"Have a Slice of Little and Big Orange" Top 5 Page for this destination Orange by marinarena

Orange Travel Guide: 133 reviews and 299 photos


An ORANGE is just an ORANGE, unless it is referring to a city & an entire county.

"Little" Orange... The city of Orange , first established in 1871, is quaint yet vast, common but also unique and relaxing yet entertaining. It is quite a mixed bag but indeed full of pleasure for everyone. The beginnings of Orange, little and large is pictured here in Plaza Park, an old gathering spot of locals. How I cherish the water fountain!

Tracing the folklore of Orange, she almost did not become one- instead she was originally going to be called Richland (now a street name). Well, Richland could have very well stuck and would made sense since this is a land with good wealth. However, there had already been established another town of the same name. Good thing- that name would not have sounded feminine at all :-)! Supposedly, the founders of the town, Alfred Chapman and Andrew Glassell, then sought to choose another name during a poker game. Possibilities thought to have come up during the game of high stakes were: Orange, Lemon, Almond and Olive. Hmm...well the latter two would have been all right but Lemon- no, that just sucks...lemon!

Big Orange...California's county of Orange is the most known "Orange County" in the U.S.A and furthermore, to the world, thanks to the popularity of Disneyland, in the city of Anaheim, and the portrayal of the county in worldwide media. It is the 3rd largest populated county in California (3 million and growing), though the smallest in area in southern CA.

Residents of O.C. love being "behind the Orange curtain", enjoying suburban comforts including mostly well maintained streets, neighborhoods and nature fields/trails. In addition it is an advantage here to have access to gorgeous Pacific coastline, a variety of world class shops and malls and excellent dining options. Because of all of the above , O.C. real estate can be decidedly expensive, however it is not impossible to afford to live here with some sacrifice of living. If you can't manage to live here, do at least try to visit.

Look for many Orange COUNTY tips on these pages:

Anaheim (including DISNEYLAND!),
Brea (a quaint night life spot)
Buena Park (family-friendly entertainment like KNOTT'S BERRY FARM, a nightlife spot)
Costa Mesa (a hip nightlife spot, OC FAIR, SOUTH COAST PLAZA MALL)
Dana Point (small beach, GREAT SURF, grand accommodations/services)
Fullerton (downtown bars galore)
Huntington Beach(most populated O.C. beach, surfing)
Irvine (entertaining Spectrum, huge biz center, lush nature park and great hiking trails )
La Habra (convenient to LA travel & Disneyland)
Laguna Beach(including Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel & Laguna Woods- gorgeous hills, trails and beach to see!)
Newport Beach (w/ Balboa Island area and Corona Del Mar- all highly desirable)
San Clemente (nice beach, close to San Diego)
San Juan Capistrano(w/ very scenic and historic Mission)
Santa Ana (includes the O.C. AIRPORT- John Wayne)
Seal Beach (nice beach close to Long Beach)
Yorba Linda(peaceful & pretty town to stay).


Like Los Angeles, I consider Orange to be "pregnant" for purposes of my travel pages. Within this set of pages on Orange, I include central county cities, Garden Grove (Disneyland adjacent) and Tustin (features historic Old Town), plus the "baby" city, Stanton (Disneyland adjacent).

Cities of Orange County besides these that may get honorable mention in the future include:

Aliso Viejo (beautiful hill sides)
Coto de Coza (very upscale, not so mentionable if not for the The Real Housewives of Orange county show!)
Cypress (golf, community college town)
Foothill Ranch (quiet upscale area)
Fountain Valley (featuring the great Mile Square Park, large Asian culture)
La Palma (quiet town almost swallowed by her neighbor, the L.A. county city of Cerritos)
Lake Forest (Irvine adjacent, tranquil, has pretty lake area)
Los Alamitos (host to the famous Los Al. race track, quiet town close to Long Beach)
Mission Viejo (upscale area w/ nice shopping, lush and quiet living)
Placentia (pleasant place, close to Fullerton & Anaheim)
Rancho Santa Margarita (pretty upscale area)
Sunset Beach (lesser known beach town)
Westminster (including Midway City-much of the city like a modernized, western Vietnam, close to Long Beach)

Other communities that are very nice residential communities but are not really on the tourist map:
Ladera Ranch (just like Mission Viejo)
Las Flores (like Rancho SM but smaller)
Villa Park (quiet and tiny-tiny, city of Orange adjacent)

Other county features are 3 major canyons:

(all lovely, untamed parts for escaping)


Drop the article! Yes, people love to make the county distinct by calling it "The O.C." but for my purposes, I drop the article and emphasize "O.C." Often when people add the "the", they highlight on the overhyped, misjudged and the usually cynical in nature stereotypes of the region. I try to keep with a more favorable, modest tone in regards to the county.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:multi-dimensional city/county; high quality of life/environment in most parts, pretty views; small town feel while having advantages like of a big city, ample space, family-friendly
  • Cons:City of Org: traffic in some areas; County: image of being aloof, can be very expensive to live here in some sections
  • In a nutshell:Feel the heart and other parts of Orange !
  • Intro Updated Apr 11, 2015
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Reviews (90)

Comments (11)

  • ines2003's Profile Photo
    Nov 16, 2012 at 9:01 AM

    Congratulations on your Barney award!

  • suvanki's Profile Photo
    Nov 3, 2012 at 3:29 AM

    Congratulations! Looking forward to sitting down and reading about your Home Town.

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Nov 1, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    Congratulations on your Barney award!

  • Mailo's Profile Photo
    Aug 11, 2009 at 9:41 PM

    Feliz Cumpleaños Marie, all the best for you always.

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Jul 8, 2008 at 6:55 PM

    Great tips Marina! I always thought the Santa Ana and OC zoos were one and the same! looks like I have a new one to check out!

  • brewjohnson's Profile Photo
    Apr 18, 2008 at 4:43 PM

    Great page. I think Orange is one of the most unique places in Orange County. I was shocked the first time I went to the old downtown. What a SoCal hidden gem!

  • Airpunk's Profile Photo
    Nov 10, 2006 at 10:21 AM

    Interresting tips and beautiful pictures - keep on with your excellent work!

  • Jul 14, 2006 at 7:05 AM

    Apparently you missed City Hall and the beautiful apartment communities that feature wonderul fountains and streams. Fountain Valley also has a wonderful library, community center, and senior center.

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo
    Mar 15, 2005 at 5:20 AM

    Excellent tips, very well written with lots of useful info. I've never seen the show O.C., but have always wanted to visit the Crystal Cathedral - especially one of their Christmas musicals.

  • gilabrand's Profile Photo
    Nov 17, 2004 at 1:26 PM

    Now I know where to shop, where not to drive and where to eat - All I need to do is hop on a plane!

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