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CAT Participant outside-UCI activity list
Here is a list of dinner ideas and other fun activities in the area, hand-picked and recommended by our most fun Center faculty members. Irvine and surrounding area are, unfortunately, not easily navigated without a car. Ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft are safe and usually very efficient in this area. Hotel Irvine has a complimentary shuttle, however it operates depending on availability unless booked in advance.
- Krave (also next to Souplantation). They have awesome Korean fried chicken (Chinese Chili and Lemon Pepper are my favorite flavors). Also the kogi quesadilla is pretty good too.
- Urban Plates (casual, healthy-ish dining)
- HiroNori Craft Ramen
- Lunch or brunch: Moulin (French – really good bread)
- Brunch: Pacific Whey casual, great for breakfast, but also have lunch food
- Lunch/dinner: Bear Flag Fish Company fresh fish, an Orange County institution
- The Beachcomber. Make reservations if possible. You can go without reservation, give them your name, and they will give you a buzzer so you can walk along the beach while waiting for your table.
- San Clemente Pier Fisherman’s Restaurant for awesome views on the bar side of the restaurant. If you are ok driving a bit it’s totally worth the trip: get a table at the “bar” side where it’s first-come first-serve seating (wait to get a good table). Food is so-so (not for foodies!)
- Driftwood kitchen: go for brunch and try to make reservations. Prices are reasonable for brunch or lunch menus and the views are spectacular!
- Pelican Hill for food and views. There are a few restaurants on the resort. The Pelican Hill Coliseum Grill is casual and reasonably-priced.
- Bamboo Bistro for dinners
- The Kickin Krab in the Diamond Jamboree is also a favorite (it’s expensive though).
- Barley Forge is a fun Brewery with some board games and things.
- The OC Fair, July 12th to August 11th
- Hiking in Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve, and visiting the interpretive center (~10 min drive from Hotel Irvine)
- Visit Balboa Island shops and restaurant, take the walk-on ferry to Balboa Fun Zone.
- Stand-up paddle-board or kayaking. For those who have not done paddle boarding before, I would suggest starting in the bay. The water is usually warm enough for these activities mid-July to mid-October.
- Newport Beach UCI Campus Rec paddleboard/kayak rentals
- Lookout Point in Corona Del Mar which is great for watching the sunset and starting short walks around the beach
- For nightlife: Mesa, The Huddle, Tin Lizze Saloon are all pretty close together. There’s also also Goat Hill Tavern, The Boulevard, The Country Club. ENVY Lounge has salsa on Tuesday nights 🙂
- If there is ample time: Go to Catalina island: Catalina Island Cruise & Whale Watch From Dana Point
- Visit “Sunny Jim’s Cave” in La Jolla
- Laguna Coast Wilderness Park (hiking)
- Los Angeles County Museum of Art
- La Brea Tar Pits