Orange County, CA Welcome to the land of vacations! We have miles of beaches to explore, world famous attractions such as Disneyland and Knott's Theme Park, hundreds of fashion-setting stores and boutiques to be explored, and restaurants, cafes and microbreweries to suit every taste.
Orange County is located approximately 30 miles south of downtown Los Angeles and 90 miles north of San Diego. Its central location makes it an excellent place to base a Southern California vacation. The county itself spans over 700 square miles of some of the best known and exciting sights in California.
The Orange County area has evolved into a world-class, 21st century resort. California is known as an ever-changing land and this Southern California destination is no exception. From the massive Anaheim Convention Center, recently expanded 40% to the $1.4 billion Disney project, Disney's California Adventure, Downtown Disney and the new luxury hotel the Grand Californian, a new look has taken shape throughout this resort district.
GEOGRAPHY: Orange County encompasses an area of 798 square miles with 42 miles of coastline and beaches. There are 34 incorporated cities within its boundaries, including Anaheim, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Irvine, Santa Ana, Costa Mesa and Buena Park.
CLIMATE: Average temperature is 70 degrees. Summers are moderate to hot with cool evenings. Winters are mild with little rain. Rainfall averages 13 inches annually.
AIR ACCESS & AIRPORT FACILITIES: Los Angeles International Airport, 31 miles, 50 minutes from Anaheim; John Wayne/Orange County Airport, 16 miles, 25 minutes from Anaheim; Ontario Airport, 27 miles, 45 minutes from Anaheim; Long Beach Airport, 20 miles, 30 minutes from Anaheim.
Ground Transportation: There are 8 transportation companies that service the Orange County area, offering daily delivery and pick-up from all major airports, harbors and train stations. Services range from shuttles to chartered limousines. Visitors can also choose from a variety of car/van rental agencies in Orange County.
Attraction Shuttles: Several charter bus companies offer transfers or shuttles from local hotels to famous attractions in Orange County and Los Angeles, including Disneyland, Knott's Theme Park, Universal Studios and the J. Paul Getty Museum.
Shopping Shuttles: Westfield Shoppingtown MainPlace, South Coast Plaza, The Block at Orange, Ontario Mills and Desert Premium outlets offer visitors daily shuttles from most Anaheim area hotels.
Sightseeing Tours: There are several transportation companies that service Southern California, offering a wide variety of tours outside of Orange County. Tours include SeaWorld Adventure Park in San Diego, LEGOLAND, Los Angeles/Hollywood, Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, Tijuana, Mexico, Big Sur, San Francisco and more.
ACCOMMODATIONS: Anaheim/Orange County has an inventory of 50,141 rooms (nearly 20,000 rooms in Anaheim alone) ranging from fine family-oriented properties for the budget-conscious traveler to elegant, full-service, luxury, 5-star hotels. Nearly half of the 20,000 rooms in Anaheim surround the Anaheim Convention Center and are within walking distance of Disneyland. The city of Anaheim adds a transient occupancy tax of 15% to the nightly room rate.
RESTAURANTS: Anaheim/Orange County offers a feast of international and continental cuisine restaurants from five-star restaurants to quaint boardwalk cafes. Collectively, there are over 60 restaurants and cocktail lounges in the immediate area of the Anaheim Convention Center, including everything from elegant dining at Napa Rose in Disney's Grand Californian Hotel to the casual atmosphere of J.T. Schmid's Brewhouse & Eatery to the family-oriented Coco's Restaurant. Downtown Disney and The Block at Orange are within minutes from the Anaheim Convention Center offering a variety of themed and elegant dining for families, groups or small meetings.
