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Irvine is a city in Orange County, California.


Formally incorporated on December 28, 1971, Irvine is one of the newest and largest cities in Orange County, and it is still growing. Irvine is spearheading the growth in Orange County where almost everything is either new or refurbished. Most of the growth in Irvine was sparked by the donation of a large parcel of land to the University of California system in order to establish the 4th largest UC Campus (in terms of attendance) - UC Irvine.

The city is becoming the de facto business center of Orange County with many national and international companies having a presence in Irvine. Most of Irvine bordering Newport Beach (and the airport) and the areas surrounding any freeways are commercial areas where most of the larger companies have their offices.

The city is best characterized as a perfectly planned suburbia, which it is. The arterial streets are very wide and have very generous speed limits. Most residential areas are off the arterial streets on smaller two lane residential streets that lead to housing communities.

Get in

By air

  • Fly via John Wayne/Orange County Airport (SNA) and Irvine is across the street. Alternatively, Los Angeles International Airport is about an hour's drive away without traffic via freeway 405, or Long Beach Airport about 30 minutes away, also via 405.

By train

  • Amtrak provides rail service via Metrolink and the Pacific Surfliner with a stop right in Irvine. OCTA bus #86 connects to the train station.

By car

Irvine is at the intersection of the 5 and 405 freeways. One does have to consider, though, that these freeways have a significant amount of traffic and may be slow during rush hour. If traveling from San Diego and you wish to avoid some traffic, you may consider using the 73, which splits off from the 5 in Laguna Nigel. Be aware that this is a toll road, however.

The 55 state freeway may be used to get to destinations in the northwest of Irvine; north of the 55 is Santa Ana.

By bus

  • Greyhound +1-714-542-2215 has a station in Santa Ana, a neighboring city.

Get around

By car

  • As in all suburbs, it is extremely difficult to get around without a car. Rental cars are available near John Wayne Airport.
  • Irvine is known for its winding streets that do not follow the traditional grid pattern most urban drivers are used to. It is extremely easy to become disoriented and lost if you are unfamiliar with the area. Bring a GPS or a map if you are new to the area. In the various housing tracts, if you follow the double yellow lines it will always lead you to an exit or through fare to a major street.
  • Since Irvine is bounded on all sides by freeways, most of the arterial streets (which tend to be 4+ lanes in either direction) will eventually lead to a freeway, but it may be many miles before this happens.
  • Gas stations are unusually rare for a city this large and are not usually visible from the street. If you are in need of gas in Irvine, your best chances are to look in large shopping plazas where a gas station is usually hidden. Hiding the gas stations are a 'sign of upscale gentrification' in this city where household incomes rank as one of the highest in the nation.
  • Most of the major roads in Irvine have a bike path near the shoulder. Watch out for cyclists using the bike paths.

By bus

By bike

Irvine is a large city, covering 74 square miles, but is very friendly to bicyclists. There are over 45 miles of off-road bicycle trails and 282 miles of on-road bicycle lanes provided in Irvine. It is possible to transit from north to south in Irvine via tree shaded greenbelt bike trails with only two grade level crossings of highways. Other trails lead into the nearby hills for road touring or mountain biking experiences. Some paths parallel wildlife corridors and riders can often get glimpses of some of the wildlife native to the area - ranging from birds (sparrows to hawks), to opossums and skunks, and coyotes to mountain lions. City of Irvine Bikeways

There are numerous bicyclist clubs in Irvine and weekend mornings are a favorite time for street touring by groups sometimes numbering in the dozens. Buses and trains carry bicycles when riders are traveling longer distances.



  • Irvine Chamber Visitors Bureau, 2485 McCabe Way Suite 150, +1 949 660-9112. The Irvine Chamber Visitors Bureau, also known as the Irvine CVB, exists to direct individuals traveling to Irvine in Orange County, California for business and for leisure. The city of Irvine offers hundreds of options for lodging and accommodations, dining, and entertainment.


  • Bren Events Center. Offers concerts for many independent and lesser known groups. Along with various dance groups and shows, they feature UC Irvine's Anteater Athletics events, most notably their well regarded basketball games, in which the men's team has had two NCAA Division II tournament bids, four NIT bids, and has been the champions of the Big West two times.
  • Irvine Barclay Theatre. Features concerts, plays, and performances that range from student groups to world-renowned international artists.


  • ReggaeFest. ReggaeFest is an annual event in Aldrich Park on the UC Irvine Campus. Occurs in Spring. Free.
  • UCI Free Film Series. UCI screen movies each Thursday during Summer. Free admission and free snacks.



