Though Tustin may not be one of the larger Orange County cities, it is nestled in an ideal location between Santa Ana and Irvine at the base of the hillside. It is a crossroads town where the I-5 meets the 55, making it a highly accessible point for anyone looking for a convenient destination.
The city of Tustin began as an agricultural district known for its orchards, then became mainly a military town due to the presence of the Marine Corp Air Station in the 1960s. Now it is a popular residential and industrial destination of Orange County, with plenty of activities to keep its residents and visitors from neighboring cities entertained.
Here are several spots to stop by on your next visit to “The City of Trees,” Tustin:
Mess Hall Market at Flight
Address: 1705 Flight Way, Tustin, CA 92782
This brand new food hall in the center of a colorful modern business complex features several unique dining and beverage options. The Lost Bean Organic Coffee and Tea is a great place to start the day, with many tasty and sustainable options for coffee aficionados. Dining options include seafood, Greek, burgers, Mexican, and more, all with plenty of seating in the large main space or at their outdoor patio. You can wrap up your visit at The Drink Bar @ Flight, where mixologists pride themselves in using only the best ingredients. With options for all types of eaters, this is a wonderful spot to meet up with friends or go for a laidback lunch out.
Marconi Automotive Museum
Address: 1302 Industrial Drive, Tustin, CA 92780
Fans of classic and modern cars will definitely want to check out the impressive collection of vehicles and memorabilia at the Marconi Automotive Museum. With 70 cars valued at a total of $30 million, the museum showcases historical, luxury, and classic cars and acts as a special events space. Here you can get up close and personal with a Lamborghini, Ferrari, a race car driven by your favorite driver, and much more. And it’s all for a good cause, with the museum being a non-profit dedicated to raising funds for at-risk children’s charities. Tickets are free for kids under 13 and $20 for those 12 and up, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Marconi Foundation for Kids.
Address: 2525 E Warner Ave, Tustin, CA 92782
More relics of the city’s military past are the massive hangars on the remaining military base land off of Warner Ave. and Tustin Ranch Rd. The two wooden structures are 17 stories high, 1000 feet long and 300 feet wide and have been named “Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks” by the American Society of Civil Engineers. They’ve even made appearances in movies and TV shows including “Austin Powers,” “Star Trek” and “The X-Files.” The hangars may not be open to the public, but you can visit them when they open for special events such as 5k’s or drive-in movies. More historical information about the hangars’ history can be found on the city’s website.
Pioneer Road Park
Address: 10250 Pioneer Rd, Tustin, CA 92782
Easily recognizable for the covered wagons on one of its playgrounds, Pioneer Road Park is a kid-friendly step into the past. Styled with Wild West-inspired elements, this well-kept park features a basketball court, two playgrounds, a picnic area, volleyball and basketball courts, a water play area, and a walking trail. The path will take you on a nice walk with views of the hills and the park itself is surrounded by greenery, providing a rustic and comfortable escape from the city.
Cedar Grove Park
Address: 11385 Pioneer Rd, Tustin, CA 92782
Aptly named, Cedar Grove Park features a beautiful tree-lined path with plenty of flora and greenery to admire. Kids can get exercise at the playground and adults on the outdoor workout equipment in addition to a peaceful nature walk. There is plenty of grass and a picnic area, making this a popular event and birthday party spot for locals. The scenic wooded path also is a great photo-op destination!
Tustin Ranch Golf Club
Address: 12442 Tustin Ranch Rd, Tustin, CA 92782
Golfers can visit this beautiful public golf course with plenty of scenic views and water features, known for being one of the top Orange County courses. Lessons are offered for the uninitiated, both individually or as part of their junior or adult programs. The clubhouse here makes for a beautiful space to rent for weddings or other private events. There is also a restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch with a bar and clear views of the green. Check their calendar for tournaments and other events, some for members and some open to the public.
The District at Tustin Legacy
Address: 2437 Park Ave, Tustin, CA 92782
This chic outdoor shopping mall is just down the street from the equally as chic Mess Hall Market and includes a varied mix of familiar chains and unique shops and restaurants. Similar to Mess Hall is Union Market at The District’s main hub The Promenade, including food stalls and boutiques in an open-plan setup. The Promenade also includes Fashion Camp and Pinot’s Palette for some more creative activities. Popular shops and restaurants in the center include Whole Foods, Tilly’s, Target, Vans, AMC, Pressed Juicery, The Winery, Lucille’s, and OC KBBQ.
Veterans Sport Park at Tustin Legacy
Address: 1645 Valencia Ave, Tustin, CA 92782
On the location of the old Marine Corp Air Station is the Veterans Sport Park with 32 acres of recreational space. Athletes of all kinds can utilize the four soccer fields, two softball fields, baseball diamond, two basketball courts, four tennis courts, eight pickleball courts, two volleyball courts, and the skatepark. The playground, splash pad, and large grass lawn are perfect for kids looking for less structured activities. A highlight of the park that acts as a reminder of the park’s origins is the Veteran’s Memorial where people can request names of their loved ones who are veterans or active-duty military members be engraved on bricks lining the memorial. An interactive kiosk at the memorial facilitates easy viewing and searching of all the names engraved at the site.
Citrus Ranch Park
Address: 2910 Portola Pkwy, Tustin, CA 92782
Calling back to the days when Tustin was a town of orchards, Citrus Ranch Park gives visitors a taste of that history with gorgeous lemon tree groves. The walking trail through the orchards is scenic and aromatic when the lemons are in season and makes for great photo ops. After walking the path you can visit the two playgrounds, large grass field, and the picnic areas with plenty of BBQs. Though not quite a hiking destination, a leisurely walk through the orchard is an experience unique to this park that adults and kids alike can enjoy.
Tustin Area Historical Society
Address: 395 El Camino Real, Tustin, CA 92780
If you take a liking to Tustin and want to learn more about the city, the Tustin Area Historical Society is the place to do it. Full of historical artifacts and photographs, the small museum is a non-profit that has been gathering material since 1976. One of its main sources of funding is the annual Old Town Tustin Home and Garden Tour, which celebrates the history of the city in an interactive way. The museum is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays with free admission.
|City of Tustin||Orange County Golf Courses|
|Orange County Breweries||Tustin Street Fair & Chili Cook-Off|
|The District Tustin||Tustin Tiller Days|
Leilani Reyes is a freelance writer, artist, and all-around creative living in Long Beach, CA. After earning a bachelor’s degree from Loyola Marymount University, now she is in search of her next great life adventure.