Exploring Orange County:

June 13, 2012

I received an email from Apartment Guide with a fun challenge to explore my city. I've grown up in Orange County but haven't shared too much about fun places in OC. To be honest, having visited so many other cooler-than-orange-county cities - I have always felt OC doesn't even compare to some of the other cool stuff going on in other areas. But what can I say? OC has some great weather year round and they do have some cool stuff going on ;) So Nick & I went and explored. Here are some fun places we came across that I wanted to share with you! Whether you live here or are even stopping by for a visit, be sure to mark these places on your list!

First on the list, let's start with some delicious pastries for breakfast at Cream Pan in Tustin! This place has some serious reviews and ratings on Yelp. You haven't lived until you've had one of their strawberry croissants!

Next we have a fun morning/afternoon activity - strawberry picking at Tanaka Farms in Irvine! I've blogged about this before but it's just such a fun activity to do as a date or share with friends.

Something we always enjoy doing is visiting the zoo. There are quite a few zoo's all over orange county, like The Santa Ana Zoo or even the Orange County Zoo. Zoo's are always a good time.

Then for lunch, we stopped in at Umami Burger. Umami burger used to have locations only in LA but they finally came to Orange County! and boy are we happy about it, these burgers are so delicious. Nick got the "manly burger" and I got a good old fashion "cali burger" .. they put cinnamon sugar on their sweet potato fries - yum!

These are 3 different places but all within about 5 minutes of each other in Costa Mesa - The OC Mart Mix, The Lab, and The Camp. (Umami is located at the camp!) These are probably the coolest places in OC, in my own opinion. I mean, it's probably as close as you can get to Portland or Austin, which are pretty cool urban cities. There is some pretty stylish design, architecture, shops - it's a cool hang out for sure. I love Costa Mesa, it'll always hold a special place in my heart. Went to college here & met Nick. When we were house hunting, I so desperately wanted to move to Costa Mesa. If you're thinking about a move, Costa Mesa is a great city! Whether you're living, looking or moving, Apartment Guide has some great how-tos for making the most of your space, city and neighborhood. We did find some houses in Costa Mesa but the neighborhood's we were looking in weren't the best - and it is all about the neighborhood! Check out this article by Apartment Guide - How to Choose the Best Neighborhood for You!

Our last stop was Sticki Picki in Irvine. I had never been before but somehow stumbled upon this on Yelp. Sticki Picki consists of photo booths, and props. These aren't just average photo booth's - they're huge standing ones with serious backgrounds and silly add-ons. It ranges from $11-$13 for a photo booth picture, but it's really fun. After you take your photos, you go to another booth and 'glam' your photos with little cartoon drawings and things - it's pretty fun and Nick and I spent about an hour at it, haha. Then you choose your layout and get little sticker pictures printed! It was a lot of fun.

So we did quite some exploring. I know there is probably a whole list of places I missed around the area, these are just some of the places we stopped at. Thanks to Apartment Guide for the fun opportunity to have a super-date day with my husband! I'll be doing one more exploring post, about Austin! A cash giveaway will be included in the next post too, stay tuned :)

If you're moving to a new city, check out this great article at Apartment Guide. “Like” Apartment Guide on Facebook, follow them on twitter and "circle" them on Google+ for real-time tips and updates on exploring your city and neighborhood.

Disclosure: Apartment Guide and owner Consumer Source, Inc. partnered with bloggers such as me to participate in their monthly blogger programs. As part of that program, I received compensation. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about the products used, and believe that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Consumer Source’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations. The winner of this giveaway will be randomly chosen and gift card fulfillment will be handled by a third party.

21 hello's:

  1. What a great idea - to spend more time exploring the place you live in. It always seems a case of 'grass is greener'! x

  2. I so miss Orange County- we used to live there before we had our kids. 3 years later I'm longing to go back! We live in "lovely" Riverside County now!
    I didn't realize how good I had it there till we moved. Oh well!
    Thanks for pointing out these fun places!

  3. i just love your elephant print top :) x

  4. Love The Camp & OC Mart- great pics! Also lots of cool shops and stops along the coast.

  5. Umami Burger is one of my favorite places in the world, that manly burger is to die for!


  6. Umami Burger is amazing! Love the post. Now following.



  7. If you like Umami, check out The Crow Burger Bar in Newport Beach also a killer find (and totally local).

  8. You have successfully made me miss living in Orange County. We lived in Mission Viejo before moving to Minnesota 20 years ago. I still miss the mountains and the ocean and those beautiful CA winters! Thanks for sharing, your finds!

  9. Wow these photos look great!

  10. Great list of fun things in OC and great photos too. We were just at Tanaka strawberry picking last week. Such a fun treat!


  11. so pretty! it's so much fun to explore your own city. i read this great article that 90% of us never take advantage of our own land marks and only do when someone comes to visit and we feel the obligation to. it's amazing how much we miss out because we get so caught up running around.

  12. Wow I didn't know that "Sticki Picki" is in the US! It's from Japan I'm sure! The name of the machine is different though.

  13. Wow very cool. I've lived in OC my whole life and the only place I've been to here is the areas around South Coast like the lab. My regular hang out areas I love is anywhere in Old Towne Orange and Down Town Fullerton. They rock the vintage vibe that I love =)

    - Sarah

  14. I love birds! Cute photos.

    The croissants and the burger and fries look delicious.

  15. I live in OC for most of my life, but I'm transferring to UPenn this fall... I think I'll have to stop at these places before I go... my friends and family always seem to be stuck going to chains and the usual tourist traps like 85 Bakery...

  16. I love sticki picki! My mother in law lives close by and me and my sister in laws always have a blast there!

  17. I live in Orange County and still need to go to the camp! Try G Burger in La Habra also. They are the best.

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  19. I recently moved back to my OC home (after living in Santa Cruz and NYC), it's been so difficult to fall in love with a place that seems so mundane. You've chosen so many hideouts that I adore about this hometown--it's inspired me to see & experience it all again!

    I haven't been to Tanaka Farms but I've heard such great things about them! A grade school friend is having her wedding reception there in the fall. Now that I have two recommendation (yours+hers) I'm looking forward to experiencing a little date there.

    PS. Have you tried the Chai Shaved Ice Deluxe at Milk + Honey in The Camp? OH GOODNESS. It's delicious! There's also a cute little ballroom dance studio not too far from there (a couple blocks up Bristol).


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