By Dave Reeve, Family Destinations Guide

Irvine is a scenic, landlocked city in California.

This charming metropolis holds numerous possibilities and is only a few minutes away from the coast, making it conveniently located near breathtaking beaches.

Irvine has countless engaging activities for you to enjoy doing on your own or with your companions, like going on a shopping spree, touring a museum, visiting a beautiful park, watching a live show, having a blast at a park, vacationing at an amusement center, and more.

Take a look at the list below of the best things to do in Irvine, CA, to guarantee a journey that you will never forget.
 

1. Irvine Spectrum Center

irvine spectrum center

670 Spectrum Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 790-4871

The Irvine Spectrum Center is the ultimate shopping district and one of the best attractions in Irvine.

Why You Should Go

If you want to enjoy doing a boat-load of activities and go on a terrific shopping spree, there is no better option for you than to visit the Irvine Spectrum Center. You can find everything you may need here, countless stores, limitless dining choices, and fun-filled entertainment options.

What to Do

Prepare to go on an epic shopping spree at the Irvine Spectrum Center. Here, you can shop at various stores, like Nordstrom, Target, Urban Outfitters, Erin Condren, and so much more.

After shopping, you can also choose amongst various restaurants to quench your appetite, whether you want to eat at a fast-food place, a full-service restaurant, or at a casual dining place.

At the Irvine Spectrum Center, you can also have a fun time with your companions as you watch a movie together, ride a carousel, enjoy views atop a Ferris wheel, and so on.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Courtyard by Marriott Irvine Spectrum
 

2. Pretend City Children’s Museum

pretend city children's museum

29 Hubble
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 428-3900

The Pretend City Children’s Museum, founded in 2009, is home to at least 17 engaging exhibits.

Why You Should Go

Are you searching for the top things to do in Irvine with kids? If you are, there is no better place than the Pretend City Children’s Museum. It is the perfect place to spend the day indoors with your youngsters to have a fun, educational, and memorable time together.

What to Do

Create new memories with your little ones at the Pretend City Children’s Museum. It features many interactive exhibits for you to explore and activities to do.

For example, creating artwork, learning basic math at a bank, playing musical instruments, having fun at an indoor beach, and experiencing what it’s like to be a doctor, farmer, firefighter, cafe owner, and the like.

 

3. The Irvine Museum

the irvine museum

18881 Von Karman Ave #100
Irvine, CA 92612
(949) 476-0294

The Irvine Museum is the only museum in the state dedicated to preserving and displaying the impressionism artform of California.

Why You Should Go

If you are trying to save up on expenses and looking for free things to do in Irvine that won’t break the bank, consider a trip to the Irvine Museum. This museum is an art lover’s paradise, featuring numerous galleries on California impressionism.

What to Do

Take a couple of hours of your day exploring the many breathtaking artworks displayed at the Irvine Museum. You can look through the numerous stunning artwork free of charge.

After touring the museum, you can visit the gift shop and buy things like paintings, books, and souvenirs.
 

4. Boomers! Irvine

boomers! irvine

UPDATE: Bucaneer Cove has been removed from the park. 

3405 Michelson Drive
Irvine, CA 92612
(949) 559-8341

Boomers! Irvine is a renowned amusement park featuring a handful of fun-filled attractions and rides for all ages.

Why You Should Go

Go on the adventure of a lifetime with your friends, family, or partner at Boomers! Irvine. It is home to many attractions to keep yourselves well-entertained, like an arcade, go-karts, splash park, miniature golf course, bumper boats, and plenty of other options.

What to Do

Many fun things await you at Boomers! Irvine. You can do things like racing at the go-kart course, playing games at the arcade, miniature golfing, taking a break from the heat at the splash park, rock climbing, enjoying a competitive round of laser tag, and endless more.
 

5. Orange County Great Park

orange county great park

8000 Great Park Blvd
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 724-6247

Orange County Great Park is an urban park offering many recreational facilities for an enjoyable visit.

Why You Should Go

For a fun and thrilling time with your friends or families outdoors, drive on over to Orange County Great Park. This park features countless amenities for your convenience, like sports courts, a carousel, an art gallery, a playground, and more.

Its premier attraction is the Great Park Balloon, a colossal orange balloon that you can ride together.

What to Do

There are limitless possibilities at Orange County Great Park. Some of the things you can do here are watching your kids have fun at the playground, floating 500 feet in the air by riding the Great Park Balloon and playing sports like tennis, volleyball, basketball, soccer, and so on.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: DoubleTree by Hilton Irvine Spectrum
 

6. FivePoint Amphitheatre

fivepoint amphitheatre

14800 Chinon
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 988-6800

The FivePoint Amphitheatre is an open-air theater offering comfortable seating and mouth-watering refreshments.