Performing Arts, Music and Theaters: Orange County is home to 50 theaters, including the 3,000-seat Orange County Performing Arts Center, which features world-class performances such as the New York City Ballet. South Coast Repertory, Fullerton Civic Light Opera Company, Good Time Theatre, The Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim and Verizon Wireless Amphitheater feature musicals and operettas as well as top-name musical entertainment. The Grove of Anaheim and House of Blues feature a more intimate setting with acts ranging from amphitheater headliners to stars from Las Vegas and hit television series. Dinner theaters in the area include Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament, Wild Bill's Wild West Dinner Extravaganza, Joey & Maria's Comedy Italian Wedding and Tibbie's Music Hall. Nightclubs range from quiet piano bars to jazz and pop ensembles, from country western to rock-and-roll clubs. Also, more than a dozen colleges and universities in the Orange County area offer a wide array of exceptional entertainment.
Variety Entertainment Centers: Downtown Disney (714/781-4565), The Block at Orange (714/769-4000), Irvine Spectrum Center (949/789-9180), and the Stadium Promenade in Anaheim (714/288-9845) are popular entertainment options, featuring restaurants, movie theaters, video game arcades, retail stores and special attractions all in one complete complex.
Major Shopping Centers: South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa (800/782-8888); Fashion Island in Newport Beach (800/495-4753); and Westfield Shoppingtown MainPlace in Santa Ana (714/547-7800).
Variety Shopping/Entertainment Centers: Downtown Disney (714/781-4565); The Block at Orange (714/769-4000); and Irvine Spectrum Center (949/789-9180).
Additional Shopping: Anaheim Plaza (714/429-3002); Enderle Center in Santa Ana (714/731-2911); The Lab Anti-Mall in Costa Mesa (714/996-6660); Loehmann's 5 Points Plaza in Huntington Beach (714/841-0036); The Market Place in Tustin/Irvine (714/730-4124); and South Coast Plaza Village in Costa Mesa (714/435-2050).
Specialty Shopping: Antique Historical District/City of Orange (714/997-1370); and Asian Garden Mall and Cultural Court (in Westminster (714/891-2122).
Outlet/Discount Shopping: Anaheim Indoor Marketplace (714/999-0888); Citadel Factory Stores in Commerce (323/888-1784); Costco Wholesale in Fullerton (738-7520); Desert Hills Premium Outlets in Cabazon (909/849-5018); International Marketplace/Indoor Swap meet in Stanton (714/527-1112); and The Lake Elsinore Outlet Center (909/245-4989).
Anaheim Museum, 241 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, 714/778-3301. The history of Anaheim's original German settlers, the establishment of Anaheim as a wine and citrus colony and the early Disneyland days are depicted in changing exhibits.
The Bowers Museum of Cultural Art and Kidseum, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, 714/567-3600. Bowers is dedicated to the preservation, study and exhibition of the fine arts of indigenous peoples and focuses on the artworks of Pre-Columbian, Oceanic, Native American and Pacific Rim cultures. The museum is one of California's largest cultural institutions with over 70,000 objects in its collection. Kidseum is an 11,000-square-foot, hands-on, interactive center, which is part of The Bowers Museum. The center offers exciting programs six days a week where children can experience and celebrate the beauty, ceremony and history of several cultures through storytelling, puppet theater and an international marketplace of handicrafts from around the world.
Discovery Science Center, 2500 N. Main St., Santa Ana, 714/542-CUBE (2823). Designed for inquisitive people who enjoy a challenge, Discovery Science Center -the "Amusement Park for Your Mind" - is the place to be inspired to learn more about the world by experiencing scientific phenomena in a fun and entertaining way. Play with more than 100 interactive exhibits and engage in live science shows. Lie on a bed of 3,000 nails, create an animated movie where you are the star, design a space station, race a Martian rover over extraterrestrial terrain, and more.
Laguna Art Museum, 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach, 949/494-6531. Located on a bluff above the Pacific Ocean at the corner of Cliff Drive and Pacific Coast Highway, the museum exists as a separate entity, independent of the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA), yet shares equal collection rights with OCMA. The museum is committed to advancing the interest and knowledge of the historical, contemporary and emerging arts and artists of California with an emphasis on the art of Southern California.
