20 Ways to Play in Orange County

The Event Team continues the 20 year anniversary bash with a close look at the attractions and activities of Orange County.  More than just a rest stop between Los Angeles and San Diego, “The OC” offers a wealth of diverse entertainment that far exceeds its television reputation.  This destination should not be passed over on any California visit.  Allow us to convince you.  Here are 20 ways to play in Orange County!

1. Disney Daze:  Meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy at Orange County’s most famous attraction, Disneyland, Walt Disney’s original theme park that changed the face of family entertainment.  The Disneyland Resort features 2 theme parks (Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure), 3 hotels, and an entertainment district. “The Happiest Place on Earth” is just as innovative and magical as the day it opened over 50 years ago!  New for 2012 is the grand Carsland expansion at Disney’s California Adventure, which transports guests in to a faithfully detailed recreation of Radiator Springs from Disney/Pixar’s feature film Cars.  

Here's the gang checking out California Adventure!

2. Beach Bummin’:  Some of California’s most beautiful beaches are found in Orange County.  Rocky bluffs laced with coastal chaparral surround pristine sand and cerulean waves.  Surfing and kite surfing lessons initiate visitors into local beach culture.  Once out of the water, discover the tubular history of wave riding at the totally free International Surfing Museum.

3. Fancy Flying:  You and 9 of your closest friends (rivals?) can experience the excitement of fighter jet combat in authentic F-16 flight simulators at Flightdeck Air Combat Center.  Guests can observe and listen to the entire dog fighting action on giant LCD monitors from the “Officer’s Club”.  Not exhilarating enough?  Try getting behind the controls of actual aerobatic stunt planes or 1930’s open cockpit planes at SkyThrills, no-experience-necessary, once-in-a-lifetime aeronautical adventures.  Non-thrill seekers can be immersed in flight history at the Lyon Air Museum.

image from lyonairmuseum.org











4. Fun Zone Ferries: Motorists can drive their vehicle directly on to the Balboa Island Ferry for a pleasant voyage over to a classic vacation paradise.  Boutique shops, fine dining, arcades, rides, and chocolate covered frozen bananas await at Newport’s Balboa Island.  Bike, boat, and Segway rentals are also popular at this retro boardwalk Fun Zone.

5. Magnificent Mission:  History comes alive at Orange County’s famous Mission San Juan Capistrano.  Gardens, ponds, historic adobe buildings, and museum displays immerse guests in to the world of 18th century Spanish missionaries.  Activities for kids and adults take place throughout the year.  The gorgeous mission served as a set for many early Hollywood films and is known for being the site of Mary Pickford’s secret wedding to Owen Moore.  Each spring migratory American Cliff Swallows famously find sanctuary among the mission’s eaves after making the 6,000 mile flight from Argentina.

image from http://www.missionsjc.com










6. Crystal Cathedral:  10,000 panes of glass in the shape of a four pointed star make up the majestic Crystal Cathedral.   Inside the 2,736 seat church sits one of the world’s largest instruments, the Crystal Cathedral organ.  Grandiose pageants that take place during the holidays are a sight to behold.

7. Cinematic Sports:  Believe in miracles at baseball’s Angel Stadium of Anaheim!  The halo at the top of the 210-ton “Big A” landmark marquee lights up after every Angel win!  Stanley Cup Champions, The Anaheim Ducks, quack their way to victory at the Honda Center.  Both venues host some of music’s biggest acts when not in use by fantastic sports teams.  Before the game, check out one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive sports memorabilia collections at the absolutely free Newport Sports Museum.

8. Sumptuous Spas:  In true Real Housewives fashion, experience the life of luxury at one of The OC’s many fabulous spas.  From rubs and scrubs, to facials and baths, treat yourself to a day of relaxation and pampering.  There are literally hundreds of spas to choose from.

9. Eco Immersion:  Nature and wildlife are not commonly associated with Orange County, but there are actually several options for exploring the great outdoors!  Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, Carbon Canyon Park, San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary, Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, and Glenn E. Vedder Ecological Reserve offer exceptional opportunities to commune with the Earth.  Hiking, biking, camping, and wildlife watching can all be enjoyed during the day, and then you can unwind at a spa in the evening!

