What are the five best things to see and do in Orange County?

Believe it or not, Orange County is so much more than a mass of suburbs and housewives. The area flaunts wide, beautiful beaches and charming coastal towns with gorgeous harbors (Newport), art galleries (Laguna) and tree-lined coves shading beautiful yachts (Dana Point). If you can’t see it all, spend a day at Catalina Island or Balboa Island, peruse the shops in downtown Laguna Beach or famous mall Fashion Island and be sure to bring your kids to the original Disneyland.

1. Catalina Island. Avalon is located on Catalina Island and is the perfect escape, whether it’s for a weekend or an afternoon. You can walk around the tiny charming town in less than an hour, and it’s filled with cute seafood places and quirky little shops.

2. Art galleries in Laguna. If you love art, you’ll want to stop and peruse all the charming little galleries that fill the downtown Laguna area. The best way to see them is on a Friday night when they all throw open their doors and host free wine and cheese receptions.

3. Shop. Get your shopping fix at one of the most popular shopping centers in Southern California. The retail mecca, Fashion Island includes more than 200 stores, a large food court (with an alfresco dining area) and several upscale chain restaurants, including China Grille and Fleming’s. Major department stores include Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s, while shops range from Anthropologie to Urban Outfitters.

4. Balboa Island. This tiny, densely populated man-made island is one of Orange County’s most popular attractions. You can drive onto the island via Jamboree Road or hop the ferry from Balboa Peninsula. The pretty island has some of the most expensive real estate in the country and the main street, Marine Avenue, is lined with boutiques, restaurants and ice cream shops selling the popular Balboa Bars, vanilla ice cream dipped in chocolate and then covered with nuts or candy, or the frozen chocolate bananas.

5. Disneyland. What’s a trip to Southern California without visiting the Happiest Place on Earth? Disneyland is a must on your travel itinerary if you have kids —or even if you don’t. The park is divided into seven lands; each packed with fun-filled rides, games and, of course, your favorite Disney characters.

  • On May 22, 2013
    Caroline Patek answered the question: Caroline Patek

    What should I pack for a trip to Orange County?

    During my recent trip to Orange County in May, I was surprised that it wasn’t as hot as I expected. If you’re staying along the coast, definitely pack a light sweater or jacket for the chillier evenings. While California is known for its idyllic climate, be sure to remember warm weather staples such as sundresses, sandals and sunglasses. Orange County affords numerous outdoor activities, so bring along sunblock, too. Of course, the area is filled with countless photo ops, and you don’t want to forget a camera.

    In terms of bags, a tote is ideal for beach activities whereas a purse with a strap to go over your shoulder works best for daylong excursions. I was happy to have a fuss-free purse during my day at Universal Studios and the Aquarium of the Pacific.
  • On May 21, 2013
    Caroline Patek answered the question: Caroline Patek

    What’s new in Orange County?

    On a recent trip to California, I had the pleasure of visiting the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. Now celebrating its 15th anniversary, the aquarium is chock full of fun and exciting creatures and interactive exhibits. Stop by the Loirkeet Forest (an outdoor aviary) to feed the various birds with a cup of nectar — but watch out, they’re known to land on your head. The 10,000-square-foot Shark Lagoon is really cool, too, where you can actually pet some of the sharks (including freshwater sawfish, sand tiger and zebra) and even set up a two-hour feeding experience in the tank.

    On May 24, the aquarium will unveil its newest exhibit, Ocean Exploration. Here you can check out live video footage from ocean explorers and scientists, learn about famous explorers (Jacques Cousteau and Bob Ballard) and watch three films covering topics such as deep-sea animals, a history of ocean exploration and newly discovered species. For kids and adults alike, this should be a must-see for anyone traveling to Orange County.
  • On March 21, 2013
    Giuseppe Lama answered the question: Giuseppe Lama

    Where are the best places to hear live music in Orange County?

