Orange County Quarterly News: Spring 2019

Orange County’s Top Tourist Cities Mark the Start of the New Spring Season With Updates on What’s New, What To Do & Where to Go in The OC.

Visit Anaheim

Visit Anaheim makes a big stand in tourism this season by hosting U.S. Travel Association’s IPW in 2019, the travel industry’s premier international marketplace. From opening night through closing ceremony events, more than 6,000 delegates from 70 countries will be welcomed to a completely revitalized Anaheim. Hosting IPW for the second time, Visit Anaheim will showcase key facets of the destination’s substantial $6 billion destination development investment from June 1-5, 2019.

In the midst of planning, Visit Anaheim published a study on how couples navigate their first trip together. The survey of 2,000 American adults, who have travelled with a partner, showed that even with a few bumps in the road, the first vacation together is generally a success story. For a vacation to be successful, respondents say the most important factors are choosing the right destination (69 percent), having a budget that works for both partners (61 percent) and good planning (60 percent). 

In the name of tourism and transportation, the City of Anaheim and Anaheim Resort Transportation launched FRAN (Free Ride Around (the) Neighborhood. It is a unique smartphone app-based service facilitating transportation throughout Anaheim’s must-see hotspots utilizing all-electric Polaris GEM cars.

Traveling through the city, visitors will find a variety of new tasty creations hitting the town. The hybrid taco and pizza restaurant, Mr. Taco Nice combines its two specialties to create their Mexican Gourmet Pizzas including camarones, or shrimp, which come in a plentiful abundance on top of their signature Al Gobernador pizza.Those with a sweet tooth can enjoy a gigantic version of the iconic Mexican sweet bread, stacked with a quart of ice cream in the middle as the entire “sandwich” is dunked into a luscious quarter-pound layer of chocolate at Azules Coffee Desserts. At ChocoFruit, they serve up a Dessert Fettuccine which includes sliced strips of sweet crepe as the “pasta,” coated with a triple layer of white, milk and dark chocolate before being topped off with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sprinkles. 

Visit Buena Park

Visit Buena Park is preparing everyone for the season with two spring itineraries geared toward families and young adult travelers. See below!

Spring Break: Coasters, Craft Brews & Comedy

Sun, shopping, epic eats, and affordable adventure are the name of the game when you head to the City of Buena Park for spring break. This OC hot spot is perfectly located near the beach, Disneyland®, and loads of shopping so you won’t have to travel for adventure. Grab your crew and book your hotel, we’ve got your visit all planned for you.

Day 1

Roller coasters are king at Knott’s Berry Farm where you can check out GhostRider—the longest, tallest, and fastest wooden roller coaster on the West Coast—and HangTime, the first and only dive coaster in California. Spring is the perfect time to head to the park as the Knott’s Berry Farm Boysenberry Festival brings boysenberry everything! Buena Park is the birthplace of this unique berry and made the area the world-famous destination that it is today.

Sip boysenberry boba, or even a boysenberry beer, while you chow down on over 75 one-of-a-kind boysenberry-inspired dishes. Grab a tasting card to try out favorites like boysenberry-glazed wings, boysenberry quesadillas, and boysenberry grilled sausage. Save room for the boysenberry fun bun—a funnel cake and cinnamon bun combo that is slathered in boysenberry frosting (it’s as epic as it sounds). Insider tip: the Starbucks in the park is the only place you can buy the elusive Boysenberry Frappuccino.

The end of your day at Knott’s doesn’t have to mean the day’s fun is over. Nearby Rock & Brews makes for a rockin’ good time with over 60 different craft beers and classic comfort food. Grab a spot outside around the fire pit or play a game of beach volleyball and cornhole. After dinner, swing by The Cauldron Spirits and Brews to enjoy a round of bewitching drinks like the Knotty Kid—boysenberry cotton candy topped with a magical splash of vodka and lemon.

Stay the Night

With over a dozen affordable hotel options options in Buena Park, you’ll have more money for shopping and eating out during your spring break visit. Amenities like free breakfast, outdoor swimming pools, and free shuttles to nearby attractions like Knott’s and Disneyland® make Buena Park a no-brainer home base.

Day 2

Kick off your day with a jolt of Cuban coffee and a sweet pastry at Porto’s Bakery and Cafe. This recent addition to the Buena Park food scene is Yelp’s #1 rated restaurant and you’ll understand why when you visit. Drool-worthy cakes and pastries fill the shelves but it’s the papa rellena—a deep-fried mashed potato ball stuffed with picadillo—that makes the crowds line up.

