Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Irvine chapter.

Orange County is the perfect place to go out and explore. Even though it is currently fall, the weather is always nice, it’s never too hot and not too cold. With the array of food options available and cute locations, I love going out with my friends, trying new foods, and watching the sunset. If you live in the OC or plan on visiting at some point, I have compiled a list of activities that I have done and invited you to explore. Hopefully, you are able to experience these activities in your free time and enjoy your time here in Orange County. 


If you are a first-year college student who has only been eating dining hall food, there is a great breakfast restaurant with many locations called “Breakfast Republic” with delicious options. Their food, including their strawberry lemonade, always manages to satisfy my breakfast cravings. I would also recommend giving their coffee cake a try if you are a sweet, pastry-liking person.


There are many places to walk around and shop within the OC. One of my favorite cities to shop and eat from is Costa Mesa. Here, there are a lot of different shopping centers to choose from, but one of my favorites would be  The Lab and The Camp. These two outdoor shopping centers are across the street from each other, beautifully decorated and have several delicious local restaurants, stores, thrift stores, and much more. The aesthetic of these centers is beyond adorable, so grab some of your friends and take cute pictures to post and save as OC memories. Another shopping center in Costa Mesa, which I recommend, is South Coast Plaza. This is a huge indoor mall filled with more stores than you can imagine, which I think is great when shopping with a big group of people so that everyone can shop at their personal favorite stores. 


At The Lab, I suggest trying a couple of places that I absolutely love. If you are a matcha lover or even want to start getting into the matcha-loving community, I recommend an adorable cafe called Nook Coffee Bar inside the shopping center. The regular matcha or even the strawberry matcha has the perfect sweetness/matcha ratio, and you should definitely give them a try. Another quick snack location at The Lab is called Good Town Doughnuts USA. This is a beautifully decorated donut shop with the cutest donuts that pair perfectly with a latte or matcha from the Nook. Another recent coffee shop that I tried was Krisp Fresh Living. Krisp has by far been the best matcha I have yet to try and they also offer many food options. Another treat that I cannot fail to mention is boba! The OC is the perfect place to experiment with boba because there are so many different boba shops. One of my favorites is Share Tea, where you can enjoy so many drinks off the menu and try my top drink, Thai tea.


Across the street from The Lab is The Camp. There is a super yummy Italian-style restaurant called Folks Pizzeria that has the best pizza that I have ever tasted in my life — and I do consider myself a pizza lover, so please take my word for it. We ate their gorgeous-looking Margherita pizza with a side of french fries, and our entire meal was so worth it. The restaurant itself is the cutest looking pizza shop which is part of the experience, but since Newport Beach is so close, for sure watch the sunset after as well.  Being conveniently able to watch the sunsets is one of the perks I enjoy the most about living in the OC.  


I have yet to try many dessert locations in Orange County, mainly because I don’t have the biggest sweet tooth, but here are a few places that I have been meaning to try: 

Hopefully, you find these suggestions to be helpful activities for things that you can do in Orange County.

Cindy Gonzalez

UC Irvine '25

Cindy is a second year at the University of California Irvine pursuing a major in English and a minor in Literary Journalism. When she is not studying, she likes to watch 2000s tv shows, drink matcha, make yummy foods, get glammed up, explore OC, or watch the sunset with some good food.