10. Cultural Celebration:   The Bowers Museum is a renowned cultural center that celebrates world cultures through their arts.  Many of the world’s biggest traveling exhibits make a stop here including Fabergé and King Tut.  Exhibitions, lectures, art classes, travel programs, children’s art education programs, and other special community programs are all part of the museum’s slate of offerings.  The Bowers has been voted “The Best Museum in Orange County” 14 years in a row; they must be doing something right!

image from http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/

11. Cowboys & Coasters:  Beginning as a humble roadside pie and preserve stop, Knott’s Berry Farm is now one of the world’s most visited theme parks.  High tech thrills mix with the excitement of the Wild West at “America’s 1st Theme Park”.  Youngsters can meet Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and the rest of the Peanuts gang at Camp Snoopy.  Knott’s Soak City water park is also part of the complex.  Don’t leave without a enjoying a famous meal from Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant!

12. Catalina Castaways:  A day trip over to gorgeous Santa Catalina Island is a great way to escape the city.  The island’s unique eco-system is home to several endemic species not found anywhere else in the world.  Jeep and zip line tours are great ways to experience the flora and fauna.  Reefs, shipwrecks, and bright orange Garibaldi can be seen by snorkeling, scuba diving, and glass bottom boat.  Once a getaway for Hollywood elite, the island town of Avalon is a beachy haven of restaurants, souvenir shops, and bars.  The historic art deco Avalon Theater is a must-see landmark.

image from www.catalinachamber.com
















13. Presidential Places:  Guests can explore the history of one of our nation’s most controversial presidents at the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.   The impressive complex features state-of-the-art galleries, theaters, and displays.  Visitors can stroll through the spectacular First Lady’s Garden before taking a tour of Nixon’s restored over-one-hundred-year-old birthplace.  Republican or Democrat, anyone can appreciate the history and beauty of this first-rate complex.

14. Shop and Skate:  The Block at Orange is a large open-air outlet and entertainment complex featuring an IMAX movie theater, bowling alley, Dave & Buster’s, and Van’s Skatepark.  Extreme sports fans will enjoy the top-notch skatepark, which is often visited by some of the country’s best professional boarders.  Retail options at The Block include Neiman Marcus Last Call, Nordstrom Rack, and Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th.  There is truly something for everyone here!

15. Best Banh Mi:  Orange County’s Little Saigon is the lively center of California’s Vietnamese American community.  You won’t find better Vietnamese cuisine anywhere this side of the Pacific.  A trip to Little Saigon would not be complete without sampling beef noodle soup (pho) and BBQ sandwiches (banh mi).  Asian Garden Mall is the most popular shopping center.

16. Krazy Karting:  Fulfill your need for speed at K1 Speed Anaheim’s indoor karting center!  Professionally designed tracks and high-performance karts make for a karting experience unlike any other.  First-timers to professional racecar drivers enjoy the white-knuckle thrills of going 0 to 45 instantly in a kart race against friends.

image from http://www.k1speed.com


17. Powerful Performances: Perfect acoustics and elegant modernity characterize the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the area’s premiere performing arts venue.  Several various-sized theaters host plays, musicals, kids’ shows, concerts, and educational productions.  No need to drive to Los Angeles, the country’s hottest touring shows makes a stop at this multi-disciplinary cultural campus.

18. Happy Harbor:  There are several ways to enjoy the lovely Dana Point harbor.  Strolling along the marina and shoreline, whale watching aboard a sailboat, exploring the pier, and shopping in the boutique stores are a few of the possibilities.  Baby Beach, frequented by parents with young children, is the perfect place for a child to experience a swim in the ocean for the first time.  There are several fantastic restaurants to choose from after a long day on the water as well.

19. Righteous Rescue:  While there are several places to view local marine life, none have as much heart as Pacific Marine Mammal Center.   This non-profit seal and sea lion hospital allows the public to view its patients to help raise awareness for marine mammal protection.  The passionate staff is happy to educate and they also offer a kids’ summer camp.

20. Cool Cars:  Founded by former race car driver Dick Marconi, Marconi Automotive Museum features a 30 million-dollar collection of incredible cars.  Super bikes, open wheel racing cars (both Formula 1 and Indy), American muscle cars, vintage racing cars,  and high performance exotics are all on display.  A few of the highlights of the collection include Kenny Bernstien’s record breaking “Louie the Lizard” Top Fuel Dragster, a 1955 Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gullwing, and the unique Ferrari FX!s


Don’t forget to call The Event Team to plan your next Orange County adventure. We offer a wide range of options for corporate tours and activities! Contact us at 888-EVENT-88 or sales@eventteam.com.