Keep your foodie adventures going with a visit to nearby Anaheim Packing District. This food hall offers a wide variety of epic eats from the dragon’s breath dessert at I Am, to the too-pretty-to-drink bubble tea from Mini Monster. Don’t leave without asking how to find the hidden speakeasy in the basement, The Blind Rabbit. Enter through the sake barrels to a dark lair where every drink is a work of art.

Craft brew aficionados will want to make their way to the La Palma Beer Trail to sample from over 75 different brews on tap at 10 breweries in the area where Anaheim and Placentia intersect. Many are walking distance from each other and they are just a short Uber ride back to your Buena Park hotel.

Wrap up your day with Teatro Martini’s playfully-interactive variety show where music and magic entertain you during a four-course meal. Risqué jokes, rowdy antics, and playful innuendo are all part of the fun.

Day 3

Two equally epic options for your final day in Buena Park: will it be a beach day or a shop-til-you-drop day? Nearby Costa Mesa is home to South Coast Plaza and over 250 boutique shops like Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Forever 21, H&M, Tiffany & Co and UNIQLO. Fuel up for a full day of shopping with a stop at Din Tai Fung to sample their famous soup dumplings. Bargain hunters will feel at home at the Outlets at Orange, just 10 miles from Buena Park. With 120 stores to choose from, you better hope your suitcase can fit all your fabulous finds!

If fun in the sun is more your speed, just a 15-mile drive down Beach Boulevard from Buena Park is Huntington Beach and its world-famous pier. Spread out your beach gear for the day or rent some bikes to cruise along the scenic coastline. A California beach bonfire is the ultimate end to your spring break adventure. 

Spend Your Family Spring Break SoCal-Style with this 3-Day Itinerary:

Spring break is right around the corner and we have a Southern California itinerary that will please both kids and parents alike. Just five miles from Disneyland®, the City of Buena Park is the perfect home base for your spring break adventures with affordable hotels, award-winning dining, and entertainment to make the most of the days off school. We’ve planned it all so all you need to do is make your way to Buena Park.

Day 1

Get an early start to your day so that you can make the most of your time at Knott’s Berry Farm as spring brings everyone’s favorite Knott’s Boysenberry Festival to the park. Buena Park is the birthplace of this unique berry and made the area the family destination that it is today. Indulge in boysenberry treats from boysenberry cotton candy and boba to the over-the-top boysenberry fun bun—a funnel cake and cinnamon bun combo that is covered in boysenberry icing. It can only be found at Knott’s this time of year and is perfect for sharing.

Ride that sugar high into the afternoon as you hop aboard the Calico Railroad and the Timber Mountain Log Ride, and then hang with the family on HangTime, the first and only dive coaster on the West Coast. Families with little ones will love strolling over to Camp Snoopy where you can meet all the famed comic strip characters, fly like a kite on Charlie Brown’s Kite Flyer and then chug along in a pint-sized big rig on the Rocky Mountain Trucking Company. Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner is the perfect spot to sit for a bit and enjoy their world-famous comfort food like everyone’s favorite fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits.

Make your first night in Buena Park one to remember by checking out one of the live interactive dinner shows. Become part of the action and cheer on your favorite knight at Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament or join the swashbuckling shenanigans at Pirate’s Dinner Adventure. Your photos and memories of this night are guaranteed to be epic.

Catch a free shuttle from your hotel to nearby Disneyland® to take in all that the Magic Kingdom has to offer. Buena Park’s perfect distance from Disneyland gets you to the park in no time but also away from the crowds when you are done for the day.

Families looking for the perfect family dining option in Anaheim should head to the Anaheim Packing District. This food hall offers casual dining with options for everyone in the family. Gourmet grilled cheese, crepes, and fried chicken are perfect for the picky palates and adventurous eaters can enjoy Syrian food and hot pot, among other options. For the ultimate in post-meal entertainment, order the dragon’s breath dessert from I Am. The kids will be mesmerized.

Day 3

It’s not a true spring break without a day at the beach! 15 miles down Beach Boulevard from Buena Park is Huntington Beach and its famous pier. Pose for pics by the World’s Largest Surfboard, rent bikes to explore the coast, and bond over a bonfire as the sun sets over the Pacific. There’s tons of shopping if you forget the swimsuits at home, and loads of dining options just steps from the white sand beach. For a no-fail food option, Ruby’s Diner at the end of the pier offers retro diner fare, massive milkshakes that are perfect for sharing, and a view that can’t be beat.

