Irvine offers cycling enthusiasts 44.5 miles of off-road bicycle trails and 282 miles of on-road bicycle lanes.More

Irvine Blog - Posts from Local Experts

Posts for March 2013

Filed In: Insider Scoop

Five reasons to fly into John Wayne Aiport instead of LAX

Posted by: Sharlene Earnshaw
Posted on: Tuesday, Mar 26, 2013

John Wayne Statue

It amazes me how many travelers to Southern California are flying into LAX instead of Orange County's John Wayne Airport. I have to imagine it is because they don't realize what they are signing themselves up for when they book that flight into LAX.  On a recent press trip, my fellow journalists and I were discussing airports and we all agreed that LAX is the worst major airport in America. How bad is it? Well, my husband and I both have jobs that require us fly frequently and we both kick and scream like small children whenever we get booked on a flight out of LAX. We have been spoiled rotten by our pleasant experiences at John Wayne Airport and sing its praises to all that will listen. Here are 5 reasons why you should be flying into John Wayne Airport instead of LAX when you visit Southern California.

1. Everything you want to see while visiting Southern California is in Orange County anyhow!

The majority of people visit Southern California for three reasons; great weather, beautiful beaches, and Disneyland.  The weather in the cities surrounding John Wayne airport is some of the most pleasant in all of Southern California due to its coastal proximity and lovely breezes which keep all that LA smog far off in the distance. The beaches in Orange County are amongst the most gorgeous in the country; from the wide expanse of sand at Huntington State Beach to the dramatic bouganvilla-draped cliffs of Laguna Beach to the legendary surf at "the wedge" in Newport Beach.  Disneyland, the number one tourist draw for all of California, is less than 15 miles away from John Wayne Airport. A breeze compare to the 40-mile traffic-choked journey you would have to make from LAX.

2. Getting in and out of John Wayne Airport is easy.

John Wayne airport is located where the 405 and 55 freeways meet.  The airport literally backs up to freeway, and getting in and out is a breeze. Locals love that they have the option of valet parking directly in front of the terminal.  Many Irvine hotels offer complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport.  Those who need to rent a car once they arrive at John Wayne will find seven different rental car companies have counters at the terminals and eleven other rental companies which pick patrons up in front of the terminals and shuttle them to their locations.

3. The atmosphere is pleasant and the wifi is free.

These days, we spend more and more time inside terminals waiting for our flights.  John Wayne has three beautiful terminals that are interconnected on both sides of security and are lined with shops, restaurants, and artwork from local artists and galleries. Wifi inside the airport is free. LAX has nine dark and aesthetically dull terminals which are not connected. Trying to get from terminal one to terminal nine basically requires you to take you life in your hands as dart across traffic like the frog in the classic Atari game, Frogger. Wifi, the life blood of the business traveler, is not free. Imagine being stuck in a dingy terminal without wifi during a flight delay and you basically have LAX.

Read more about John Wayne's beautiful art installations.

4. The food options are great

John Wayne Airport diningLAX has the worst food options I have seen in any major airport, partly due to the fact that its outdated design does not allow for anything but a couple simple food courts with a Starbucks and a McDonalds. John Wayne has the token Starbucks and McDonalds, along with some delicious options which reflect the tastes of the local community. Chef Zov Karamardian's is a legend around Orange County who has been serving up Eastern Mediterranean food in her popular restaurants for years. Now airport patrons can enjoy lentil soup, tabbouleh, and much more at Zov's between terminals B and C. They can also enjoy the same classic burger and shakes at Ruby's in the airport that they can get at the end of the Huntington Beach Pier, gourmet hot dogs at Jerry's Wood-fired Dogs, fresh soups and salads at Farmer's Market by Laguna Culinary Arts, and a glass of cabernet at Vino Volo wine lounge.

