Burrowed in the foothills of north Orange County, Brea is a burgeoning community of more than 40,000 residents. World-class shopping and international restaurants abound. With its award-winning school district, diverse business mix and many amenities, Brea is a great place to live, work and play.
In Spanish, the word “Brea” means tar, and the early pioneers and Indians used chunks of the oil-soaked ground for fuel. Decades later the oil boom came, and paved the way for the burgeoning city that Brea is today. The Union Oil Company purchased over 1,000 acres of land in 1894 for oil development. The company struck it rich in 1898 with the Olinda Oil Well.
Development was gradual with small industries and businesses that were created to service the oil field workers and their families. The city was incorporated in 1917 with a modest population of 752. The oil boom continued until the 1940s. By the 1970s, the construction of the Brea Mall and the opening of the Orange Freeway brought new housing developments and new businesses. The Brea Mall has four anchor stores, including JC Penney, Nordstrom, Macy’s and Sears with over 175 specialty shops and restaurants.
Brea’s rich history is preserved the Brea Museum and Heritage Center, and locals can get a taste of the oil boom era at the Olinda Oil Museum and Park. This 12-acre historical park recaptures the excitement of the era with its unique smells and sounds. Amazingly, the Olinda Oil Well is still pumping, and visitors can visit the well.
Brea has a vibrant downtown area known as “Birch Street.” This bustling area stretches over 50 acres with entertainment and shopping. Its pedestrian-friendly promenade features the Improv Comedy Club, Edwards Stadium Cinema Complex, Old Navy, The Yard House and the famous Taps Fish House and Brewery. The City Hall Park is a popular venue and hosts summer concerts, as well as the Fourth of July County Fair.
With over 1,000 miles of white sandy beaches, residents of Brea are a half-hour drive from California’s most pristine beaches. Residents can take in the quaint seaside villages of Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and many more. Surfing, jet skiing, swimming, boating, fishing are just a few of the popular watersport activities available at the beaches. With the colorful shorefront reefs and rocky coves, snorkeling and scuba diving are a great way to take in the underwater splendor of marine life. Many of the beaches feature long boardwalks lined with chic boutiques and trendy bistros with terraces for a grand view of the ocean.
Brea is also close to some of the finest amusement parks in the world, including Disneyland Park, Knott’s Berry Farm Park, SeaWorld San Diego and Legoland. Each park offers a day of fun adventure for all ages. Disney’s storybook characters come to life in a world of magic at Disneyland Park. Visitors can enjoy the spectacular music shows of Disney’s characters, including Ariel and Cinderella. With jungle parks and log-flume rides, the park is a day of absolute fun.
Knott’s Berry Farm Park offers thrill rides, Aztec dancing shows, dancing can-can girl shows at the Ghost Town Saloon, waterparks and two farmer’s markets. SeaWorld San Diego offers spectacular marine shows with jumping black whales, whimsical dolphins and dancing sea lions. Kids can even feed the mammals in marine pools. Legoland is a land of plain lego fun. Shaped in legos, this fun amusement park features over 50 rides, factory tours and a waterpark.
Brea combines the vibrancy of a city with the comfort of the suburbs. It’s a place where amenities and picturesque grounds intersect with a friendly neighborhood feel.