Spotlight Irvine

Where to Play

Giant wheel

From an energetic rock concert, a stroll through a museum, to biking and hiking outdoors, visitors will find plenty of exciting things to do MORE





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OCC Golf

OCC Golf

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Holiday Happenings

Holiday Events

Celebrate the holidays in the center of Orange County.

Irvine Restaurant Week

Restaurant Week

January 9-15, 2015





Orange County Great Park


The entrance to Orange County Great Park is via Marine Way off Sand Canyon Avenue at the I-5 junction. If you're using a GPS navigator, enter the Sand Canyon/Marine Way cross streets for directions since some systems have wrong information on accessing this former military base.

Irvine is a city of innovation, and today that spirit is embodied in the Orange County Great Park, where the City of Irvine is creating the first great metropolitan park of the 21st century.

In the 1940s, the establishment of two U.S. Marines bases began the transformation of what had been vast farms and ranches for hundreds of years. In the '60s and '70s, the University of California, Irvine, continued that transformation as the seed of what has become a thriving city of international cultures, family-friendly neighborhoods and one of the richest concentrations of the business headquarters in the country.

Now, at the dawn of the 21st century, that innovation comes full circle as those Marine bases are, themselves, transformed into the Orange County Great Park, a place where people (and their pets!) can come together to play, learn, be entertained, exercise, experience nature or simply relax, and all with every attention to sustainability, innovative energy and recycling and building materials sourced from the bases as they're broken down and remade into something entirely new.

Today, Orange County Great Park offers what is fast becoming the Irvine's iconic image: the 72-foot-diameter orange sphere of the Great Park Balloon, rising up like a second sun or, by night, an eternal harvest moon. Tethered rides in the platform of the giant helium balloon are offered Thursday through Sunday, mornings through early afternoon and again at night, giving adults and kids a bird's-eye view of Irvine and Orange County from 400 feet above the ground.

On Sundays, visitors and residents flock to the Great Park Farmer's Market, featuring not only naturally grown produce, herbs and ornamental plants, but also hand-made crafts. The Farm Lab opens its gates, inviting kids to come learn about where food comes from and how it grows. Sundays at the Great Park also feature some of the best examples of the mobile restaurant movement anywhere, with local food trucks offering gourmet tapas, Crêpes and more.

In August and September, the Great Park offers free concerts and dances, movies on the lawn, outdoor comedy shows and stargazing. Weekends throughout the year, master gardeners from the University of California system offer gardening classes. And  any day of the year, little ones can crawl around lifelike rocks and a cave at the Kid's Rock Tot Lot (a microcosm of the future park, by the way) learning about fossils and animal tracks as they go.

Bigger than Chicago's Lincoln Park, bigger than Balboa Park in San Diego or Golden Gate Park in San Francisco -- in fact, the size of New York's Central Park and Prospect Park combined -- Orange County Great Park will ultimately include:

  • A two-mile-long canyon of walking paths along a perennial stream
  • A three-mile wildlife corridor linking the ecosystems of Crystal Cove State Park and the Cleveland National Forest
  • Six multi-purpose sports fields
  • A botanical garden linked by bridge to a terrace café, library and new Veterans Memorial and Air Museum


 Call ahead to check conditions for balloon rides (866) 829-3829!


Upcoming Events


Celebration of Orange County's "Quasquicentennial."

Dec 22 – Dec 31
OC's 125th Birthday - Quasquicentennial In 1889, locals voted to separate from Los Angeles…

Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade & Holiday Lights Cruises

Dec 22 – Jan 4
 The 2014 Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is the premier Christmas event for Southern…

Selfies with Santa

Dec 22 – Dec 24
Santa returns to Irvine Spectrum Center, this year in Orange County style! Clad in a Hawaiian shirt and board shorts, St. Nick will greet visitors…

Irvine International Film Festival

Jan 16 – Jan 18
The Irvine International Film Festival (IIFF) celebrates the power of individual expression and diverse points of views.…


Where to Eat


Irvine offers global cuisine, with a selection of foods from India, Persia, Thailand, Vietnam and other distant shores. MORE