Mission San Juan Capistrano, 31882 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, 949/248-2048. One of the original 21 missions, founded November 1, 1776 by Father Junipero Serra, this "Jewel of the Missions" houses the oldest building still in use in California, the Serra Chapel. It receives worldwide attention every March 19 "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano."
Museum of Latin American Art (MoLAA), 628 Alamitos Drive, Long Beach, 562/437-1689. Founded in 1996 and located in Long Beach, MoLAA is the only museum in the Western United States that exclusively features contemporary Latin American fine art from Mexico, Central and South America, and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. MoLAA features a permanent collection, special exhibits, educational workshops and a broad range of cultural activities. For more information, call 562/437-1689.
Orange County Museum of Art, 850 San Clemente Drive, Newport Beach, and 3333 Bristol Street, Costa Mesa, 949/759-1122. Formed in 1996 through the merger of Laguna and Newport Harbor Arts Museums, the museum features a permanent 6,500-work collection of California paintings, sculpture, photographs, prints, drawings and installations by renowned masters of twentieth century art and by rising young artists of the 1990s, as well as an array of changing exhibitions and stimulating educational programs.
The Petersen Automotive Museum, 6060 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, 323/964-6344. The museum showcases lifelike dioramas where guests can walk through and experience exhibits that trace the history of the automobile and its influence on the culture and lifestyle of Southern California. Also on display are over 100 racecars, classic cars, hot rods, motorcycles, and movie and celebrity cars. For more information, call 323/930-CARS.
Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace, 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd., Yorba Linda, 714/993-3393. Just a short 15-minute drive from Anaheim, the Library offers an opportunity to explore over 40 years of contemporary history and experience a domestic and international journey through exciting and often tumultuous periods presented via film, interactive video displays, exhibits, never-before-displayed photographs, memorabilia and recreations reflective of the former president's public and private life.
Professional Sports: The 45,050-seat Edison International Field of Anaheim is home to Major League Baseball's Anaheim Angels (714/634-2000), April through October. The National Hockey League's Mighty Ducks of Anaheim face off at the 19,200-seat Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, (714/704-2500), October through April.
Golf courses: There are more than 45 public and private golf courses throughout the county including: Anaheim Hills Golf Course (714/998-3041); Coyote Hills Golf Course in Fullerton (714/672-6800); Dad Miller Golf Course in Anaheim (714/765-3481); Eagle Glen Golf Club in Corona (909/272-4653); Hidden Valley Golf Club in Norco (909/737-1010); The Islands Golf Center in Anaheim (714/630-7888); Monarch Beach Golf Links in Dana Point (949/240-8247); Oak Creek Golf Club Golf Club in Irvine (800/555-1982); Pelican Hill in Newport Beach (800/555-1982); Strawberry Farms in Irvine (949/551-2560); Tijeras Creek Golf Club in Rancho Santa Margarita (949/589-9793); Talega Golf Club in San Juan Capistrano (800/555-1982); Tustin Ranch Golf Club (714/730-1611); and Westridge Golf Club in La Habra (562/690-4200).
Tennis is available at many hotels including the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel and Tennis Club featuring 10 championship courts and the Hyatt Newporter offering the John Wayne Tennis Club. Anaheim also offers more than 50 public tennis courts (714/765-5233).
The Orange County Fairgrounds is home to the Orange County Fair, which runs each July. The fairgrounds also offer a farmers market and swap meet on weekends, and Speedway races on Friday nights April through October (714/708-1543).
There are many relaxing Day Spas in Anaheim/Orange County that feature a variety of treatments, including massages, facials, hydrotherapy, body wraps, nail care, mineral baths and more. Burke Williams Day Spa (714/769-1360), The Spa and Fitness Club (714/850-0050), and Glen Ivy Hot Springs Spa (909/277-3529) are just a few of the many great spas in Anaheim/Orange County.
