Central Orange County refers to the area in the county between the Northern and Southern Coastal regions. It includes cities such as Santa Ana, Orange, Garden Grove, Fountain Valley, Tustin, and Westminster mostly midsized landlocked cities, all of which lies just a few miles from the Pacific coastline. Homes in the area tend to be less expensive than those right on the water, so you can have your cake and eat it too by choosing a home in Central OC.
Fountain Valley was incorporated in 1957 and referred to the high-water table in the area at the time the name was chosen for the city. Early settlers in the area, built drainage canals to make the land usable for agriculture, which was the dominant use of the land until the 1960’s when housing tracts accelerated.
Fountain Valley is a “Suburban City,” meaning most residents commute to other urban centers for work. However, in recent years, Fountain Valley has seen an increase in commercial jobs with the “Southpark” district, located along the Santa Ana River. Mile Square Regional Park calls Fountain Valley home. This park is 640-acres containing two lakes, three 18-hole golf courses, playing fields, and picnic shelters. Not to mention, a 55-acre recreation center, where you will find tennis courts, basketball courts, a gymnasium and is home to the Kingston Boys and Girl Club. There is so much to do in this beautiful city.
Orange is a unique city because most of the homes in the downtown district were built before 1920, while most other cities demolished such houses in the 1960s, Orange preserved them. Interesting fact, the Orange is the only city in the county that was planned and built around a plaza. Most of the original structures built during this period are still in use today. When visiting Old Towne, be sure to stop by Watson’s Soda Fountain and Café for a milkshake and burger.
Look for things to do in Orange? There is something for everyone. Ranging from shopping at The Outlets at Orange, an outdoor shopping and entertainment center. It features Neiman Marcus, Old Navy, Vans, AMC Theater and Dave and Buster’s. Take a break from shopping by strolling along the lake at Irvine Regional Park. Need something for kids, no problem. Orange has a Railroad park and a Zoo. Orange is home to prestigious Chapman University and John Wayne Airport.
Westminster was designated an “All-America City” by the National Civic League due to its multicultural community comprised of Western, Mexican, and Vietnamese histories. Westminster is home to the Rose Center. A 17,286 square foot theater with 419 seats. Four musicals are produced annually, and the stage is rented out to other organizations as well.
Things to do in Westminster: Located throughout the city, you will find various historical landmarks such as the Vietnam War Memorial, Westminster Memorial Park, and Little Saigon. A great day of shopping can be found at the Westminster Mall. They host events at the mall like “Sip ‘N Shop,” an opportunity to be pampered and enjoy mocktails and sweet treats. Or a short drive and you can enjoy a day at the beach.
Garden Grove was founded in 1874. Once known for its strong agriculture, the city quickly became known for its local produce like walnuts and oranges, and this is still alive today thanks to celebrations such as the annual Strawberry Festival that is held here.
The city still has a substantial Asian influence, with Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean residents all calling the city home. This means that the city also has a wealth of delicious Asian restaurants as well as Asian supermarkets where you can pick up imported produce, and even Asian bakeries that sell both traditional sweet treats as well as those with a Vietnamese inspired twist.
As Garden Grove is located in sunny California, you can also expect a range of outdoor activities and spaces here, and you won’t be disappointed in the form of parks, aquatic centers, and even open-air attractions like amphitheaters where you can catch a musical concert or a theatrical performance under the stars.
North Tustin is tucked away in the foothills and hills between Orange and Tustin. It is the largest unincorporated area in the county and one of the county’s wealthiest communities, following only places like Newport Beach, Villa Park, and Coto de Caza. Residents are lured by large lots, expansive views, and the freedom of being in an incorporated community.
It’s tough to find a $2 million estate in Orange County where you’re allowed to have chickens or a blue driveway or even a lake in the front yard. But these are some of the freedoms afforded to residents of North Tustin. Residents say “It’s like living in the country in the middle of Orange County.
Residents in Stanton enjoy a small-town community feeling. The City was incorporated in 1956 and has experienced growth and prosperity since that time. Stanton residents will enjoy significant retail opportunities, active civic volunteers, and business-friendly City organizations. Residents benefit from a wide variety of programs provided by the City, which include great parks, a family resource center, and annual holiday events and program.
Within the city, you will find entertainment and attractions. The city proudly showcases the finest shopping and services to suit every lifestyle. Stanton has a list of great restaurants either in the city or near-by.
People who know this area well sometimes refer to Tustin as The City of the Trees. Although a variety of trees are responsible for this nickname, the Red Flowering Eucalyptus is the honorary City Tree.
The city offers sweeping panoramic views of the Pacific Coast and Saddleback Mountains and is one of the oldest historical old towns found in Orange County. It offers a variety of historical sites and attractions within the city and makes a prime starting spot for visiting some of the other Southern California attractions. Tustin has something for everyone.
Here, you will find people with a wide range of backgrounds, interests, and occupations. The neighborhoods are quiet and attractive residential streets. Most of the City is designated for single-family residences, most of which are on half-acre lots. The city does have one shopping center which includes a grocery store, banks, a pharmacy with a postal substation, a variety of specialty shops and offices, the City Hall and community room, and a branch of the Orange County Public Library.
Villa Park hosts “Villa Park Marine Thanksgiving” annually. This program allows members of the community to “adopt” a Marine from Pendleton base, most are young and have not been home in several long months. What a fantastic way to give back to Service members. Due to Villa Park’s central location and proximity to the freeway system, the wealth of cultural, social, recreational, business, and philanthropic activities that Orange County offers are all within easy access.
Santa Ana is the second-most populous city in Orange County and is situated in the middle of Orange County along the Santa Ana River. With the revitalization of its downtown area, Santa Ana now features The Santa Ana Artist's Village which was created around Cal State Fullerton's Grand Central Art Center.
The village includes the Bowers Museum of Cultural Arts, the Old County Courthouse as well as several theaters, art galleries, and attractions.
The downtown area is home to the Santa Ana Civic Center and the Ronald Reagan Federal Building and Courthouse. Discovery Science Center, Santa Ana Zoo, Historic Downtown Santa Ana, Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle House & Medical Museum, Kid’s Museum, Heritage Museum of Orange County, Old Courthouse Museum, Santa Ana Public Library, Fairhaven Memorial Park, and the Santa Ana Fire Museum.
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