Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Orange, CA

  • Published 2022/10/26

The city of Orange is a lovely and robust community filled with historic buildings and outdoor escapades.

Located in North Orange County in California, Orange is well-known for its deep appreciation of its history and culture.

This can be seen through the historic homes and buildings in downtown Orange that still stand to this day.

Aside from that, the city is full of recreational parks that provide residents and tourists the opportunity to experience the great Californian outdoors.

Experience the California Dream by checking out the best things to do in Orange, California.

Go Back to the Past at Old Towne

Buildings along Old Towne

Felipe Sanchez /

Do you want to know what it’s like to live in the California of old?

Old Towne is a historic district in Orange, featuring more than 1,300 homes and buildings, most of which are under the National Register of Historic Places.

You’ll want to start your adventure by going to Plaza Square Park with its 1937 fountain.

A restaurant at Old Towne

Philip Pilosian /

You’ll also want to explore the nearby establishments, as the area is filled with antique shops, charming restaurants with outdoor seating, and more.

The area is also home to the annual Orange International Street Fair.

Make sure to stop by Orange’s favorite downtown Old Towne.

Water fountain at Old Towne

Felipe Sanchez /

Enjoy the Picturesque Scenery at Peters Canyon Regional Park

Cycling at Peters Canyon Regional Park

Arne Beruldsen /

Peters Canyon Regional Park is the best place to enjoy the great outdoors in the city of Orange.

This attraction lets you enjoy nature to its fullest due to its scenic views, diverse flora and fauna, and various hiking trails.

Hiking is the primary recreational activity in the park, as each of the various hiking trails offers a unique experience.

The East Ridge View Trail offers an amazing view of the Peters Canyon and the surrounding area.

Welcome sign of Peters Canyon Regional Park

Arne Beruldsen /

The Peters Canyon Creek Trail lets you traverse through lush greeneries while being accompanied by a running creek.

The Lake View Trail leads to the 55-acre Upper Peters Canyon Reservoir.

As you roam around and enjoy the park, you’ll likely encounter the diverse wildlife in the area, such as mule deer, bobcats, raccoons, and more.

Enjoy California outdoors at Peters Canyon Regional Park on East Canyon View Avenue.

Reservoir at Peters Canyon Regional Park

Nandaro, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Have a Picnic and Barbeque at Santiago Oaks Regional Park

Daytime view of Santiago Oaks Regional Park

L.A. Nature Graphics /

An exciting outdoor experience awaits at Santiago Oaks Regional Park.

Santiago Oaks Regional Park is a 1,269-acre outdoor paradise situated in east Orange.

The park has the usual amenities for outdoor recreational activities, such as hiking trails, horseback riding, and flora and fauna for nature viewing.

It also has areas with picnic tables, perfect for an afternoon snack or a barbeque with family and friends.

The park’s highlight is the nature center, which hosts various exhibits and events like nature tours and educational sessions.

Experience the beauty of the mountain vistas at Santiago Oaks Regional Park on Windes Drive.

Feast on Delicious Steaks at Orange Hill Restaurant

Orange Hill Restaurant offers an amazing dining experience in the city of Orange.

It sits on a hilltop on East Chapman Avenue, providing diners with amazing views of the surrounding area.

On top of that, the venue is decorated with koi ponds, waterfalls, and a stunning fireplace that completes the atmosphere.

Their menu is filled with sophisticated items such as steak, seafood, and an amazing selection of wine.

Have a taste of the best steaks in the city at Orange Hill Restaurant.

Ride a Train at Irvine Regional Park

Train ride at Irvine Regional Park

Steve Cukrov /

Irvine Regional Park provides a unique and fun outdoor adventure for the whole family.

Located on Irvine Park Road, the 495-acre park features amazing amenities and unique attractions.

Its hiking trails provide easy access to the park’s playgrounds, softball fields, horseshoe pits, and lake.

The picnic tables and shelters let you enjoy a nice picnic with your family and friends.

The park also has horse trails that offer an amazing view of the surrounding area as you tread along with your trusty steed.

