Orange Things to Do

  • Ruby's, in Orange, CA
    Ruby's, in Orange, CA
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  • Filling Station restaurant, Orange, CA
    Filling Station restaurant, Orange, CA
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  • Avila restaurant, Orange, CA in church bldg.
    Avila restaurant, Orange, CA in church...
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Best Rated Things to Do in Orange

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    Orange International Street Fair

    by Jokerit_pl Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The Orange International Street Fair is held every year during the Labor Day Weekend in the Plaza Square of Orange. The fair has a history dating back to 1910 and celebrates the rich ethnic diversity of the citizens in Orange. Nearly 100 non-profit organizations participate in this annual event providing various ethnic food, drink, and entertainment for the 600,000 county-wide visitors who come each year.

    Each street going away from the Plaza Square (Orange Circle) is dedicated to a country with their representative food and entertainment. Examples include Mexican Street, Irish Street, Denmark Street, Greek Street, Polynesian Street, Swiss Street, and several others.

    Be sure to bring sunscreen, hat, good walking shoes, and money to enjoy the food. It will be hot, humid, and crowded each day the fair is open.

    The fair is at the intersection of Chapman Ave. and Glassell St. There are a number of city parking lots, local organizations, and churches making parking available in the immediate area for a nominal fee. Your best bet is to park on one of the quaint tree-lined residental streets surrounding the fair area.

    This year (2004), the fair is open from Friday (9/2) through Sunday (9/4) and closed on Labor Day.

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    Join the Strawberry Festival-Garden Grove, OC

    by marinarena Written Nov 18, 2004

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    Fun-filled, family entertainment in Garden Grove, Held every Memorial Day (the end of May) . Eat strawberries on a shortcake pastry or just plain! Oh, and besides enjoying the tasty food, you can play at the game booth, do arts and crafts and hear concerts. Local and some Hollywood type celebrities show their face and give some time here.

    The event is held downtown, on the beautiful Village Green area with cobblestone and just an overall charming old-fashioned look.

    Strawberry Festival menu, Garden Grove Strawberry festival booths, Garden Grove kiddie fun play area, Garden Grove, California
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    Be a Local at International Street Fair (Sept)

    by marinarena Updated Oct 1, 2012

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    Mix in with real locals, try international delights and possibly get stone drunk in the heart of this town come Labor Day weekend for the Orange International Street Fair (OSIF). All these are for a good cause- fundraising for Orange community groups, including several youth-centered ones. The somewhat sleepy streets of Old Orange become unmistakably alive during the first weekend of September.

    As for food and drink, there are different streets serving up foods from various cusines. Go for a Mexican chimichanga, Greek souvlaki, sushi, Danish ableskiver (a kind of donut served with jelly). Spirits are a plenty and great variety with the beverage of choice being a lager or good ol'American beer.

    There are also some craft and vendor booths here selling jewelry household items and various trinkets or souvenirs.

    It's better to come here in the evening or night because the breeze is very nice to feel after the usual Labor Day heat during the afternoon hours. For laughs, the crowd is more animated with the alcohol consumption. It's just funny to see people getting wasted! But then again, Friday and Saturday evening gets so sardine-packed that being an early bird is quite desireable.

    OISF began in 1973 to celebrate the city of Orange's centennial mark.

    scene from Orange Int Street Fair, CA, USA crowd, Orange Int. Street Fair, Orange, CA, USA Greek Street, Orange Int Street Fair, CA, USA booth at Orange Int Street Fair, Orange, CA Polynesian Street, Orange Int Street Fair, CA, USA
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    Come to Our Version of a Village

    by marinarena Updated Nov 11, 2011

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    Old Towne Orange is a charming little getaway from the very busy city area. There are many antique stores and shabby chic boutiques here for a great, enriched shopping experience. Most stores are open until 5 or 6 PM. After hours, one can still enjoy the cafes, restaurants and a few bars. I actually recommend to come here at night to experience a more calm evening out. So, if you look to go clubbing, avoid this spot! However, if you enjoy a less quiet and local experience, don't hesitate to come and take a stroll around.

