Orange County Attractions and Activities
There are many tourist spots you can visit here in Orange County, or to be more specific, just a few blocks outside it.
The area’s most visited park is Griffith Park, owned by the city of Los Angeles. The county is also known for the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena, the annual Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Los Angeles Zoo, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the La Brea Tar Pits, the Arboretum of Los Angeles, and two horse racetracks and two car racetracks (Pomona Raceway and Irwindale Speedway), also the RMS Queen Mary located in Long Beach, and the Long Beach Grand Prix, and miles of beaches—from Zuma to Cabrillo.
Venice Beach is a popular attraction where its Muscle Beach used to find throngs of tourists admiring “hardbodies”. Today, it is more arts-centered. Santa Monica’s pier is a well-known tourist spot, famous for its ferris wheel and bumper car rides, which were featured in the introductory segment of the television sitcom Three’s Company. Further north in Pacific Palisades one finds the beaches used in the television series Baywatch. The fabled Malibu, home of many a film or television star, lies west of it.
In the mountain, canyon, and desert areas one may find Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park, where many old Westerns were filmed. Mount Wilson Observatory in the San Gabriel Mountains is open for the public to view astronomical stars from its telescope, now computer-assisted. Many county residents find relaxation in water skiing and swimming at Castaic Lake Recreation Area – the county’s largest park by area – as well as enjoying natural surroundings and starry nights at Saddleback Butte State Park in the eastern Antelope Valley – California State Parks’ largest in area within the county. The California Poppy Reserve is located in the western Antelope Valley and shows off the State’s flower in great quantity on its rolling hills every spring.
There are many museums inside the metropolis that you can visit, there are 841 museums and art galleries in Los Angeles County alone. In fact, Los Angeles has more museums per capita than any other city in the world. Some of the notable museums are the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (which is the largest art museum in the entire Western United States), the Getty Center (which is part of the J. Paul Getty Trust, the world’s wealthiest art institution), the Petersen Automotive Museum, the Huntington Library, the Natural History Museum, the Battleship Iowa, and the Museum of Contemporary Art. A significant number of art galleries are located on Gallery Row, and tens of thousands attend the monthly Downtown Art Walk there.
The performing arts play a major role in this metropolis’ cultural identity. According to the USC Stevens Institute for Innovation, “there are more than 1,100 annual theatrical productions and 21 openings every week.” The Los Angeles Music Center is “one of the three largest performing arts centers in the nation”, with more than 1.3 million visitors per year. The Walt Disney Concert Hall, centerpiece of the Music Center, is home to the prestigious Los Angeles Philharmonic. Notable organizations such as Center Theatre Group, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and the Los Angeles Opera are also resident companies of the Music Center. Talent is locally cultivated at premier institutions such as the Colburn School and the USC Thornton School of Music.
There is also the Disney Resort within Orange County itself, which, after travelling to John Wayne Airport, is only fourteen miles away.