Aerial view of Irvine Regional Park

Steve Cukrov /

What’s great about this place is that they offer several ride attractions to people of all ages.

Your kids can hop on a cute pony and ride around the park on it.

For adults, train rides are available so you can explore the area in a fun way.

Other facilities include a shop that sells delicious snacks and an interpretive programs center.

Visit Irvine Regional Park on Irvine Park Road and have a great time riding on trains and ponies.

Nature center at Irvine Regional Park

Steve Cukrov /

Interact with Friendly Animals at the Orange County Zoo

Children brushing a goat at Orange County Zoo

Sandra Foyt /

Nestled in the impressive Irvine Regional Park is the Orange County Zoo, home to many plants and animals from the southwest United States.

The zoo specializes in providing a home and taking care of animals that are injured, orphaned, or unreleasable in the wild.

From cute beavers to gigantic black bears, you’ll get to meet a lot of animals of all shapes and sizes.

Ocelot at Orange County Zoo

Tracie Hall from Orange County, us, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What’s more, the zoo provides an audio tour where you’ll get to appreciate these animals more by learning more about them.

Visit the Orange County Zoo in Irvine Regional Park on Irvine Park Road.

Exterior of Orange County Zoo

Steve Cukrov /

Skate with Your Friends and Family at Holiday Skate Center

If you’re down for some fun skating sessions, you should visit Holiday Skate Center on North Wayfield Street.

Holiday Skate Center is a roller skating rink boasting a clean and safe facility, providing everyone with a great skating experience.

There are many fun skating sessions like the All-Skate, Backwards, Couple, and more.

It also hosts various special events, such as the Halloween Glow Skate, where you’ll get to dress up your favorite Halloween costume and slide across the rink with a glow stick in hand.

Get your skates on and have some family-friendly fun at Holiday Skate Center!

Appreciate the Creative Exhibits at the Hilbert Museum of California Art

Exterior of the Hilbert Museum of California Art

Steve Cukrov /

One way to learn about Orange city’s history and culture is by visiting the Hilbert Museum of California Art.

The Hilbert Museum of California Art was founded by Mark and Janet Hilbert, who wanted to showcase the unique culture of the Golden State.

The museum’s exhibits feature a collection of oil and watercolor paintings of California sceneries illustrating the beauty of the state and its people.

These paintings are made in the 1970s to the 1980s by talented California Scene painters like Millard Sheets, Emil Kosa Jr., Mary Blair, Phil Dike, and more.

Come and appreciate the culture of California at the Hilbert Museum of California Art on North Atchinson Street.

Watch Remarkable Performances at Musco Center for the Arts

Exterior of Musco Center for the Arts

The Image Party /

California is well-known for its love of culture and the arts.

In Orange, that love can be clearly felt through the amazing performances at Musco Center for the Arts.

Nestled in Chapman University, Musco Center for the Arts is the premiere venue of the city’s spectacular performances.

Entrance doors of Musco Center for the Arts

Steve Cukrov /

These performances are produced by the talented people of Chapman University’s College of Performing Arts.

With its state-of-the-art facilities, this 88,142-square-foot theater hosts sophisticated entertainment such as Broadway-style productions, symphonies, operas, and more.

Visit Musco Center for the Arts on One University Drive and experience the best performances in Orange.

Go Shopping at The Outlets at Orange

AMC cinema at The Outlets at Orange

The Image Party /

Want to go on a shopping spree?

Then you should head to The Outlets at Orange, the city’s premiere destination for all your shopping needs.

This open-air shopping center features a wide collection of stores and restaurants.

It houses well-known clothing brands like Under Armour and Nike and famous restaurants like Dave & Buster’s and TGI Fridays.

If you want to watch a movie, the mall has an amazing IMAX Cinema showing the latest and most popular films.

What’s unique about this place is the indoor skate park that allows visitors to try skating.

The Outlets at Orange is located on City Boulevard West.

