When visiting Southern California for the first time you'll find yourself in a micro-world with diverse cultures and communities. This is the case in Irvine, California, which has a thriving Asian community, festive cultural events, and a fun mix of attractions to enjoy.

Irvine is one of many successfully planned urban communities spread out over 65 square miles in Orange County, California. Both businesses and educational institutions thrive in this community that welcomes diversity and promotes environmental awareness as a part of daily life.

On our visit, we found it easy to get around. All the people we meet were friendly and there were plenty of shopping, dining, and entertainment options to enjoy on our trip. When it comes to planning your trip you'll have no problem getting to Irvine because the John Wayne Airport is just minutes from all Irvine has to offer. The freeway and the Pacific Coast Highway are a short distance away, which allows you to explore all of Southern California easily.

Irvine has a wonderful variety of outdoor recreation and wilderness preserves to explore as well as 16,000 acres of parks. And, at many of these parks, you'll find a fun mix of events to enjoy that include: A Memorial Day Ceremony at the Col. Bill Barber Marine Corps Memorial Park. Then there's a Sizzlin' Summer Concert at the Woodbridge Community Park, which kicks off for the season in Mid July, and the Target Symphony in the Cities at the end of the month.

This is a special year for the City of Irvine because they are celebrating their 40th Anniversary. During this celebration, they are holding a 40th Anniversary Photo Contest that invites shutterbugs and photographers to enter photographs in five categories. The entry deadline is August 15, so you still have time to join in this contest.

In October, the 40 finalists will be announced on the City´s web site as well as at the City Council meeting on the 11th. Then, the grand prize winner and top five category winners will be announced in Inside Irvine's November Edition, and be attend the special 40th Anniversary reception on December 13. Later, in January-February 2012, all of the 40 winners will be part of an Irvine Fine Arts Center exhibition, which will be an exciting event. The Irvine Fine Arts Center is also a wonderful place to visit that has three fine art galleries, an art center store, studios for photography, jewelry and ceramics, and offers classes for all age groups.

At the City of Irvine's website, you'll find details on all the festivities and events taking place during the 40th Anniversary celebration. At the site, you can also enter the photo and motto contests, learn more about Irvine through the "Irvine Oral History Project" as well as find profiles on Irvine´s earliest residents in the special "I AM Irvine" section.

It's going to be an exciting year to visit the City of Irvine, and discover what makes this community a cultural and natural, urban treasure!

Plan Your Trip

For additional information visit www.destinationirvine.com, where you can also discover more on local attractions, events, recreation, and nature trails as well as plan your trip.