Beaches: many have called the Orange County coastline the "American Riviera" with 42 miles of sandy beaches spanning eight beach communities from posh Newport Beach to colorful Laguna Beach. A great day sunning, shopping, biking or just relaxing can be enjoyed at local beaches. Many are equipped with fire pits for beach barbecues. For more information, call Harbors, Beaches and Parks at 714/771-6731.
Disneyland™ Park, 1313 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, 714/781-4565. The original Disney theme park encompasses more than 60 major rides, 50 shops and 30 restaurants divided among eight themed lands. Entering Disneyland through a 19th-century railroad station, guests can board one of four trains of the Disneyland Railroad and circle the Park, passing the 1890s Main Street, U.S.A., and seven other theme areas: Tomorrowland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Adventureland, Critter Country, Mickey's Toontown and New Orleans Square. The "Fantasmic!" special effects show starring Mickey Mouse is presented nightly each summer and on weekends along the Rivers of America in Frontierland. In addition, fireworks are presented each night during peak periods.
Disney's California Adventure™, 1313 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, 714/781-4565. Located directly across from Disneyland, Disney's California Adventure theme park celebrates the fun and diversity of California – Disney Style! Visitors can experience the glamour of movie magic in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot, great amusement piers of yesteryear at Paradise Pier, the romance of Napa Valley, pristine forests and other famed California locales. In addition, Disney's Electrical Parade has returned to Anaheim with nightly performances.
Knott's Theme Park, 8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, 714/220-5200. What was once a small berry farm business in the 1920s has grown to become one of the nation's most popular theme parks. Six themed areas encompassing 150 acres highlight the Knott's experience: Old West Ghost Town, a reproduction of a mining town in the Old West; Fiesta Village; The Boardwalk; Camp Snoopy, a High Sierra setting featuring attractions for small children; White Water Wilderness, featuring Bigfoot Rapids; and Indian Trails, celebrating the cultures and traditions of Native Americans. Knott's Theme Park introduced Supreme Scream, one of the world's two tallest, most intense, vertically descending thrill adventures. Guests are propelled straight up 252 feet in midair to be plunged straight down at more that 50 miles per hour. The newest ride, XCELERATOR, hydraulically launches riders at a speed of 82 mph in 2.3 seconds through a 205-foot ascent and immediate descent at a 90-degree angle. Ghost Rider, the tallest, longest wood roller coaster in Southern California, has also made its debut recently at Knott's and Perilous Plunge makes its splash as the world's tallest, steepest, wettest water ride.
Knott's Soak City U.S.A., 8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, 714/220-5200. Knott's Theme Park's separately gated park Soak City U.S.A. opened in 2000, making it Orange County's first new water park to open in more than a decade. The 13-acre water park, located across from Knott's Theme Park, features designs inspired by Southern California beach and surf towns of the 1950s. Water thrill seekers of all ages can get soaked on 21 water rides and attractions including 16 tube, body and speed slides; a giant wave pool with sunning "beach"; one-third-mile lazy river; the Gremmie Lagoon kids' water playground; and the three-story Toyota Beach House water funhouse.
Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament, 7662 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, 714/521-4740. Come to the "castle" and experience an elaborate themed "dinner tournament" where 11th century knights in armor, jousting tournaments and feasts are the order of the day. Medieval Times invites you to become part of the court and partake in cheering on your knight while watching realistic tournament games and dining in the style of the time.
Movieland Wax Museum, 7711 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, 714/522-1154. Over 400 life-like figures of famous movie and television stars spanning several decades of movie history are immortalized in realistic, authentic costumes depicting scenes from classic movies. Current celebrity figures include Leonardo DiCaprio, Julia Roberts and Jack Nicholson.
Wild Bill's Wild West Dinner Extravaganza, 7600 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, 714/522-6414. A western-themed dinner theater located in Buena Park, Wild Bill's offers a four-course dinner and family-style entertainment. Among the featured entertainers are talented trick-rope artists, cancan and Native American dancers.