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After Disneyland: Other Delights in Orange County, CA

Updated on July 14, 2011
Source

© 2011 by Aurelio Locsin

If you’re coming all the way to Orange County, CA to visit the Disneyland Resort, you might as well reserve a few days to visit the rest of the county. The area is more than just a financial support system for the famous theme park. In fact, you may welcome a break from Mickey and Minnie by exploring more reality-based amusements.

Be aware, however, that getting to these attractions requires a car. If you didn’t bring your own, ask your accommodations staff the location of the closest auto rental. Several are available Disneyland.

Attractions near Disneyland

show route and directions
A markerDisneyland, CA -
Disneyland, Anaheim, CA, USA
get directions

B markerSanta Ana Museum Row -
Bowers Museum, 2002 N Main St, Santa Ana, CA 92706, USA
get directions

Bowers Museum is just one of the facilities in Santa Ana's museum row.

C markerAntique Capital of Orange County -
Plaza Square, Orange, CA 92866, USA
get directions

The center of the Olde Towne Historic District in the City of Orange.

D markerFullerton SOCO District -
N Harbor Blvd & E Commonwealth Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832, USA
get directions

Monkeywrench Collective is a theater near the SOCO District of Fullerton.

show route and directions
A markerDiscovery Science Center, Santa Ana, CA -
Discovery Science Center, 2500 N Main St, Santa Ana, CA 92705, USA
get directions

B markerKidseum -
1802 N Main St, Santa Ana, CA 92706, USA
get directions

C markerBowers Museum, Santa Ana, CA -
Bowers Museum, 2002 N Main St, Santa Ana, CA 92706, USA
get directions

Santa Ana Museum Row

For stimulation based less on the heart and body, and more on the mind, check out three museums that are within walking distance of each other on North Main Street in Santa Ana.

  • The Discovery Science Center appeals to all members of the family with interactive exhibits that cover dinosaurs, hockey, planetary science and aerospace, among other wonders. Red-shirted volunteers are happy to explain scientific concepts to you.
  • The Kidseum is dedicate to introducing hands-on art to pre-school and early elementary age children. Youngsters can dress in costumes from other lands, play tribal instruments, or create masterpieces such as dragons and headdresses that they can take home.
  • More adult activities are available at the Bowers Museum. The permanent collection features art from Native Americans, Africa and the Pacific; artifacts from Orange County history; and paintings from the late 19th to the 20th century. Frequent traveling exhibits give locals a reason to return again and again.

show route and directions
A markerOrange Plaza, Orange, CA -
Plaza Square, Orange, CA 92866, USA
get directions

B markerOrange Circle Antique Mall -
118 S Glassell St, Orange, CA 92866, USA
get directions

C markerArchitectural Gallery -
123 N Olive St, Orange, CA 92866, USA
get directions

D markerFelix Continental Cafe -
36 Plaza Square, Orange, CA 92866, USA
get directions

Antique Capital of Orange County, CA

The City of Orange starts with a circular plaza that sports a grand fountain and palm trees. It then spreads into 1,300 residential and commercial structures built from 1888 to 1940. This Olde Towne Historic District took its place on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997 and boasts 50 architectural styles including Craftsman, Victorian, Mission Revival, Italianate and Art Moderne. Its arguable the only city in Orange County, CA that’s made a concerted effort to preserve so much of its past.

If you’re having trouble deciding which of the dozens of shops to enter, start with Orange Circle Antique Mall, which is the county’s largest antique mall. For architectural elements, like old doors or stained glass windows, visit the Architectural Gallery. Take your lunch break at Felix Continental Café, which has been serving Cuban food since the late 1970s. If it’s a typically pleasant Southern California day, snag an outdoor table facing the Plaza. Unfortunately, this and the area’s other restaurants are the only establishments open at night. Much of the district shuts down at 6 PM.

show route and directions
A markerRoscoe's Famous Deli -
116 W Commonwealth Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832, USA
get directions

B markerLizarran Tapas -
310 N Harbor Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92832, USA
get directions

C markerThe Olde Ship -
709 N Harbor Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92832, USA
get directions

D markerSteamers Cafe -
138 W Commonwealth Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832, USA
get directions

E markerFullerton Civic Light Opera -
218 W Commonwealth Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832, USA
get directions

F markerFrati Gelato Cafe -
122 W Commonwealth Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832, USA
get directions

G markerMaverick Theater -
110 E Walnut Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832, USA
get directions

H markerSturbrik's Steakhouse -
118 E Commonwealth Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832, USA
get directions

I markerRoscoe's Famous Deli -
116 W Commonwealth Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832, USA
get directions

J markerFrati Gelato Cafe -
122 W Commonwealth Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832, USA
get directions

K markerLizarran Tapas -
310 N Harbor Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92832, USA
get directions

L markerMonkeywrench Collective -
204 N Harbor Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92832, USA
get directions

Fullerton SOCO District

The SOCO (South of Commonwealth) District is the closest thing to an evening entertainment area available in Orange County, CA.

If you’re a local of Orange County, CA, feel free to add other attractions, stores and restaurants in the Comments box.

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    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 6 years ago

      Alocsin, you always managed to be so thorough, and Interesting and certainly Informative and this Hub is no exception. I find it to be very Useful, and well written.

    • formosangirl profile image

      formosangirl 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Alocsin, I didn't know that there are so many neat places in Orange County. I will keep them in mind in 2012 and make an effort to visit Santa Ana and Fullerton.

      Voted up and useful.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 4 years ago from USA

      This is good to know - the Antique Capital is intriguing with its historic buildings and antique mall. I haven't been to Disneyland since Disneyworld is much closer, but it would be nice to compare them.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Aurelio, it is interesting to know about the many other attractions that Orange County has to offer besides Disneyland. I just managed to visit Disneyland there. On my next visit, I'll make it a point to do so.

      Voted up, interesting.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      The antique mall sounds really interesting, I never realised that Orange County has so much else to see, voted up and shared, nell

    • Rusticliving profile image

      Elizabeth Rayen 4 years ago from California

      Great list of additional places. There is so much to do in southern Calif. I never heard of the Bower's Museum. It looks like a lot of fun for kids. Great hub Aurelio! Voted up and interesting♥

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      It's always nice to know about the "other" attractions around a place as famous as Disneyland. I know I'd love the antiques. Thanks for all this information.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Alocsin-there sure is a lot of things to do in Orange County, and yet most everyone thinks 'Disneyland' when they focus on that area. Thanks for the great directory of activities and sight seeing. Rated UP/U/I

    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 4 years ago from Bangkok

      Voted up! I wouldn't think of going anywhere else other than Disneyland if I hadn't seen those interesting places you've put here. So, thanks!

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Wow! There is so much to do in Orange County. I remember the first time I visited my daughter who lives down there, I wanted to move to the area. My daughter worked at the Bower's Museum as a docent and really enjoyed it. The other attractions look quite fabulous, too. When I'm down there again, I'm going to have her take me to the antique mall.

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