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Best Hidden Gems in Orange County

By: Cityseeker
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Marconi Automotive Museum

Marconi Automotive Museum, a part of the Marconi Foundation for Kids, houses a vast array of cars that will delight not only children but also automobile connoisseurs. Visitors can view Foxfire Firetrucks, unusual Ferraris and Jaguars. Do not miss Frank Williams' FX Ferrari and the Top Fuel Dragster designed by Kenny Bernstein. This venue can be hired for weddings, business functions and fundraisers.

Tustin, CA, United States
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Lyon Air Museum

No one can deny the massive influence that World War II had on the history of the United States. As the war waged on, it spurned a remarkable growth in the aviation and automotive industries, leading to advances and discoveries that forever changed how the world viewed these man-made wonders. The Lyon Air Museum at Santa Ana seeks to pay homage to these mechanical beasts and the indisputable role they played during the 20th Century. The museum is home to a fantastic collection of exceedingly rare operational aircrafts, vehicles and related items from this era, including military motorcycles and vehicles, automobiles and airplanes. Docent-led tours of the museum and exhibits are available throughout working hours, however groups of 10 or more are required to provide prior notice so that tours may be customized to suit the group's interest. The venue is also available on hire for private events, providing a unique and unforgettable location that is perfect for any occasion.

Santa Ana, CA, United States
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The Cheese Shop at The Mix

The Cheese Shop at The Mix is a somewhat of a mecca for cheese connoisseurs and fanatics of Costa Mesa, CA. Housed within The OC Mix, this charming cheese shop is associated with the popular restaurant The Cellar in San Clemente. The boutique itself is a work of wonder, with pretty, kitschy-kitchen interiors and of course, Clementine the Cow, their mascot. On offer here are a range of exquisite artisanal and domestic, daily-use cheeses along with gourmet snacks and eats that complement these cheeses and lots of cheese accessories - slicers, cutters, chopping boards and lots more. The Cheese Shop also features a small but excellent charcuterie section.

Costa Mesa, CA, United States
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Sherman Library & Gardens

Sherman Library and Gardens is located on Pacific Coast Highway and has extensive botanical collections with examples of plant life from desert regions to tropical regions. It is a veritable outdoor museum of plants. Walk along the paths and smell the fragrant flowers and listen to the bubbling fountains. It really is an oasis that will take you away to a calmer, more peaceful place. Guided tours are available by calling the number listed below.

Corona Del Mar, CA, United States
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International Surfing Museum

Huntington Beach does indeed live up to its "Surf City" title as the most surfed beach in the west. Appropriately enough, this is a shrine to all those who have mastered the long board. Surfboards, surfing films, surfing music and plenty of memorabilia can be found here. The main attractions, however, are the items related to the great Duke Kahanamoku. This Olympic swimmer popularized surfing back in the 1920s, and both a bronze bust and one of his original hardwood boards can be found in the museum.

Huntington Beach, CA, United States
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Burger Records

A treasure trove of vinyl records, Burger Records is a definite must visit for any music fan. A range of music genres, from Heavy Metal, Jazz to Blues and Motown, this store has a comprehensive stock of vinyl records as well as CDs and cassettes. The store at Burger Records also sells T-shirts, bags and other accessories. Also a recording label, Burger Records has represented the works of known musicians like The Black Lips, Devon Williams and Audacity. Besides the store and the label, Burger Records also hosts a variety of live shows including film screenings, concerts and more.

Fullerton, CA, United States
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Pacific Marine Mammal Center

The picturesque Orange coast is home to a wide variety of marine animals and it's not uncommon to see them washed ashore in need of help. Established in 1971 with the aim of rehabilitating such marine mammals along the coast of Orange County, Pacific Marine Mammal Center is an excellent rescue facility. Volunteers and workers are hard at work to lovingly take care of the creatures until they're healthy enough to be released. Visitors to the facility can get an overview of the site as well as check out the mammals. Since this is not a zoo or an aquarium, you won't find facilities geared to visitors. Visits are free, but you can donate for the cause.

Laguna Beach, CA, United States
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North Menswear

If you're looking for some casual outfits - something trendy yet classic, North Menswear on Glenneyre Street of Laguna Beach, CA is where you should be! This little hidden gem of a boutique features classic All-American apparel, accessories and personal-care products for men. Expect to find a great range of jeans, tees, shirts, jackets and accessories like hats, shoes and lots more here. Although the prices maybe a tad high, they're worth the amount of attention you'll get when you're dressed in these awesome outfits. Open all week, except Sundays, North Menswear warrants a decko if you're going for the cool, casual, All-American look.

Laguna Beach, CA, United States
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1000 Steps Beach

There aren't really 1,000 steps leading from highway down to the beach; there are only about 227. Still, it's quite a hike, especially going back up. This secluded beach is popular for surfers and lovers alike. You'll also see people working out by running up and down the steps. It's not very practical if you have kids or a lot of things to carry, so just bring yourself and a loved one and enjoy the solitude and the sand. Metered parking is available on the street before the beach.

Laguna Beach, CA, United States
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