Blake Walsh

14 Free Things to Do in Orange, CA

  • Published 2022/12/30

Orange is a charming city in North Orange County, California, with a rich history worth discovering.

From historic districts to outdoor activities, there are plenty of things to do in Orange.

What’s attractive about this city is that many of its attractions are free.

You don’t need to spend money to enjoy Orange.

Here are some of the free things to do in Orange, California, that locals and visitors alike can take advantage of:

Stroll around Old Towne Orange

A filling station at Old Towne Orange

Philip Pilosian /

Located in the heart of Orange, the Old Towne Orange is a historic district home to some of the oldest buildings in the city.

What’s interesting about Orange is that unlike other cities in the region that demolished their old homes, Orange chose to preserve them.

You can stroll around this vibrant area and take in its old-world charm as you explore the historic buildings and enjoy the sights.

Witness centuries-old buildings and marvel at their unique architecture and overall design.

Water fountain at Old Towne Orange

Felipe Sanchez /

The district is great for leisurely walks or photo opportunities as it offers a glimpse into Orange’s past.

There are also a bunch of modern stores and restaurants within the Old Towne Orange District that will make your visit even more enjoyable.

If you want to get a first-hand look at Orange’s history and culture, Old Towne Orange is the perfect spot.

Street scene at Old Towne Orange

Felipe Sanchez /

Uncover the Secrets of Pitcher Park

Pitcher Park is a small landscaped residential park on a former family homestead at South Cambridge Street.

This peaceful pocket park is one of the city’s best-kept secrets and an absolute must-visit when you’re in town.

The park was the former home of the Pitcher Family, a prominent local family in the Orange region.

The Pitcher Park Community Foundation now maintains it after the land was donated to the city.

The park also serves as a historic site as it still has the home and farm structures that the Pitcher Family originally built.

The barn, which serves as a replica of the family’s homestead, is now a fire museum where you can find a lot of interesting fire-related artifacts.

You can also see memorabilia of Orange’s rich agricultural history and learn more about the city’s past.

The park also has beautiful gardens, a pond, and a stream, making it an excellent spot for picnics and family outings.

Pitcher Park is accessible to the public, and you can wander around the grounds for free.

Learn about Agriculture at Orange Home Grown Education Farm

The Orange Home Grown Education Farm on Lemon Street is a community garden where you can learn about urban farming and sustainable gardening.

The farm was established to educate people about the importance of local urban farming and how it helps with food security.

It offers a variety of free classes and workshops that teach organic gardening, composting, water conservation, permaculture, and more.

You can also join the farm’s volunteer program and get involved in local activities.

The vegetable garden gives you a glimpse of Orange’s agricultural potential and how you can contribute to this growing industry.

The farm also plays an important role in promoting locally grown produce and sustainable agriculture for the Orange region.

If you want a better understanding of farming in Orange, the Orange Home Grown Education Farm is one of the best spots to visit without spending any money.

Spend Time with the Kids at Handy Park

Handy Park is a local favorite among kids for its wide area and public playgrounds.

It’s your typical park with green lawns and picnic tables perfect for family outings.

Its main highlights are the shaded play structures which feature a baby bucket, slides, kid swings, and a variety of play features to excite your little ones.

Other notable features of their playgrounds include a log tunnel, a fireman’s pole, a play panel with drums, and a multi-slide structure.

While your kids play, you can stay at the designated picnic areas—there are tables and grilling stations to give you a convenient picnic experience.

Handy Park also has several paved walkways if you want to stroll around the area.

If you’re looking for a family-friendly activity, Handy Park on Oakmont Avenue is the perfect spot to bring your kids and enjoy some outdoor fun.

Visit the Orange Public Library

Among the city’s free attractions is the Orange Public Library on E. Chapman Avenue.

This two-story building was built in 1923, making it one of the oldest public libraries in Orange County.

Despite its age, the city of Orange managed to maintain the library’s beauty and keep it a great place to read, study, and explore.