Other Things Nearby

Check Out the Artistic Exhibits at Bowers Museum

Exterior of Bowers Museum

Steve Cukrov /

Two and a half miles southwest of Orange City Hall, Santa Ana is home to Bowers Museum, the city’s premiere destination for sophisticated artworks and handicrafts.

The museum aims to increase awareness and appreciation of the world’s finest arts and cultures.

It features exhibits that showcase different histories and cultures of the world.

Welcome sign of Bowers Museum

The Image Party /

For instance, an exhibit called Ancient Arts of China: A 5000-Year Legacy shows the development of Chinese art and culture.

It features a collection of artifacts such as ceramic pots, sculptures, and silk robes made by the Chinese for the last 5,000 years.

There are also other amazing exhibits like Spirits and Headhunters: Art of the Pacific Islands and Ceramics of Western Mexico.

Ancient daggers displayed in Bowers Museum

Darilynn /

Play Golf in King Arthur’s Realm at Camelot Golfland

Camelot Golfland is a family-friendly amusement park with exciting attractions and a stunning castle.

It’s the country’s largest miniature golf course facility and houses many golf courses with varying themes.

Their signature course is The Castles of the Worlds, which features a pagoda, castle, and Spanish forts equipped with water cannons.

Aside from miniature golf, there are many other exciting attractions like Lazer Tag, Bumper Cars, and an arcade.

There’s even a restaurant that sells scrumptious pizzas and refreshing shakes.

Visit Camelot Golfland in Anaheim, 10 minutes from Orange.

Discover the World of Science at Discovery Cube Orange County

Aerial view of Discovery Cube Orange County

Matt Gush /

Five minutes from Orange, Santa Ana’s Discovery Cube Orange County provides a fun and interactive learning experience for people of all ages.

This attraction promotes learning in a fun way through its 100 hands-on exhibits and special programs.

One of its unique exhibits is the Hurricane, an immersive hurricane simulator that lets you experience the wind speeds of an actual hurricane.

Entrance to Discovery Cube Orange County

Simone Hogan /

There’s also the Bed of Nails, where you’ll learn about the principles of pressure as you lay on a bed of almost 5,000 nails without hurting yourself.

There are other exciting exhibits at Discovery Cube Orange County, so make sure to stop by!

Rocket on the grounds of Discovery Cube Orange County

Steve Cukrov /

Escape the Terrifying Prison at The 17th Door Haunt Experience

If you’re brave enough, check out The 17th Door Haunt Experience in Fullerton, 15 minutes from Orange.

The 17th Door Haunt Experience is home to the Perpetuum Penitentiary, a horrifying prison reserved for the most heinous criminals.

It is operated by sadistic engineers that seem to enjoy the suffering of those trapped within its walls.

Make your way out of this insane place, but be careful, as possessed prisoners and other evil entities lurk in every corner.

The actors and staff are extremely dedicated to their jobs you’ll definitely have the scare of your life.

Visit The 17th Door Haunt Experience in Fullerton if you dare!

Have a Magical Time at Disneyland Park

Rollercoaster at Disneyland Park

Glenn Taylor /

One of South California’s most well-known attractions is the magical Disneyland Park.

Disneyland Park features eight unique “lands,” providing visitors with a diverse collection of rides and other experiences.

You’ll get to meet your favorite Disney characters, such as Mickey, Darth Vader, and the Avengers.

A castle at Disneyland Park

Boris Dzhingarov, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hungry during your adventure?

Don’t worry, the park offers many dining options, including a chance to dine with Mickey or the various Disney princesses.

Make sure to visit the wonderful world of Disney at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, 10 minutes from Orange.

A building at Disneyland Park

Boris Dzhingarov, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Final Thoughts

The city of Orange is a great place to experience the best of California.

With its historic sites, recreational parks, and quirky establishments, it cements itself as an amazing vacation spot.

On top of that, the neighboring cities of Anaheim and Santa Ana are also abundant in unique and exciting attractions.

Be captivated by the Old Town’s charm, and check out the best things to do in Orange, California!

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