“Grab your swimsuit kids, we’re headed to Irvine Spectrum.”
That’s what Stacy Paschoal announces a couple of times a week.
“It’s a one-stop shop here,” says the mom of 4-year-old Lucas and 3-year-old Conor. “Today we did the climb, the water and the carousel. And now we’re going to get lunch.”
The official name of “the climb,” by the way, is Luckey Climber. A jungle gym that could pass for a futuristic sculpture (composed of giant potato chips), it was installed by artist Spencer Luckey at the end of last summer.
“The water” Paschoal mentioned is actually called the Pop-Jet Fountain, a splash pad where kids dart around getting soaking wet.
And the Carousel is a gorgeous reproduction of an antique design from a century ago where kids bob up and down on hand-painted pandas, camels, and even an ostrich.
These are just a few of the attractions that draw millions of guests to Spectrum Center each year. Check out a few things happening this summer.
Music, movies and special events
The stretch of lawn below the Giant Wheel is where a DJ hosts music and games every Sunday – followed by movies at night. On deck is “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Grease,” “Bring It On” and “Avengers: Infinity War.”
Each Thursday brings a small convoy of food trucks that include favorites like Burger Monster, Barcelona, Drizzle, Falasophy, The Cut and Sol Agave.
And look for live music every weekend. This month’s lineup includes: Hanna Eyre and The Ashleys, Gabby Leigh, AJ Page, Robert Simon and Brooke Ramel – with a huge back-to school block party scheduled for Aug. 17.
Enjoy outdoor dining under the olive trees at Cucina Enoteca’s Mediterranean-inspired outdoor patio.
Or try the patio at Habana, an Old World Cuban restaurant that offers traditional fare like plantains, roasted street-style corn on the cob and fresh coconuts filled with rum.
After dinner? Visit the Irvine Improv, America’s most successful Improv comedy club, or the Edwards Spectrum 21, OC’s most popular movie complex.
An elevated experience
The center recently completed an extensive reinvestment that added fountains, courtyards, planters, palm trees and comfortable furniture – in addition to 30 new stores and restaurants.
There is a new glass-walled Apple store. The new Sephora brings its luxury beauty products for women to the center. While the new Hello Kitty Grand Café offers a reservation-only tea service in its all-pink bow room.
Wherever you choose to go in the Spectrum Center this summer, don’t forget to take in the quiet beauty you’ll find along every courtyard, walkway and paseo.