Need to mid-week roam? Ten things to do in Orange County past 9 p.m.

A Pizza Press employee crafts one of their signature pizzas, “The Times.” Photo Credit: Allison Camp

It’s 8:45 p.m. and freshman business major Divva Prem is busy googling on her computer. Studying? No, she’s finished that. She’s looking for something to do. Anything, to get her out of her Henley Hall dorm room.

To Prem, it seems like everything in Orange County shuts down after 9 p.m.  

“I don’t have the money to eat all the time,” she said, “So I can stay on campus, or go around spending money I don’t have.”

She’s not the only one. Katarina Trifunovic, a freshman communications major, said students seem reluctant to go to late night restaurants because of the cost. Students also sometimes feel guilty eating off campus because they’re not using their costly meal plans. Even if it’s just for simple desert, said Trifunovic.

What they want, of course, is that “wow” factor on a budget.

There are places to go, of course. You just have to know where to find them. Here is a list of local eating and/or drinking places that aren’t just your run-of-the-mill late night bites.


The first on this list is Afters, an ice cream shop in Tustin. It is only a 12-minute drive from campus, and well known for its milky buns: a glazed donut sandwich with ice cream inside. It is $5 for a milky bun, while a regular scoop of ice cream is $3.50. Some of the flavors available at the shop are Churro, Cookie Monster, and Triple C–which is a mix of caramel, chocolate chip and chocolate fudge. This shop is open from noon to midnight every day, including the weekdays.

13662 Newport Ave. Tustin.

A snapshot of the Afters menu

Night Bowling Lucky Strike

This place is a twist on your hometown’s classic bowling alley. Night Bowling Lucky Strike has more than just bowling; it has a full arcade and dinner options. The bowling alley is also equipped with neon lights and music videos that play at the end of the lane. Interestingly enough, the venue has a slight dress code, so call ahead to assure your attire is appropriate. Lucky Strike is open until 11a.m. to 2 a.m. 2 weekly, and is located at The District.

The Outlets at Orange, 20 City Blvd, Orange.

Dragonfly Tea Bar

This tea bar seems to be a college student fan favorite, since it is constantly teeming with studying students at any hour. It is open from 7:30 a.m. – 3 a.m. every day of the week. A major pull for some students is that the restaurant has free printing. It isn’t just a place to study; some students come around just to hang out because of the vast menu. This is true for Prem, who frequents the Dragonfly with her friends.

3533 E Chapman Ave, Orange.

Rock City Climbing Anaheim

This rock climbing gym is open until 11 p.m. on weekdays. It is run by a married couple who went rock climbing on their first date. You can be a beginner or advanced rock climber. Rock City offers a wide variety of walls to climb, from bouldering to top roping. A day pass is $15, while a pass for a month is $48 and it goes up from there. The gym also provide harnesses, shoes, and chalk for rent. You must complete a waiver before attending.  

5100 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim.


This ice cream chain is popular for its use of liquid nitrogen. Its whole concept is centered on creating your own ice cream–base included. It’s on the pricier side, with cups ranging from $4.75 to $9.00. It can also be a place to study, according to the manager, Memo, by trying to play softer music in hopes of digging up a study crowd. It is open from noon – 10 p.m.

13681 Newport Ave #7.

These machines combine raw ice cream ingredients with the power of science to create a unique and delicious dessert.

Late Night Movie

Century movie theater on Katella is the one of the closest theaters to Chapman University. The theater’s prices start at $9.50 after 6 p.m. and there is a student discount. The theater offers the latest movies, along with an arcade and multiple snack bars. This movie theater offers showings until 11 p.m. on weekdays.

1701 W Katella Ave, Orange.

Big Chopsticks

This store is known for its quick and easy deliveries. According to Prem, Big Chopsticks is good for late night Chinese food. The restaurants delivery service works past closing. But it happens to be a more expensive at $9.50 for Orange Chicken. Big Chopsticks is open from 10 a.m. – midnight.

3134 E Chapman Ave, Orange.

Eskape Rooms

Eskape Rooms is a small business in Irvine that is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays. On Fridays and Saturdays, Eskape Rooms is open until 12:30 a.m. It has a selection of two rooms for $30 per person. They have an three skill levels to choose from; novice, intermediate, and expert. Eskape Rooms recommends that customers come in groups.

2575 McCabe Way #150, Irvine.

The Hobbit

This restaurant is pricier, because it is the only fine dining choice on this list. The Hobbit was a home that converted into a restaurant, resembling something out of a J. R. R. Tolkien novel. The Hobbit organizes their courses into three acts, and pride themselves on a unique dining experience. It is open from 7 a.m. – 11 p.m. during the week.

2932 E Chapman Ave, Orange.

Plush Karaoke

This is an Irvine karaoke bar equipped with 19 private karaoke rooms that have a range of language selections. Their prices range if it’s a regular rate or happy hour which is from 3 p.m. – 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Plush also has an all you can sing rate Sunday through Thursday. The bar prefers reservations to walk-ins, and is open from 7 p.m. – 2 a.m. every day.

2710 Alton Parkway, Irvine.

Over 21 options

  1. Paul’s Cocktail Orange open until 2 a.m. 207 W Chapman Ave, Orange, CA 92866
  2. The District Lounge Orange open until 2 a.m. 223 W Chapman Ave, Orange, CA 92866
  3. Malarkey’s Irish Pub Newport open until 2 a.m. 3011 Newport Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92663
  4. Cassidy’s Bar and Grill Newport open until 2 a.m. 2603 Newport Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92663
  5. American Junkie Newport open until 1 a.m. 2406 Newport Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92663
  6. Stag Bar Newport open until 2 a.m. 121 Mcfadden Pl, Newport Beach, CA 92663
  7. Baja Sharkeez Newport open until 1:30 a.m. 114 Mcfadden Pl, Newport Beach, CA 92663
  8. Rudy’s Pub and Grill Newport open until midnight 3110 Newport Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92663
  9. Pineapple Hill Grill Tustin open until 2 a.m. Larwin Square, 654 E First St, Tustin, CA 92780
  10. The Fling Tustin open until 2 a.m. 2370 N Tustin Ave, Santa Ana, CA 92705
  11. The Swinging Door Tustin open until 2 a.m. 355 El Camino Real, Tustin, CA 92780

More under 21 options

  1. Harbor house café in Dana Point 24 hours 34157 Pacific Coast Hwy, Dana Point, CA 92629
  2. Class 302 Irvine open until midnight University Park Center, 18090 Culver Dr, Irvine, CA 92612
  3. Winchells Open 24 hours 272 N Tustin St, Orange, CA 92867
  4. Snow Monster Irvine open until midnight 4255 Campus Dr A124, Irvine, CA 92612
  5. Honeymee Irvine open until 11 p.m. 5414 Walnut Ave, Irvine, CA 92604
  6. Milk and Honey Costa Mesa open until 10  p.m. 2981 Bristol St B6, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
  7. Chapter One Santa Ana open until 2 a.m. 227 N Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 92701
  8. In-n-Out Orange open until 1:30 a.m. 3501 E Chapman Ave, Orange, CA 92869
  9. Albertacos Orange open 24 hours 878 N Glassell St, Orange, CA 92867
  10. Great park balloon open until 10 p.m. 6950 Marine Way, Irvine, CA 92618
  11. The Pie Hole open until midnight 177 N Glassell St, Orange, CA 92866
This is a classic place to satisfy a sweet tooth.
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