City of Orange
Just across the Santa Ana River is the City of Orange, a unique piece of city planning. The center of the city is situated around a roundabout and is shaped like, you guessed it, an orange! The circle surrounds Plaza Park, which is the heart of Orange and the site of the annual Orange International Street Fair. This multicultural food and music festival celebrates the city’s diversity and came from community efforts to help make the City for Orange Circle more beautiful. Today, all proceeds from this one-of-a-kind event go back into community non-profit organizations. This area is in the heart of Old Towne Orange, which draws visitors from around Southern California to visit the Orange Circle Antique Mall.
Where the Fun Is
There are some great attractions here worth crossing over from Anaheim for. There’s the Hilbert Museum of California Art, a showcase of art from all in-state artists.
The Stadium Promenade offers spectacular views of Honda Center in Anaheim and the bar scene at the Promenade turns especially lively on nights when the Anaheim Ducks® and Angels® are playing.
The Outlets at Orange is Orange County’s original outlet mall and still one of the largest shopping centers in Southern California. This charming open-air mall boasts over a hundred storefronts selling designer goods at discount prices. This is the closest place to the Disneyland® Resort to do some major shopping with major savings.
In the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains, lies some of the best outdoor recreation in Southern California. Santiago Oaks offers rewarding hikes of various intensities.
A Glance at the Past
Old Towne Orange Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places. This charming neighborhood has the second-highest concentration of historic buildings of any part of California. The craftsman homes and bungalows preserve the look of old Southern California. Because of the charm and preserved neighborhoods, many films set in the past are shot here. Exploring the antique shops and quaint eateries in historic buildings is a trip back in time.
Dana Point remains an overlooked treasure in Southern California. While the state is known for its fast-paced cities and thrilling attractions, Dana Point is where you go for a more relaxed pace of travel. You can walk along the beaches that surround the quaint village that has sprung up around them.
Just on the other side of Anaheim’s Harbor Boulevard lies Garden Grove. Garden Grove is a vibrant Southern California city in the middle of all the action.
There are many great surf towns on the Orange County coast, but few are as famous as Huntington Beach. In fact, Huntington Beach, also known as Surf City USA, hosts the annual Vans US Open of Surfing.
A trip to Orange County isn’t complete without a visit to Laguna Beach. Laguna is a refined upscale beach city, regularly listed as one of the most desirable places to live in the United States. It’s the Hollywood star residents and their ocean-view mansions that have earned this area’s nickname, “The Gold Coast.”
From strolling around Balboa Island grabbing a frozen banana to basking in the seaside charm, Newport Beach is Orange County’s most family-friendly beach city.
While Orange County is one of the most urbanized parts of California, San Clemente is where the development takes a little break. Here, the Pacific Coast Highway enters a long stretch of emptiness and the traffic of I-5 becomes a bit more relaxed. The beaches here are less crowded, have great surfing, are relatively quiet and many feature seaside campsites.
Seal Beach is the first taste of Orange County that travelers get when they are driving down the coast. Just off the Pacific Coast Highway, visitors can catch a glance at the iconic wooden Seal Beach Pier and head straight to Main Street, which features dozens of shops and eateries along a picturesque strip that’s just a few blocks long.