Irvine residents are so congenial, making friends is a breeze. Even if you tend to be shy, you’ll feel comfortable mingling in this fine city. By following your passionate interests, you’ll naturally attract kindred souls. Whether you just moved to the area or you’re making plans for after you find a home in Irvine, here are a few optimal ways to socialize.
Join Meetup Groups
Meetup is an online networking service that links you to like-minded folks. People with similar interests gather for fun-filled group events. Create an account and use the service for free.
The Meetup website is supremely user-friendly. First, enter the following address in your browser: https://www.meetup.com/cities/us/ca/irvine/. On the landing page, to the right of the search box, you can change the city radius from the default of 25 miles.
Next, click on the search box and choose either “All Meetups” or a specific category. With both options, you’ll get a broad selection of groups. Click the box for an organization, and you’ll arrive on a profile page with a group description and instructions for joining.
Just follow the prompts to provide information about yourself and upload a photo. Once your account is set up, you can register for events. Join as many groups as you like. With Meetup, you’ll have a keen sense of belonging in Irvine.
Volunteer for a Local Event or Cause
Volunteering is fantastically rewarding. You’re connecting with people on a grassroots level. You experience the joy of improving lives along with a sense of accomplishment. If you have kids, you can hook up with other parents while being a role model for your children.
By volunteering, you learn new skills. Possibly, you’ll network with other professionals. Although new to Irvine, you’ll feel more settled, confident, and secure.
The Irvine region has a wide variety of organizations seeking volunteers. Here’s a sampling, along with their causes:
- Orange County Great Park — Heritage and Aviation Exhibition and the Farm and Food Lab
- Global Village Festival — Highlighting Irvine’s cultural diversity with international cuisine and entertainment
- Turtle Rock Nature Center, Irvine Animal Care Center, and Irvine Open Space Preserve — Protecting animals
- High School Youth Action Team — Targeting teens, promoting leadership, community involvement, and safe recreation
- Meals on Wheels and the Senior Center — Serving mostly older adults
For links to these and more organizations, visit http://www.cityofirvine.org/live/irvine-gives/volunteer-opportunities.
Another option is joining VolunteerMatch to access more organizations in 29 categories, including Crisis Support, Disaster Relief, Environment, Faith-Based, Homeless and Housing, Justice and Legal, Hunger, and People with Disabilities. For detailed information, go to https://www.volunteermatch.org/.
Volunteer for a single event, or continue on a regular basis. Either way, you’ll meet other caring locals like yourself.
Check Out the Lemon Drop Club
If you love dancing to retro music, this club is for you. Grooving from the Hilton Irvine Hotel, the Lemon Drop Club features music from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. The ambiance is both casual and classy, and club membership is free. Attendees include singles and couples, mostly between the ages of 40 and 60. The dance floor is spacious—the largest in Orange County.
Along with Saturday night dance parties, the club sponsors wine tastings, Vegas nights, and cruises. Some events are themed, such as parties honoring Valentine’s Day and Superheroes. Consider celebrating New Year’s Eve at the club, which includes a buffet dinner, a live band, and a free champagne toast at midnight.
Additionally, the Lemon Drop is unique in hosting fundraisers. Two current examples are the Toys for Tots Holiday Ball and Christmas Dinner for the Homeless.
For more information on these and other events, visit http://www.lemondropclub.com/ or call (949) 378-6600. The club address is 18800 MacArthur Blvd., opposite the John Wayne Airport.
Team Up with Other Fitness Buffs
If you’re into fitness, there are a variety of ways to meet people who love exercise too. Here are just a few Irvine clubs and gyms you might want to join.
Is cycling one of your favorite pastimes? If so, check out BCI, the Bicycle Club of Irvine, coined “the friendliest bike club in Orange County.” The club welcomes people of all ages and cycling abilities with the goal of making friends.
You’re invited to take a “test ride,” with no obligation to join. As a BCI member, you can access weekday, remote, and special rides. Also offered are weekend trips tailored to various skill levels, paces, and climbing abilities. Membership dues are just $20 per year.
For introductory info, go to http://www.bikeirvine.org/intro/. Then see what’s coming down the pike at http://www.bikeirvine.org/rides-events/.
If you’re an avid jogger, hook up with the South Coast Roadrunners. The group is open to runners of all ages, styles, and speeds, from newcomers to triathletes.
Three runs are slated per week. Mondays at 6:15 p.m., members cruise through Hicks Canyon Park. Thursdays at 6:15 p.m., they breeze through Heritage Park. On Saturdays at 8 a.m., the location varies, posted in advance on Facebook. Upcoming Saturday runs include tours of Turtle Rock and the Jeffrey Open Space Trail/Hicks Loop.
Annual membership costs $40 for yourself and $60 for a family. For additional info, visit http://www.roadrunners.org/.
If you like working out, you’re in the right town. Irvine is home to first-rate gyms, including Rush Cycle, SIX, Barry’s Bootcamp, Fit by Cyrus, and Seafit. Each of these facilities holds fitness classes, with Seafit specializing in yoga and Pilates. By regularly attending sessions, you’ll likely gain some workout pals.
Here’s a tip for taking classes: Be an early bird for your best chances at conversing. When routines end, most people leave quickly.
Take an Art Class
For socializing, art classes outshine academics because they’re less formal. Here are three top-notch schools to consider in Irvine.
The Artist Lab
4676 Barranca Pkwy
This five-star studio teaches sewing, jewelry making, paper crafts, 3D design, wire art, drawing, painting, and ceramics. Students work with various high-quality media, and assistance is available for compiling a portfolio.
Teachers are passionate about imparting skills and knowledge. They also prioritize having fun. Reviewers see the staff as friendly, respectful, helpful, encouraging, and kind.
2691 Richter Avenue
This school is known for its welcoming, relaxed, and supportive atmosphere. Adult classes are offered mornings and evenings in ceramics, painting, sketching, and drawing.
Studio owner Iris Heffes is an internationally renowned sculptor and painter, and she views each student as talented, with vast creative potential. Reviewers speak glowingly of the entire staff as being patient, helpful, kind, and open-minded.
14321 Yale Avenue
At this facility, choose from hundreds of courses and workshops suited to all skill levels. Instruction is provided in ceramics, sculpture, culinary arts, drawing, painting, jewelry making, photography, printmaking, and traditional arts.
Additionally, the Center hosts two events each year where you can chat with fellow art lovers. June features a Studio Arts Festival, and in November, there’s a Holiday Fair. At both events, Southern California artists sell their original works, featuring glass, ceramics, jewelry, painting, fiber, sculpture, and photography.
Reviewers of the Center report being delighted with their instructors, valuing the knowledge, enthusiasm, and encouragement they provide. They also treat students like family.
As you can see, there’s no shortage of eclectic activities in Irvine, and meeting people who share your interests will be easy. Your biggest problem will be finding the time to explore all the organizations and attend all the wonderful events. If you haven’t made the move to Irvine yet, your first call should be to the trusted Irvine real estate agents at Irvine Residential Living. Our experienced agents specialize in Irvine real estate, so if you need help finding your Irvine dream home, call us at 714-454-6304.