Nestled within California's affluent Orange County, Irvine is a real jewel in the crown of the famous golden state. A warm, welcoming and vibrant area, it has all the spirit and energy of a city in rapid growth, but with a rustic, European influence that ensures it's also one of the most laid-back places to visit in the US.
The Market Place is so much more than a retail centre. You can spend an eternity exploring the various shops, sampling a variety of international cuisines and sitting out in the square simply watching the world go by. Other nearby attractions that are sure to get your pulse racing include the K1 Speed go-karting track and Boomers, offering everything from batting cages to a carnival. Irvine is also a great place to find yourself after dark, with most restaurants transforming into clubs as the sun goes down. This chic city has everything, from nightclubs to jazz cafes, so you're sure to find something to suit your tastes.
To wind down your trip, visit one of the nearby golf resorts, or take in the local art scene at an inner city gallery. The Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre is a real hotspot for live music and entertainment, but if you get tired of the city vibe, the Orange County Great Park is a must-see for those who simply want to get back to nature. This stunning attraction offers the best of both worlds, from farmers markets to fairground rides, nature trails to outdoor comedy shows. But if you really want to get a unique perspective of Irvine, ride the orange hot air balloon for an incredible panoramic view.