    Old Towne Orange, California-heart of O.C. Old Towne Orange, California streetlamp, Orange, CA pretty fountain, Orange, CA Filling Station brkft nook in Old Towne Orange, CA
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    Awe over Christ Cathedral- Garden Grove, OC

    by marinarena Updated Mar 16, 2014

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    Inside the Christ Cathedral (formerly and more known as the Crystal Cathedral) can make of a wonderful religious experience. If you are not religious, you'd be impressed greatly with the experience of viewing spectacular architecture.

    About the cathedral...

    it has 10,000 panes of reflective glass, allowing 8% of outside light into the church.

    Much more in travelogues!

    Christ Cathedral, Garden Grove, CA Christ Cathedral, Garden Grove, California Christ Cathedral shot, Garden Grove, CA Christ Cathedral, Orange county, CA Christ Cathedral in background , Garden Grove, CA
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    Visit a Uniquely California Zoo

    by marinarena Updated Jun 26, 2013

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    Shame on me (and many other O.C.'ers)! Only until recently did I discover that there is an official O.C. Zoo! I had known of the tiny Santa Ana Zoo within the city, however further east is the regional zoological dome of animals especially of southwest USA. Located within Irvine Regional Park is the 477 acre zoo which features the popular California beast, the black bear and the mountain lion. If not much of a wildlife enthusiasts, come here just to take in a rustic, rural atmosphere while still being in a big city. No personal pics yet, but check out website.

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    • National/State Park
    • Zoo

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    Orange International Street Fair

    by Reznut Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Every Labor Day weekend, we block off traffic from the Plaza's traffic circle to make way for the Orange International Street Fair. Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday of September so the fair is on that Friday evening through Sunday.

    Our street fair is tradition since 1910 but the International theme, celebrating the diversity of our community, started in 1973. This annual event draws around 800,000 visitors to our historical Plaza.

    Here you can taste international foods, buy crafts, watch folk dancing and listen to ethnic music. Many different ethnic groups participate every year at the Street Fair.

    It's a fun event and is always very crowded. The weather is normally really hot at this time of year so wear something cool, bring a hat, sunglasses and sun-block. As the sun goes down, you may need a light sweater.

    As the evening progresses, some of the people get a bit rowdy after a long day of drinking. There are lots of cops roaming around but I still prefer to leave before the drunkards get too annoying.

    The crowds at the Orange International Street Fair

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    Chapman University

    by TimDaoust Written May 25, 2005

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    Check out Chapman University's campus. I found the open spaces and gardens beautiful and nice to walk around. The university was founded in 1861 and has gone through a few name changes but ultimately was named after a benefactor of the college in 1934. For more history go here
    It is very close to the orange traffic circle and the surrounding restaurants on Glassel st.

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  • marinarena's Profile Photo

    Spend time at the Block (Outlets at Orange)

    by marinarena Updated Jul 7, 2013

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    In the west side of Orange, premier shopping and entertainment is along City Blvd at the Outlets at Orange, which is more commonly referred to as the Block (formerly, the mall was called The Block at Orange but corporate meddling has, alas, ruined a perfectly good name once again.)

    The mall stretches out about a square mile, providing more than adequate space to spend your paycheck, eat and kill time. I have witnessed it flourishing and declining over the years, with new stores coming and going. Yet, the place is always a big draw on the weekends with local and a good share of tourists visiting the area for primarily Disneyland and Angel games.

    If you want to hang out here on the weekend, come early! I cannot stress that enough. The parking lot is huge but not enough from Fri-mid Sun At least it is free to park, unlike at many popular West LA county and Hollywood areas. Well, if you want to show off, there is valet service here as well.

    Here is a lowdown of some favorite places at the Block:

    Dave and Busters- typical sports bar/arcade but the life of the Block party is here

    Van's Skate Park- see the world's largest skate park.

    Lucky Strikes- bowling and socializing

    Market Broiler- probably the best quality restaurant in the Block area. It serves mostly seafood but other options are available.

