Tucked in central Orange County, the city of Orange was incorporated in 1888 and is approximately 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles. Its early beginnings date back to 1869 when lawyers Andres Glassell and Alfred Chapman were given 1,380 acres of land from the Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana as payment for legal fees. Development began when the two lawyers laid out a one square mile town with ten-acre farm lots that surrounded a forty-acre central town site. Today, this central town site is known as the Plaza and is the symbol of the community.
The Plaza is in the Old Towne Historic District and is one of Orange County’s favorite downtowns. Complete with over 60 antique shops, sidewalk bistros and the central plaza park, the Plaza reflects an old world charm. The Old Towne Historic district in on the National Register of Historic Places and includes commercial buildings and over 1,300 homes. Showcasing over 50 different architectural styles, the district includes the old Santa Fe Depot, post office, churches, schools, packing houses and parks.
Orange has many beautiful and fun points of interest, including the Orange County Zoo, Peters Canyon Regional Park and Santiago Oaks Regional Park and Nature Center. The zoo in located inside Irvine Park and houses over 100 birds and animals native to the southwestern United States. Wildlife includes bears, mountain lions, deer, coyotes and much more. There is an engaging petting zoo where children can feed goats, cows, sheep and other barnyard animals.
Peters Canyon Regional Park comprises of 354 acres of freshwater marsh, riparian, coastal sage scrub and grassland habitats. The 55-acre Upper Peters Canyon Reservoir is home to many waterfowl and is dotted with black cottonwoods, willows and sycamores lining the sparkling lake. The
Santiago Oaks Regional Park and Nature Center is 350 acres of wilderness with 10 miles of winding trails that join the Anaheim Hills. There are equestrian paths, mountain biking and hiking trails. The Nature Center also features natural history exhibits.
Adding to the unique charm and close-knit feel of Orange is the Watson Drugs and Soda Fountain. Locals, town officials and visitors enjoy the warm atmosphere and great burgers at this store. This is the oldest drugstore in Orange County and was established in 1899. Putting Orange on the map, the exterior and interior has been used to film many movies, including “The Stepford Children,” “That Thing You Do” and “Cannonball Run.”
Maintaining a community feel, Orange hosts a wide array of annual events to bring everyone together and celebrate holiday occasions. Annual events and celebrations include the 4th of July firework extravaganza, free concerts in the park, Treats in the Streets, Thanksgiving Gift Basket Program, Tree Lighting Ceremony and the Orange International Street Fair. The Orange International Street Fair has been a tradition since 1910 and is celebrated every Labor Day weekend at the Plaza Square. Drawing more than 400,000 visitors each year, it is a celebration of diversity featuring ethnic-dressed dancers, authentic cuisine, native crafts, parades and mini-rides for kids.
Orange is a short drive to many of California’s most beautiful beaches, including Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Laguna Beach. Miles of white sandy beaches with ocean blue waters are ideal for sun worshipers and swimmers. Coves and colorful reefs are ideal for snorkelers and scuba divers. Other popular watersports include sailing, jet skiing, fishing, surfing and water skiing. The seafaring villages along the shorefront also feature chic boutiques and quaint bistros with stunning water views.
With its hometown feel, beautiful parks and many cultural amenities, the city of Orange offers a quality lifestyle and is an ideal destination.