IRVINE

Let's all get as tanned as Don Bren!

Oh, Irvine, the land of endlessly winding beige housing tracts, $200 million not-so-Great Parks (I was promised a velodrome) and the Anthill Pub, (215 C Student Center, 949-824-3050), the best campus bar this side of the Atlantic (though, unfortunately, it will be going to summer hours). There won't even be any co-eds at UC Irvine, so what's there to keep you busy (and entertained) during this sunny season? Why even stay in Irvine when you can make the drive down to Newps?

Then again, why drive when you can cycle? Irvine is home to one of the best stretches of the Mountains to Sea Trail, a 22-mile pathway the runs from Weir Canyon in Anaheim all the way to Newport Beach, passing through Orange, Tustin, Irvine, among other cities, along the way. You can see everything on Irvine's chunk of the trail. Hop on the pathway and head south, and you'll be traveling along the northern edge of the Newport Back Bay, briny air rushing past your face as you ride by UCI. Go far enough, and you'll enter Newport and eventually find yourself outside C'est Si Bon Bakery (149 Riverside Ave., Newport Beach, 949-645-0447), one of the best sandwich shops in the area. Get the chicken curry sandwich. Turn around, and you'll soon find yourself in Lower Peters Canyon, which is mostly concrete and kind of boring honestly, but head north just a little more, and you'll be surrounded by legitimately tall and slightly dense trees. Just watch out for horse poop.

Too hot to go biking? You can exercise in air conditioning, too. The best place to do that is Sky High Sports (2970 Airway Ave., Costa Mesa, 714-437-5867; ocy.jumpskyhigh.com), a trampoline gym just north of John Wayne Airport, where Irvine, Santa Ana, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach can't really decide what belongs to which city. Jumping around for a few hours is ridiculous cardio—and great for the legs! Make sure to pull off some flips into the giant foam pit and stake up for the dodge ball games (just watch out for when baseball players visit). Oh, and don't tear your ACL.

Hungry after all that exercise? Well, you could head to the Spectrum or the District or half of the Marketplace, but what you should do instead is visit quite possibly the most diverse Asian plaza in Orange County. Irvine's Asian ghetto, in the Arbor Village Center on the northwest corner of Walnut and Jeffrey, is like Berkeley's Asian ghetto, but OC-sized. There, you can get nearly any type of Asian cuisine you desire. Szechuan? Got it. Taiwanese? Yup. Vietnamese? Considered your pho fix fixed. And then there's the Thai place, the shabu place, the Japanese place, the soondubu place, the Korean barbecue place, the dim sum place, and a 99 Ranch Market for good measure. Thirsty after dinner? Take your pick of two boba shops. Got a sweet tooth? There is, of course, a Taiwanese bakery.

Time for an after-dinner nap? If it's between Aug. 10 and 13, drive up to Turtle Rock and nap in the park. Wake up once it's dark and just look up—it's time for the Perseid meteor shower. Just don't get thrown out by the police 'cause they'll be looking for you; they don't have anything else to do.

 
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2 comments
jmcguinness
jmcguinness

Seriously, is this what passes for a primer on Irvine - a restaurant in Newport and a trampoline place in Costa Mesa?

 
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