The History: Town-square aficionados will say that Orange, about 30 miles south of Los Angeles and founded in 1871, planned things right by starting with a plaza and building out. This area is now a one-square-mile historic district known as Old Towne, and it’s hard to take a step without stumbling upon history, beginning with the plaza’s 1937 fountain. You’ll find more than 1,300 homes and buildings here; many of them are originals that date to the years after 1871, and all are covered under the district’s listing on the National Register of Historic Places. It all feels very connected to the early 20th century, thanks to places like Watson Drugs and Soda Fountain, which have been a part of the fabric here for more than a hundred years.
Where to Play: Watson Drugs and Soda Fountain serves up the dishes you might expect from an authentic old-fashioned soda fountain. For more formal dining—with a view, to boot—head to Orange Hill, which, true to its name, sits atop the hills of Orange and offers sweeping panoramas out to Catalina. When it’s time to shop, Old Towne Orange is known as “The Antique Capital of California,” and you’ll find more than 40 antiques shops, like the Antique Station & Depot. Then check out live music at The District Lounge, built inside Orange’s first post office.
Whether it’s manicured beach towns or celebrated theme parks, all framed by oceanfront towns and luxury yachts, “The OC” stands out as one of the state’s most iconic destinations. The always-amazing Disneyland Resort, roughly a 1-hour drive south of L.A. and 2 hours north of San Diego, continues to be one of the best-loved theme parks in the world, while Knott’s Berry Farms and other OC attractions amp up the fun meter.
“Surfing is like golf. . . it keeps knocking you down. But when you stay with it and catch that wave. . . magic.” --actor Dennis Quaid
Shop at spectacular South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, or get the surfer look in Huntington Beach, aka Surf City, USA.
With nearly twice as many professional teams as any other state, California is big league all the way. But the state’s sports scene goes far beyond football and baseball, with a diverse line-up of...