5. Direct flights from 21 different cities are available

We all like to get where we are going as quick as possible, and direct flights are the easiest way to do it. Residents of major US cities such as Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, and Seattle can all access Orange County directly as well as international destinations such as Vancouver, Calgary, and Mexico City.  Best of all, flying into John Wayne from international destinations means you get to skip the dreaded Tom Bradley international arrival terminal at LAX. There is nothing worse than landing at LAX and approaching the immigration lines only to discover a jumbo jet from Asia just landed and hundreds of passengers are standing between you and the other side of customs. Trust me.

Images courtesy John Wayne Airport.

Game Truck Rolls in the Birthday Fun!

Posted by: Terry Winkler
Posted on: Tuesday, Mar 26, 2013

Give me a high five, cuz I just threw my son the most awesome birthday party and it was the easiest party I've ever organized, and trust me, that's a huge deal for a divorced mom of two.  Here's how I did it: I called Game Truck and gave my son his very first man cave experience. 


Game Truck Exterior

If you're not familiar with Game Truck, here's the scoop:  it's a complete multi-player video game party in a tricked out rig, which drives directly to your home for an amazing group video gaming experience.    Each truck is filled with multiple flat screens, leather couches, Wii, Xbox 360 and Play Station 3 consoles, and all of the latest and greatest multi-player games your kids could possibly want to play.  It's darkened so the screens are bright and decorated with rope light trim on the ceiling. Sweet set up.



Game Truck Boys

The boys went nuts as the truck drove up. They knew an epic party was about to begin!  Before the guys were let loose, our GT coach, Zack, met with me solo to review the inventory so I could customize which games would be displayed for the boys to play.  I eliminated all of the first person shooter and Mature-Rated games, which left tons of age appropriate choices for the kids, ages from 9-11.


Game Truck Boys

The boys were in kid heaven playing Minecraft, Mario Bros, NBA, Burnout Paradise Racing in their very own VIP video game clubhouse.  Coach Zach was kept busy switching out games, setting controllers and giving out gaming advice.  Personally, I'd like to adopt Zach. He was polite, friendly, helpful and tactful when several neighborhood party crashers had to check out the scene. Sure, I let the crashers check it out.  How could I not?  The Most Awesome Thing was in the neighborhood! By the way, Zach and all Game Truck coaches are background checked for a safe party experience, which made it easier for me to sneak away now and then to get the food ready. The boys played to their hearts' content for two hours while I peacefully organized some healthy snacks, along with the obligatory nachos, ordered pizza and put candles on the cake.

It was a breeze ordering the game truck. One easy phone call with the party date, number of kids and how many hours I wanted to rent was all it took.  Coach Zach finalized the invoice with an iPhone and a swipe of my Visa. An electronic invoice was emailed to me within minutes. Sweet paperless shopping.

Game Truck Party OC is offering a $20 discount for Destination Irvine readers!  Just mention Destination Irvine for the discount and get ready to enjoy the easiest birthday party ever.  Sweeeet Deal.



Terry Winkler  is the founder of Enter Stage Write, an Orange County theater, entertainment and lifestyle website. 

Filed In: Insider Scoop

Share Your Irvine Pride!

Posted by: Wendy Haase
Posted on: Thursday, Mar 14, 2013

Irvine Hometown Pride


Destination Irvine in conjunction with National Travel & Tourism Week, May 4-12, is asking Irvine residents to share their hometown pride with visitors. 

Residents leave a comment below (scroll down) that tells visitors why your hometown is the best place to visit and share your favorite, not-to-be-missed in Irvine.

Is it a shopping trip to the Irvine Spectrum Center? Drinking a sea salt coffee from 85C Bakery? Experiencing a free summer concert at William R. Mason Regional Park? Whatever you love to do in Irvine, chances are a visitor will enjoy too.

Residents submitting a comment will be entered to win gift certificates from various Irvine restaurants. See below for participating restaurants.


