12 Things To Do with Family in Irvine, California

Last Updated on February 17, 2024 by Emily Johnson


Irvine is a vibrant, family-friendly city in Orange County, California. Known for its immaculate parks, excellent schools, and extremely safe neighborhoods, Irvine is a wonderful place to raise a family. With its sunny weather and close proximity to spectacular beaches, mountains, and attractions, there are endless options for family fun.

From museums and hiking trails to theme parks and interactive experiences, Irvine has something for every member of the family. Here are 12 fantastic things to do with your family in Irvine, California.

Go to a Concert at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre


Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre is an iconic 16,000 seat outdoor concert venue that hosts world-famous musicians, comedians, and more. Bring a picnic dinner or treats from the on-site concessions to your reserved seat and dance the night away with your family and the stars.

Upcoming acts range from legacy performers like Rod Stewart to pop sensations like P!nk. The venue’s calendar and family-friendly reputation make it one of the best things to do with kids and teens in Irvine.

Explore Irvine Regional Park

Spanning nearly 400 pristine acres, Irvine Regional Park is a gorgeous greenspace in the heart of the city. Families adore the park for its picturesque lakes, open meadows, and shaded oak groves. Rent paddleboats and glide across the water before heading over to the WWII naval boats display.

Next, spread out a blanket on the grass while the kids partake in a game of catch or frisbee. Be sure to save time for easy hikes on the trails that meander through native coastal sage scrub and grassland habitats.

Get Hands-On at Pretend City Children’s Museum

Pretend City is an innovative children’s museum specifically tailored to kids ages 1-10 years old. Here, everything is designed to be touched, played with, and explored. Navigate through mini replicas of iconic Southern California landmarks before stepping into interactive exhibits that bring concepts like emergency response and dental care to life. Favorite features include a kid-sized grocery store, hospital ER, fire engine, and helicopter cockpit. It’s the ultimate playground for imaginative young minds.

Tour UCI Campus


For an enriching and inexpensive family outing, visit the striking University of California, Irvine campus. Daily student-led tours provide an insider’s perspective into university life as you walk through Aldrich Park’s lush central greenspace.

Highlights include the state-of-the-art Contemporary Arts Center, cutting-edge Stem Cell Research Center, spacious Anteater Recreation Center, and more. Visit on a Saturday morning and you may catch a spirited game on the campus baseball fields or tennis courts nearby.

Enjoy Family Movie Night at Regency Edwards University Town Center


When you need an evening indoors with the kids, check out showtimes at the Regency Edwards cineplex located in the University Town Center mall complex. The 14-screen theater has all the latest blockbusters, kids’ flicks, and more showing daily.

Upgrade to reserved recliner seating and relax with your bucket of popcorn in tow. The surrounding dining and entertainment options make dinner and an evening film easy for families.

Tour Wild Rivers Waterpark


On sweltering Irvine summer days, the best place to stay cool with the whole crew is at Wild Rivers. Lounge on an inner-tube drifting along an 850-foot long lazy river or brave the intensity of Orange County’s biggest wave pool.

For those that prefer dry land, there’s a three-story water play structure and activity pools. Have a height competition on the giant slide towers before gathering the kids for lunch at one of the park’s cafes and snack bars.

Hike Peter’s Canyon Regional Park


Nature lovers rejoice at Peter’s Canyon Regional Park situated on the east end of Irvine. The gentle slopes of Peter’s Creek wind through the park, which consists of meadows filled with wildflowers and coastal sage scrub hillsides.

Well-marked trails let you customize challenging or leisurely hikes for your family’s ability. Have a picnic on one of the many tables near the creek or join a ranger-led nature tour to learn about local wildlife. Keep an eye out for hawks circling above and deer wandering through the brush.

Visit Orange County Great Park


The Orange County Great Park is an innovative metropolitan park filled with recreational facilities, arts venues, sports complexes, and vast open space. Here you’ll find a championship golf course, palm court tennis center, picturesque walking trails, farmers markets, and iconic sights like the Great Park Balloon.

Pack your gear to play a match on one of several soccer fields or join a class at the Anaheim Ducks community ice rink. With so much happening across more than 1,300 acres, Great Park offers an ideal outing for active families.

Play Mini Golf at Boomers Irvine


At Irvine’s Boomers amusement park, the entire family can challenge each other to a round of mini golf on two distinct 18-hole courses. progressbar seaworld Putt your way through gushing waterfalls, challenging tunnels, and whimsical obstacles flanked by vibrant botanical gardens.

Shoot a hole-in-one over the tranquil koi ponds before taking a ride on the bumper boats or challenging your teen to scale the rock wall. With affordable pricing and so much variety, Boomers is one of the most budget-friendly things to do with your kids in Irvine.

Tour Northwoods Native Tree Trail


For a shady hike surrounded by nature, head to the Northwoods Native Tree Trail situated alongside Irvine Boulevard. The 1.3 mile loop passes through a mature oak woodland that provides habitat to native wildlife.

Interpretive signs describe the coastal sage scrub ecosystem and identify the magnificent oak and sycamore trees that shade your path. Connect to the 3-mile Jeffrey Open Space Trail or rest in the clearing to watch for chickadees, hummingbirds, and woodpeckers frequenting this urban forest sanctuary.

Visit Irvine Museum and Fine Art Center


Gain insight into Irvine’s cultural heritage with a trip to the Irvine Museum and Fine Art Center. Their family programs invite children to create one-of-a-kind art projects inspired by works in the Museum Collection.

Enjoy exhibitions that traverse Californian impressionism, plein air painting, photography, and postmodern abstraction. Studios also host engaging classes for both kids and adults looking to expand their drawing, pastel, painting, and sculpting skills regardless of experience level.

Shop ‘Til You Drop at Irvine Spectrum

No family trip to Irvine is complete without a visit to the vibrant Irvine Spectrum shopping center. With over 130 stores and restaurants, it’s easy to spend a whole day wandering around this outdoor plaza. Let the kids run wild at the splash fountains and playgrounds interspersed between brand name retailers.

Stop for a sweet treat at See’s Candies before catching the latest blockbuster at the 21-screen movie theater anchored by an IMAX with laser projection screen. The numerous dining options make mealtimes easy for hungry shoppers. Whether you seek family fashion, toys, or tasty eats, the Irvine Spectrum has it all.

Conclusion


With its protected open spaces, state-of-the-art entertainment and recreation, and strong sense of community, Irvine is truly an American family utopia tucked into sunny Orange County. Spend your days exploring fascinating ecosystems before unwinding at a world-class performing arts center under the stars.

The family bonding opportunities are endless in this Southern California haven purpose-built with parents and children in mind. Use this guide to jumpstart your own adventures that capture the magic of the quintessential Californian lifestyle. Most importantly, relax and have fun making lifelong memories together in the family-friendly city of Irvine.

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