Top Orange County Things to Do in July

Sunset-Jazz-Newport-Beach-photo-courtesy-Sunset-Jazz-Newport-Beach

Swing to the music this summer at the annual Sunset Jazz Newport Beach.

Outdoor foodie happenings, sunset movie nights and art festivals … See our list of the 30+ top Orange County things to do in July.

Edited by Whitney Lauren Han.

Bourbon Steak Fourth of July Sunset Package
July 4. Experience a premium tasting menu with wine pairings and a fireworks show at acclaimed Bourbon Steak at the Monarch Beach Resort. The VIP package includes a five-course dinner with signature Michael Mina dishes such as caviar parfait, Maine lobster potpie and American wagyu strip steak. Seating is extremely limited; reservations can be made by emailing aault@monarchbeachresort.com or by phone. 8 p.m. $350. One Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point, 949.234.3900. monarchbeachresort.com

 

Concert on the Green and Fireworks Festival
July 4. Enjoy a Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza by Pyro Spectaculars and live music by the Derek Bordeaux Group, as well as food trucks, field games, bounce houses and raffles at an event hosted by the Irvine Police Association. Gates open at 3 p.m., fireworks at 9 p.m. $15 adults, $10 children ages 2-12 and seniors 60+, free for kids under 2. Irvine High School stadium, 4321 Walnut Ave., Irvine, 949.724.0488. irvinepa.org

 

Fourth of July Hornblower Cruises
July 4. Celebrate Fourth of July on the water in Newport Beach. Choose from the Old Glory Boat Parade brunch with free-flowing champagne, a lavish brunch buffet and live entertainment, or a buffet dinner cruise complete with a DJ spinning tunes, libations and an all-American buffet. See website for departure times. Buffet Dinner Cruise: $115; Brunch cruise: $75; Observation Cruise: $78. Hornblower Cruises & Events, 2431 W. Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, 949.650.2412. hornblower.com

 

Fourth of July Parade and Pier Festival
July 4-5. Enjoy live entertainment, exhibitors, food vendors and family activities at this year’s festival, “United We Stand,” in Huntington Beach. Enjoy breakfast at Lake Park (7-10 a.m.), cheer on participants in the Surf City 5K run, visit Pier Plaza for entertainment and much more. End the day with a spectacular fireworks show over the ocean. See website for full schedule of events and locations. Fireworks at 9 p.m. See website for prices. Huntington Beach Pier, Pacific Coast Highway and Main Street, 325 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach, 714.536.5486. hb4thofjuly.org

 

Independence Day on the Bay
July 4. Come to the Back Bay for the annual Fourth of July celebration at Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina. Enjoy a jam-packed day of live music from some of the nation’s top tribute bands, an inflatable aquatic park, food trucks and a fireworks finale. Doors open at 2 p.m., 2:30-10 p.m. Free GA, $60 VIP table seating, $50 per car (street parking also available). 1131 Back Bay Drive, Newport Beach, 800.765.7661. newportdunes.com

 

All-American Fourth of July
July 4. Let freedom ring aboard the majestic Queen Mary with an Independence Day full of live entertainment, delicious food and family-friendly activities including strolling performers, carnival activities, and arts and crafts. The red, white and blue celebration is a shipwide event, culminating with Fourth of July fireworks above one of America’s shining seas. Considered one of SoCal’s best displays, the Queen Mary’s 15-minute fireworks show takes place at 9 p.m. off the stern and in sync to upbeat patriotic music. 3-10 p.m. $49 adults, $29 children ages 4-11, $119 VIP. 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach, 877.342.0742. queenmary.com

 

Festival-of-Arts-photo-by-Ron-Azevedo

Get tickets to the annual Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach.

Festival of Arts
Begins July 5. See a breathtaking showcase for artists and art lovers at California’s longest-running outdoor fine-art exhibition. The Festival of Arts features juried works by 140 artists in a wide variety of media including paintings, photography, printmaking, sculpture, jewelry, handcrafted wood, ceramics and glass. Enjoy nightly live music, jazz concerts, guided art tours, demonstrations and art workshops. M-F noon-11:30 p.m., Sa-Su 10 a.m.-11:30 p.m. $5-$15. 650 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, 949.494.1145. foapom.com

 

Artist Reception: Judit Csotsits
July 6. Avran Fine Art presents Undercurrents, featuring original acrylic work by Hungarian-born artist Judit Csotsits. Attendees can meet Csotsits and learn more about her work and technique at the opening reception that includes appetizers and wine. Please send your RSVP—not required but appreciated—to margo@avranart.com. 6-9 p.m. 540 S. Coast Hwy., Suite 106, Laguna Beach, 949.494.0900. avranart.com

 