After the sun sets, head back to your Buena Park home base for more family adventure. A kids versus parents arcade battle at John’s Incredible Pizza is the perfect way to end your day. You’ll find bumper cars, a laser maze, games, and all-you-can-eat pizza all under one massive roof. Then bounce off all the pizza next door at Big Air Trampoline Park where you can play dodgeball in the Air Strike Arena and see who gets bragging rights for the longest ride in The Bullpen. Or, opt for a more low-key night relaxing by your hotel pool with takeout hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches from Portillo’s.

Travel Costa Mesa

Heroes Hall – Victory from Within

The American Prisoner of War Experience is free to visit at the OC Fair & Event Center. No one knows better what it is like to have their freedom stripped from them than those who became prisoners of war while serving their country. Victory From Within: The American Prisoner of War Experience is a traveling exhibit created by the National Park Service. It explores the lives of POWs and features four key themes: capture, prison life, those who wait, and freedom.

The Best Kept Secret for Spring Break in OC is Costa Mesa

Finding yourself going a little stir crazy as we head into the second half of the winter season? We have good news: spring break is coming, and the perfect spring break getaway is just a hop, skip and jump away. If you’re itching for a spring break getaway, Costa Mesa is the best hidden gem ripe for discovery in sunny Orange County, California. As a quasi-coastal town (named for being a coastal tableland) it offers the best of all worlds including the region’s top dining, always-on summer sun, world renowned shopping and performing arts, and proximity to Orange County’s best beaches.

Broadway Musicals: 2019-2020 Season at Segerstrom 

For the first time to the Costa Mesa stage, theater-goers can see Mean Girls, Escape to Margaritaville, A Bronx Tale, Anastasia and The Band’s Visit. Returning to OC are hits including The Lion King, Chicago, Les Miserables, Miss Saigon and The Blue Man Group. Experiencing Broadway is easy and convenient with many hotels and  restaurants within walking distance of the theater. 

Weddings in Costa Mesa 

From a rustic outdoor wedding on a fully functional farm to an elegant staircase and grand foyer at the center of the arts and culture in Costa Mesa, to lakeside views and outdoor receptions—Costa Mesa is an ideal setting for your wedding. 


48 Hours in Costa Mesa is All You Need to Fall in Love

Has California’s picturesque super bloom inspired some sunny springtime getaway cravings? If you’re itching for a perfect road trip worthy weekend away, Costa Mesa, California is the best kept secret for anyone looking for a killer foodie scene, arts and culture, shopping and, yes, some scenic outdoor exploration, all in the heart of Orange County.

Best Hiking Trails in Orange County 

If you’re trying to stay more active this year, walking and hiking is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and keep up your routine on vacation. Luckily, it’s easy to find the perfect the perfect hiking trail for every level of expertise near Costa Mesa. Next time you’re in town, try one of these Orange County hikes to get your heart rate up and body moving!

Music-Lovers and Vinyl-Collectors: Come Together, Right Now, in Costa Mesa

Whether it’s the love of music or the trend to collect and savor the vinyl production of your favorite artist, Costa Mesa has a slew of stores for you to satisfy your sense of music history. 

Visit Dana Point 

Dana Point expands its hospitality along the coast in 2019.

The luxury oceanside resort, Monarch Beach Resort, is currently undergoing a transformation of its beachfront club to reveal an all-new relaxed, luxury experience at the resort offering private access to the beach where umbrella, towel and chair service is complimentary and available to resort guests and members. 

Directly along the Pacific Coast, The Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel highlights its recently renovated Club Level Lounge. Blending the natural beauty of the Pacific Ocean with modern-inspired design, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel’s Club Level features a fresh, new look for guests to conduct business, plan a family outing, or simply unwind with stunning views of the coast. 

Moving down Highway 1 (aka Pacific Coast Highway) toward Dana Point Harbor, the fresh sustainable seafood restaurant Craft House launches its Craft House Cocktail Mixtape Volume 3. Inspired by classic tunes and brought to life with fresh ingredients, the innovative cocktail menu showcases cocktails with an essence of musical notes. For example, “Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys was interpreted by their staff to concoct a fruitful creation of wheatley vodka, coconut milk, orange, lime, honey, blackberry, hibiscus and egg white.

Visit Huntington Beach

Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve Offers Nature-Centric Hiking

The Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve is an approximately 1,300 acre coastal estuary. Habitats include open water, mudflats, salt marsh, coastal dunes, seabird nesting islands, riparian, and freshwater marsh. After years of restoration work, you can now walk on five miles of trails, and spot both resident birds and transient species that use the wetlands as a critical stopover while migrating along the Pacific Flyway.

