Irvine Blog - Posts from Local Experts
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949)923-2290 or (949)923-2295
One of my favorite places in OC for a fun family outing is the Irvine Spectrum. It hosts a wide range of things to do - entertainment, shopping (my daughter's favorite), tons of great dining options the whole family will love, not to mention people watching the beautiful shoppers of OC.
Our most recent trip to the Irvine Spectrum was on a perfect Southern California day. We walked around the mall, window shopping while enjoying the beautiful weather. We decided to take in a late afternoon movie matinee at the lush Edwards Irvine Spectrum 21, followed by a relaxing dinner at Paul Martin's American Bistro.
My son's first impression: "This movie theater is HUGE!" With so many screens there's always a movie and show time to fit our schedule. This may sound like a "mom" thing, but I'm also a fan of the Edwards Irvine Spectrum because it's clean. Don't you hate going to a theater with sticky floors and food spilled all over the place? My son loved the state of the art customized soda machine where he could mix his own soda flavors. I feel rather spoiled making my own vanilla coke with just the right amount of ice. Taking in a movie at the Spectrum is always a treat.
When I was a kid my mom used to roast a prime rib every Sunday. The aroma of the savory meal filled the house and I couldn't wait for dinnertime. Paul Martin's American Bistro now helps me relive my childhood with their Sunday dinners. I love this menu of prime rib, mashed potatoes, salad and dessert. It's Americana at its best.
I loved the comfortable yet sophisticated setting, with old brick, wood with a beautiful outdoor patio for outdoor dining in the fabulous OC climate. The wine selection is impressive as is the quality of the Cedar Planked Salmon baked with shallots and bacon. My daughter says the Bistro Burger was absolutely the best burger she's had in her whole life. It's a must try for any burger fan.
We ended the evening with a ride on the famous Ferris wheel. It's romantic for the adults and exciting for the kids as we all enjoy the spectacular view of the nighttime sky. The Irvine Spectrum sets the stage for a lovely time with my family, which is just one of the reasons everyone should plan a visit to this lovely outdoor mall.
Hippity Hoppity Choo Choo- the Easter Bunny has arrived by train! Irvine Regional Park, a favorite outdoor destination for kids across Orange County, is kicking off its annual Easter Eggstravaganza this weekend with train rides, hay rides, carnival games, face painting, and egg hunts.
Irvine Park is rich with Orange County history. Part of one of the original ranchos, Rancho Lomas de Santiago, the land was first used for recreation by the German colonists that settled Anaheim in 1857 who used the area as picnic grounds. It was purchased by James Irvine (the city's namesake) in 1876 and donated to the county as "Orange County Park" by James Irvine Jr. in 1897 to keep a160-acre oak grove as "natural-looking as possible". Since then, Irvine Regional Park has delighted generations of park goers with its shaded picnic grounds and natural beauty. Today at its present size of 477 acres, visitors can enjoy hiking, playgrounds, horseback riding, water bikes, a small zoo, and its beloved railroad.
During the Easter season, egg hunts begin daily at 10:00AM and occur on the half hour through 4:30PM. Kids will hunt for eggs filled with candy and prizes before heading off to decorate Easter-themed cookies, get their faces painted, play games, and take pictures with the Easter Bunny himself. All this great fun takes place on an oak and sycamore dotted field encircled by the tracks of Irvine Railroad's 1/3 scale train. For $4.00, passengers can take a train ride past the festivities, wave to paddle boaters on the lake, and head through the tunnel where excited kids let out shrill screams of exuberance before the train makes its way back to the station.
If you happen upon Irvine Park during fall or winter, be sure to come back with the kids to experience the Pumpkin Patch and Christmas Train. Both events have become Orange Country classics, with train rides always serving as event centerpieces. The pumpkin patch features hay rides, john deer tractor racers for the little ones, and of course, plenty of pumpkins. For Christmas, children depart from the station lit in holiday lights as they head to the North Pole for pictures and a visit with Santa before heading back through the magical tunnel of lights. All seasonal events are first-rate but with Southern California's dreamy weather and the park's natural beauty as well as a multitude of activities to enjoy, there is no bad time to visit.
In 1960, William Pereira was presented with an unprecedented opportunity. Not only had he been assigned to design a major university, but also to master-plan the entire community of which it would be a part.
The concept of the new town, a residential environment that contained all of the elements needed for its citizens, was a revolutionary idea at the time. Similar communities had been created across the country with encouraging success. Irvine was to be the largest.
The university was intended to be the heart of the new community that would soon surround it.
Pereira wrote that "The "starfish shape" of the campus will allow the university to penetrate into the surrounding community, drawing strength from it and infusing it with intellectual vitality."
After the University of California-Irvine was completed, Perieira moved his attention to developing the master plan for the city that would surround it.
In 1963 he wrote, "In recent years, we here in California have become rather expert at abusing our land and our resources. Here we have a tremendous opportunity to point people's tastes and expectations in another direction. And we can do it-the sheer size of the place makes almost anything possible."
On March 19, 1970, Irvine Company President William Mason and Vice President Ray Watson announced plans for the largest totally planned city in the western hemisphere.
The City of Irvine, comprising 53,000 acres, would be twice the size of the City of San Francisco.
It would be home to 24 separate residential villages, over 4,000 acres of industrial development, and 2,400 acres of open space for parks.
But Irvine's most unique feature was not the quantity of its acreage, but the quality of life it offered.
The LA Times wrote, "...The plan presents an encouraging awareness of life values to go along with property values. Its accent is not as much on size and growth as on the quality of the environment."
Today, over 40 years after its incorporation as a city, William Perieira's ideas are still receiving raved reviews.
The award winning school district, diverse corporate community, and its "safest city" designation, did not happen by mere coincidence.
It was all part of the plan.