    Off 5th (Saks)- an outlet style version of Saks 5th Avenue, still the high-end apparel place to go here for woman and men.

    Neiman Marcus outlet - the most luxurious store of all here !!

    Nordstrom Rack- grand opening in Feb 2012.

    Notes:

    Find deals online for featured Block stores here :
    http://www.simon.com/mall/default.aspx?ID=1236

    Memories...

    Like many malls in America, The Block is experiencing some economic lows, forcing the close of some major stores and leaving empty real estate.

    Virgin Megastore is closed forevermore :-( I helped to "christian" the store back, in 1998 :-) It was cool working there. Oh, my Virginity is really gone now!

    Also closed :Borders Books- blame it on modern technology, the E-Book craze and overdevelopment of brick and mortar store. Steve and Barry and Richie's Neighborhood Pizzeria. No more cheap, casual clothes and fabulous but expensive pizza pies :-(

    Outlets at Orange, Orange county Forever 21, Orange, CA welcome sign, outlets at Orange, Orange, CA Block sign partially peeled away, Orange, CA food court area, Orange, CA
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    The Orange Circle

    by civilmagistrate Written Oct 6, 2006

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    Old Town Orange , or "the circle" is one of the best places to find or check out american antiques from the 1800's up through modern day. It has a good crowd and many shops and restaurants worth checking out. It represents the historic California most will never see again.

    Come experience the charm of Old Towne Orange... Over 700 dealers of antiques and collectibles, art, dining, history and more.

    Enjoy an afternoon tea, visit the art galleries or a Victorian Bridal Museum.

    Old Towne is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

    Don't forget about the Street Fair if you are around for Labor Day Weekend. There is a fair of international countries where they represent their nation with food and entertainment all through the weekend.

    the heart of downtown Orange
    Related to:
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    Orange Traffic Circle

    by TimDaoust Written May 25, 2005

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    The historic city center in Orange consists of a traffic circle with a beautiful mini park in the center. We spent a good amount of time hanging out here whenever the students left campus. There is plenty of people watching to be had here. And one can admire the towering orange tree in the park.

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  • marinarena's Profile Photo

    Attend Artisan Farmer's Market on Saturday- Orange

    by marinarena Written Mar 16, 2014

    The Orange Artisan Farmer's Market is one of the better farmer's markets that regularly occurs. On Saturdays, from 9 AM- 1 PM, many locals come out not just for the fresh and organic fruits and veggies but for live entertainment, usually a musician, and good hearted community chat. If not local, the farmer's market is convenient for outside who happen to come via Metrolink on the early route.

    There are about 40 vendors in totals to get great looking and tasting fruits, veggies, gourmet breads, fresh seafood and meat, nuts and sweets. Unique and regular booths at the Saturday only market include the unique bee honey seller, Guerilla Beekeeper plus the old town Orange resident, Front Porch Pops, which offers gourmet ice cream pops. Oh, and for gourmet food truck fanatic, there is usually one that park here! Come on over here on Saturdays for local

    farmer's market scene in Orange, CA farmer's market sign--Orange, CA farmer's market scene in Orange, CA crepe food truck, Orange, CA Orange Artisan Home Grown Farmer's Market Sign
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    Go Vintage- Orange Style

    by marinarena Written Dec 7, 2014

    Vintage Orange Tour (from the Old Towne Orange Walking Food Tour series)

    Get the gist of a real Orange county, CA town with the Old Towne Orange Walking Food Tour and fill your tummy with just enough of deliciousness along the leisurely way. Learn about the charming city of Orange while trying generous samples of delicious food from her restaurants.

    Choose from specialized tours- the "Sampler Tour", "Vintage Orange Tour" and the "Food Lab Tour". The Sampler is especially popular, covering more restaurants and focusing on the food. Foodies will appreciate Food Lab, which offers an exclusive cooking class along with restaurant samplers. For food lovers who loves bits of history as well, Vintage Orange is very suitable. During all tours, there is ample time to enjoy eating at the restaurants.