International Surfing Day, June 15th and California Surfing Day, September 20

Join us in Huntington Beach on June 15th as we pause to celebrate and enjoy the beaches and waves that we all love. This year, while we band together to share the stoke of surfing, we also aim to raise awareness of urgent threats to our precious coastline, like new offshore oil drilling.

Destination Irvine

Irvine, California is an Active Person’s Dream

While laying on a beach all day is definitely relaxing, perhaps you’re the type of vacationer who likes to break a sweat during their PTO. Active vacations are becoming more and more popular, and if you’re looking to shake up your routine in 2019, a trip to Irvine, California, could be just what you need!

Exploring Orange County

When you think of Southern California, more famously known as Orange County, Anaheim’s Disneyland Resort and Buena Park’s Knott’s Berry Farm may come to mind. However, there is so much more to see and do whether you are interested in oceanfront parks, surfing, shopping or trying out some thriller amusement park rides.

Top 5 Reasons to Hold Your Meeting in Irvine

Located in the center of Orange County, Irvine is just 45 miles south of Los Angeles and 90 miles north of San Diego. Irvine boasts 21 hotels ranging from full-service to economy with more than 4,700 sleeping rooms and thousands of square feet of meeting space to accommodate 10 to 1,200 people. Unique off-site venues. Diverse dining. Close to perfect weather.

Great Park Ice & FivePoint Arena

280,000 square-foot ice facility featuring three National Hockey League (NHL) standard ice rinks and one Olympic size including a 2,500 seat arena. Accommodates a variety of ice sports and recreation, including public ice skating. 

Opening of New Speakeasy – The Butchershop

“You’ve made the cut.” The recently opened speakeasy opens its doors in Irvine to set the scene for a few after work cocktails. Located on property of the Irvine Marriott, their signature cocktails will have you chopping it up until the midnight hour.

Springtime at Tanaka Farms

The 30-acre farm welcomes spring with bountiful seasonal treats, starting every Saturday and Sunday in April during their Spring Harvest Festival! From carrots to kale, and sugar snap peas to purple cauliflower, there is so much growing at this time of year, especially during Easter weekend which features an egg hunt in the carrot patch. Also, take advantage of the season and enjoy a wagon ride tour to see how fruits and vegetables grow, get a taste of fresh strawberries and pick your own every Monday through Friday in April.

Visit Newport Beach

Newport Beach’s Most Instagrammable Places

Sometimes, it’s a hankering for a hot cuppa or a cold brew that drives us to punch in an address into our phones and hit the road. Sometimes, it’s a hunt for that of-the-moment, bold-patterned upholstery that sends us on a jaunt around town. Whatever the reason, you are going to want to visit Newport Beach’s Most Instagrammable Places.

The Best Margaritas in Newport Beach

Whether you’re a traditionalist or an adventurous margarita imbiber, you’ll find exactly the right concoction that’ll tickle your fancy (and your taste buds) at these local institutions.

Date Night Done Right

Here’s our idea for a romantic date night on Balboa Island that’s as enjoyable as it is affordable. The best part: you can even bring your pup along.

Orange County Spring Events: By City

  • Buena Park is hosting the Knott’s Boysenberry Festival from April 1st through the 23rd.
  • Costa Mesa is excited to have the OC Marathon from May 3rd to the 5th and the Southern California Spring Garden Show at the South Coast Plaza from April 25th to the 28th.
  • Dana Point has the 2019 Wyland Dolphin and Whales Adventures as well as the “Art Lessons in the Wild” children’s art program. Additionally, the California Wine Festival runs from April 26th to the 27th. The Dana Point Grand Prix is on April 29th and the Doheny Blues Festival is on May 18th and 19th.
  • Huntington Beach has a number of event happening, including Taste HB (April 28th), Back to The Beach Festival (April 27th-28th), AVP Huntington Beach Open (May 3rd-5th) National Cartoonist Society Fest (May 17th-19th) and the U.S. Open of Surfing (July 27th-August 4th).
  • Laguna Beach is hosting the Fete de la Musique – (June 15th), Sawdust Art & Craft Festival (June 28th-September 1st), Laguna Art-A-Fair (June 29th-September 2nd) and Pageant of the Masters (July 7th-August 31st). 
  • The Newport Beach Film Festival runs from April 25th to May 2nd. NB is also home to the Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race (April 26th-29th), Newport Beach Jazz Festival (May 31st-June 2nd) and Balboa Island Artwalk (May 19th).