Why You Should Go

Prepare to be amazed by the captivating performances of world-class talents at the FivePoint Amphitheatre. It has a capacity of more than 16,000 and hosts many music festivals throughout the year.

Many famous people performed on this stage, like 5 Seconds of Summer, Chris Young, Casting Crowns, Wiz Khalifa, and Brad Paisley.

What to Do

Have a blast with your friends or significant other as you watch a stunning live show at the FivePoint Amphitheatre. You can watch a wide array of concerts with varying genres, like pop, rock, country, gospel, and lots more.

 

7. Tanaka Farms

tanaka farms

5380 3/4 University Drive
Irvine, CA 92612
(949) 653-2100

Tanaka Farms is an interactive farm and one of the top places to visit in Irvine. It offers a plethora of fun activities.

Why You Should Go

Visit Tanaka Farms with your travel buddies this weekend, and have a fantastic day together. This bustling farm features tour options, friendly animals, a market selling the freshest produce, delicious snacks, and tons more.

What to Do

Enjoy time outdoors as you activities like going on wagon rides, shopping for farm-fresh goods, going on a guided tour of the farm, picking fruits and vegetables to take home, participating in a scarecrow-making contest held annually, and interacting with charismatic farm animals.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: AC Hotel by Marriott Irvine
 

8. K1 Speed Irvine

k1 speed irvine

17221 Von Karman Ave
Irvine, CA 92614
(949) 247-8737

K1 Speed Irvine is a brilliant indoor go-kart race track. It features an onsite restaurant serving a wide array of tasty dishes.

Why You Should Go

Do you and your friends finally have time to go on a much-needed vacation together? Are you looking for attractions to visit when it’s raining or cold, and you can spend time outdoors? Then the perfect solution is a trip to K1 Speed Irvine.

K1 Speed Irvine has a state-of-the-art race track, a virtual reality experience, well-maintained vehicles, and scrumptious food options.

What to Do

Enjoy a fantastic bonding experience with your friends at K1 Speed Irvine. You can spend hours racing through the tracks and after, enjoying beers, wine, and delicious food like juicy burgers, pizza, nachos, chicken wings, tacos, and more.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Staybridge Suites Irvine – John Wayne Airport, an IHG hotel
 

9. San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary

san joaquin wildlife sanctuary

5 Riparian View
Irvine, CA 92612
(949) 453-5300

The San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary is officially known as the IRWD San Joaquin Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary. It encompasses roughly 300 acres and was previously a farm from the 1950s to the 1960s.

Why You Should Go

The San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary is a nature lover’s paradise. It is the ideal place for you to get away from the hustle and bustle of busy downtown districts, take in the fresh air, enjoy the picturesque landscape, and appreciate the serenity.

What to Do

Spend time in the beauty of nature at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. You can go on a retreat by yourself as you do things like sitting on a bench while catching up on a novel, birdwatching, taking pictures of the scenery, trekking through the area, and tons more.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Embassy Suites Irvine – Orange County Airport
 

10. Irvine Barclay Theater

irvine barclay theater

4242 Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 92612
(949) 854-4646

The Irvine Barclay Theater is a top-rated performing arts theater offering live shows by talented performers.

Why You Should Go

The Irvine Barclay Theater is the ideal tourist destination if you love watching live performances. It is brilliant if you are looking for things to do in Irvine tonight to keep yourselves thoroughly entertained as you enjoy a multitude of showcases that will leave you awe-struck.

It has a capacity of at least 750 and has an intimate atmosphere and a high-tech sound and lighting system.

What to Do

Have a magnificent time with your significant other, family, or friends today by watching a live show at the Irvine Barclay Theater. You can watch performances like theatrical productions, concerts, musical concertos, jazz showcases, dance recitals, comedic acts, and plenty more.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Sonesta Irvine – Orange County Airport
 

11. Adventure Playground

adventure playground

1 Beech Tree Ln
Irvine, CA 92612
(949) 724-6818

Adventure Playground is a local favorite for families for its kid-friendly facilities, ideal for children of all ages.

Why You Should Go

When searching for cheap and enjoyable places to bring your kids, consider Adventure Playground. Here, you can find multiple play areas to keep your youngsters well-entertained throughout their entire stay.

What to Do

Bond with your children at Adventure Playground. You can play with them as you do things like chasing them through a meadow, climbing a treehouse, going down slides, making sculptures out of giant lego pieces, watching over them as they play in the jungle gym, and so on.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hampton Inn & Suites Irvine/Orange County Airport
 

12. Bistango

bistango

19100 Von Karman Ave
Irvine, CA 92612
(949) 752-5222

Bistango is a fine-dining restaurant featuring exquisite food choices, a romantic setting, and live entertainment.

