California’s Orange County (OC) offers visitors a wide range of experiences, from high-tech amusement and historical sites to world-class performing arts and a thriving culinary scene.
Famous for its epic coastline and year-round sunshine, it is certainly one of America’s most exciting west coast destinations.
While theme parks like the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim and Buena Park’s Knott’s Berry Farm amp up the fun meter, we’ve picked out a few of the other best places to visit. The guide will help you explore the OC depending on what kind of traveller you are.
For those who want to jumpstart the day with a gourmet cup of coffee while in Buena Park, the Stereoscope Coffee Company is the place to go. The micro-roaster brews up fresh coffee from their international selection that will help you get through your sightseeing day. Another great way to kick-off the day is a beachside brunch at Driftwood Kitchen, where you can soak in Laguna Beach’s seaside culture.
Image via Pour Vita Latin Flavor's Instagram page
When looking for a family-oriented meal in Buena Park, Pirate Dinner Adventures is an all-ages interactive dinner show where swashbuckling pirates sword fight, sing and dance aboard an 18th Century Spanish galleon in a huge lagoon. And if you’re passing through Anaheim, a top place to dine is Pour Vita Latin Flavor, a Latin-inspired restaurant featuring flavours from Puerto Rico and Mexico.
The culture vulture
Old Orange County Courthouse
In Anaheim, you can learn more about the city’s history and ethnic influences at Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center. And Buena Park, home to many of Orange County’s historical sites, is brimming with treasures from the past. The Buena Park Historic District Tour allows visitors to travel back in time to learn fun and historic facts about the area.
Then there’s Laguna Beach, the coastal art colony. The city is a gold mine for art, boasting over 25 art galleries around town. For example, the Laguna Gallery of Contemporary Art shows cutting-edge artwork from regional and international artists, introducing the beauty of mixed-medium art. Additionally, award-winning artist Ruth Mayer hosts her series of fine art works, with influences from different genres, in her personal space, the Ruth Mayer Gallery. As if that’s not enough, public art works are scattered around like pieces of treasure to be found.
The live entertainment enthusiast
Honda Center, the indoor arena located in Anaheim, is a major music venue, which has hosted acts from stars like Celine Dion and Mariah Carey. Live performance events like Disney on Ice take place there too. Plus, the arena is home to the Anaheim Ducks of the National Hockey League, so you can catch the 2007 Stanley Cup Champions scoring some goals on the ice during hockey season. For more sports related things to do in Anaheim, consider baseball, America's favourite pastime, and watch Baseball Major League team Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim play at Angel Stadium.
Anaheim House of Blues
At the Anaheim House of Blues, you can enjoy the live music performances from well-known and new artists, while having a bite to eat. Then there's Buena Park’s Rock and Brews, opened by Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and some friends, offers a new take on American cuisine, and is a great place to eat while listening to some energising beats.
'"Footloose"" at the Laguna Beach Playhouse
For well-known plays, dramas and musicals, check out what’s playing at the Laguna Beach Playhouse. Founded as a community theatre in the 1920s, it is home to the city's many art events such as the Laguna Dance Festival, Laguna Beach Music Festival and Laguna Concert Band.