Summer is here. With it comes long days, balmy nights and plenty of fun offerings to keep you occupied all season long. Here is a list of ten ways to get keep the summer fun going strong.
1. Catch a concert
Music and summer seem to go hand in hand. OC Parks is putting on ten free concerts throughout the summer at various parks throughout Orange County, including Irvine Regional Park and Mason Regional Park. Big names, including Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Santana, Journey, and the Dave Matthews Band will be playing at Irvine's Verizon Amphitheater all summer long.
2. Get wild at the San Joaquin Marsh
Irvine's 300 acre San Joaquin Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary features 12 miles of trails, great for walking, jogging, or biking while viewing the hundreds of plant and animal species, some of them endangered, that call this biodiversity hotspot home. The coastal breezes make the marsh a cool place to enjoy all summer long.
3. Experience the Irvine Spectrum
It seems like every town has a mall these days but not every town has an outdoor shopping experience quite like the Irvine Spectrum. Kids love riding the carousel, Ferris Wheel, train, and grabbing sweet treats from places like Fuzziwigs Candy Factory, Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop, and Casey's Cupcakes. Couples looking for a night out can enjoy great eats at places such as Paul Martin's American Grill , Cucina Enoteca, Wood Ranch Barbecue, and Javier's Cantina followed by a movie at Edwards Irvine Spectrum 21 Imax. Of course, no mall is complete without shopping; luckily there are dozens of retail establishments for your inner fashionista to explore.
4. Eat, play, and explore at the OC Fair
The theme of this year's fair, which runs from July 11-August 10, is "Summer Starts Here". Will you start your summer eating something deep fried, atop the midway's giant Ferris Wheel , petting a cute critter at the farm, or listening to a star-studded music performance? I vote for doing it all!
5. Have a beach day
How can you possibly spend any time in Orange County during the summer and not have a beach day? Several incredible beaches, such as Crystal Cove, Newport, and Laguna are less than 30 minutes away from Irvine, making for an easy day trip. Want to make an evening of it? Head to Corona del Mar or the Balboa Pier early in the day to secure one of the coveted beachfront fire pits. As of March 2014, regulations have been put in place requiring that only charcoal be burned.
6. Go on an organic farm tour
Head to Irvine's own Tanaka Farm where visitors can hop on a wagon and take a ride through fields of produce. During June, visitors pick their own strawberries which July and August are the heart of watermelon season.
7. Enjoy the Orange County Great Park
Though it is still in its infancy, it seems like there is always something fun going on at the Orange County Great Park. A certified farmer's market take place every Sunday and art classes, gardening seminars, culinary workshops, and movies on the Great Lawn fill the summer calendar. Kids under six still get to ride the park's famous orange balloon for free.
8. Allow the kids to play grown-up at Pretend CIty
Orange County's largest children's museum, Pretend City, is a great place for the eight and under set. They always have a great time playing chef, doctor, farmer, builder, store clerk, fisherman, and art master at this hands-on museum dedicated to bring our big world to our favorite little people. This summer, the museum plays host to the Ultimate Recycling Machine, an fun exhibit that will teach kids about the importance of the three "R"s- reduce, recycle, reuse.
9. Watch the boys of summer play at Angel Stadium
Any home game is a great time to head to Angel Stadium and watch our home team play but some special events might tempt you even further. Let the kids run the bases on Family Sundays, watch the fireworks on Saturday night games, or score Angels-themed goodies from bobble heads to cowboy hats at various special days held through the summer.
10. Get cultured
A wide variety of music, dance, and theater productions are set to entertain Orange County all summer long. Irvine's own Barclay Theatre is featuring a wide variety of performances from an adaptation of a CS Lewis classic to the comical offerings of Colin Quinn. The Segerstrom Center for the Arts will be playing host to a variety of Broadway hits including Jersey Boys and Ghost the Musical. And if you if you just want to spend an evening laughing out loud, the Irvine Improv will be sure to tickle your funny bone.