Drag Me to Brunch
July 7.
Grab a mimosa and have a fabulous time with acclaimed drag entertainers at Mozambique’s monthly brunch extravaganza. Guest talents include Willemina Caviar, G Licious G, Raquel Blake and Shae Shae Lareese. They bring celebrity impersonations, high-energy dance, comedy and drama. Ages 18+. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. $45 presale, $55 at the door. 1740 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, 949.715.7777. mozambiqueoc.com

 

Pageant of the Masters
July 7-Aug. 31. The renowned unique production of tableaux vivants (“living pictures”) presents faithful re-creations of classical and contemporary works of art. Real people pose to look exactly like their counterparts in the original pieces. This summer’s production is themed The Time Machine. Live narration and a full orchestra accompany each full-stage vignette. Daily 8:30 pm. $15-$178. 650 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, 949.494.1145. foapom.com

 

Domaine Carneros Wine Dinner
July 9. Executive chef Jesus Mendoza and the culinary team at 21 Oceanfront present an exclusive wine dinner featuring Domaine Carneros wine pairings. Menu highlights include octopus carpaccio with pickled peach, dilled potato and preserved Meyer lemon; pan-fried New Zealand Sea Bream; Australian waygu New York steak; seared jumbo scallop; and summer Pavlova with graham cracker crème fraiche, strawberry and blackberry confit, smoked cinnamon custard and Valrhona chocolate. Reservations required. 6:30 p.m. $125 (excludes tax and gratuity). 2100 W. Oceanfront, Newport Beach, 949.673.2100. 21oceanfront.com

 

"The Phantom of the Opera" photo by Matthew Murphy

Fall in love with “The Phantom of the Opera” at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

The Phantom of the Opera
June 10-21. Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s famed musical at Segerstrom Center for the Arts features new staging and stunning scenic design. The cast and orchestra of 52 make this one of the largest touring productions in North America. See website for showtimes. $35+. Segerstrom Hall, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, 714.556.2787. scfta.org

 

Sunset Jazz Newport Beach
July 10-Sept. 18. The Jazz Cruise and Blue Note at Sea—the only full-size charter cruises dedicated to “Straight-Ahead & Contemporary Jazz”—and jazz impresarios Joe Rothman and John McClure present an 11-week series on Wednesday nights at the Rose Garden and Seaview Terrace of the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa. Performances from 6-8:30 p.m. See website for lineup and ticket prices. 900 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, 949.759.5003. sunsetjazzatnewport.com

 

VidCon
July 10-13.
The 10th anniversary of the world’s largest event featuring digital video and online creators takes place at the Anaheim Convention Center. Attendees enjoy live performances, panels, interactive experiences, fan-creator meet-and-greets and innovative brand activations. See website for full schedule and prices. 800 W. Katella Ave., Anaheim. vidcon.com

 

Movie Night Summer Series
July 11. The Queen Mary presents a monthly movie-night series.This month, enjoy a screening of the American musical romantic comedy Grease; Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands come August 22. Food trucks and a full bar are available during screenings. Date-night packages include VIP seating for two, Champagne, assorted snacks and cocktail service. 6-10 p.m. Free, $75 VIP. 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach, 877.342.0742. queenmary.com

 

Chefs Collaborative Dinner
July 12. Executive chefs Istvan Toth of Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse and Brian Huskey of Tackle Box join forces for an exclusive dinner at Davio’s in Irvine. The five-course menu includes chef Istvan Toths’s prosciutto scarpinocc, crispy prosciutto and Parmigiano rosemary brodo; and chef Brian Huskey’s grilled ribeye cap, potatoes pave, summer vegetables and uni butter. Pastry chef Lena Hunyh presents the dessert course: a sweet milk panna cotta, rose-poached rhubarb and mulberries. 5-10 p.m. $89, wine pairings available for additional cost. 18420 Von Karman Ave., Irvine, 949.477.4810. davios.com

 

O.C. Brew Hee Haw
July 12-13. After last year’s record-breaking event, the craft-beer fest returns opening weekend at the O.C. Fair. This year’s edition features unlimited tastings from more than 80 breweries, dancing, a commemorative glass and free admission to the fair. 21+. Tasting sessions: F 8-11 p.m., Sa 1:30-4:30 p.m., Su 7:30-10:30 p.m.; VIP entry one hour prior to GA sessions. See website for ticket prices OC Fair, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, 714.708.1500. ocbrewheehaw.com

 