  • Woodbridge Movies 5, 4626 Barranca Parkway, +1 949 733-3795. An inexpensive cinema, known informally as "The Dollar Theater," that screens movies a couple months after they have left other theaters. Highest movie ticket price is $2.
  • Film and Video Center, Humanities Instructional Building, +1 949 824-7418. FVC screens classic movies, international films, art house cinema and more. Located on the UC Irvine Campus. Screenings typically occur at least once a week during the academic quarter. $5.


  • Boomers!. A family amusement park near the intersection of Michelson and Harvard which features indoor/outdoor activities such as miniature-golf, batting cage, laser-tag, Go Karts, and arcade games
  • Wild Rivers Waterpark. Was located next to the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. Open from mid-May until the end of September. There are lots of awesome rides including a wave pool and a lazy river. Recently taken down and currently being rebuilt into a shopping center.
  • The Great Park, +1 949 724-6247. Much of the park is still under development, but the Great Park Balloon ride is open to the public.

Shopping Centers

  • Irvine Spectrum. Features an IMAX theater, Edwards 21 Theater, Dave and Busters
  • Park Place. Fat Burgers, California Pizza Kitchen, Houston's, Ruth's Chris steakhouse, and Wahoo's Fish Taco. Located on Jamboree and Michelson.

Other Entertainment




  • University of California, Irvine. The fourth largest campus of the University of California, UC Irvine (24,000 students), is located in the west part of the city.
  • Concordia University. A Christian university of roughly 1800 undergraduates
  • Irvine Valley College. Part of the California Community College system enrolling about 16,000 students. Popularly referred to as "IVC".


  • Marketplace (corner of Bryan/Jamboree). Hosts Lowes, Ross, Barnes & Noble, Babies R Us, Toys R Us, Home Depot, Bed Bath and Beyond to name a few. Several popular restaurants include California Pizza Kitchen, BJ's Restaurant and Brewery, Bucca di Beppo, Cafe Chin Chin, Corner Bakery, French 75 Brasserie, Macaroni Grill, On the Border,
  • 1 Irvine Spectrum Center, 71 Spectrum Center Dr, +1 949 753-5180. has shops, boutiques, department stores, and plenty of merchant carts. The Spectrum is also considered by natives in Irvine as one of the better places to spend time. The spectrum is a common place of diversion by most people living in southcentral and southern Orange county.


  • Culver Plaza (Located at the intersection of Culver and Irvine Center drive.). One of the two shopping plaza featuring a multitude of Asian stores and restaurants, including 99 Ranch Market, Sam Woo's, JJ Bakery, Morning Glory, etc.
  • Walnut Plaza. The other Asian shopping plaza located at the intersection of Walnut and Jeffrey, also built around a 99 Ranch Market, along with Pho 99, House of Shabu Shabu, Taiko Restaurant, Lollicup, A&J's Restaurant, Shik Do Rak Korean BBQ, etc. Is actually two plazas on either side of Walnut.
  • Diamond Jamboree. A newer Asian shopping plaza located at Jamboree and Alton with several shops and restaurants. Includes Ajisen Ramen, Kula Revolving Sushi Bar, Capital Seafood (serves dim-sum in the morning and all day in the to-go side), BCD Tofu House, Lollicup (boba/bubble tea), Yogurtland (self-serve frozen yogurt), Guppy Tea House (tea, Asian dishes, and the popular shaved ice), and the 85ºC Bakery Café (with a wide selection of Asian breads). Also has H-Mart, a Korean supermarket, which has a very small food court inside. Diamond Jamboree is very popular and often gets crowded in the evenings, especially on the weekend.
  • The Market Place (Located on the border of Irvine and Tustin, on Jamboree). A two sided large shopping center divided by Jamboree the side opposing the Irvine side is theTustin Market Place. It features a lot of restaurants
  • Irvine Spectrum. The Irvine Spectrum has several restaurants in additon to its food court which includes: The Cheesecake Factory, Johnny Rocket's, PF Chang and Wolfgang Puck.
  • Heritage Square. Shopping plaza located at the intersection of Culver and Walnut. Features several Asian and Middle Eastern restaurants, including, Caspian Restaurant, Denny's, Elephant Bar Restaurant, India Cook House, Kaya Restaurant, Korean Dae Myoung OK Restaurant, Sumo Sushi & Seafood Restaurant, Super Mex, Wheel of Life. Bakeries include Diho Bakery and Assal Pastry.