The Orange Public Library has an impressive selection of books and materials, as well as a variety of events and activities for all ages.

You can also get free access to their computers, scanners, and printers if you need them for your research or business needs.

The Orange Public Library offers free Wi-Fi, storytime sessions, and a wide selection of books and materials.

Their materials and resources are updated regularly to ensure you get the most up-to-date information on various topics.

If you’re looking for an educational and free activity in Orange, check out the Orange Public Library.

It isn’t much, but it’s more than enough to keep you busy during your stay in Orange.

Bond with the Family at Killefer Park

Killefer Park is another pocket park in the city that offers impressive facilities to keep you occupied.

It’s located in the heart of Orange and is known for its beautiful urban setting, grassy fields, and excellent play structures.

The park is excellent for families with young children since it has a play area filled with swings, slides, monkey bars, and climbing walls.

It also has a walkway if you want to stroll around the park and get a glimpse of the surrounding areas.

The local community hosts timely events at the park, such as get-togethers and outdoor recreation.

If you’re looking for a spot to spend time with the family, visit Killefer Park on Lemon Street.

Admire the Beautiful Plumerias at Plumeria Palace

The Plumeria is a beautiful flower that grows predominantly in tropical and subtropical climates.

If you’re curious to see and discover how they grow, head to the Plumeria Palace on North Waverly Street.

This urban nursery has been growing plumeria trees for over 20 years now.

They cultivate beautiful flowers and share their knowledge with the public through various events, activities, and tours.

You can witness how they propagate and produce the flowers and learn other processes such as cutting and rerooting.

The nursery acquires plumerias from Brazil, Indonesia, Hawaii, and other places where the flowers are native.

Plumeria trees can grow as tall as 10 feet and produce flowers as small as two inches wide.

Plumeria Palace is a beautiful spot for plant lovers and those curious to learn more about the flower’s growth and cultivation process.

The experts are very friendly and offer visitors free tours and samples.

Relax and Unwind at Hart Park

Hart Park is a large central park with everything you could ever need for outdoor fun.

It has an impressive array of facilities, including picnic areas, walking trails, basketball courts, and playgrounds.

Hart Park also has a few historical buildings and old trees that date back 50 years ago.

The outdoor space is also perfect for concerts, community events, and other activities.

There’s also a public swimming pool where you can take a dip if the weather gets too hot.

You can even take your dog to the park if it’s on a leash.

Hart Park is an excellent spot for people of all ages, and the best part is that it’s free!

If you want to make the most out of your visit to Orange, a stop at Hart Park on Glassell Street is an absolute must.

Spend a Day at El Camino Real Park

Orange has a wide selection of beautiful parks, and El Camino Real Park is one of the best.

The park is conveniently located in downtown Orange and is one of the most famous park spots.

At 38 acres, El Camino Real Park has more than enough space to house multiple sports facilities.

The park features two light softball fields, a regulation softball, a baseball diamond, two youth baseball fields, sand volleyball courts, a soccer field, a basketball court, and an open space for other field sports.

There are also three playgrounds where kids can play and expend their energy.

El Camino Real Park also has a snack bar and concession building where you can buy snacks and drinks.

There are also designated picnic areas with nearby barbecue stations and well-maintained restrooms.

The park also has a fenced area serving as a dog park for people who want to spend quality time with their furry friends.

The dog park features drinking fountains for dogs and benches for dog parents to relax.

With so much to see and do, El Camino Real Park on Main Street is a great spot to bring the whole family and spend a day of outdoor fun.

Take Your Furry Friend to Orange Dog Park

Orange Dog Park is the official city dog park in El Camino Real Park.

This dog-friendly park offers a wide range of activities for both dogs and their owners.

You can let your pup run and play in the vast open space or take them for a stroll on the lighted pathways.

The park also has a designated area where you can sit and relax while your dog socializes with other furry friends.