O.C. Fair
July 12-Aug. 11. Bring the family to enjoy action sports (rodeo, BMX, pig racing), tribute bands in the Hangar, a carnival with rides, La Grande Wheel, livestock competitions, agricultural displays, a petting zoo, wine tasting and, of course, deep-fried everything at the O.C. Fair. Concerts at the Pacific Amphitheatre include artists such as Earth, Wind & Fire; Hunter Hayes; Trevor Noah; Straight No Chaser and more. M-Tu closed; W-F noon-midnight; Sa-Su 11 a.m.-midnight. $7-$14 adults; free for children under 5; $10 parking (cash only). 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, 714.708.1500. ocfair.com

 

Rock the Queen
July 13. Rock out to your favorite 1960s and ’80s hits aboard the Queen Mary. Some of SoCal’s best British tribute bands perform on three different stages, among them the Who Generation, Britain’s Finest, Arena, These Handsome Devils and the Cured. Expect a 1960s culture clash inside the Grand Salon, an underground 1980s rendezvous below deck in the Exhibition Hall, multiple bars and an outdoor pub. 7 p.m.-1 a.m. $35 per person (ages 4 and up), $20 on-site parking per vehicle. 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach, 877.342.0742. queenmary.com

 

Guo Pei: Couture Beyond
Through July 14. View the West Coast premiere of a fashion exhibition by world-renowned Chinese couture designer Guo Pei before it leaves Bowers Museum. For more than 20 years, Guo Pei has been dressing celebrities, royalty and politicians around the globe. The show features more than 40 breathtaking pieces from her runway shows, masterpieces that underline the artist’s impact on the fashion world. Tu-Su 10 a.m.-4 p.m. See website for ticket prices. 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, 714.567.3600. bowers.org

 

O.C.-Burger-Week-photo-courtesy-Moxxe-PR

Feast on all types of burgers from 50 restaurants during O.C. Burger Week.

O.C. Burger Week
July 14-20. Burger lovers, rejoice! The Fork Report presents Orange County’s inaugural burger week, featuring burgers from 50 participating restaurants countywide, among them Braizen Sexy Sandwiches, Fable & Spirit, Great Maple, Habana Irvine, JT Schmid’s, Mozambique, Orange Hill Restaurant, Pacific Hideaway, Salt Creek Grille and Tanner’s Huntington Beach. Burgers range from classic to creative, from beef to plant-based proteins; menus are priced at $10, $15 and $20, luxe burger menus at $25 and $30. burgerweek.com

 

Orange County Designer Camp
July 15-19. The Chuck Jones Center for Creativity invites young creatives between the ages 11 and 17 to a summer camp offering a behind-the-scenes look at the world of design. Topics include art, branding, fashion, interior design, photography, styling and trend forecasting. Students work in teams on a design project that will be presented to parents and the local design community. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. $795. SOCO & the OC Mix, 3303 Hyland Ave., Costa Mesa, 424.333.0329. designercamp.com

 

Cheese and Charcuterie Backyard Party
July 17. Known for its award-winning cheese and charcuterie offerings, SideDoor collaborates with the Bruery at this biannual event. Specializing in barrel-aged and experimental ales, the Orange County-based craft brewery offers beer pairings to complement superb cheeses. 5:30-8:30 p.m. $70. 3801 E. Coast Hwy., Corona Del Mar, 949.717.4322. sidedoorcdm.com

 

San Clemente Ocean Festival
July 20-21. Competitions, beach runs, body-surfing clinics, a fishing derby, a woody car exhibit, an ocean art show and children’s events mark more than 40 years of “The Greatest Show on Surf!” See website for more information. San Clemente Pier, San Clemente, 949.440.6141. oceanfestival.org

 

Happy Hour Yoga and Hot Yoga
July 25 and 27. Get grounded and connected at two summer yoga classes set amid the beauty of Sherman Library & Gardens. Come for the happy hour yoga Thursday to experience hatha yoga (all levels) and meditation  and end with a restful, restorative Savasana pose. After class, enjoy a glass of wine and wander the gardens. On Sunday, build strength and balance in the humid and sweetly scented environment enjoyed by the orchids, bromeliads, koi fish and turtles. Bring a mat, small towel and water. Happy hour yoga: 6-8 p.m., Hot yoga: 9 a.m. Happy hour yoga: $20 members, $25 non-members; hot yoga: $15 members, $20 non-members. 2647 E. Coast Hwy., Corona del Mar, 949.673.2261. slgardens.org

 

Zac Brown Band
July 25-26. The Grammy Award-winning American country band takes the stage for two nights at the FivePoint Amphitheatre. The special guest is jazz band Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, led by trombonist-trumpeter Trombone Shorty. Doors open 7 p.m. See website for prices. 14800 Chinon, Irvine, 949.988.6800. fivepointamphitheatre.com

 

