California, the golden state, home to a diverse group of people with many different interests and hobbies. Orange County has been my home for my entire life. I have grown up in the heart of Orange County living around Anaheim for nearly 3 decades. Over the years, I have seen many changes occur, new buildings appear, old ones demolished, and tons of new businesses and events emerge. Orange County is a wonderful place to live, and the amount of activities that can be located in and around the area are endless.
Anywhere you are headed to from Orange County can be accessible within a 1-2 hour drive. During the summer, beaches are the hot spot (pun intended) People flock every summer to our beaches along the west coast and there are a wide variety to choose from. The beaches around Newport and Laguna are extremely nice, clean and are not as full and there are plenty of places for water sport rentals. If you are looking to catch some waves, Huntington, Seal and Bolsa Chica State Beach have some pretty nice waves, although the water is typically colder than other places. Huntington Beach also has a dog-friendly beach perfect for pet parents looking to cool off and have some fun with their dogs. Long Beach is not a preferred beach to play in the water as 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 a ton of activities to do in all the surrounding cities. Downtown areas are always flocking with people interested in grabbing a few drinks, hitting the clubs… or both. Downtown Fullerton is pretty frequently travelled by college-goers and young adults alike. There are a number of different bars to check out with very competitive prices, happy hours and lots of different types of music. There are also a number of breweries nearby for those not as interested in partying as they are in catching up with some old friends. Like Downtown Fullerton, the same goes for Downtown Anaheim, Downtown Santa Ana, Downtown Orange and even the new, revamped Downtown Buena Park.
There are quite a few places to eat and many different styles to choose from. Depending on what you’re craving I will say from personal experience that different cities cater to different ethnicities more than others. For example and from personal preference, if you are looking from some great noodles dishes then Westminster, Irvine and Tustin are pretty popular for their asian dishes. Ramen, Pho, Korean BBQ and the like I feel are made best 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 places in Westminster. 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 some delicious food there are many things for entertainment to be found scattered throughout Orange County.
Starting off with our amusement parks — We are central to not only Disneyland but also Knott’s Berry Farm and during the summer Knott’s Soak City. Besides amusement parks we have a ton of movie theatres nearby ranging from basic to 4D screens involving special effects, lighting and environment interaction. Escape Rooms are interactive group/team-building brain games that have been growing in popularity in Orange County. A few of my favorite companies are Crossroads, Puzzlebox and Square Room Escape. Again, from personal experience, these are all pretty immersive and are a lot more fluid in terms of how well the hints connect to each other. For more sporty activities, there are a couple 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 of the surrounding cities. The Outlets of Orange (formerly known as the Block) as well as the Anaheim Plaza are two great shopping centers with a number of different genres. Both are outdoors mainly and if you’re looking for a few indoor malls, Westminster, Brea and even Cerritos have huge malls jam-packed full with different shops. With all the shopping, eating and wandering around what about places to stay?
There are a number of hotels, motels, boutiques, and privately ran airbnbs to choose from. Almost any where you stay there are tons of the previously mentioned things to do and see within minutes. A lot of these places offer competitive prices, great amenities, discounts and tips on how to spend your time here.
As you can see, the limits are endless in Orange County. You can do just about anything your heart desires from hiking, sightseeing, entertainment, eating, nightlife and more. As we head further into the future, we will only see more and more development appear. With the list of activities and population growing there will only be more and more things to do. Orange County is truly an amazing place and many travellers who end up here have told me just how satisfying their trips were.