Top 13 Things to Do in Irvine, CA: Nature Trails, Cultural Attractions, Dining, and More


Nestled in the heart of Orange County, Irvine is a city that offers a perfect blend of urban sophistication and natural beauty. With its meticulously planned neighborhoods, abundance of parks and open spaces, and a thriving culinary and arts scene, Irvine is a haven for those seeking a balanced and fulfilling lifestyle.

So whether you’re searching for apartments in Irvine, homes for sale, houses for rent, or are already a local, this Redfin article will be your guide. Here is Redfin’s list of the top 13 things to do in Irvine, for both newcomers and long-time locals alike.

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1. Visit the Irvine Spectrum Center

The Irvine Spectrum Center is a large outdoor shopping and entertainment complex in Irvine. It features a variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options, including a Ferris wheel, a carousel, and a giant wheel. “You can enjoy a shopper’s paradise at the Irvine Spectrum Center and top it off with playful fun at Dave & Buster’s,” shares Terial Quirarte of Terial Photography. Visitors can also enjoy live music and events at the center’s outdoor stage.

2. Explore the Orange County Great Park

The Orange County Great Park is a large public park offering a variety of recreational activities and attractions. Visitors can enjoy a ride on the Great Park Balloon, which provides panoramic views of the surrounding area. The park also features a carousel, sports fields, and a farmers market.

3. Take a walk by North Lake

Located in the neighborhood of Woodbridge, a stroll by North Lake is a great way to experience the natural beauty of Irvine. “It’s a must-visit for anyone seeking a peaceful stroll in the beautiful Woodbridge community,” shares Art’s Cleaning Services, a local home cleaning service. “Enjoy the water, lush green grass, and charming houses nearby. You’ll see ducks, turtles, and other wildlife, and you can even go fishing!”

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4. Explore the beauty of Woodbridge

Woodbridge is a great not-so-hidden gem in Irvine that provides plenty of outdoor options for both residents and visitors. “The two artificial lakes are at the center of the experience – both figuratively and literally – providing scenic views for visitors, joggers, dog walkers, or even newlyweds,” says Kalin Tabov of Kalin Tabov Photography, a local photographer who specializes in professional headshots and portraits. “The shorefront houses provide this cozy feel that combines nature and urban in one, while the mountains in the distance give a sense of depth, dimension, and expansion. The 1-mile trail around the lake has the most views but without lots of shade. However, many neighborhood streets and the signature loop street have plenty of shade from tall pine trees to create this mountain feel with a pine tree smell. We cannot forget to mention the bridges that add to the atmosphere and spectacular views. A visit could easily start and end at the Village Center between the two lakes, where there’s plenty of dining and shopping options around a nice outdoor area for adults and children.”

5. Visit the Irvine Museum Collection at the University of California, Irvine

The Irvine Museum Collection at the UCI is dedicated to the preservation and display of California art from the Impressionist period through the present. Visitors can explore a wide range of paintings and sculptures that showcase the beauty of California’s landscapes and culture.

6. Enjoy outdoor activities at the Quail Hill Loop Trail

The Quail Hill Loop Trail is a popular hiking and biking trail in Irvine, offering scenic views of the surrounding hills and canyons. Visitors can enjoy a peaceful and serene outdoor experience while exploring the natural beauty of the area.

7. Visit the Irvine Historical Museum

The Irvine Historical Museum is located in a historic building that was once the town’s original general store. Visitors can explore exhibits and artifacts that showcase the history and development of Irvine, providing a glimpse into the city’s past.

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8. Experience the Irvine Barclay Theatre

The Irvine Barclay Theatre is a performing arts venue that hosts a variety of live performances, including music, dance, and theater. Visitors can enjoy world-class entertainment and cultural experiences in a state-of-the-art facility.

9. Play a round of golf at the Strawberry Farms Golf Club

The Strawberry Farms Golf Club is a premier golf destination in Irvine, offering a challenging and scenic course surrounded by rolling hills and picturesque landscapes. Golf enthusiasts can enjoy a memorable round of golf in a beautiful and tranquil setting.

10. Pageant of the Masters: 

The Pageant of the Masters Festival, held annually in Laguna Beach, California, is a unique event where famous works of art are reimagined through meticulously staged tableaux vivants. “You’ll be captivated by the enchanting Pageant of the Masters,” shares Terial Quirarte of Terial Photography. “It’s a unique show that brings art to life in a truly magical experience. A must see!” This 90-minute theatrical performance combines live models, intricate sets, and expert lighting to create stunning, life-size recreations of classic and contemporary art pieces.

10. Visit the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary

The San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary is a peaceful nature reserve providing a habitat for a variety of bird species and wildlife. Visitors can explore the sanctuary’s trails and wetlands, offering opportunities for birdwatching and nature photography.

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11. Explore the Irvine Ranch Open Space

The Irvine Ranch Open Space is a vast network of preserved natural lands and trails, offering opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Visitors can enjoy the beauty of the outdoors and experience the diverse ecosystems of the region.

12. Stroll Peppertree Lane while enjoying Gelato Paradiso

Peppertree Lane is a landmark of Laguna Beach, featuring charming shops, restaurants, and architecture. “I recommend savoring the delicious flavors of Gelato Paradiso, all while enjoying a walk through the charming and beautiful Peppertree Lane,” shares Terial Quirarte of Terial Photography.

12. Enjoy a day at the Irvine Regional Park

The Irvine Regional Park is a scenic park offering a variety of recreational activities, including picnicking, hiking, and wildlife viewing. Visitors can also enjoy attractions such as the Irvine Park Railroad and the Orange County Zoo.

13. Get a Photoshoot

For a unique experience, consider getting a photoshoot from one of the many talented photographers in Orange County. Take advantage of the good weather and get some new photos taken by a family and lifestyle photographer like Terial with Terialina Photography to remember the beauty of Orange County.



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