O.C. Meets Napa
July 27. More than 60 Orange County restaurants participate in the annual Latino-influenced festival of food, wine, live entertainment and activities. Chefs, vintners and winemakers from Napa and Baja come together to offer up some of their best bites and sips. VIP reception 6-7 p.m., GA 7-10 p.m. $125 before June 30, $150 GA. Mission San Juan Capistrano, 26801 Ortega Hwy., San Juan Capistrano, 323.622.2405. altamed.com

 

Vans U.S. Open of Surfing
July 27-Aug. 4. The world’s largest pro surfing competition also includes events featuring the world’s most respected skate and BMX professionals, a beach-lifestyle festival, autograph signings and community movie nights. 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Free. Huntington Beach Pier, Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach. vansusopenofsurfing.com

 

Vegan-Faire-photo-courtesy-Vegan-Faire

Indulge in vegan bites at Healthy Junk’s annual Vegan Faire along Center Street in Anaheim.

Vegan Faire
July 27. Renowned vegan comfort eatery Healthy Junk hosts its sixth annual Vegan Faire, themed “We are the World,” with live entertainment representing cultures from around the world along palm-lined and market-light-illuminated Center Street Anaheim. The event features more than 100 curated vegan cuisine booths and local artisans with an emphasis on sustainability. Festivalgoers can unwind in a second music area with a tropical beverage at a beer garden hosted by the nonprofit Anaheim Fall Festival. 4-10 p.m. Free. Center Street Promenade, Anaheim. veganfaire.com

 

Knott’s Soak City Water Park
Ongoing. Catch a break from the heat at the 15-acre water park Knott’s Soak City. Have fun on seven different waterslide experiences, four of them on a 60-foot tower. Other attractions include the Gremmie Lagoon, Tidal Wave Bay, the 1/3-mile Sunset River and the three-story Beach House, which features 200 water guns, nozzles, sprayers and other interactive surprises. See website for operating hours, which vary and are subject to change. Knott’s Berry Farm, 8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, 714.220.5200. knotts.com

 

Laguna Art-A-Fair
Ongoing. This annual juried art festival features works by 125 artists in a wide array of media including painting, drawing, photography, digital art, mixed media, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, glass and wood. Weekends bring live entertainment. Su-Th 10 a.m.-9 p.m., F-Sa 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (closes 6 p.m. on July 4 and Sept. 2). $7-$9. 777 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, 949.494.4514. art-a-fair.com

 

O.C. Parks Summer Concert Series
Ongoing. Rock out to local and national artists at outdoor concerts Thursday nights throughout the summer. Venues includes Craig Regional Park, Mason Regional Park, Irvine Regional Park, Mile Square Regional Park and Bluff Park at Salt Creek Beach. Among the featured artists are Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Sega Genecide and the Fenians. All concerts 6-8 p.m. Concertgoers 21+ can purchase beer and wine at the beer tent. 5-8 p.m. Free. See website for schedule and locations. 714.973.6865. ocparks.com

 

O.C. Parks Sunset Cinema
Ongoing. Pack a picnic, blankets and beach chairs for a family film series presenting 14 screenings in regional parks. The series kicks off with Disney’s Zootopia. Food trucks will be on-site. See website for list of events. Films begin at approximately 8 p.m. Free entrance and parking. Carbon Canyon Park, 4442 Carbon Canyon Road, Brea, 714.973.6865. ocparks.com

 

Pirate Coast Paddle Co. Glow Tours
Beginning June 21. Spend a summer evening on an LED-light-adorned paddleboard or kayak on the bay; see marine life only visible at night on this excursion held Friday and Saturday nights through Labor Day. Cocktails and dinner at Back Bay Bistro follow. See website for availability. $45 per session. 1131 Back Bay Drive, Newport Beach, 949.278.0011. piratecoastpaddle.com

 

Sawdust Art Festival
Ongoing. View works by 200 Laguna Beach artists in mediums including glass, painting, jewelry, ceramics, clothing and textiles, sculpture, scrimshaw and photography. Event highlights include demos, kids activities, outdoor cafes and live music in the eucalyptus grove. Daily 10 am-10 pm (closes 6 p.m. on July 4). $4-$9. 935 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, 949.494.3030. sawdustartfestival.org

 

Sculptures by Gwynn Murrill
Ongoing. Sculptures by Gwynn Murrill is the first exhibition to present work spanning the artist’s entire career, from the early 1970s to today. Curated by Elizabeth Rooklidge, it features 20 works by the Los Angeles-based Murrill. F-Tu 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Th 11 a.m.-9 p.m. $7 GA, $5 students and seniors. 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach, 949.494.8971. lagunaartmuseum.org

 

Photos: Courtesy Sunset Jazz Newport Beach; “The Phantom of the Opera,” Matthew Murphy; O.C. Burger Week courtesy Moxxe PR; courtesy Vegan Faire

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