  • Comments are welcome between now and May 12, 2013.
  • Comments must be positive and contain no vulgarity. This is an opportunity to share what you love to do in Irvine, not to gripe about politics, etc.
  • Public posting of comments submitted are the discretion of Destination Irvine.
  • Those submitting a comment must include an email address. These are not made public, but used to contact you if you are a winner.
  • Submit a comment as often as you like.
  • Duplicate comments will not be posted nor count toward the random drawing.
  • Comments become property of Destination Irvine and can/will be used in marketing materials including Visitors Guide, website and social media channels along with public relations (press releases).
  • Comments should be from Irvine residents only.
  • Winner(s) will be selected the week of May 13, 2013 and notified by email.

Thanks to our participating restaurants:

 6ix Park Grill  Andrei's      Chakra Cuisine  Luna Grill Paradise Eat  

Paul Martin's Seasons 52


What is National Travel & Tourism Week?

The first full week of May is annually recognized as National Travel and Tourism Week, a tradition first celebrated in 1984. Localized events are presented in cities, states and travel businesses nationwide to champion the power of travel. It was established as National Tourism Week when the U.S. Congress passed a joint resolution in 1983 designating the week to be celebrated in May. In a White House ceremony, President Ronald Reagan signed a Presidential Proclamation urging citizens to observe the week with "the appropriate ceremonies and activities."

Since its establishment, the U.S. travel community has collectively marked the event in a number of creative ways, from staging local rallies and conducting media outreach to securing proclamations and resolutions from local legislative bodies.

Importance of Tourism to Irvine

The visitor industry plays an influential role in shaping Irvine's economy, attracting more than one million domestic and international travelers annually for business and leisure.

In 2011, visitors spent $498.9 on accommodations, dining, arts, entertainment, recreation, shopping and transportation; this is an increase of 6.4 percent over 2010.

Tourism industry spending supports approximately 5,340 jobs in Irvine and is responsible for adding $177.3 million in wages.

In addition, the tourism industry contributes $27.4 million in local and state taxes.

Travel and Tourism is one of America's Largest Industries
  • Generated $1.9 trillion in economic output, with $813 billion spent directly by domestic and international travelers that spurred an additional $1.1 trillion in other industries.
  • Directly generated $124 billion in tax revenue for local, state and federal governments.
  • Each U.S. household would pay $1,055 more in taxes without the tax revenue generated by the travel and tourism industry.
  • Direct spending by resident and international travelers in the U.S. averaged $2.2 billion a day, $92.8 million an hour, $1.5 million a minute and $25,700 a second
Travel and tourism is one of America's Largest Employers
  • Supported 14.4 million jobs, including 7.5 million directly in the travel industry and 6.9 million in other industries.
  • 1 out of every 8 jobs in the U.S. depends on travel and tourism.
  • Generated $194.6 billion in payroll for those employed directly in U.S. travel.
  • Travel is among the top 10 industries in 47 states and D.C. in terms of employment.
DI Logo
About Destination Irvine

Under the Irvine Chamber of Commerce, a non-profit 501(c)6, Destination Irvine, funded by a self-imposed assessment tax through a Hotel Improvement District (H.I.D.), positions Irvine as a destination for visitors, meetings and groups. Destination Irvine through direct sales efforts including database marketing, lead generation, trade show participation, and familiarization tours, sells the destination. In addition, Destination Irvine promotes Irvine through marketing, advertising and public relations efforts.

Mission Statement

As the official Destination Marketing Organization for Irvine, the mission of Destination Irvine is to partner with the tourism and hospitality industry to brand and promote Irvine as a preferred overnight destination in Southern California for groups, sports events, leisure visitors and business travelers. Destination Irvine's goals are designed to enhance the economy of the city of Irvine through sustained growth in tourism spending, resulting in an increase in economic impact.

John Wayne Airport: Art is In The Air

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Wednesday, Mar 13, 2013

When local travelers are asked about artwork on display at John Wayne Airport, they usually think of this.

John Wayne Airport

The larger than life statue of John Wayne may be a recognizable landmark at the airport, it is only part of an ever-changing collection of art designed to enhance the travelling experience. 

