is often a pointer to a successful career in the comedy industry for various artists.
This makes what to do in Irvine for some fun time, do consider an addition to your Irvine bucket list.
Address: 527 Spectrum Centre Drive, Irvine, CA 92618
31. Bommer Canyon Trails
Being an open space permanent preserve, the Bommer Canyon is situated in southern Irvine, CA, the canyon itself is a part of a National Natural Landmark, the Irvine Ranch.
The entire area is roughly 16,000 acres in space with is the presence of Bommer Canyon’s Cattle Camp making the area rich in cultural heritage.
From the late 1800s until the late 1970s, the camp was used as the center of cattle operations for the Irvine Company before operations were ceased.
Explore the trails in this area with activities like biking, hiking, running, and many more.
The Bommer Canyon trails meanders through ancient oaks and meadows to 2,100-foot ridgelines. This trail continues until the sandy beaches of the coastal cove.
Address: 6400 Shady Canyon Drive, Irvine, CA 92603
32. Irvine Spectrum Center
The Irvine Spectrum Center provides the perfect opportunity for you to shop while in Irvine.
You will love this shopping facility which offers over 100 boutique shops including a nice cinema, many dining options, and even a spa!
Aside from the shopping, one of the main attractions is the Giant Wheel, a 108-foot high structure.
This wheel allows shoppers to enjoy a ride while seeing different perspectives of the area.
The Gaint Wheel is open every day but is more gorgeous at night because you get an awesome view of the lit-up local area.
Address: 670 Spectrum Center Dr, Irvine, CA 92618.
Plan To Visit Irvine
It’s no doubt that Irvine, California is indeed one of the best places to visit in California. The engaging attractions, low crime rate, and awesome weather is poised to give you the thrilling experience of a vacation.
Your kids would love the Pretend City Children’s Museum, the Beall Center for Art, Tanaka Farms, and more.
So, start now to plan your vacation to this awesome city. This piece can always act as a guide, pinning is caring.