Individual Restaurants

  • Chakra Creative Indian Cuisine, University Plaza, 4143 Campus Dr, +1 949 854-0009.
  • Gina's Pizza, 4533 Campus Dr., +1 949 725-1144. Delicious, handmade pizza, pasta, and salad. Very popular with local UCI and UHS students. price: moderate.
  • Le Diplomat Cafe, 4237 Campus Dr Ste B161, +1 949 854-5161. Tasty sandwiches. Chicken Broccoli Mushroom is one of their most popular sandwiches.
  • Wholesome Choice, 18040 Culver Dr, +1 949 551-4111. The food court inside of the grocery store offers a variety of food options: pizza, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Persian, American, Mexican, and Italian.
  • The Korean Restaurant (Dae Myoung Ok), 14250 Culver Dr Ste B, +1 949 651-1177. Good tofu pot.
  • Shik Do Rak, 14775 Jeffrey Rd Ste H, +1 949 653-7668. Korean BBQ with relatively cheap all-you-can-eat. May not have AYCE on weekends, so check before going. Garden Grove tends to have better Korean food, but Shik Do Rak is great if you're not willing to drive to Garden Grove.
  • Harry's Deli (, 17881 Sky Park Cir Ste A, +1 949 261-2116. 7:30AM - 4PM. Affordable, no nonsense sandwiches made by a team of fellow food enthusiasts. Offers include pulled pork, ribeye, pastrami and chicken digiorgio.


  • Anthill Pub & Grille, 4200 Campus Dr, +1 949 824-3050. Pub features Monday night comedy and other events. Located on the UC Irvine Campus.
  • Dave & Busters, 71 Fortune Drive Suite 960, +1 949 727-0555. Known for its food, bar, and arcade. During the school year, D&B is popular among UC Irvine students, especially on Thursdays. Located at Irvine Spectrum.

There are several areas of the city where bars are clustered. Please be aware that the Irvine Police Department knows where they are, too. The IPD is very concerned about keeping drunk drivers off the city's streets, so if you have been drinking to the point of intoxication don't be surprised to see flashing lights in your rear view mirror. The IPD stakes out these areas at closing time and actively pulls over anyone showing signs of DUI.


  • SpringHill Suites, 17601 Fitch, +1 949 757-0500. Suites with microwave, mini-fridge, large work desk, free internet, flat screen TV. Guests have access to free parking, free airport shuttle, free hot breakfast, pool and fitness center. $150.
  • Residence Inn Irvine Spectrum, 10 Morgan St, +1 949 380-3000. Check-in: 12PM, check-out: 3PM. Free breakfast buffet, free WiFi. Near Irvine Spectrum. Easy access to Freeways. All suite hotel.

Stay safe

Irvine is considered America's safest city by FBI studies. Feel free to walk around alone at 3AM if you are over 18. The Irvine curfew is 11PM for minors unless accompanied by guardian; just don't jaywalk or you may find yourself run over on Irvine's fast moving streets.


Internet Access

  • UC Irvine Libraries Both campus libraries, Langson Library and the Science Library, offer free internet access to the public.
  • Fedex Kinkos There are four Kinkos locations in Irvine. They offer internet access for a fee.

Post Offices


  • 949 is the local area code.


Radio Stations

  • KUCI 88.9 FM Irvine. Located on the UC Irvine campus, KUCI is run by both UC Irvine students and community members. It is a free form radio station--DJs have complete control over their shows. Features a variety of music and talk show programming.


  • OC Register. Local newspaper.
  • New University. Weekly UC Irvine student newspaper. You can pick up a free copy of the paper from various locations on campus as well as inside several stores near campus.

Go next

  • Crystal Cove State Beach. Generally considered the nicest beach in Orange County. Follow the Pacific Coast Highway south from Newport Beach.
  • Corona del Mar. Nice small beach with tidepools and natural reserve on one side, and firepits on the other. Free parking on the side of the road, or $6 parking at lot on the beach. Southern end of Irvine. Keep going south on Jamboree until you hit the Pacific Coast highway.
  • Fashion Island. Another shopping mall similar to South Coast Plaza. Based in Newport Beach. Take Jamboree south.
  • Laguna Beach. One of the nicer beaches around here with plenty of restaurants and shops. Take the 405 or 5 south until they merge, then take the 133 south all the way until you hit the Pacific Coast Highway.
  • South Coast Plaza. The largest shopping mall around here in Costa Mesa. Just as luxurious as Fashion Island, but much larger.
  • Newport Beach and Balboa. these two semi-connected beaches are closest to irvine. Take the 5 North to the 55 South which ends in the center of Newports shopping district.
Routes through Irvine
Santa AnaTustin  N I-5.svg S  Lake ForestSan Diego
Long BeachCosta Mesa  N I-405.svg S  END
AnaheimTustin  N California 55.svg S  Costa MesaNewport Beach
Los AngelesSanta Ana  N Amtrak Pacific Surfliner Icon.png S  San Juan CapistranoSan Diego

This city travel guide to Irvine is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.