Top 10 notable landmarks in Irvine 

Katie Wheeler Library: Named after the granddaughter of James Irvine, the public library was built as a replica of the 1906 Irvine family home, which burned down in 1965. The three-story structure sits on the 16-acre Irvine Ranch Historic Park and offers visitors more than 50,000 volumes, 16 computers for public use and free Wi-Fi.

Hours: Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
Location: 13109 Old Myford Road.

Information: 714-669-8753 or

Old Town Irvine: The original structures of granaries and blacksmiths gone by still stand at what was once the distribution and storage center of the 125,000-acre Irvine ranch. Restored and maintained for commercial use today, the area was founded in 1887 and over time also boasted a hotel, general store and an employees' bungalow.

Location: Southeast corner of Sand Canyon Avenue and Burt Road.

Turtle Rock: The estimated 20-ton rocky outcropping on Rockview Drive at the north end of the neighborhood looks somewhat like a turtle's shell, which some residents believe lent its name to the surrounding area. It was once used for ceremonial purposes by the Gabrielino Native Americans who lived in the area, and now it serves as the centerpiece for a small neighborhood park.

Location: At the corner of Rockview and Valley View, where Rockview turns into Rustling Wind.

Irvine Spectrum obelisk: Standing tall on the northern corner near the 5 Freeway, the white tower with "Irvine Spectrum" at its base is often lit up with seasonal themes during the holidays. It actually conceals a cell phone tower inside.

Location: North corner of the Irvine Spectrum by the 5 Freeway.

Great Park's hot air balloon: Not exactly a landmark, the giant orange rising 400 feet above the ground is a familiar sight to Irvine residents, offering riders an expansive aerial view of the city and surrounding county.

Hours: Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7-10 p.m.

Information: 1-866-829-3829.

Gazebos at the Woodbridge lakes: The iconic gazebos at the Woodbridge lakes jut out over the picturesque waters featured in many a photographer's landscape shot. Lake and park facilities are only open to Woodbridge residents.

Information: 949-786-1800 or

Bronze anteater at UC Irvine: Weighing in at 430 pounds, the metal mascot of UC Irvine was originally a gift from the class of 1987. The choice was inspired by Peter the Anteater from Johnny Hart's comic strip B.C. When Peter eats ants, he makes the noise "Zot!" which is now the rallying cry of UCI students.

Location: In front of the Bren Events Center.

Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre: Four more years. That's how much longer you can still enjoy Orange County's largest amphitheater before it loses its lease in 2017 to make way for new homes. The 16,000-capacity venue is the summer home of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra and has seen the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Michael Jackson and Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant and Jimmy Page grace the stage.

Location: 8808 Irvine Center Drive.

Information: 949-855-8095

Irvine High School Stadium: Irvine's only football stadium - at least until the University Athletic Stadium opens in September - has been home to every football game for the district's four high schools. The venue also serves as a central place to watch fireworks and outdoor concerts during the summer.

City Hall: With its wide courtyard and soaring bell tower, Irvine City Hall makes quite a statement as you drive past on Harvard Avenue. The spacious building opens up to airy, three-floor ceilings and features dramatic theater-style council chambers.

Location: 1 Civic Center Plaza.

Information: 949-724-6000

Location: 4321 Walnut Ave.


What did we miss?
These are just a few landmarks that we thought stood out among the rest, though it's by no means a definitive list. What do you think we left out? Send us your photos and a few words on why you think a particular spot should've made our list. We'll run a followup in the coming weeks with all your submissions. Email us at

Contact the writer: 714-796-7944 or