By Ashley Burnett
Looking to plan a romantic afternoon or night with your significant other? Whether your sweetheart is into hiking, skating or just a delicious meal, there are a ton of options in Irvine to plan the perfect date. Below we've rounded up just a few of the best date ideas in Irvine.
Picnic in William R. Mason Regional Park
Pack a picnic (or grab food to go at a casual spot like CAVA or Mendocino Farms) and head to William R. Mason Regional Park. Spread out a blanket and sit by the lake to watch ducks float on the water, or choose a spot on one of the grassy knolls and grab some sun at this peaceful spot.
Skating at The Rinks or the Great Ice Park
Public skating at The Rinks or the Great Ice Park (which just opened earlier this year) is a great idea for more active couples. The Rinks is open to the public daily from 2-4 p.m. and on Saturday nights from 7-9 p.m. Skate rentals and general admission are inexpensive and worth every penny for a unique experience in the city. Meanwhile, a weekend or evening session at the Great Ice Park will set you back $15, while a weekday session is only $12. But the memories from these fun, unique experiences are priceless.
Bowling at Irvine Lanes
Bowling is a classic date idea for a reason. Irvine Lanes has specials like their Ten Buck Tuesdays, which includes two games and shoe rentals, as well as Galaxy Bowling with fun colors, music and lasers on Tuesdays and weekend nights. You can also grab a wide variety of food and drinks at the bowling alley, making it a one-stop-shop for the perfect date night.
Hiking at Bommer Canyon
One of Irvine's most scenic hiking spots, Bommer Canyon has trails for every activity level, and all offer great views of the city or canyon itself. Choose to go head off on the trail with just the two of you, or head out for a guided tour to check out some spots that are typically closed off to the public.
Helium Balloon Ride at The Great Park
You and your sweetheart can fly up 400 feet from the ground at this iconic Irvine attraction. The Great Park Balloon offers the best view of the city - make sure to buy a ticket at night to see Irvine all lit up-this activity is one of the most romantic in Irvine.
Dinner at All That Barbecue
Another fun, interactive dinner date can be had at All That Barbecue. Cook bulgogi and Kobe beef and pig out for a night of all you can eat Korean barbecue. Afterward, head to one of the many coffee and tea spots nearby to finish off with a sweet treat.
Visit the OC Zoo
The Orange County Zoo is a cute spot at Irvine Regional Park and is perfect for a daytime date. Check out the native Californian species at this eight-acre zoo as well as bald eagles, black bears, mountain lions, vultures and more. The petting zoo is also fun-take turns to feed the goats and sheep some grain, or hang out with the chickens.
Explore TRADE Food Hall
Food halls are a huge trend and have popped up all over Orange County. Visit Irvine’s own food hall, TRADE, near John Wayne Airport. With your sweetheart in tow, you can try several of the spot’s various vendors: Dos Chinos (Mexican-Asian fusion), Broken Rice (build-your-own Vietnamese rice bowls), and Ground House (burgers), among others. For dessert, grab Sweet Comforts (decadent waffles on sticks), or head next door to Duck Donuts for customized, made-to-order donuts.
Ashley Burnett is a writer and editor living in southern California. Her work has previously appeared in Locale, LA Travel Magazine, TravelAge West and various other publications.