Things to do in Orange County

Orange County Attractions

Explore the best Orange County attractions the region has to offer. You’ll leave with memories to last a lifetime.

Sand, sun, and wicked surfing conditions aren’t the only things this area is known for. It's also home to an exciting array of attractions, from parks and beaches to museums and aquariums.

You'll definitely want to add some of these venues to your list of things to do in Orange County. Each one offers an exciting adventure and opportunity for creating lifelong memories.


Anaheim attracts tourists worldwide with spellbinding theme parks, a thriving sports scene, and a rich history to explore. It’s also home to some of the best parks in Orange County.

1. Disneyland Resort

Disneyland Resort is one of the most popular things to do in Orange County. It earned its nickname as the happiest place on Earth thanks to its immersive experience, bringing fairy-tale magic to life with whimsical castles and exciting attractions.

At Disneyland Park, you'll find the iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle and the “It’s a Small World” boat ride. Endless themed dining experiences make for memorable meals and wonderful photo opportunities.

Exciting roller coasters like the Incredicoaster thrill guests at Disney California Adventure Park. Visitors can also travel through Radiator Springs or join a hang gliding flight for a virtual trek at Soarin’ Around the World.

Any Disneyland trip is instantly elevated with a stay at one of the three themed hotels. Character appearances and exclusive experiences for hotel guests ensure unforgettable times, even when you’re resting after a day at the parks.

Photographer: Isaac Garcia

2. Angel Stadium

Catch a baseball game at Angel Stadium, one of the oldest MLB ballparks in the nation. It recently underwent renovations to make it a more comfortable experience.

A pregame tour brings ticket holders through the facility. Discover the meaning behind the courtyard statues and marvel at the trophy cases brimming with awards. You’ll even be granted early entry into the stadium to witness pregame warm-ups.

When games aren’t on the schedule, behind-the-scenes ballpark tours take you on a 75-minute journey through the field, Angels Dugout, Visitors’ Clubhouse, and the Clubhouse Press Conference Room. You’ll also be treated to exclusive areas, such as a Dugout Suite.

3. Anaheim GardenWalk

Minutes from Disneyland Resort, the Anaheim GardenWalk encourages shopping, dining, and entertainment in an outdoor mall. Meander streets shaded by palm trees while discovering a new restaurant among the numerous options.

Familiar favorites, such as pizza parlors and steakhouses, sit among bold fusion restaurants for a range of flavors. Popular national and local retail brands offer the perfect opportunity to purchase a souvenir or refresh your closet.

Whether you want to catch a film or experience the thrill of an escape room, numerous entertainment venues keep the fun rolling. Try piloting a virtual fighter deck at the Flightdeck Simulation Center for sky-high, nonstop action.

When you crave an artistic show, check out Kip Barry’s Magical Cabaret for a dinner theater performance.

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4. Anaheim Packing District

Orange County’s name is a throwback to a time when its primary economic boon came from oranges and other citrus fruits. While its robust economy now relies more on tourism, you’ll find the Anaheim Packing District, where the old Sunkist facility once stood.

The entire district consists of three buildings, including the Packing House, MAKE Building, and Packard Building. Each features various restaurants, vendors, and breweries. You’ll also see stacks of oranges and other produce waiting to be purchased.

We love the food court—it's a culinary adventure. Here, you can enjoy anything from experimental snacks like crêpes stuffed with cereal to full-fledged meals from locally beloved vendors. Regular World Taste events meld great dining with globally inspired entertainment.

Santa Ana

We feel right at home in Santa Ana, where a passion for artistry runs deep.

5. Discovery Cube

At the Discovery Cube Orange County, children of all ages encounter exhibits and interactive activities that inspire a lifelong love of learning. This hands-on museum transforms learning into a fun adventure, and children play their way through chemistry, biology, physics, and environmentalism.

Kids can embark on rainforest adventures or tackle challenges to see who can sort recycling from garbage the fastest. The brave can experience a hurricane’s visceral power in a wind tunnel at the permanent Dynamic Earth: Hurricane exhibit.

Along the way, kids learn how hurricanes are categorized and how much damage they can produce. At The Physics Lab's The Raceway exhibit, children can learn about the physics of friction, drag, speed, and acceleration through play.

6. Bowers Museum

Bowers Museum celebrates artistry around the world. Its permanent collection contains more than 130,000 works of art, including more than 100,000 from Native American cultures and areas in Africa, the South Pacific, and Asia. Other pieces feature local artists.

Its diverse collection has earned it the title of the best museum in Orange County. Various community events throughout the year invite exploration into artistic topics, such as comics, painting rocks, and dance.

Storytime in the Galleries and other family-friendly events encourage children to discover their inner artists. Local performing artists and organizations set up regular events.

7. Santa Ana Zoo

Over 80 species from around the world call Santa Ana Zoo home. Tiny golden-headed lion tamarins swing from branches. Camels roam their yard, and birds native to the Amazon fly overhead in the aviary. Come face-to-face with a giant anteater in the grasslands or spot iguanas basking in the sun.

Children delight in the Zoofari Express, which winds around the northern part of the grounds. The Conservation Carousel takes younger children around a leisurely loop as they sit on endangered species, such as giraffes, pandas, and panthers.

A 64-ft. Ferris wheel towers over the Crean Family Farm, letting you experience the heights our performers brave during our shows. At the Conservation Education Theater, children discover more about animals. Even the stage, crafted from approximately 7,800 recycled milk jugs, is dedicated to conservation.

Photographer: James Lee

8. Heritage Museum of Orange County

Local cultural and natural history unfolds at the Heritage Museum of Orange County. The museum has over 12 acres of land, and its plaza features buildings from the 1890s alongside cultivated gardens and citrus groves.

