Di­verse cities har­bor troves of Cal­i­for­nia his­tory, eth­nic cul­tures and thriv­ing arts scenes

Travel Guide to California - - CONTENTS - BY CHRIS­TINE DELSOL


Ana­heim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Fuller­ton, Gar­den Grove, Hunt­ing­ton Beach, Irvine, La­guna Beach, New­port Beach, Or­ange, San Juan Capis­trano, Santa Ana, San Cle­mente


John Wayne/or­ange County Air­port (SNA), lo­cated at the junc­ture of Costa Mesa, Santa Ana and New­port Beach near I-405

TOURISM WEB­SITES visit­theoc.com vis­i­tana­heim.org vis­it­bue­na­park.com trav­el­costamesa.com sur­fc­i­tyusa.com des­ti­na­tionirvine.com vis­it­la­gun­abeach.com vis­it­new­port­beach.com san­juan­capis­trano.org

POP­U­LA­TION 3,172,532

Days when Dis­ney­land, 42 miles of idyl­lic beaches and swaths of or­ange groves were all that lifted “The O.C.” out of Los An­ge­les’ shadow are long gone. Or­ange County to­day is a di­verse col­lec­tion of cities count­ing fa­mous surf breaks, his­toric mis­sions, art colonies and scenic mari­nas among its at­trac­tions.

While beach towns—from surf-cen­tric Hunt­ing­ton Beach to tony New­port to artsy La­guna to serene San Cle­mente—still em­body the ca­sual, cre­ative Cal­i­for­nia of pop­u­lar imag­i­na­tion, in­land cities have grown into shop­ping, en­ter­tain­ment and sports mec­cas. Irvine—en­com­pass­ing a Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia cam­pus, the evolv­ing Or­ange County Great Park and sev­eral “vil­lages”—was the van­guard of a trend to­ward master-planned com­mu­ni­ties in re­cent decades.

De­fy­ing the subur­ban stereo­type, Or­ange County cities pos­sess dis­tinct per­son­al­i­ties. Even Ana­heim, with its mod­ern con­ven­tion cen­ter, re­vival of the his­toric Cen­ter Street Prom­e­nade com­merce district, and bustling Pack­ing House food mar­ket, has dis­tin­guished it­self from the Magic King­dom. About 30 per­cent of OC res­i­dents hail from another coun­try, and English is a sec­ond lan­guage for 45 per­cent; Lit­tle Saigon is the largest Viet­namese com­mu­nity out­side of Viet­nam. A true melt­ing pot, the county hosts a dizzy­ing ar­ray of eth­nic food, fes­ti­vals, mar­kets and cul­tural events.

Per­for­mance venues such as the Or­ange County Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter and the South Coast Reper­tory are sprin­kled through­out the county. Des­ti­na­tion shop­ping malls, in­clud­ing Irvine Spec­trum, Costa Mesa’s South

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