While in Laguna Beach, be sure to visit the oceanfront gallery of Wyland, an artist well-known for his paintings of marine life. Nicknamed the "Marine Michelangelo," the first thing you'll be amazed by is the variety of mediums used in his art. Murals are seen on the exterior walls while bronze sculptures loom over the front entrance. The inside overflows with even more: Lucite sculptures, acrylic sculptures, oil paintings, abstract art, brush art, photographs, bronze tables, portholes and mirrors.
Orange County's Great Park is a popular venue for concerts, plays and other events. It's also known for its giant orange tethered balloon, which visitors can ride for a fee. Soaring 400 feet in the air, on a clear day you can see 40 miles out. Other park attractions include a beautiful carousel, a playground, and a visitor center where you can rent sports equipment for free. Great Park is also home to the Orange County FC.
Constructed from more than 10,000 plates of glass, The Christ Cathedral (formerly Crystal Cathedral) is packed with more than 2700 seated worshipers every Sunday for service. It can accommodate hundreds more who experience drive-in worship in the parking lot via nine-story tall sliding glass doors that allow them to view the service. This cathedral is also most famous as the filming place of Dr. Robert H. Schuller's Hour of Power television show. Because of the popularity of the cathedral tours and Sunday service, you should arrive at least a half hour early. Come Christmas season, don't miss their Glory of Christmas presentation packed with stirring music and drama.
Don't be surprised if a group of sixteen, large white rabbits greets you at the Civic Center Drive in Downtown Newport Beach. This cute and wonderful arrangement is the newest addition to the Civic Center Park that surrounds the Civic Center Building. The huge fluffy white bunnies sitting in a circle, is often called Bunnyhenge, owing to its arrangement which sort of mirrors the prehistoric Stonehenge in Amesbury. Designed by Peter Walker Partners (PWP), Rabbit Sculptures at Civic Center are designed as like the native species, the desert cotton tail rabbits, that call the Orange County home. Installed in 2014, these rabbits are a joy for the kids living in the nearby areas while they also make for superb models for the shutterbugs.
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.
The First Presbyterian Church of Orange was formed on February 8, 1874. Since then, it has established itself as a spiritual backbone of the community in Orange. The building itself is impressive, with grand columns and stained glass windows from the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. The church plays host to many events such as community dinners, movie nights and other fun get-togethers. The church runs the Hope School that caters to needs of under-privileged children. The program "Closet," also run by the church, aims at providing gently used clothing to the poor.
St. Mary's Episcopal Church was founded in the beginning of 20th century. The original establishment was on "the Ruins" behind the new church building, which was built in 1958. The interior of St. Mary's is simple and elegant. Hard wood is used from floor to ceiling, and even frames the chandeliers. All of the stained glass transoms were given by donors whose names are permanently marked on the transoms. Sunday services are at 8a and 10a. – Hoiyin Ip
Be warned: St. Francis by the Sea is the smallest Catholic Church in the Guinness Book of World Records. Don't mistakenly walk into St. Mary's Episcopal Church next door. The narrow building of St. Francis contains only 1008 square feet. It was built in 1933, has plenty of old-world charm with a wooden bell tower, 15 stained glass transoms, 7 statues, antique chandeliers, plenty of paintings, Spanish tiles, and dark wood beams with painted symbols. Sunday service starts at 9a. Private services are available by appointment. – Hoiyin Ip
The Neighborhood Congregational Church looks towards similarities with Eastern Spirituality in their practice to follow the word of Jesus Christ. Focus on meditation, gardens reminiscent of Zen monasteries and timely study groups in the Church library enhance a broader understanding of the word. Other activities such as creative lent through art performances and forgiveness trees to inculcate and spread grace are undoubtedly praise-worthy. Worship services are conducted every Sunday at 10a.
Ride the waves at Brooks Street Beach, one of Laguna's most popular surfing destinations. The beach is accessible via a stairway that begins near the end of Brooks Street. Pause at the head of the stairway for a sweeping view over the beach and watch as surfers take on the towering swells from this vantage point. As the shore along the beach is rocky, swimming and body-surfing are not permitted, rendering Brooks Street Beach a true haven for serious surfers.
Although nestled between Pearl Street Beach and Bluebird Beach, Agate Street Beach is distinct in its beauty and charm. This sandy stretch of the shoreline is relatively secluded as compared to its neighbors and is a popular choice amongst locals. Although surfing is not permitted during at the height of summer from 12p to 5p, Agate Street Beach attracts sun-bathers, swimmers and casual tourists aplenty. The beach is easily accessible via a ramp that begins at the intersection of Ocean Way and Agate Street. Walk down to the Keyhole rock arch, or find yourself a sandy nook and bask in the sunshine.