Top 10 Best Things to do in Irvine, California

Amazing Activities & Attractions in Irvine

Irvine Spectrum Center by Andrea Arana via Unsplash

Bucket List: Top 10 Best Things to See and Do in Irvine, CA, USA

Irvine is known as one of the happiest cities in America with loads of family-friendly attractions and the safest city in the U.S., attracting millions of visitors yearly. In addition, there are lots of best things to do in Irvine, CA, from visiting a children’s museum or exploring outdoor parks.

So to add up to your to-do list, here are the 10 best things to do in Irvine, CA.

Great Park Balloon & Carousel

Great Park Balloon & Carousel photo via Fb Page
Great Park Balloon & Carousel photo via Fb Page

One of the top tourist attractions in Irvine that kids will surely love is riding a Balloon and Carousel in Orange County Great Park. The park offers balloon rides soaring up to 400 feet and a 360 ° view of the city and Great Park area. They also have a carousel and other attractions on the site.

Irvine Spectrum Center

Irvine Spectrum Center by Andrea Arana via Unsplash
Irvine Spectrum Center by Andrea Arana via Unsplash

Located in East Irvine, the Irvine Spectrum Center is an outdoor shopping mall featuring Nordstrom, Target’s department store, IMAX Theater, wellness centers, and a variety of restaurants. In addition, they offer amusements ideal for kids of all ages including a carousel, outdoor ice skating, and a 108 feet tall Giant Wheel.

Pretend City Children’s Museum

Pretend City Children's Museum
Pretend City Children’s Museum

For a whole day’s entertainment for kids, head to the Pretend City Children’s Museum, featuring 17 themed interactive exhibits that aim to enhance children’s brain development. The facility uses an innovative way to encourage kids to learn with special programs and educational exhibits such as the Art Studio, Sandy Beach, and Construction Site.

Irvine Improv

Irvine Improv
Irvine Improv

Also located in Irvine Spectrum Center, the Irvine Improv is a must-visit comedy club perfect for a friend’s night out. The facility hosts several comedy performances, offers meeting and events gathering, serves American dishes, Umami Burger, and a full bar ranging from cocktails to wine.

The Irvine Museum

The Irvine Museum
The Irvine Museum

A recommended place for art enthusiasts, the Irvine Museum is a small yet interesting museum, featuring Californian Impressionist art and artists. The facility also has seasonal exhibits and displays around 25-30 frames. Visitors can also grab a book from the shop with a good selection of books with prints.

San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary

A black-necked stilt at the SJWS by Wintertanager JT Storey via Wikipedia cc
A black-necked stilt at the SJWS By Wintertanager J.T. Storey – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, cc

If you’re looking for a place to reconnect with nature and wildlife exploration, visit the 300 acres of artificial wetland at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. The site was a former farmland and duck hunting range back in the 1950s to 1960s. Today, there are lots of hiking trails open to public access during the daytime and different kinds of birds and raccoons, coyotes, squirrels, and rabbits in the area.

K1 Speed Irvine

K1 Speed photo via FB Page
K1 Speed photo via FB Page

Another must-do for thrill-seekers and a fun-filled experience is to ride a go-kart at K1 Speed Irvine. The facility is an indoor go-kart racing, featuring two professionally designed tracks, VR Zone Portal, Paddock Lounge dining, and Meeting Rooms for events.

Tanaka Farms

Tanaka Farms photo via FB Page
Tanaka Farms photo via FB Page

Apart from amusement centers, another great attraction perfect for an outdoor family trip is to visit the Tanaka Farms. The site was developed by a Japanese American farmer in the 1970s, offering educational tours about farming, planting, and harvesting. They also offer various activities from U-Pick Wagon Rides, Barnyard Educational Exhibit, CSA Program, and Hikari “The Festival of Lights”.

Irvine Regional Park

Irvine Regional Park photo via Orange County Parks FB page
Irvine Regional Park photo via Orange County Parks FB page

The Irvine Regional Park is a beautiful park nestled in the hills along Chapman Ave and Jamboree, best for walking, picnics, and spending time with friends or family. It is a 160 acres regional park of Orange County filled with lots of activities such as hiking, cycling, horseback riding, and has a miniature railroad ride.

Irvine Farmers Market

Irvine Farmers Market photo via Dry Dock Fish Company FB Page
Irvine Farmers Market photo via Dry Dock Fish Company FB Page

Lastly, the best way to finish your trip is by shopping for local goods at Irvine Farmers Market. The city hosts a farmers market during Tuesday morning at Irvine Regional Park, Saturday morning at Mariners Church, and Sunday morning at Orange County Great Park.

References

  • 25 Best Things to Do in Irvine (CA), The Crazy Tourist
  • Lane, (2019), 12 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Irvine, CA
  • (2021), 16 Best Things to Do in Irvine, California, Vacation Idea

Our Top Hotel Picks for Irvine, California

  • Irvine Marriott [check rates and availability] – In a tree-lined commercial area off I-405, this modern airport hotel is 1 mile from John Wayne Airport and 3 miles from UC Irvine.
  • Marriott Irvine Spectrum [check rates and availability] – In an area with office parks and shopping plazas, this upscale hotel is a mile from both Irvine Spectrum Center mall and Interstate 5.
  • SpringHill Suites by Marriott Irvine Lake Forest [check rates and availability] – Off Interstate 5, this unassuming all-suite hotel is 2 miles from the Pretend City Children’s Museum and 3 miles from the Irvine Spectrum Center shopping mall.

Searching for the best hotels, resorts, tour packages, and affordable flights in Irvine, California, and nearby cities? Check out our list of cheap Irvine hotels and resorts via Agoda and Booking.

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