Why You Should Go

If you are traveling with your partner and searching for things to do in Irvine for couples, a must-visit for you and your beloved is Bistango. Here, you can enjoy an intimate dinner date as you enjoy the romantic ambiance, mouth-watering cuisine, and live entertainment.

What to Do

Go on a date with your beloved at Bistango. You can taste numerous dishes by world-class chefs, such as salads, pasta, burgers, rice meals, steaks, and so on. If you choose to have dinner here, you can have a wonderful time dancing with your spouse to live performances.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hyatt House Irvine/John Wayne Airport
 

13. University of California Irvine Arboretum

university of california irvine arboretum

Campus Drive and Jamboree Rd
Irvine, CA 92697
(949) 824-5833

The University of California Irvine Arboretum, spanning 12.5 acres, features an extensive collection of plants from the state and other parts of the world.

Why You Should Go

Witness the captivating beauty of nature at the University of California Irvine Arboretum. Here, you can view various plants and trees from California, as well as other places like South Africa. It is home to an extensive collection of plants for you to explore with your travel companions.

What to Do

Take your time strolling through the University of California Irvine Arboretum. You can view and take pictures of the many plant species from various locations, like the Mojave Desert, Mexico, South Africa, and much more.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Irvine Marriott
 

14. William R. Mason Regional Park

william r. mason regional park

18712 University Drive
Irvine, CA 92612
(949) 923-2220

The William R. Mason Regional Park, nicknamed Mason Park, is a postcard-perfect urban park. It features a grassy lawn, tall trees, a 9-acre lake, and more.

Why You Should Go

Take your travel buddies to one of the largest and most beautiful parks in Irvine, the William R. Mason Regional Park. This superb park has something to offer everyone, like paved trails for biking, sports courts, picnic areas, a golf course, a playground, and the like.

What to Do

Create long-lasting memories with your partner, friends, or loved ones at the William R. Mason Regional Park.

There are numerous activities you can do here. Like sailing model boats on the lake, teaching your kids how to bike, having a delicious picnic together, playing a fun game of volleyball or softball, golfing, going for a jog, watching your kids play at the playground, and so on.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Homewood Suites By Hilton Irvine John Wayne Airport
 

15. Irvine Historical Museum

irvine historical museum

5 San Joaquin
Irvine, CA 92612
(949) 786-4112

The Irvine Historical Museum is one of the oldest structures in the Irvine Ranch. It dates back to the 19th century and is one of the top things to see in Irvine.

Why You Should Go

The Irvine Historical Museum is a must-see for history buffs. It features exhibits and displays dedicated to preserving the rich history of Irvine Ranch, one of the largest of its kind in the United States.

What to Do

Take a few hours of your day exploring the Irvine Historical Museum on your own or with an informative guide for a more educational experience. On your tour, you can learn about its history, discover its construction, look through antiques and photographs, and tons more.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hilton Garden Inn Irvine/Orange County Airport
 

16. Global Village Festival

global village festival

8000 Great Park Blvd.
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 724-6606

The Global Village Festival is a popular event that takes place annually, usually during October or September.

Why You Should Go

Are you searching for fun things to do in Irvine, California, with your friends or family? If you are, schedule your visit during the Global Village Festival. On this thrilling event, you can bond and make memories that will last a lifetime as you enjoy this cultural extravaganza.

What to Do

The Global Village Festival offers countless recreational activities and fascinating stuff to do for you and your travel companions.

You can do things like watch live performances of different cultures from all over the world, create arts and crafts, shop at a market selling international goods, trying cuisine from various countries, attending a concert, and multiple more options.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Sonesta Simply Suites Irvine Spectrum
 

17. Irvine Spa

irvine spa

2332 Barranca Pkwy
Irvine, CA 92606
(949) 260-9988

The Irvine Spa is a luxurious spa offering numerous packages and many rooms to guarantee a relaxing experience.

Why You Should Go

When searching for the best things to do in Irvine, CA, to go on a relaxing and stress-free retreat with your companions, make a stop at the Irvine Spa. This premier location offers you a wide range of packages to choose from to have an immersive spa experience.

What to Do

Enjoy some much-desired rest and relaxation at Irvine Spa. Depending on your desire, you can choose to have a full-body massage, get a body scrub, rejuvenate in the warm waters of its crystalline pools, enjoy the heat of the fire rooms, relax your muscles at an ice room, and so on.

There is also an onsite restaurant where you can enjoy eating yummy dishes like sushi, soup, fresh seafood, noodles, barbeques, and many more.