Historic Mission San Juan Capistrano is a California icon. Perhaps most famous for visits from its annual guests of honor, the swallows, the Mission means many things to many people. For Californians, it is a powerful symbol of the state's complicated colonial history. For Catholics, it is a profound religious site, indicative of the Church's own complex heritage. History buffs spend hours reveling in the facility's many exhibits and displays, connecting viscerally with the sights, sounds and feelings of generations long past. For visitors of any background, it is an undeniably gorgeous place to spend an afternoon-replete with striking architectural elements and lovingly cared-for gardens.
The Ocean Institute is located in beautiful Dana Point Harbor and offers ocean science and maritime history programs perfect for kids and adults alike. See hundreds of marine animals in aquariums, watch animal feedings, experience ocean-themed exhibits, and have fun with hands-on activities. For an extra charge, take a tall ship or a whale watching cruise. The Dana Point Marine Protected Area is steps away from the Institute.
This large, 95,000 square foot (8,825 square meter) eco-friendly facility is known as the Soka Performing Arts Center. Located on the Soka University of America campus in Aliso Viejo, this state-of-the-art center features a concert hall and theater both fully equipped with incredible acoustics designed by the same man who did the Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles and the Suntory Hall in Tokyo. See amazing student performances as well as professional groups year round at this stunning venue.
The Bruery operates from the heart of Placentia, offering locally made craft beer that plays with the conventions of Belgian brewing. Started by brothers Patrick and Michael Rue, Bruery is the end result of a passion for home brewing and a love of experimentation. Several exotic ingredients form the basis for these innovative brews, fresh picked lavender and Thai basil making appearances in otherwise conventional ales. To further this quality, Bruery ensures that its brews are never filtered or pasteurize, retaining every ounce of their original character. The Bruery's unique flavors and passionate ethos make it a worthwhile stop during tasting hours.
The center, funded largely by a mega-million dollar endowment from Renée and Henry Segerstrom, was originally inaugurated in 1986, with the first venue Sergestrom Hall as part of what was then the Orange County Performing Arts Center. The latest addition, a community plaza uniting the newer and older venues was built in 2006, and the center renamed the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. The complex has drawn huge audiences for symphony, ballet, and Broadway events. The Segerstrom Center for the Arts, featuring the 2000-seat Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, 500-seat Samueli Theater, Founders Hall and Segerstrom Hall as well as a variety of educational exhibits and recreation services, continues this tradition of artistic expansion. The halls are well suited to hold symphony performances, as they features state of the art acoustics that can be adjusted for large as well as intimate events. Tours are available on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:30a, and offer a great glimpse into the backstage area, as well as notes about the architecture and design.
Irvine Park Railroad is located in beautiful Irvine Regional Park. The one-third scale train takes visitors on a scenic, 12-minute ride through the 477-acre park. Other park attractions include pony rides, the Orange County Zoo, walking trails, horseback riding, snack bars and more. You can rent paddle boats, bikes, and horseshoe and volleyball sets. Annual Irvine Park Railroad events include the Pumpkin Patch, Christmas Train, Easter Eggstravaganza, California History Education Program and Anniversary Celebration. School field trips are available. You can also reserve space for private parties.
Located in the Diamond Jamboree Plaza in Irvine, Plush Karaoke Lounge is a trendy bar with 16 private rooms. Each room is equipped with the latest karaoke and sound equipment, lounge seating and chic decor. The song selection features popular top 40 tunes in English, Korean, Japanese and Mandarin. The rooms are rented out by the hour and are perfect for special events. The bar also offers a small menu with Asian fusion cuisine and standard bar bites like popcorn chicken, onion rings and more.
A structure that stands out in Santa Ana's Historic Downtown District, the Yost Theater is the oldest operational theater in all of Orange County. Opened in 1912, as a vaudeville theater during the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema, the theater underwent a few change of names, and finally received the name 'Yost Theater' in 1919, when it was purchased by Ed Yost. A place where a glorious and eventful past thrives amid the flourish of modern technology, the Yost Theater still retains the role of being a premier event venue in Orange County, playing host to some of the biggest names in the music and entertainment industry. See the website or call to know more.
The Orange County Center For Contemporary Art (OCCCA) is run entirely by artists and showcases art by both emerging and established artists. The emphasis is on local artists. It also features lectures on various subjects, performance art and musical concerts, and participates in public outreach programs that are committed to cultural diversity. The main purpose is the pursuit of freedom of expression in the arts and to provide a forum to explore and develop ideas in contemporary art.
In collaboration with the city of Santa Ana, the Grand Central Art Center at Cal State Fullerton features exhibits and performances by established and emerging artists. The complex consists of live/work studios for graduate students, in addition to art galleries and a theater for performance art.
This museum was founded in 1992 and has been committed to the art of the California impressionist period ever since. Along with preserving some of the best art from the era, the museum is also dedicated to educating the public about the state of the environment in California. The museum has taken particular interest in collecting or exhibiting art that portrays the landscape of Southern California. Featured artists include Franz Bischoff, Joseph Kleitsch, Edgar Payne, Guy Rose and William Wendt. The museum offers docent-guided tours, rental of the museum for special meetings and educational programs for schoolchildren. Admission is free.