22 fun things to do in Orange County, California

I stayed in Irvine, California for two years while I was in grad school. It is a part of Orange County (any fans of the O.C here? :D) which includes Laguna, Anaheim etc. Irvine is about 45 miles from Los Angeles, and I definitely liked living in a quieter, chill place while having the high life of LA very close by. While not as “happening” as Los Angeles or San Deigo, it’s a super pretty place and has its own local haunts that we frequented quite often.

Without much ado and in no particular order, here is my list of 22 fun things to do in Irvine and Orange County in general:

Nature/ Outdoors:

1. Hike/Camp at Crystal Cove State Park.

crystalcove

2. Watch the sunset and click some Instagram worthy pics at Huntington Beach.

sunset-at-huntington

3. Hike up Turtle Rock and take in the nighttime city lights.

turtle-rock

4. Rent some jet skis and spend a day riding the waves at Big Bear Lake.

jet-ski

5. Fly 500ft into air in large helium balloons at Great Park Balloon.

balloon

6. Take a ferry ride to Balboa Island, land of the hit sitcom Arrested Development!

balboa

7. Spend a day surfing at Corona Del Mar Beach. Or you know, watch hot surfers and collect sea shells.

newport-beach

8. Ice Skate at Irvine Spectrum Center in the winter.

ice-skating

For the Foodies: 

9. Feast on amazing Indian curries at MasalaCraft and mouthwatering chaat at Laxmi Sweets and Spices.

10. Enjoy Italian cuisine reminiscent of Tuscany at Brio Tuscan Grill.

11. Grab some bites and drinks while watching an amazing sunset at Rooftop Lounge, Laguna.

rooftop

12. Have one-of-a-kind ice cream made with Liquid Nitrogen at Creamistry.

creamistry

For the Night-Outs: 

13. Set the dance floor on fire groovin’ to the latest tunes at Sutra.

sutra

14. Share gossip and conversation with friends over excellent food and beer on tap at Eureka.

eureka

15. Live the middle eastern way for a night with hookah and belly dancing at Caspian.

For everything else in between:

16. Visit Disneyland at Anaheim.

disneyland

17. Get some retail therapy shopping major brands at Outlets at Orange, and local boutiques and designers at Fashion Island.

18. Visit the Farmers Market near Mariners Church for fresh, local and organic Californian produce.

19. Laugh your stress away with some stand up comedy at the Improv.

20. Immerse yourself in a Broadway Musical at the Segerstrom Center for Arts, Costa Mesa.

broadway1

21. Visit South Coast Plaza during Christmas season and feel the holiday spirit.

xmas

22. Get a taste of Vietnamese Culture with the Annual TET Festival, Fountain Valley.

tetfestical

FIN.

So there you have it! Irvine may not be the first place on the list for anyone visiting Southern California (most people tend to side towards San Diego or Santa Barbara), but it definitely has its own charm. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring and discovering different places to see and things to do while I was there.

Here is to more travel stories to feed my wanderlust soul! 🙂

As always, thanks for reading!


Disclaimer: I unfortunately did not have pictures (that were not selfies) of all of the places listed above, so some of these are from google searches and stock photography.

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