    * Here is more on the Vintage Orange Tour, my first OTO Food Tour experience.

    Highlights of this tour include:

    Ruby's Restaurant (Arguably the best Ruby's of all, with Train Depot theme/full cocktail bar)
    - Excellent offering of Cinnamon Bun French Toast with bacon (cooked just right) served up during my visit. Much talk of fascinating local Orange history, including the beginnings of the train depot station and tales about prominent town settlers, is discussed here over brunch.

    Rutabegoraz Restaurant
    - Tasty, naturally baked sweets offered. One may include a scrumptious chocolate chip cookie! Moreover, this is my personal local favorite healthy restaurant chain, which consistently serves up nutritional yet mouth watering savory entrees. Come here after the food tour for a full meal.

    Visit to Chapman College
    - A "taste" of history here. For my visit, there was a trip to Chapman's film school, Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, home to a collection of movie memorabilia, such as film stills from Cecil B. de Mille! This is somewhat of a hidden jewel attraction for a movie buff- offered exclusively by OTO Food Tours!

    Stops at the certified Farmer's Market (on Saturday) and park at the traffic "circle"
    - breaks in the tour to take in the lovely atmosphere and scenery of Old Towne Orange.

    The other quality restaurants and fine shops included in my tour was Zito's Pizza (a slice of delicious margherita served), The Grinder (classic turkey half sandwich offered), Taco Adobe (yummy authentic taco) plus shopping at fine small biz shops, The Dragonfly, Joyride and Elsewhere Vintage.

    Tour guide Jody is a delightful pro who knows his local historical stuff. He is prompt, keeps the tour going efficiently and most captivating of all, adds a very personable charm to the walk by weaving tales of town's past with his own quirky sense of humor. Certainly, he is not of the yawn-inducing, robotic tour guide variety.

    Pricing of the tour is more than appropriate, yet one can attain generous discounts through such outlets like Living Social and Groupon.

    Ruby's, in Orange, CA film stills inside Dodge College, Chapman College Turkey Grinder sandwich, the Grinder,  Orange, CA
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    Do a Food Tour in Old Towne

    by marinarena Written Mar 4, 2013

    If you are like me, often indecisive on which restaurant to try in an area where there are so many tempting eateries, you may desire to do a food sampling tour. Old Towne Orange has a regular and popular "Walking Food Tour" attraction. Head to OTO from the train or take a roadtrip here for this weekend event of good grubbing.

    There are 3 types of tour offered: Orange Sampler, Vintage Tour and Art Walk Tour. Orange Sampler, occurring weekly, Saturday and Sunday mornings, is least expensive and less time consuming. If you would like a little history and cooking demo with your food sampling, go for the Vintage Tour, occurring every Saturday morning (meet at Chapman College where there is a film school tour). Art Walk Tour, which is scheduled least frequent and is the longest tour (ample time for artist discussion and presentation) , is geared for art gallery and food enthusiasts.

    Regular tour costs is $54-$65. Check website for updated info, contact numbers and schedule.

    Note:
    Look out for a Groupon for these tours for a 20%-50% discount and get it fast because they will sell out!

    Filling Station restaurant, Orange, CA Old Towne Orange, CA Smoqued BBQ restaurant, Orange, CA Orange, CA Francoli, Italian restaurant, Orange, CA
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    Do a self-guided Church tour in Old Towne

    by marinarena Written Mar 6, 2013

    Religious or not, one who fancies viewing and admiring churches should come in Old Towne Orange. There are several charming churches of distinct architecture within the relatively small zone- and all can be reached by foot during a nice, easy stroll.

    Main picture is of St. John's, the biggest church in Orange
    http://www.stjohnsorange.org/history

    Second church is First United Methodist Church
    fumco.org

    The green building pictured used to be an active church but is now an Avila's Mexican restaurant.

    St. John's church, Orange, CA, U.S.A. Firts United Methodist Church, Orange, California Avila restaurant, Orange, CA in church bldg.
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Orange Things to Do

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