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.
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.
Knott's Berry Farm, home to the Peanuts characters, has been a long-time favorite for families visiting the Orange County area. You'll find culturally-themed areas including Fiesta Village, Indian Trails and Independence Hall, where visitors get a look at the influence of these cultures on California life. There are also themed rides such as the Xcelerator and Montezooma's Revenge. Other areas such as The Boardwalk feature rides like Supreme Scream which, measuring in at an astounding 312 feet (95.098 meters), is the tallest structure in the county. Overall, if you're looking for something to please the kids (and maybe give yourself a rest), Knott's is a truly excellent choice. Operational hours vary from day to day, please check website for more details.
Imaginations turn, twist and fly through 120 exciting hands-on exhibits at Discovery Cube Orange County. The park, which was formerly called the Discovery Science Center, is located in Santa Ana and has been inspiring kids of all ages for years. Experience science in the museum's themed areas, which include Quake Zone, Techno Arts, Discovery Stadium, Perception, Dynamic Earth, Air & Space, Kids Station and Dino Quest. Kids and adults alike are given a chance to lie on a bed of needles, run with dinosaurs, and dive to the depths of the ocean, all in one building! The establishment also hosts educational programs throughout the year.
Wine aficionados touring Tustin, simply cannot skip the Pozzuoli Vineyard & Winery. Operated by a family, Pozzuoli's vineyards occupy the slopes of Paso Robles where varieties like Sangiovese, Primitivo, Tannat, Merlot and more are cultivated. These grapes are harvested there, and later aged at the winery at Red Hill Avenue which has a small but endearing tasting room. Tasting is priced at USD15, and it includes complimentary buffet of breads, cheese and chocolates. Patrons can also buy wines here.
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.
Original Mike's is housed in a building that dates back to 1919, in fact it was formerly the first auto-dealership in this fledgling city. The structure has original details galore and the entire space is decorated with an nod towards yesterday, in fact, the first Santa Ana firetruck is parked here. Mike's is huge, with three bars, three stages and three different dance floors, there is no doubt you'll have plenty of room for you and your friends. Depending on the day of the week, Mike's functions as a live music venue, sports bar and nightclub, and sometimes all three rolled into one. A definite must-stop on any itinerary while visiting Santa Ana.
In the heart of historic Santa Ana, along West 2nd Street between Birch Park and Main Street, this little part of town is often considered a hidden gem of an upscale flea market. All along the mini walkway, traffic is closed in order for people to wander in and out of the galleries, bars and restaurants. Some of which include Lola Gaspar, C4 Deli, Grand Central Art Center, The Estate on Second and the O.C. Center for Contemporary Art. A walk here is definitely a superb way to spend the day away from the beaches and theme parks.