Classic Orange County Bucket List for Graduating Seniors

Check out these OC attractions you should visit before graduation

Commonly referenced as the “ bubble,” Irvine boasts a variety of entertainment activities and events for the public community to enjoy. However, as a suburban city, the majority of activities are geared towards families with younger children, an aspect that leads to two contrasting groups of people- those who enjoy the peaceful and calm lifestyle and those actively looking for more lively things to do outside the city borders. Inevitably, repetitive visits to the Irvine Spectrum and South Coast eventually don’t cut it anymore.

Here’s a list of classic OC spots to visit before you graduate, especially if you plan to leave Southern California!

1.) Disneyland Parks

With only six cities (Anaheim, Orlando, Tokyo, Paris, Hongkong and Shanghai) boasting famed Disney parks and resorts, OC residents are fortunate with a simple 20-minute drive to Anaheim to ride on attractions in the “Happiest Place On Earth,” a true luxury considering the people all over the world who have to fly hours in order to enjoy. In addition, Southern California residents usually take advantage of special deals, including a three-day ticket for only $60 per day, which is currently on sale until May 20th. Grab your tickets soon and plan a trip to Disneyland with some friends or family!

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Anaheim offers scenic views overlooking Paradise Pier in California Adventure.

2.) Aquarium of the Pacific

Bordering waters leading to the Pacific Ocean, the Aquarium of the Pacific features over 19 major habitats and 32 focus exhibits, displaying organisms from the waters of Southern California to the Tropical Pacific. The aquarium also offers numerous interactive experiences, including touching baby sharks in the outdoor Shark Lagoon and walking through the Lorikeet Forest aviary. People of all ages are drawn to explore the different kinds of organisms and animals of various locations that one would probably never see in their local communities.

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Cues line up outside of the aquarium, with anxiously awaiting guests excited to observe the vast aquatic wildlife inside.

3.) Great Park Balloon Ride

One of Orange County’s most iconic attractions is the Great Park Balloon ride, reaching heights of over 400 feet off the ground. From miles away, the bright orange balloon can be seen overlooking the city as its passengers enjoy the open observation deck offering a 360-degree view of the surrounding scenery. Before the mass development of houses and stores throughout Irvine, the city famously started off as a large piece of agricultural land. As the landscape continues to change, take a ride up to cherish the view one last time before you graduate.

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Stretching past the merry-go-round, the Great Park balloon is a landmark Irvine symbol.

4.) Knotts Berry Farm

Knott’s Berry Farm is the only amusement park of its kind in the world, located in the city of Buena Park. The park claims to be “America’s first theme park,” characterized by Snoopy as its mascot. The park also offers a seasonal water park, Knott’s Soak City Water Park, which is open on select days from May through September. In addition, Knott’s is also known for their annual events in the Halloween and Christmas seasons. In the preceding months leading up to Halloween, the whole park is transformed to include haunting and horrifying features including haunted houses, frightening shows, mazes and other thrilling attractions catered to spark fear in its visitors. Shortly after, the theme park is then transformed into Knott’s Merry Farm, a more family-friendly event that includes fake snow and visits with Santa Claus. The Christmas theme is incorporated from mid-November to early January.

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Whirling coasters intersect and take on gravity-defying shapes as visitors enjoy the attraction Knott’s has to offer.

5.) Anaheim Packing District

Located in the heart of Anaheim, the Anaheim Packing District is one of the remaining citrus packing warehouses dating back to 1919. The warehouse has been remodeled to include a variety of store vendors boasting aesthetic food and drink options with live music ringing throughout the building. The highlight of the Anaheim Packing District is definitely the presentation and creativity of the different options of the stores. The Anaheim Packing District is a perfect place to hang out with friends while grabbing food or dessert before going ice skating in the Anaheim Ice Rink.

Photo Courtesy of Public Domain
The Packing District boasts a multi-storied ultramodern design filled with unique shops and eateries.