John Wayne Airport 

"For 20 years, John Wayne Airport has professionally presented world-class art exhibitions that have engaged and entertained millions of visitors," said airport spokesperson Jenny Wedge. "Art brings and unexpected sense of peace and calm to passengers travelling through this hub of activity." 

john wayne Airport

Security measures keep many of the exhibits behind TSA lines where only ticked passengers can enjoy them. Currently, a collection of original work by award winning children's illustrators are on display in the Vi Smith Concourse Gallery.  


john wayne Airport








This exhibit, from the Chemer's Gallery in Tustin, features the work of artists such as Mary GranPre of the Harry Potter books and Robin Preiss Glasser, creator of the Fancy Nancy series.  



This collection will be on display until June 17, 2013. 
















There are also art exhibits throughout the airport that are accessible to the public without an airplane ticket. In fact, enjoying art at the John Wayne Airport can be as simple as looking up.



john wayne Airport


"Flight of Ideas" is the name of the large, sculptural art piece above the baggage carousel in Terminal C.

The sculpture hovers over the terminal like a flock of 21 aluminum birds, their Plexiglas wings displaying enlarged portions of aeronautical charts.  


Since John Wayne Airport welcomes travelers to Orange County, It is the perfect place to highlight local artwork. In 20122, the airport opened a new exhibition space titled: ORANGE COUNTY; Destination Art and Culture. 


john wayne Airport


Now the millions of passengers who travel through the airport each year can get a glimpse of Orange County's art and cultural organizations like the Bowers Museum of Santa Ana and the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton.  



John Wayne Airport 


Currently, the John Wayne Airport is issuing a call to local artists to be part of next year's Community Focus Exhibits. These solo-style exhibits will feature Orange County-related visual artists and will be viewable by the general public, before the security checkpoints.  



john wayne Airport 


Artist Applications must be received no later than May 15, 2013 and instructions can be found on the John Wayne Airport Website. 


March Events @ The OC Great Park!

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Friday, Mar 08, 2013

Orange County Great Park Balloon

The OC Great Park in Irvine offers an array of family, arts, sports, music, nature, and science events and activities for everyone to enjoy. I usually go to the OC Great Park for the Antique and Farmer's Market, but here's what I'm looking forward to with other events this month (and most events are recurring workshops every month):

-Screenprinting my Own T-shirt or Bag as apart of the Creative Centures DIY Class tomorrow March 9th!

It's FREE! Just provide your own graphic image and an item to print it on (flat surface)

Check out other DIY/Art classes here

Orange County Great Park Art Class

- Stargazing; it's something I've never done before and Astronom4U will be conducting the event on March 15th! Can't wait! 

Stargzing at Orange County Great Park

-I am always looking for an opportunity to improve upon my photography skills. Why not do that (for free) through the Legacy Project Photography Workshops and have access to the historic Marine Corps Air Station El Toro to use my newly acquired photography techniques?! Space is limited and free admission passes are available the morning of the event, March 16th.

Marine Corps Air Station El Toro

- It fascinates me that some of my friends grow their own gardens overflowing with fruits and veggies that they can just pick and eat. It's something I've been wanting to get into, and here's my chance with the Spring Gardening Workshops! All you have to do is BYOP (Bring Your Own Pot) and along with the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners, learn how to grow your own lettuce and other greens.....taking home a newly planted salad bowl! Sustainable and healthy!

Orange County Great Park Gardening

For other March events at the OC Great Park check our the Event list or Calendar!

Have a great weekend!


*Images via OC Great Park

2017-2018 Visitors Guide
Visitors Guide
Whether here for a business trip or a family vacation, let our free Visitors Guide be your constant companion.  More
E-Newsletter image
Destination Irvine's quarterly newsletter is a great way to stay informed about Irvine, the center of Orange County.  Sign up
36 Executive Park, Suite 100 ยท Irvine, CA 92614
Phone: 949-660-9112
Powered by Translate