Despite being a carefully planned city with many great homes for sale, Irvine, CA, has developed organically and spontaneously into a lively community. The organic growth of Irvine means some of its most interesting attractions are hidden and mostly known by locals. Unlike the Irvine Spectrum and the Orange County Zoo, these hidden spots quietly fly under the radar.
1. Urban Seoul
If you like fusion cuisine, you must try Urban Seoul. This is a place where chefs are not afraid to update American diner staples and mix them with Korean and Mexican flavors. The original Urban Seoul is on Alton Parkway in the Diamond Jamboree shopping center, while its newer location is on Spectrum Center Drive.
2. The Site of the Former UC Irvine Observatory
If you or your children are interested in astronomy and outer space, this observation spot is perfect for you. About every six weeks, the UC Irvine Department of Physics and Astronomy brings powerful telescopes and astronomy lessons to the top of a hill where the UCI Observatory used to sit until its demolition in 2014. The parking area on visitor nights is located at the corner of Pereira and East Peltason. A $7 donation is requested for the purpose of building a new observatory in the near future.
3. Aldrich Park
This large park is hidden within the UC Irvine campus. It can be spotted beyond the parking areas of East Peltason Drive. There are 19 acres of nature trails and eucalyptus groves that are home to cottontail rabbits, raccoons, and many species of birds.
Located in the Irvine Heritage Plaza strip mall, this restaurant invented the fried chicken waffle sandwich and the custard shake along with other interesting versions of American diner classics.
5. San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary
Until about 2016, most mobile mapping applications and GPS navigators did not provide accurate directions to this nature preserve, which can be reached by heading north on University Drive, looking for Campus Drive, and turning right while paying close attention to the hidden Riparian View Drive. There is a National Audubon Society house just outside the park, which explains why it is so abundant with wildlife. In this sanctuary you can find butterfly gardens, numerous ponds, and many native and migratory avian species. If you want to enjoy a relaxing afternoon, you will love the benches in front of the small lakes.
6. Pirate’s Cove
Newport Beach is a popular destination for Irvine residents, but not many know about the hidden Pirate’s Cove, accessible only by means of a long set of stairs on the corner of Heliotrope Avenue and Ocean Boulevard. This is a good swimming spot surrounded by rocks and not as crowded as the contiguous beaches.
7. Plush Karaoke
Located in the Diamond Jamboree center, this karaoke lounge is designed in the Asian style, which means it offers private rooms for small to medium groups. The karaoke lists feature Korean, Japanese, and Chinese songs as well as popular hits in English.
One thing that’s not hidden in Irvine is the fact that there are many great homes to choose from in the area. If you’re looking for affordable and attractive condos, townhomes, and houses for sale in Irvine, contact reliable local real estate agents at 714-454-6304 to see the latest properties on the market. We hope to hear from you soon.