20 Ways to Celebrate the Arrival of Spring In and Around Irvine

The rainy season (for the most part) is behind us. And in its wake, it’s left the hillsides greener, the skies bluer and who can forget the epic #superbloom of wild flowers blooming in Southern California right now. It feels like spring. It’s time to start afresh, get some spring cleaning done, wear pastel colors, host an Easter egg hunt, and maybe even eat a few Peeps. Here are 20 ways to shake those winter blues and celebrate the arrival of spring in and around Irvine.

The view from our tractor tour of Tanaka Farms
The view from our tractor tour of Tanaka Farms

  1. Easter Eggstravaganza at Irvine Park Railroad
  2. Super bloom at Walker Canyon (ending soon!)
  3. The new veteran’s museum and memorial, Heroes Hall at the OC Fairgrounds
  4. Save a life (or 3)! Donate blood with UCI at their Irvine or Orange location.
  5. Oo Toro Sushi restaurant in Irvine
  6. Very Eric Carle and Bubble Fest exhibits at the Discovery Cube
  7. LEGO monthly mini model build and minifigure swap at the LEGO store at South Coast Plaza
  8. Egg-cellent Egg Hunt at Etnies skate park in Lake Forest
  9. Easter Egg Hunt at Tustin Sports Park
  10. $3 movies at AMC Woodbridge 5 in Irvine
  11. Galaxy Bowling at Irvine Lanes
  12. Open Jump at Pump it Up in Irvine
  13. Farmers Market Yoga at the Great Park
  14. Spring Hop Carousel Party at the Irvine Spectrum
  15. Flag Football with Club Waka at the Great Park
  16. Strawberry or U-PICK Tours at Tanaka Farms
  17. Mountain Bike Clinic—Terrain Skills at Irvine Open Space Preserve
  18. Kayaking the Upper Newport Bay by Newport Bay Conservancy
  19. Bloom Season Tours at Keys Lavender Farm
  20. Cruffins and donuts from Mr. Holmes Bakehouse at The District in Tustin
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20 Ways to Enjoy the Holiday Season In and Around Irvine

The holidays are just around the corner! There’s no right or wrong way to spend your holiday season—some people love going all out, I’m talking spending the entire month drunk on hot cocoa and candy canes, Bing Crosby’s White Christmas on heavy rotation and Christmas decorations galore. Others like to spend this time of year relaxing, unwinding and reflecting. Whatever your plans are, I hope you find some inspiration from this list of holiday activities to enjoy in and around Irvine. Happy Holidays!

Christmas Tree at the Irvine Spectrum
Christmas Tree at the Irvine Spectrum
  1. Irvine Park Railroad’s Annual Christmas Train
  2. Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade
  3. Odysseo
  4. Irvine Museum
  5. Selfies with Santa at Irvine Spectrum
  6. OC Chill Ice Rink at Irvine Spectrum
  7. DUCK the Halls Family Events
  8. Nightly Tree Lighting at Irvine Spectrum
  9. Santa’s House at Fashion Island
  10. Photos with Santa at Roger’s Gardens
  11. Christmas Countdown at Pretend City
  12. Whale Watching with Newport Landing
  13. OC Farm Bureau Farmers’ Market at Mariner’s Church
  14. Winterfest OC at the OC Fair
  15. CHOC Holiday Toy Drive and Donation
  16. Light Show featuring 65,000+ LED lights (Fountain Valley private home)
  17. Holidays at Disneyland Resort
  18. Santa’s Village and Santa’s Express Train at South Coast Plaza
  19. Snoopy’s Holiday House in Costa Mesa
  20. Science of Gingerbread at Discovery Cube
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Finding Fall in the OC

Temperatures are finally cooling down a bit here in Southern California. Even though we don’t get snow and rarely get to break out the heavy coats around our neck of the woods, that doesn’t mean we can’t fully embrace the fall season! Here are 10 ways to find fall in and around the OC.


  • Go Apple Picking: About 90 minutes from Irvine is the heart of Apple Country. You can harvest apples to your heart’s content, get lost in a corn maze and take in the gorgeous scenery. We went to Los Rios Rancho and loved how time seemed to slow down as we picked apples. Afterwards, we relaxed at their diner and enjoyed a heavenly apple cobbler without counting calories. (Well, for the most part.)

    Los Rios Rancho Apple Farm in Yucaipa
    Los Rios Rancho Apple Farm in Yucaipa
  • Halloween Activities: We are looking forward to Spooktacular (sold out) at the Great Park this year. There’s also Trick-or-Treating at Pretend City and Halloween Zoo-Tacular at the OC Zoo. For those with more refined tastes or if you’re just a Benedict Cumberbatch fan, there’s a screening of Frankenstein at the Irvine Barclay Theater on October 30.

