What to do when traveling to Orange County, places to visit, things to do, food to eat, sightseeing
California, the golden state, home to a diverse group of people with different interests and hobbies. Orange County has been my home for my entire life. I grew up in the heart of Orange County living around Anaheim for almost 3 decades. Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of change happen, new buildings appear, old ones demolished, and tons of new businesses and events pop up. Orange County is a wonderful place to live and the number of activities that can be done in and around the area is endless.
Anywhere you go is accessible from Orange County in a 1-2 hour drive. During the summer, the beaches are the hot spot (pun intended) People flock to our beaches along the West Coast each summer and there is a wide variety to choose from. The beaches around Newport and Laguna are extremely nice, clean and not that crowded and there are plenty of places to rent water sports. If you’re looking to catch some waves, Huntington, Seal, and Bolsa Chica State Beach have pretty nice waves, though the water is usually cooler than elsewhere. Huntington Beach also has a dog friendly beach, perfect for pet parents looking to cool off and have fun with their dogs. Long Beach is not a favorite beach to play in the water since the ports are located here and the water is not very sanitary (personal opinion)
For those of you looking for some nightlife, Orange County is filled with tons of activities to do in all the surrounding cities. Downtown areas are always full of people interested in having a few drinks, hitting the clubs … or both. Downtown Fullerton is visited quite frequently by both college students and young adults. There are several different bars to visit with very competitive prices, happy hours, and many different types of music. There are also several nearby breweries for those who aren’t as keen on partying as catching up with some old friends. Like downtown Fullerton, so does downtown Anaheim, downtown Santa Ana, downtown Orange, and even the new and renovated downtown Buena Park.
There are quite a few places to eat and many different styles to choose from. Depending on what you yearn for, I will say from personal experience that different cities cater to different ethnicities more than others. For example, and by personal preference, if you are looking for great noodle dishes, Westminster, Irvine, and Tustin are quite popular for their Asian dishes. Ramen, Pho, Korean BBQ and things like that, I think they are better prepared in these cities. A couple of my favorite places by type / city / service would be: AYCE Korean BBQ – Star BBQ (Westminster), Cham Sut Gol (Westminster) and Mr. BBQ (Fullerton). Pho – iPho (Anaheim), Pho Thang Long (Westminster) – and most Westminster locations. American: Fuddruckers (Buena Park), Buffalo Wild Wings (Buena Park / Orange), The Cheesecake Factory (Anaheim), Islands Bar & Grill (Cypress / Fullerton) or Lazy Dogs Cafe (Brea). Beyond eating delicious food, there are plenty of things for entertainment to be found throughout Orange County.
Starting with our amusement parks: We are the center of not only Disneyland, but also Knott’s Berry Farm and during the summer of Knott’s Soak City. In addition to amusement parks, we have plenty of movie theaters nearby ranging from basic to 4D screens that involve special effects, lighting, and interaction with the environment. Escape Rooms are interactive group / team brain games that have been gaining popularity in Orange County. Some of my favorite companies are Crossroads, Puzzlebox, and Square Room Escape. Again, from personal experience, these are all quite immersive and much more fluid in terms of how well the suggestions connect to each other. For more sporty activities, there are a couple of places in Anaheim and Santa Ana for indoor rock climbing like Rock City, Rockreation, and Factory.
If you are looking to go shopping, there are countless places in all the surrounding cities. The Outlets of Orange (formerly known as The Block) and Anaheim Plaza are two large malls with a variety of different genres. Both are primarily outdoors and if you are looking for some indoor malls, Westminster, Brea, and even Cerritos have large malls packed with different stores. With all the shopping, dining, and walks, what about the places to stay?
There are several private hotels, motels, boutiques, and airbnbs to choose from. Almost anywhere you stay, there are tons of the things mentioned above to do and see in minutes. Many of these places offer competitive prices, great amenities, discounts, and tips on how to spend time here.
As you can see, the limits are infinite in Orange County. You can do just about anything you want from hiking, sightseeing, entertainment, food, nightlife, and more. As we move into the future, we will only see more and more development appear. With the list of activities and population growth, there will only be more and more things to do. Orange County is truly an amazing place and many travelers who end up here have told me how satisfying their travels were.