From Cocktail Tours to Movies in the Park, These Events and Activities Will Surely Add Some Fun to Your Calendar
Smoking hot. This is a phrase you might use to describe how you look in the mirror on a date night or how it feels in SoCal this summer! No more June gloom. The dog days have officially arrived in Orange County. A standard summer in the OC is marked by famous surf breaks, outdoor dining and boutique shopping. And while we’re not complaining, we do know that not all days are destined for the beach. Consider, instead, the abundance that surrounds us: nearby farms, endless bars, creative cinema, live music and so much more. Whether you’re a local or a weekender, here are seven epic things to do this summer in the OC!
What’s summer without a margarita—or two—in hand? The Summer Cocktail Tour at The District at Tustin Legacy is a must-add to your sunny days bucket list. The District is teaming up with OC Foodies to toast the heat with seasonal cocktails at participating restaurants. Lean into these balmy nights with a hand-crafted beverage and maybe learn a thing or two about mixology in the process. This summer’s cocktail lineup includes 10 restaurants such as Bar Louie, Casa Del Sol, Luna Rossa, Prego Restaurant, The Winery and The Yellow Chilli. And don’t forget to take a selfie at the marvelous Color Rain Sky Installation, which can be enjoyed through the summertime!
Explore Tanaka Farms
There’s something about the sensation associated with a perfectly ripe strawberry that always brings back the sweetest memories of summertime. Lucky for us, Tanaka Farms is a stone’s throw from the city. Located in the heart of Irvine, this family-owned farm is home to luscious strawberry fields and host of popular harvest festivals. Since 1940, Tanaka Farms has served the OC community with its seasonal offerings. For only 20 bucks per person, you can lounge through a day picking strawberries and exploring the grounds of this hidden gem. Stop by the barn and say hello to the farm animals! You can spend some time with the goats, sheep, donkeys and more. Later in the summer, join them for melon tours. This farm visit will certainly become a sweet summer memory!
It’s well-known in the OC that weekends are meant for shopping. This is when local artisans flaunt their stuff and area farms bring out their goods. One of our favorite places to go is The District at Tustin Legacy, which is home to many small businesses and local markets. The first Saturday (11 a.m.-4 p.m.) of every month—aptly named Shopfest Saturdays—is dedicated to our favorite pastime. This months’ Barbie-inspired theme on August 5 will include a visit from Barbie from 3-4 p.m., a scavenger hunt to win AMC tickets and center gift cards (given away every hour), a live DJ, 25 pop-up shops, and a free craft station for the little ones. On Sunday mornings, take your dog for a stroll and grab breakfast at The District Farmers Market to load up on organic produce and cottage goods for the week. This is the best place to find seasonal fruits and vegetables, farm-fresh eggs and dairy, fair-trade coffee and wholesome baked goods. Running every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., there is no better way to beat the heat!
If the midsummer blaze keeps you tucked away during the day, then consider spending a night under the stars instead. Thanks to OC Parks’ Sunset Cinema, you can bring family, friends and fellow film fanatics for free movie screenings at 14 different area parks throughout the summer. Every Friday night at 8 p.m. until early September, you can watch favorites like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Nacho Libre,” “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory,” and more. Show up early to grab a good spot and perhaps picnic before the show. Food trucks are on-site to sell bites, beer and wine. Visit the website for a full list of flicks and locations.
Locations: Regional parks throughout OC
Sip + Stroll at District Nights Monthly Night Market
Consider every third Thursday (5-9 p.m.) to be your designated summertime date night—that’s because that District Nights has you covered. Tustin Legacy’s themed monthly night market is the hot ticket. Grab your family and friends for a night full of live music, a game zone, art installations, delicious food and craft beer. You can meander through the market, which features over 35 local vendors, plus take photos with a mermaid at the August 17 Under the Sea event to capture your night out. There’s even a giant chess set for the big thinkers out there. Grab a pint from the OC Tap Truck and play the night away!
Visit the OC Zoo
Locals know best: You don’t have to hit San Diego or Los Angeles for a trip to the zoo. Instead, you can visit Irvine Regional Park’s OC Zoo, nestled within a 477-acre wilderness zone. Animals here are under rehabilitation and aren’t eligible to be released into the wild, making it a guilt-free way to enjoy some time with wildlife. You’ll see animals native to the Southwestern United States, such as porcupines, black bears, red foxes and even a black panther. Visit the barnyard petting zoo where you can feed and interact with goats and sheep. And keep an eye out for weekly educational activities designed for children of all ages. Admission is only $2 per person and children under 2 are free, making this experience an affordable way to enjoy the season.
Concerts at Fivepoint Amphitheater
Summer is not summer without live music. That’s where Irvine’s iconic Fivepoint Amphitheater enters the scene. This outdoor venue is known for its warm-weather lineup, offering everything from country and hip-hop to classic rock and more. Go back in time with Foreigner, get a little rowdy with Hank Williams Jr. or drink some gin and juice with Snoop Dogg and friends. There’s even a movie night accompanied by the Pacific Symphony on the docket. Host to some of the best entertainment in Irvine, Fivepoint Amphitheater is a must-do destination for locals and visitors alike!