Nothing beats a great downtown, and Orange County has no shortage of down town districts. Unique boutiques for shopping, a great selection of restaurants, and hot spots for local nightlife are just a few of the reasons people love strolling along the main streets and old towns of Orange County. Here are a few local favorites.
Old Town Seal Beach: Main Street and Ocean Avenue, Seal Beach
Main Street Seal Beach is about as quaint as it comes in Orange County. Brick façade buildings, small boutiques, independent toy stores, and ice cream parlors line the street. Several new restaurants have opened in the area like Beachwood BBQ, Avila’s El Ranchito, and The Hangout, but a few old classics remain like Walt’s Wharf and O’Malley’s. In addition to great restaurants and bars, Old Town Seal Beach has many unique shops for everything from bathing suits to toys. An old favorite (especially for kids) is the shell shop. Located at 125 Main Street, you’ll find aisles of shells, beach and nautical themed décor, toys, postcards, and more. Don’t forget to enjoy a stroll on the pier. A fire damaged the restaurant at the end of the pier and the city is currently in the redevelopment process. We can’t wait to see what’s coming! If you have kids, take time to enjoy the new playground equipment located in the sand on the south side of the pier. For more information about Seal Beach, visit www.sealbeachca.gov/About or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ShopMainStreetSealBeach.
Old Town Orange: Intersection of Glassell and Chapman, Orange
You’re taken back in time when you visit Old Town Orange. The historic district is a local favorite for shopping and dining. Old Town Orange is known as the “Antique Capital of California” with more than 40 antique shops in a four block area. Many buildings here, including the park and the fountain in the middle of the circle at Chapman and Glassell, are on the National Register of Historic Places. There’s a fantastic selection of restaurants and specialty boutiques. You’ll find the old fashioned original Watson’s Drug and Soda Fountain which has been located in Orange since 1899. The District Lounge is built inside what was once the city of Orange’s first post office. Locals gather here for good food, drinks, and live music. Residents and students from nearby Chapman College all love Tokyo Café for affordable and delicious Japanese cuisine. There are many annual events here in Old Town Orange including the International Food Festival & Street Fair every Labor Day weekend, the Antique Fair every February, and the Orange Plaza Classic Car Show every April. Bring the kids to Old Town on Halloween for a fun and unique trick-or-treating event. For more information about Old Town Orange visit www.oldtowneorange.com/home.php.
Anaheim Packing District: Anaheim Boulevard and Santa Ana Street, Anaheim
Anaheim Packing District is the new kid on the block. The city of Anaheim restored the Packard Building, an old car showroom built in the 1920s. It is now home to Umami Burger and the Anaheim Brewery. The Packing House, built in 1919, was part of the agriculture industry where fresh citrus was washed, processed, and packed into containers for shipping via the train rails just outside the building. Today, it houses a public market, restaurants, and a gathering space that often features live music. Additional shopping and restaurants line the streets of downtown on Broadway, Elm, and Center Street Promenade. Muzeo, located on the corner of Anaheim and Broadway, is a museum and cultural center with exhibits showcasing the history of Anaheim and a variety of art exhibits. For more information about Downtown Anaheim and the Anaheim Packing District, visit anaheimpackingdistrict.com/.
Downtown Huntington Beach: Main Street and PCH, Huntington Beach
Downtown Huntington Beach is a popular tourist destination and locals enjoy the nightlife here. It’s a great spot for shopping with many surf stores including Huntington Surf & Sport, Jack’s Surf Boards, and Rip Curl. Sugar Shack is a favorite local spot for breakfast, and Duke’s at the beginning of the Huntington Beach Pier is a must for visitors to Surf City. Popular annual events in Downtown Huntington include the US Open of Surfing every summer and the Breitling Air Show every October. Every Tuesday from 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm, downtown is closed to vehicle traffic for Surf City Nights. The family friendly street fair and farmers market is a local favorite with vendors, street performers, and activities for kids. Every Friday from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm, Pier Plaza hosts the Art-A-Faire, showcasing vendors with handmade crafts and original artwork. Just a block over, more shopping and dining is available at The Strand. For more information about Downtown Huntington Beach, visit www.surfcitynights.com/ or huntingtonbeachca.gov/.