Summer is officially halfway over for UCI students, and midsummer fatigue may well be in full swing — if you’ve already exhausted your summer bucket list, check out these local events, concerts, and places to keep the fun alive until school is back in session.
What: Universal Studios Hollywood
When: All summer
A little piece of Halloween Horror Nights came early to Universal Studios Hollywood this year — the theme park opened a new permanent attraction in July based on AMC’s The Walking Dead, bringing all the terror of the October event to the middle of the summer. For the attraction, visitors take a harrowing walk through a haunted house-style maze teeming with all the settings, characters and action from the hit show. The new attraction was co-created by the executive producer of The Walking Dead, Greg Nicotero, so all of the actors and animatronics in the attraction are true to the show and wildly realistic — it brings all the fear of The Walking Dead to life. In addition, at Universal Studios, visitors can grab butterbeer and pumpkin pasties in the newly-opened Wizarding World of Harry Potter, complete with 3-D roller coasters and a true-to-detail Hogwarts and Hogsmeade. Other attractions include Studio Tours, shows, and rides inspired by The Simpsons, Jurassic Park and Transformers. Discounted tickets are available for UCI students here, or by visiting the ASUCI office.
When: All summer
Many UCI students have annual passes for Disneyland, since the park is only a quick drive down the freeway from campus (without traffic) and nothing says “stress relief” quite like Mickey Mouse and a churro. Or, if the price deters you, it’s a fun outing to go to Downtown Disney to gaze longingly towards Disneyland, get something to eat, and see the nightly fireworks for free. Discounted tickets for UCI students are available here, or by visiting the ASUCI office.
What: Orange County Fair
When: July 15-August 14
Where: Costa Mesa Fairgrounds
Train, Hunter Hayes, Lindsey Stirling, Andy Grammer, Phillip Phillips and Matt Nathanson are among the star-studded music lineup for 2016’s OC Fair, a yearly spectacle at the Costa Mesa Fairgrounds featuring games, rides, music, events and food — is it really summer if you don’t eat a fried Twinkie at the fair? Comedians Jim Gaffigan and Jeff Dunham will also perform at the Fairgrounds, rounding out the entertainment schedule.
What: 626 Night Market
When: July 22-24
Where: Santa Anita Race Track, Arcadia
What: OC Night Market
When: August 26-28
Where: Costa Mesa Fairgrounds
So. Much. Food. Having recently expanded to two different locations, this is the largest Asian market in America. If you can’t wait for the one in OC in August, you can drive out to the San Gabriel Valley (about an hour away from campus) and see the OG night market. Both locations host a huge variety of vendors of Asian food, and other types of street delicacies. There is usually live music, sometimes UCI students and dance crews, and other merchants and artists selling their wares. Bring cash!
What: U.S. Open
When: July 23-31
Where: Huntington Beach
Take a short drive over to Huntington Beach to watch some surfing, skating and BMX right on the beach. Vans runs the event, so representatives from the classic California skate company will be there, as well as other vendors. The event will feature movie screenings once it gets dark, so check the schedule for Toy Story and Indiana Jones.
What: DTLA Proud Festival
When: August 7
Where: Pershing Square, Downtown Los Angeles
This festival will bring together more than 40 community booths, a mainstage featuring dozens of local acts, and a pop-up water park to celebrate the growing LGBT community in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. The lineup for the festival includes the LA Trans Chorus, TransLatin@ Coalition, and Cazwell among dozens of other notable Los Angeles artists and DJs.
What: Echo Park Rising
When: August 18-21
Where: Echo Park
This free mega-concert and festival is held yearly in Echo Park to showcase some of the best musicians and talent in Southern California. Dozens of acts take multiple stages spread throughout the city, which means that on your way to each venue, you’ll have to explore everything Echo Park has to offer – vintage
shops, book stores, trendy restaurants and even a specialty “Time Travel Mart.” Most acts playing Echo Park Rising are indie bands; some are well-known, but many are up-and-coming local artists. You’re almost guaranteed to walk away with a handful of new favorite songs that not even your coolest friends have heard yet.
What: Sawdust Art & Craft Festival
When: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily until August 28
Where: Laguna Beach
As the name suggests, the floor is covered with sawdust and the space is filled with art. Artists display their works, some of which are for sale, as musicians provide the ambience for your browsing. Join the high-brow Laguna art society at this great outdoor festival just a few miles away from the beach. If you’re not that into art, they also have artisan ceramics, jewelry, and clothes (and what you really want, food and drinks).
What: Pokemon Go at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
When: August 28
Where: Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
If you haven’t played Pokemon Go yet, you might be living under a Geodude. The summer’s most irresistible gaming craze has already resulted in hundreds of meetups for “Pokemon trainers” nationwide — they are a great way to make new friends, or just a great way to catch tons of Pokemon in one place. Whatever your motivations, this upcoming meetup at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater might be the largest Pokemon Go gathering this summer in the vicinity of UCI.
What: Twilight Summer Concert Series on the Pier
When: Every Thursday night from July 7-September 18
Where: Santa Monica Pier
The long-running Twilight Concert Series at the Santa Monica Pier has returned in 2016 with an impressive musical lineup, made only more impressive by the fact that these weekly concerts are completely free and open to the public — though you’ll want to arrive early to get a decent view of the stage in front of the iconic Santa Monica ferris wheel. Upcoming acts include Psychedelic Furs and Day Wave (July 21), Rufus Du Sol and Mark Baker (Aug. 11), Mavis Staples (Aug. 18) and Unknown Mortal Orchestra (Sep. 1).