    The Resort at Pelican Hill features live music every weekend. In the Great Room, there’s Live Music, Wine Flights & Small Bites, featuring Broadway’s Adam Michaelson, every Thursday through Saturday. At Pelican Grill on weekend evenings, live entertainers perform a variety of popular music, from classic rock to country to contemporary. At Andrea, a live guitarist performs nightly as diners enjoy seasonal Northern Italian cuisine and wine.
  • Just now

    NEW FOLLOWERS

    matthew pasierbek Jerome Bottari Marie Bobel Alyssa Louque Jordan Lawson
  • On March 21, 2013
    Giuseppe Lama answered the question: Giuseppe Lama

    What are the best places to stay in Orange County?

    The Resort at Pelican Hill offers two distinct accommodation options along the coast of Newport Beach. Whether it’s a Bungalow or a Villa, both options come with complimentary parking, wireless Internet and access to pools, fitness centers and spa facilities with no added resort fees.

    Bungalow Guest Rooms and Suites range in size from 847 to 2,486 square feet. Luxurious appointments and residential touches provide an intimate ambiance. Not one detail is overlooked to provide the most luxurious, relaxing and comfortable accommodations, including hand-crafted wood-beam ceilings, fireplaces framed by Italian limestone, deep soaking marble tubs, 40-inch flat screen televisions, wet bars, Bose sound systems, MP3 ports, wireless Internet, 500-thread-count sheets, and private terraces with unobstructed ocean panoramas.

    As the largest inventory of luxury, ocean-view home accommodations, the Resort’s Villas are available for daily rental. Villa guests enjoy every imaginable ultra-luxury appointment and the most thoughtful, comprehensive and personalized service program of amenities, pampering and individual attention of any resort in the world. Ranging from 2,200 square feet to 3,581 square feet with two, three or four bedrooms, spacious Villas feature expansive terraces, gourmet kitchens, dining areas, personal butlers and staff available around-the-clock to fulfill your every need and desire.
  • On March 21, 2013
    Giuseppe Lama answered the question: Giuseppe Lama

    What are the five best things to do on a romantic trip to Orange County?

    1. Stop by the concierge at The Resort at Pelican Hill for a list of the “Top 10 Places to Kiss” around the Resort. The list reveals sunset viewpoints and cozy alcoves, where couples can make romantic memories together.

    2. Visit The Spa at Pelican Hill for a couples’ massage and romantic bath in the luxurious couples’ suite. The Spa also offers 25 complimentary fitness classes weekly, a daily beach hike and Acqua Colonnades with Roman soaking tubs, saunas and steam rooms. After you unwind, get ready for a romantic evening out in the full-service salon and barber lounge.

    3. Andrea, the signature restaurant of The Resort at Pelican Hill, has the most romantic ambiance with its ocean views, heated terrace, live guitarist, fine Italian wines and authentic Northern Italian cuisine created by Michelin-starred Chef Luigi Fineo. It is one of America’s Top 10 Most Romantic Restaurants according to GAYOT and Southern California’s Most Romantic Restaurant according to Los Angeles Times readers.

    4. Stay in a spacious Bungalow guest room or suite at The Resort at Pelican Hill. The limestone fireplace and deep-soaking tub set a romantic mood, while the 24-hour in-room dining makes a Bungalow very convenient for couples looking to hide away.

    5. Make a memorable marriage proposal, with a custom chef-crafted dinner for two in a private, candle-lit, luxury cabana suite overlooking the Coliseum Pool, one of the world’s largest circular pools. An intimate and sensual dining experience, The Resort at Pelican Hill’s “Dinner of the Senses” stimulates each of the five senses of sight, touch, taste, scent and sound. A five-course menu, served alongside paired wines, is eaten by hand without the use of utensils, tapping into the desire to nourish one another and share cherished moments together.
  • On March 13, 2013
    Jean-Pierre Dubray answered the question: Jean-Pierre Dubray

    What are the best Orange County food experiences?

    Andrea’s signature tableside risotto dish is not to be missed when you’re in Orange County. The Resort at Pelican Hill’s signature restaurant focuses on authentic Northern Italian cuisine. Michelin-starred Chef Luigi Fineo creates seasonal risottos featuring local ingredients and imported specialties, like black truffles from Europe and white truffles from Alba, Italy. As an interactive epicurean experience, the risotto presentation is designed to stimulate all five senses, from sight and smell to hearing and touch, and finally taste.

