10 Ways to Live Like a Local in Orange County

local hot spots in orange county

One of the exciting aspects of travel is the opportunity to experience a destination as if you actually lived there. As the saying goes, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.

When in Orange County, here are 10 things you can do if you’re seeking to soak in the local flavor.


1. Eat at the Packing House in Anaheim.

Orange County residents are enjoying a new culinary walkabout in the heart of downtown Anaheim, complete with refurbished historic structures. The Packing District includes the renovated Packard Building, Farmers Park, and the restored citrus Packing House. Locals enjoy the delicious artisan eateries (there are more than 20 of them) and live music on the Mezzanine Stage every weekend.


2. Take a yoga class at Center Street Promenade in Anaheim.

Another unique hangout in historic downtown Anaheim is Center Street Promenade. It boasts boutique shops, cafes, salons, a yoga studio, and a certified Farmer’s Market every Thursday.


3. Visit the Tasting Room at Bottle Logic Brewing in Anaheim.

This new brewery in Anaheim is the perfect place to sip a cold beer and sample cuisine from local food trucks.


4. Explore one of the Farmers’ Markets in Anaheim.

Whether it’s on Sunday in the Packing District or on Thursday at Center Street Promenade, the farmers’ markets in Anaheim are teeming with fresh produce, artisan crafts, and live music.


5. Ride the hot air balloon or carousel at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine.

The Great Park Balloon is the Orange County Great Park’s first major attraction. With the ability to hold up to 25 to 30 passengers at once and soar up to 400 feet above the surrounding landscape, it also serves as a public observation deck for the Great Park’s current development. Locals often frequent the Certified Farmers Market that occurs every Sunday from 10am-2pm.


6. Go beachcombing or hiking at Crystal Cove State Park.

A leisurely walk along the beach at Crystal Cove is a breath of fresh air featuring cliffs, tide pools, and 3 miles of uncrowded beach. Quaint beachfront cottages from the 1930’s and 40’s make you feel as though you’ve been transported back in time as you stroll along the coast. If you prefer a more strenuous walk, there are 17 miles of hiking trails to choose from, located adjacent to the beach.


7. Eat brunch at Las Brisas overlooking Laguna Beach.

A classic local favorite is brunch at Las Brisas. This cliffside restaurant features gourmet Mexican fare and beautiful vistas of Laguna Beach. Their brunch buffet offers a wide selection, including made-to-order omelets, waffles, eggs benedict, sausage, bacon, pastries, potatoes, crepes, french toast, a variety of fruit, and much more!


8. Eat a frozen banana on Balboa Island in Newport Beach.

Located in the middle of Newport Harbor, Balboa Island is comprised of approximately 70 charming boutiques, restaurants, and coffee houses. A popular local treat are the frozen chocolate-dipped bananas that supposedly originated on the island.


9. Watch the sunset at Huntington Beach pier.

A trip to Orange County is not complete without watching the sun go down behind the pier at Huntington Beach. Known as Surf City, USA, locals frequent this beach not only to surf, but also to capture the sunset. This iconic pier is sure to create a picture-perfect memory of your time in the OC.


10. Walk up to the actual point of Dana Point and enjoy the view!

Dana Point Harbor is not only one of the largest recreational harbors on the west coast, but it’s one of the largest in the world. To get a bird’s-eye view of the harbor, start at the Dana Point Nature Interpretive Center and walk out to the end of the bluff.


Stay Like a Local

In addition to local activities, you’ll need accommodations. What better way to escape the cookie-cutter tourist path and live like a local than to stay in a vacation home?



things locals do orange county

Author: Andrea

Originally from Oklahoma, Andrea has traveled to 30 countries on 4 different continents and is now, along with her husband and daughter, happy to call the OC her home. Together they enjoy being outdoors, exploring new local places, and finding fun things to do as a family in Orange County.