Irvine is a city of 308,000 people (2020) in Orange County, California. Irvine is one of the newest and largest cities in Orange County, and it is still growing. The city is a perfectly planned suburbia. The Irvine Company started developing the area in the 1960s and the city was formally incorporated on December 28, 1971.



Irvine was incorporated on December 28, 1971, 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 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


By train


Most buses serving the Irvine and Tustin train stations run only during peak commute hours on weekdays.

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 you are traveling northbound from San Diego and wish to avoid traffic, consider using State Route 73, which splits off from Interstate 5 in Laguna Niguel. It is a toll road.

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


Get around

Map of Irvine

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 at least 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 about 66 square miles (170 km2), 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.




  • Visiting Irvine. City portal information on city and events.
  • 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.
  • 1 Tanaka Farms, 5380 3/4 University Drive, +1 949-653-2100, . In addition to selling produce, they offer family-friendly farm tours and host seasonal harvest festivals.


  • 2 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. Bren Events Center (Q4960606) on Wikidata Bren Events Center on Wikipedia
  • Irvine Barclay Theatre. Features concerts, plays, and performances that range from student groups to world-renowned international artists.
  • Musical Theatre Village, 36-C Mauchly, +1 949-753-1996. A non-profit, community-based theatre.








  • 3 Boomers!, 3405 Michelson Drive, +1 949-559-8341. 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.
  • 4 The Great Park, 8000 Great Park Blvd, +1 949-724-6247, . A lot of the park is still under development, but the Great Park Balloon ride, carousel, art galleries, and many other parts are open to the public. Orange County Great Park (Q7099569) on Wikidata Orange County Great Park on Wikipedia

Shopping centers

  • 5 Irvine Spectrum, 670 Spectrum Center Dr, +1 949-790-4871. Features an IMAX theater, Edwards 21 Theater, Dave and Busters. Irvine Spectrum Center (Q6074378) on Wikidata Irvine Spectrum Center on Wikipedia
  • Park Place, on Jamboree and Michelson. Fat Burgers, California Pizza Kitchen, Houston's, Ruth's Chris steakhouse, and Wahoo's Fish Taco.

Other entertainment





  • 1 The Market Place, 2961 El Camino Real, Tustin (corner of Bryan/Jamboree), +1 714-730-4124. 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,. Tustin Marketplace (Q7856849) on Wikidata The Market Place (Orange County, California) on Wikipedia
  • 2 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. Irvine Spectrum Center (Q6074378) on Wikidata Irvine Spectrum Center on Wikipedia


  • 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 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 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), 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 multiple upscale chain restaurants.
  • Heritage Square. Shopping plaza at the intersection of Culver and Walnut. Features several Asian and Middle Eastern restaurants, including, Caspian Restaurant, Denny's, Super Mex, Wheel of Life. Bakeries include Diho Bakery and Assal Pastry.
  • Walnut Village Center. Shopping plaza across from Heritage Square. Features Trader Joe's and Smart & Final, among other restaurants.

Individual restaurants

  • Le Diplomat Cafe, 4237 Campus Dr Ste B161, +1 949-854-5161. Tasty sandwiches. Chicken Broccoli Mushroom is one of their most popular sandwiches.
  • 1 Wholesome Choice, 18040 Culver Dr, +1 949-551-4111. This independent grocery store features Middle Eastern and Central American foods. Don't miss the freshly-baked sangak (Persian flatbread). Enormous produce section and excellent array of herbs, spices, and condiments. Many kinds of prepared foods, including kebabs, pastries, and traditional Iranian foods. The food court inside of the grocery store offers a variety of food options: pizza, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Persian, American, Mexican, and Italian. Can be very busy, especially on weekends, so give yourself plenty of time to look around.
  • 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.


  • Anthill Pub & Grille, 215 Pereira Dr, +1 949-824-4182. 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. 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.



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


Post offices



  • 949 is the local area code, but a small portion of Irvine is in the 714/657 area code.
  • The area code must be diaed for all calls.
  • All numbers affiliated with UC Irvine begin with 949-824-xxxx.



Radio stations

  • KUCI 88.9 FM Irvine. Located on the UC Irvine campus, KUCI is run by 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  S  Lake ForestSan Diego
Long BeachCosta Mesa  N  S  END
AnaheimTustin  N  S  Costa MesaNewport Beach
Los AngelesSanta Ana  N  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.