    Served from inside a large wheel of imported Italian parmigiano-reggiano cheese, the hot risotto is brought on a cart to the tableside, where a server prepares it in front of the guest. After pouring the risotto into the center hole carved in the parmigiano-reggiano wheel, the cheese is slowly shaved and stirred into the risotto. This creates a rich, creamy consistency and savory, cheese-infused flavor. The risotto is poured from the wheel into a shiny silver staub, then placed before the guest. That’s when we say, “Buon appetito!”

    You can view my video of the risotto being prepared and served by clicking the link at pelicanhill.com.
  • On March 13, 2013
    Jean-Pierre Dubray answered the question: Jean-Pierre Dubray

    What are the best Orange County food experiences?

    Andrea’s signature tableside risotto dish is not to be missed when you’re in Orange County. The Resort at Pelican Hill’s signature restaurant focuses on authentic Northern Italian cuisine. Michelin-starred Chef Luigi Fineo creates seasonal risottos featuring local ingredients and imported specialties, like black truffles from Europe and white truffles from Alba, Italy. As an interactive epicurean experience, the risotto presentation is designed to stimulate all five senses, from sight and smell to hearing and touch, and finally taste.

    Served from inside a large wheel of imported Italian parmigiano-reggiano cheese, the hot risotto is brought on a cart to the tableside, where a server prepares it in front of the guest. After pouring the risotto into the center hole carved in the parmigiano-reggiano wheel, the cheese is slowly shaved and stirred into the risotto. This creates a rich, creamy consistency and savory, cheese-infused flavor. The risotto is poured from the wheel into a shiny silver staub, then placed before the guest. That’s when we say, “Buon apetito!”

    You can view my video of the risotto being prepared and served by clicking the link at pelicanhill.com.
  • On March 13, 2013
    Jean-Pierre Dubray answered the question: Jean-Pierre Dubray

    What are the best kid-friendly restaurants in Orange County?

    As a father of three children under age 12, I take my family to restaurants that kids and parents can all enjoy. Coliseum Pool & Grill at The Resort at Pelican Hill is one of those restaurants, with wholesome choices that keep the entire family happy and healthy. For the kids, there’s endless pizza, pasta and gelato for just $10 per child, plus special beverages like Palladian Punch and the Newport Cooler. For the parents, Coliseum Pool & Grill serves seasonal cuisine with locally sourced ingredients in a spectacular ocean-view setting.
  • On March 13, 2013
    Jean-Pierre Dubray answered the question: Jean-Pierre Dubray

    Which five Orange County restaurants are best for brunch?

    For brunch with a view, The Resort at Pelican Hill offers two excellent options. Pelican Grill offers an á la carte Sunday brunch, with favorites like vanilla-hazelnut brioche French toast, eggs benedict or the grilled ahi burger, available from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. You can choose ocean-view seating on the terrace, a view of the open-concept kitchen in the dining room or a cozy spot in the lounge.

    At Coliseum Pool & Grill, a classic buffet brunch complete with a “build-your-own omelette” station is available on weekends. The terrace, lounge and dining room all have beautiful views of the Coliseum Pool, the golf course and the Pacific Ocean beyond.

    Another ocean-view option near The Resort at Pelican Hill is the Beachcomber Cafe at Crystal Cove. It’s located in the historic cottage district right on the sand.
  • On March 13, 2013
    Jean-Pierre Dubray answered the question: Jean-Pierre Dubray

    What are the five best romantic restaurants in Orange County?

    The Resort at Pelican Hill’s signature restaurant, Andrea, has been recognized as one of America’s Top 10 Most Romantic Restaurants by GAYOT and Southern California’s Most Romantic Restaurant by Los Angeles Times readers. Couples love Andrea for its heated ocean-view terrace, sophisticated yet understated ambiance, cozy booths with lumbar pillows, live guitarist nightly, seasonal Northern Italian cuisine and exquisite selection of Italian wines.
Next