About IrvineIrvine is a planned community built on Irvine Ranch, a former Spanish land grant. Old Town Irvine on Sand Canyon Rd. incorporates historic buildings that once were part of Irvine Ranch. A lima bean warehouse built in 1895 houses shops and a restaurant, while former grain silos have become one wing of a major hotel. About half of Irvine Ranch is set aside for open spaces with hiking and biking trails. The 30,000-student campus of the University of California at Irvine overlooks Upper Newport Bay.
Tuesday through Saturday, The Irvine Museum exhibits Californian American impressionist landscapes (1890-1930) that depict well-known and lesser-known areas of the state. The museum is on the first floor of the Tower 17 Corporate Offices Building at 18881 Von Karman Ave. Guided tours are offered Thurs. at 11:15; phone (949) 476-2565 or (949) 476-0294.
ShoppingIrvine Spectrum Center, I-405 at Irvine Center Drive or I-5 at Alton Parkway, is an “infotainment” center whose occupants include Nordstrom as well as numerous specialty shops and eateries and a movie theater multiplex.
In-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. All hotels must meet the same basic requirements for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality to be AAA Approved. A rating of one to five AAA Diamonds tells members what type of experience to expect, from no-frills to highly personalized.