Orange Dog Park also has plenty of obstacles for your pup to play on, such as tunnels, ramps, and balance beams.

The park also has an area where you can practice agility drills with your dog.

There is also a drinking fountain for dogs and shaded areas so that your pup can stay cool during the day.

Orange Dog Park on Yorba Street is the perfect spot for people who want to spend quality time with their furry friends and serves as a great meeting spot for local and visiting dog parents.

Other Things To Do Nearby

The entire Orange County has tons of free activities and attractions waiting for you to explore.

Go beyond Orange by taking a look at other fun and free things to do in its nearby areas:

Witness a Piece of Orange County’s History at Old Orange County Courthouse

Exterior of the Old Orange County Courthouse

Debbie Eckert /

The Old Orange County Courthouse in Santa Ana is a historical landmark that dates back to 1901.

Located in Santa Ana’s Historic Downtown District, the courthouse has been restored and refurbished to its original glory, giving visitors a peek into what the county was like in its earlier years.

Today, the Old Orange County Courthouse is a tourist attraction and is free to visit.

Interior of the Old Orange County Courthouse

mikeledray /

Witness its beautiful Romanesque Revival architecture and learn about Orange County’s rich heritage and culture.

You can take pictures, explore its grounds, and participate in the courthouse’s free guided tours.

A hallway in the Old Orange County Courthouse

Steve Cukrov /

Be One with Nature at Santiago Creek Wildlife & Watershed Center

The Santiago Creek Wildlife & Watershed Center is the perfect place to enjoy nature and spot the wildlife of Orange County.

Located in nearby Santa Ana, this wildlife refuge offers free guided tours of its grounds and provides educational programs for adults and children.

Explore the center’s trails, look for its native wildlife, and visit its interactive exhibits.

Learn about Orange County’s diverse ecology and discover rare plants and animal species on your journey.

The center also has picnic areas, so you can enjoy a nice meal surrounded by nature.

You can also go hiking or biking on its paved trails.

Whatever you choose to do, the Santiago Creek Wildlife & Watershed Center provides a unique experience that you can enjoy for free.

See Different Kinds of Plants and Trees at Fullerton Arboretum

Bacon pavilion at Fullerton Arboretum

Steve Cukrov /

The Fullerton Arboretum is a 26-acre botanical garden in Fullerton.

It features an extensive collection of plants from around the world, from cacti to magnolias, and provides visitors with a unique learning experience.

Explore its gardens, take in the lush greenery, and learn about its plants with free guided tours.

Flowers at Fullerton Arboretum

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The staff at Fullerton Arboretum aims to support and promote the conservation of plants and their habitats and inspire visitors to appreciate and respect nature.

If you want to experience a different outdoor adventure, head to Fullerton Arboretum and discover its vast selection of plants.

Channel island garden at Fullerton Arboretum

Darilynn /

Visit the Muckenthaler Cultural Center

Exterior of the Muckenthaler Cultural Center

Steve Cukrov /

Looking to witness a different kind of art?

The Muckenthaler Cultural Center is the perfect place for you.

Located in nearby Fullerton, this center is housed in a historic Spanish Colonial revival and showcases works from different artists.

The Muckenthaler Cultural Center also hosts a variety of events throughout the year.

Facade of the Muckenthaler Cultural Center

Steve Cukrov /

These events range from theatrical performances to music concerts and dance shows.

You can also learn about the center’s history with free guided tours.

If you’re looking for a unique cultural experience in Orange County, the Muckenthaler Cultural Center is your best bet.

Welcome sign of the Muckenthaler Cultural Center

Steve Cukrov /

Final Thoughts

These are just some free things to do in Orange County, California.

While this city may not have the same appeal and attractions as larger cities in California, it still has a unique charm and rich culture worth exploring.

With its many attractions and activities, you don’t have to spend much money to make your trip memorable.

So what are you waiting for?

Pack your bags and experience all that Orange and Orange County offer!

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