Unique Things To Do In Irvine For A Day

Unique Things To Do In Irvine For A Day

Beachside Unwinding and Whirlwind Adventures

It's my birthday, and this year I'm keeping things low-key. We headed to Irvine Spectrum Center for a leisurely Ferris wheel ride, nothing too extreme compared to my past birthday adventures. We also stopped by the Hello Kitty Cafe, inspired by the popular Sanrio character. This cafe trip is part of our preparations for our upcoming Japan trip, getting us pumped to discover the wonders of the "Land of the Rising Sun." Let’s go! 

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Travel Tips
  • For flights, Skyscanner is excellent for comparing the best airline deals.
  • For accommodations, our family trusts Booking.com for reasonable prices.

Whale and Dolphin Watching in Newport Beach

Unwind by the Beach

We suggest visiting two places to ensure a fulfilling travel experience, especially if you're traveling from a distance like us. We like to maintain a balance by starting with a nature trip for half of the day and then transitioning to city social activities afterwards. 

Unique Activity To Do in Newport Beach: Whale and Dolphin Watching

  • Start by exploring the sea in the morning Newport Beach is conveniently close to Irvine. Next, embarked on a morning cruise to spot whales and dolphins; we bought our tickets through Groupon. 
  • Afterwards, have a caricature drawn by a talented artist at the beach. 
  • For lunch, we loved the delicious offerings at Balboa Bar-B-Que.
  • It only takes around twenty minutes to travel from Newport Beach to Irvine Spectrum Center for another exciting adventure.

Unique Things To Do In Irvine For A Day

Starbucks Free Birthday Treat

I didn't forget to claim my Starbucks birthday treat, a free coffee. Wherever you go, it's best to steer clear of weekends. Visiting the Irvine Spectrum Center on weekends usually involves hunting for parking spaces and navigating through large crowds. However, this did not dampen the excitement for the Ferris wheel ride and visiting the Hello Kitty cafe.

Unique Things To Do In Irvine For A Day

Irvine Spectrum Center

Irvine Spectrum Center is a big outdoor mall located in Orange County. With numerous stores to explore, the beautiful fountains not only enhance the aesthetics but also provide a cool and refreshing atmosphere.

Unique Things To Do In Irvine For A Day
Irvine Spectrum Center's  Gigantic Christmas Tree at night looks spectacular!

Unique Things To Do In Irvine For A Day

Ferris Wheel Rates 

Irvine Spectrum Center features a towering 108-foot Ferris wheel!

  • Admission: 8 USD per person for a single ride
  • Special discounts for Military/Senior Admission at 7 USD

Sunset Ride

The sunset Ferris wheel ride was unforgettable; we witnessed the light fading into night. It can get quite chilly up there in January, so remember to wear your jacket. The ride looks really cool at night with all the lights from the Ferris wheel and from the shopping centers.

Unique Things To Do In Irvine For A Day

More Flying Adventures

I used to enjoy heights in the past, but after giving birth, I've become less daring. It feels like my heart might leap out of my body. However, it was a valuable test of my endurance as I worked on building it up again for future flying adventures. It's fascinating how things shift after becoming a parent; I realize the need to engage in more activities like this! It's been two years since my baby arrived, and my only extreme adventure so far has been Hang Gliding in California. I'm not sure what else is out there that I haven't tried yet from My Bucket List.

Unique Things To Do In Irvine For A Day

Moroccan-Inspired Architecture

Take a stroll around Irvine Spectrum Center and admire its unique Moroccan-inspired architecture, elegant fountains, and enchanting lighting. It's far from your average shopping destination.

Pho Saigon Pearl

After an exciting Ferris wheel ride, we enjoyed a delightful Vietnamese dinner at Pho Saigon Pearl. The comforting soup was perfect for warming us up after the chilly experience up in the wheel. During the weekend, we anticipated a long wait for food and had to put our names on a waitlist. Luckily, we secured seats at Pho Saigon Pearl, a true hidden gem. The generous portions and delicious food impressed us. Despite its cozy size, the restaurant wasn't noisy, creating a welcoming atmosphere. Dining amidst pictures of old Saigon kinda transported me back to Vietnam during our meal. Ooopz, I totally forgot to take a photo as we quickly devoured our food.

Unique Things To Do In Irvine For A Day

Hello Kitty Cafe

After dinner, we headed to the Hello Kitty Cafe, taking advantage of the shorter queue later in the evening. Typically, we don't venture out at night since becoming parents, as we prefer daytime activities like morning hikes, beach outings, and enjoying nature, except for special occasions. By nighttime, we're ready to unwind at home. Despite the fewer crowds, we still waited around 30 minutes to an hour for our hot drinks at the cafe. Can you believe it took that long?! More about that here: 
Hello Kitty Cafe in Irvine, California

Unique Things To Do In Irvine For A Day

Afternoon Tea and Cocktail Service

In the Bow Room, you can enjoy Afternoon Tea and Cocktail Service, available by reservation. If you have spare time and are open to the price, it promises to be a memorable Hello Kitty experience. The Cafe is open every day for quick grab-and-go options.

Unique Things To Do In Irvine For A Day

Can you believe this?

My husband maintained a smile, yet I know deep down, that he was shaking his head while waiting in line for an hour and taking turns running around with our toddler. His love and support during my visit to the Hello Kitty Cafe meant a lot, but I won't repeat this experience. It felt like being back at Disneyland, waiting in line for the rides all over again.

I considered visiting the Hello Kitty Cafe because of the fond memories from my childhood. It takes me back to my younger years when I used to collect Hello Kitty items and dress in pink, expressing my adoration for Hello Kitty. It was a lovely way to reflect on my childhood as I embraced my age and leveling up to new heights in life.

Unique Things To Do In Irvine For A Day

Hello Kitty Cafe Grab-and-Go

  • Hot Cafe Latte: 5.5 USD
  • Hot Cafe Mocha: 5.5 USD
  • Hello Kitty Shaped Cookie
  • Hello Kitty Sprinkles Mug 

The coffee was okay, but I wasn't a fan of the vanilla froth. On the bright side, the cookie was delicious! I absolutely love my Hello Kitty mug; I use it almost every day for my coffee, and it has proven to be durable so far.

Unique Things To Do In Irvine For A Day

Stunning fountains at the Irvine Spectrum Center

Later, we strolled around and admired the fountains at the Irvine Spectrum Center. Visiting the Hello Kitty Cafe increased my excitement for a trip to Japan; the “Kawaii” vibes are truly captivating.

Unique Things To Do In Irvine For A Day

Cheers To Aging and More Travels To Come

They say age is just a number, but I truly feel the wisdom gained over the past few years and the journey of growing alongside my family each year. I maintain a Gratitude Journal, which keeps me grounded and reminds me to appreciate the small gestures and significant milestones every day. It's truly a rewarding practice, and I am grateful for good health and a life filled with blessings. Let's keep counting our blessings and continue to feed our minds and soul with our travels.

Have fun and be safe ^__^

Do you want more adventure?
For our recent trip, we're thrilled to finally visit one of California's most breathtaking mountains – Mammoth Lake!

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