Looking for unique activities in Southern California
July 6, 2011 2:35 PM   Subscribe

Looking for unique/unusual/off the beaten path things in the Orange County, CA area. Ideas?

The hubby and I will be returning from San Diego Comic Con in a few weeks and we ended up with approximately an evening and a half day to spend in the Orange County area (we fly out of John Wayne). We have to make a quick stop at Disneyland to ride the new Star Tours ride (and maybe a few others) but we aren't theme park people. I'm looking for activities/shopping/tours that are not your normal stuff. We plan on stopping at some comic shops, etc. What's out there that would be fun and unique? We want to stay somewhat in the area, as I know from past experiences that the traffic can be a bear.
posted by bodgy to Travel & Transportation around California (8 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Little Saigon is pretty legendary for Vietnamese food. I want to say it's in irvine, but definitely somewhere in O.C.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:52 PM on July 6, 2011

Try to get to The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City. Highly recommended. It's not your typical museum in any way, but at the same time I have difficulty describing it to people who've never been (the website is just as obscure). Perhaps some of the Yelp reviews might sway you. Also, there's a nice Indian snack food place across the street.
posted by sub-culture at 2:59 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Where are you coming from? It would help to know what's fun and unique to you.

There are lots of surf and beach related sights if that's your thing. There are some really great ethnic enclaves and there's the cultural anthropology of gated communities and such. Or maybe you just want the most beautiful spot to have a drink and enjoy the ocean? Give me an idea of what you're looking for and I'll be happy to make some suggestions.
posted by tinamonster at 3:12 PM on July 6, 2011

This city guide may be of use.
posted by shesbookish at 4:38 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Little Saigon is more Westminster/Fountain Valley near Santa Ana.

Santa Ana has an artists district with a couple of neat cafes and restaurants. Orange has a beautiful town circle with more shops and restaurants.

There's a lot of great housing stock in the older neighborhoods, with some stunning examples of the California Craftsman, if you just want to walk around and see houses.

I'm not a big Orange Co. fan, but it's not all the vapid wasteland everyone makes it out for.
posted by hwyengr at 6:33 PM on July 6, 2011

Response by poster: We are coming from Illinois but we travel. A lot. We tend to enjoy the quirky things when we tour. On the other hand, we enjoy photography.

I checked the previous threads and the city guide. One can only go to so many museums.
posted by bodgy at 6:49 PM on July 6, 2011

We are coming from Illinois

There's an honest-to-god Portillo's in Buena Park. It's sort of surreal.
posted by hwyengr at 8:34 PM on July 6, 2011

The Pageant of the Masters is going on during that time, a show where actors dress up as artwork. It's one of those things that must be seen to be understood. They go all out. This is NOT like a museum. You can bring a bottle of wine and a picnic. Get seats as close as possible and bring binoculars. This year's theme looks to be Fantasy/Superheros so that fits thematically into your trip.

There's whale watching boat trips out of Dana Point and the Mission in San Juan Capistrano.

There are some absolutely wonderful, photogenic beaches in Laguna Beach. If you like dogs there is a whole beach for dogs in Huntington Beach. Beyond that Shesbookish's City Guide does a good job of recommending specific stores and restaurants.
posted by tinamonster at 8:44 PM on July 6, 2011

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