Travel Guide

Irvine – located in sunny California surrounded by large cities and wonderful sandy beaches

Sunrise over light trails and city lights on a highway in Irvine

Southern California is home to big cities, sandy ­beaches, and our own Siegfried Irvine site. Formerly the family-owned Alliance Medical Products, established in 2001, our site was acquired by Siegfried in 2012. Here are some of the things we are proud of about our location in Irvine, California, USA. 

The main street leading from the local freeway to our site is lined with palm trees, just as you would guess from seeing movies set in sunny Southern California. Scenes from a number of movies were filmed in Irvine itself, including shots of John Wayne Airport in Jerry Maguire (1996), of the Gillespie Neuroscience Research Facility at UC Irvine in Ocean’s Eleven (2001), and a giraffe riding in a car on the 73 freeway in The Hangover III (2013).

The closest place to explore and relax is the Irvine ­Spectrum Shopping and Entertainment Center. The Spectrum is an outdoor mall with 160 shops and restaurants. Tripadvisor named it #1 of 33 things to do in Irvine. The Spectrum features a 24 Hour Fitness gym, a movie theater, carousel, and The Giant Wheel – lit with 52 000 energy efficient LED lights. From November to February, an ice skating rink is set up next to the Ferris wheel and a Christmas train meanders through the courtyards. The Spectrum has two interactive water fountains for enjoyment on warm days and is home to one of 6 Improv Comedy Clubs in California. Moreover, you can hear live music every weekend in the central Myrtle Courtyard. A couple unique experiences offered in the Spectre are Storymakery and Spaces. Storymakery staff members help young writers create stories and publish their very own book in the store. Spaces has only 3 sites worldwide, two in California and one in ­Japan and offers a virtual reality game experience for groups complete with props and a video playback of your mission. 

Nearby at Great Park Irvine, there is another fun excursion that is ranked on many people’s bucket lists, a hot air balloon ride. The Great Park Balloon is actually a helium balloon that stands 118 feet tall. It is bright orange signifying its location in Orange County, California. Up to 30 passengers can board at a time and are raised 400 feet over Irvine. On a clear day, the city view spans 40 miles. The Great Park also has “Movies on the Lawn” each weekend in the summer. Additionally, a fresh farmers market is held every Sunday at the park. 

A short ride west brings you to Laguna Beach, a beautiful coastal destination with a rich artistic culture. Visitors can explore the town on the free trolley all weekend or every day in the summertime. The beaches are breathtaking and there are 20 000 acres of protected wilderness for hiking and mountain biking. The Pacific Marine Mammal Center is open to visitors to learn about wildlife rescue efforts as well as watch seals and sea lions being rehabilitated. Along the beaches are scores of shops full of handmade goods by local artists. Art and craft festivals and fairs are held in winter and summer all across Laguna Canyon, at the Sawdust ­Festival, Art-A-Fair, and Festival of Arts. Hands-on art workshops are offered year round. The highlight of ­Laguna’s art offerings is Pageant of the Masters, it is a live orated production of living pictures, where an orchestra accompanies costumed and painted volunteers in life-sized representations of classic art.

Southern California is home to a host of popular amusement parks, the most noteworthy of which is Disneyland and its sister park, Disney’s California Adventure. These are located in Anaheim, only about 20 miles from Siegfried Irvine. Disneyland is separated into different Lands, starting with a wide avenue called Main Street beginning at the entry gates and leading to Sleeping Beauty’s Castle (1955). In the summer months, Main Street is home to parades and fireworks every single day. Rides are dispersed throughout the park, where you can also meet real life Disney movie characters who pose for photos and sign autograph books. 

Continuing north another 20 miles, Los Angeles is a major hub of art and innovation in Southern California. One notable landmark in Los Angeles is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. LACMA is known for ever-­changing unique installments of art from around the world. It is the largest art museum in the Western United States. Even at its entrance, you’re greeted with a sensational piece titled Urban Light by Chris Burden, which contains 202 solar powered antique street lamps set up to create a dazzling landmark and photo opportunity that has been featured in films, magazines, and music videos (see picture on page 12). A number of people have even opted to share their wedding vows at this location. 

Tripadvisor lists Griffith Observatory as #2 of 606 things to do in Los Angeles. LA’s Griffith Observatory was featured in the 2016 film La La Land. The Observatory opened in 1935 and is still a popular site for school field trips. The Planetarium Theatre has beckoned 76 million visitors through the years. Inside, a stunning giant cosmic display is projected throughout the 290 seat ­auditorium, accompanied by a live storyteller. The first show is a production of the history of our planet and the universe, second is a search for water and life on other planets, and last is an exploration of the legends surrounding the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights. Even from the parking lot of Griffith Observatory, you can view the Hollywood sign. Griffith Park offers walking, horseback, helicopter, and plane tours of the area.

Another great find in LA is the La Brea Tar Pits and ­Museum, where 3.5 million fossils have been unearthed and are set up for exhibit in the museum. Two current projects are the Observation Pit where you can watch archaeologists at work uncovering Ice Age era fossils. The other is Project 23, which came about when construction began on a new parking garage for LACMA and dozens of fossil deposits were found and moved to the museum site to be excavated. Researchers have already found a nearly full mammoth skeleton and are optimistic that due to the volume of the deposits found, they may be able to discover a new species.

For more outdoor beauty and history, the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens offer amazing tours to view rare first edition books and ­various gardens, most notably the Japanese Garden, Desert Garden, and Rose Garden – which contains 1200 varieties of roses.

To the south of Irvine, the city of San Diego is another remarkable beachfront city known for its watersports and cuisine. The La Jolla Ecological Reserve and Underwater Park is one of the top ten places in the world for snorkeling. There is a vast assortment of marine life to enjoy because the area is federally protected and the warmer water temperature accommodates a variety of fish and mammals. The seven underwater caves are hotspots for watching leopard sharks, urchins, dolphins, sea turtles, and more. When the tide is right, you can snorkel or kayak all the way through Clam Cave, the largest of the underwater caves. Visitors in January and September can also enjoy San Diego Restaurant week, a showcase of local cuisine organized by San Diego CRA, the California Restaurants Association. Their events raise money to provide nutrition education to elementary schools, culinary programs for high schools, and a college lecture series about restaurant operation. 

When visiting California, take a break and enjoy the beaches, amusement parks, and regional foods. Don’t forget to ask the locals what to order of the “secret menu” from the famous In-N-Out, whose burger is one of Time Magazine’s top 3 most influential burgers of all time. 

 

Facts & Figures:
Etat: Californie
County: Orange
Population: 277 453 (2017)
Mayor: Donald P. Wagner

 

Further information:
www.cityofirvine.org
www.visitcalifornia.com
www.visitlagunabeach.com
www.disneytouristblog.com/disneyland-planning-guide