Historic houses showcase life in the Victorian era. The Gospel Swamp Natural Area and Gospel Swamp Farm put the natural habitat on display. A fully operational blacksmith shop hosts classes and is home to the Orange County Blacksmith Guild.

Regular educational events and temporary exhibitions dive into various topics, such as dinosaurs, farming, and art and fashion.

Newport Beach

You'll love the stunning shorelines at Newport Beach. The consistently pleasant weather offers shopping, dining, and surfing opportunities.

9. Newport Pier

Find the ideal beach day escape at Newport Pier. Build sandcastles on the shore or beat the heat with a dip in the sea. With five miles of beach to explore, opportunities for outdoor adventures are endless.

Biking or skating along the boardwalk is a popular pastime, and surfing and swimming encourage lighthearted fun. After working up an appetite, indulge in the multitude of casual and fine dining venues.

This is a popular destination year-round, thanks to Orange County’s Mediterranean climate. At this beach, you can enjoy a leisurely day of stunning seaside views.

10. The Wedge

The Wedge is primarily known for its phenomenal opportunities for experienced surfers looking for a challenge. However, it also has one of the best viewpoints in Orange County, especially if you’re there for the sunset.

From the sand, you can view the houses and cliffs surrounding Newport Beach and watch the surfers glide by. This stretch of beach doesn't have a parking lot, but you can often find places to park along the nearby residential streets.

11. Fashion Island

Shop and dine the day away at Fashion Island. This indoor/outdoor mall is in the center of Newport Beach and has 75 acres filled with over 180 stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues. While the main shopping area is dog-friendly, individual stores may have their own rules about bringing your canine companion.

Several green spaces and scattered games keep children happy between stops in stores. Sit on a bench and enjoy the California sunshine or the scenery. Many enjoy the serenity of the koi pond, which is topped with lily pads and statues.

Huntington Beach

Welcome to a true surfer’s paradise. Affectionately known as “Surf City USA,” the laid-back vibes here make it the perfect destination for a relaxed weekend.

12. Huntington Beach Pier

Huntington Beach Pier is the city's most popular landmark. Although it was rebuilt to extend 1,850 ft. into the Pacific Ocean, it’s been present in some form since 1904. Its length makes it particularly suitable for fishing and sightseeing.

Regular events attract crowds of surfers and people looking for simple beachside fun. Swimming, building sandcastles, and hunting for seashells are local favorite activities.

Photographer: Arvind Vallabh

13. Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve

Hike through Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve to discover stunning natural habitats across several ecosystems. About five miles of public hiking trails lead you to scenic outlooks through the largest saltwater marsh on the California coastline.

These pristine conditions lend themselves to wildlife viewing and bird-watching. Tide pools teem with shrimp, sea stars, and crabs. 321 different bird species have been documented within the grounds, including rare species, such as the California brown pelican and American bald eagle.

14. Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum

Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum is a must-visit destination. Most notably, it holds the world’s largest surfboard, which is over 42 ft. long and 11 ft. wide. The museum also has famous Hawaiian surfer Duke Kahanamoku’s board on display.

During warmer months, the museum hosts Surfin’ Sundays, where live music on the beach and constant activities take place at its Pier Plaza.

Long Beach

Urban adventures, exciting events, and intriguing accommodations make Long Beach a contender for one of the greatest places to visit in Orange County. Revel in small-town charm with big-city amenities.

15. Aquarium of the Pacific

Witness the ethereal beauty of marine life at the Aquarium of the Pacific, the largest aquarium in California and spanning a 6-acre site.

One gallery emphasizes local wildlife, including reefs, kelp forests, and seagrass beds across 10 exhibits. You’ll find yourself face-to-face with moray eels, lobsters, and the garibaldi, the state’s official fish.

In Shark Lagoon, the fiercest ocean predators glide through the tank. Smaller species, such as epaulet sharks, swim through shallow touch pools, where you can pet them. The lagoon also connects to the Lorikeet Forest aviary.

Brightly colored lorikeets wait for food, and you can attract them with purchased cups of nectar. A squid-themed playground sculpture encourages imaginative adventures.

16. The Queen Mary

The Queen Mary was once constructed as a passenger liner, offering luxurious transatlantic travel accommodations. After serving as a troopship for Allied soldiers and once again serving passengers when World War II ended, it retired on the shores of Long Beach.

Now, it’s a hotel and museum, giving you the chance to sleep in rooms featuring original 1930s artwork and a polished art deco theme. Full suites, mini-suites, and staterooms immerse you in history. For breathtaking views, book a starboard-side room.

Regular tours through the ship tell the Queen Mary’s story. For a more exciting spin, check out the themed Haunted Encounters tour to hear some of the ship’s legendary paranormal stories.

17. Naples Island

Naples Island evokes imagery of Italy with Venetian canals. You can explore the area by land, but it’s far more exciting to rent a kayak or catch a ride with The Gondola Getaway. Quaint streets feature shops and restaurants to visit during a relaxed stroll.

Visit Mother’s Beach for a peaceful retreat. It has a small stretch of sandy shores, a protected swimming area, and a playground. In the winter, Naples Island brightens up with extravagant light displays. Seeing them from a gondola makes for a unique experience.

Photographer: Daniel Stiel

Unforgettable Experiences Await in Orange County’s Diverse Attractions

Opportunities for hiking, swimming, exploring, and learning await across Orange County. After exploring these diverse attractions, the fun continues on our stage. Prepare to be swept away on a fantastical adventure crafted by our passionate performers.

Our shows defy conformity and inspire awe. Every leap and daring feat moves our story along. Brace yourself and prepare for a journey unlike any other.

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