    Jack the Orange Balloon
    Jack the Orange Balloon
  • Beach Camping: Now that temps have dipped a bit, it’s the perfect time to slip away from the busy city life for some picturesque hikes followed by nighttime stargazing and hot cocoa! Imagine enjoying this sunset view of the Pacific Ocean from Crystal Cove Moro Campgrounds. Weekends tend to fill up early so pick a few days to play hooky from work and go midweek. Don’t forget to use coupon code MORO30% for 30% off until March 23, 2017.
  • Enjoy Soups and Stews: Who says you can’t enjoy hearty stews in 80 degree weather?! Have you tried out ramen at the new Shin Sen Gumi location in the Woodbury Town Center? If you’re looking to try a new beef stew recipe for the coldest of Southern California nights, here is our absolute favorite. Giada’s Beef and Butternut Squash Stew that boasts 222 five star ratings.
  • Pumpkin Everything: Oh my gourd! It’s pumpkin season! You know what that means, time to enjoy all things pumpkin! Our current favorites include Pumpkin Spice Latte (a fall staple), Petite Pumpkin Spice Cookies and Honey Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli, both from Trader Joes.

    Trader Joes haul
    Trader Joes haul
  • Visit a Pumpkin Patch: As a follow up to #5 above, we had to visit a pumpkin patch! We love visiting Tanaka Farms because you get to see rows and rows of pumpkins growing on vines. They also have a corn maze, wagon rides, petting zoo, snack shop, u-pick pumpkins and too many photo op areas to list! Our other local favorites include Johnson Brothers and Irvine Park Railroad.

    Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch
    Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch
  • Baking Pies: Pumpkin, apple, cherry, pecan… what’s your favorite pie?! It’s time to perfect those lattices and indulge in some apple pie a la mode! Here are a few of our favorite pie recipes that we’ve tried over the years. Grandma Ople’s Apple Pie, Perfect Pumpkin Pie and Pecan Pie by Smitten Kitchen.

    Apple pie
    Apple pie
  • Brew your Own Beer: Oktoberfest anyone? Brewbakers in Huntington Beach is a really cool spot where you can custom brew your own beer, learn about the beer brewing process and of course bring home your own case of beer. Even kids can join in the fun by custom making their own sodas!
  • Race a Porsche at the Porsche Experience Center: It’s not quite the Autobahn but it’s as close as we get in Southern California. Coming soon!

    Porsche Experience Center
    Porsche Experience Center
  • Take a Family Photo: Gather up your family and get a great shot for those holiday cards! Here are some ideas of places in Irvine where you can do your photoshoot: Jeffrey Open Space Trail, a popular spot is right where the trail starts at the intersection of Grassland and Lamplighter or walk onto the trail and take a left to take some photos by the tunnel, Woodbridge area by the bridge in North or South Lake, Great Park by the carousel for a fun carnival feel or at the entrance of Palm Court, Irvine Regional Park, and also, literally any park in Irvine! In our experience, lighting trumps location so try to catch the sun when it’s low on the horizon or if you have to shoot midday, stand just inside the shade for softer lighting. Bonus points if you can find a bright surface in front of you to bounce light on you and a darker background to make sure the people being photographed are the main focal point of the picture. Stay tuned for more tips on how to take the best family pictures!
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End of Summer Bucket List

Here’s our End-of-Summer Bucket List to soak up the last bits of summer! Make sure you check out the links below!

End of Summer Bucket List
End of Summer Bucket List


See an outdoor movie: Movies on the Lawn * Go on a nature hike with friends (Quail Hill Trailhead, Bommer Canyon, Orchard Hills, San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary)  * Play a golf foursome at dawn  (Oak Creek Golf Club, Rancho San Joaquin Golf Course, Strawberry Farms Golf Club). * Go mountain biking through Bommer Canyon * Find a pick-up basketball/football game with your buddies * Take your yoga practice outdoors


Go to a farmer’s market at Mariner’s Church or the Great Park* Take a trip to Pretend City * Go to the water park at Boomers * Make sand castles on the beach * Go to Adventure Playground * Visit Irvine Regional Park * Have a water balloon fight * Rent bikes from Pedego Bikes


Make s’mores with friends* Take a nighttime ride on the orange balloon or ferris wheel * Listen to live music by a local band * Race go-carts at K1 Speed * Sit in the front row at the Irvine Improv * Host a poker night


Host a BBQ * Have a picnic at the park * Have breakfast in bed * Try a new recipe using seasonal ingredients  * Try out a new restaurant for date night (Pictured: truffle garlic bread from North Italia) * Visit a real chocolate factory at Choc XO


Get lost in one of these summer reads * Get that six pack * Donate your time or money towards a cause that speaks to you * Unplug for one day (no computer, tablet, cell phone or TV) * Be a mentor to someone/find a mentor for yourself * Get ridiculously good at something * Pay it forward

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Rams Spotted on the Anteater Campus!

UC Irvine is hosting some very special guests this summer! The 2016 training camp for the Los Angeles Rams is being held at Crawford Field. The training camp is free and open to the public.

Rams Training Camp at UC Irvine
Rams Training Camp at UC Irvine

Where: Crawford Field, 903 W. Peltason Drive, Irvine, CA 92617.
Parking: Visitors can park at the Mesa Parking Structure next to the Bren Events Center. Day permits are $10.
Autograph Opportunity: after each training, a few lucky children under the age of 14 will get to receive autographs from the players!

For training dates/times and more information, check out the 2016 training camp page on the LA Rams website.

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