Irvine Day Trips: Nearby Places to Explore

Irvine is located at the heart of Orange County and is the perfect place to launch a fun day of local exploration. You can make a trip to the Beach, the Mountains, San Diego to the South or Los Angeles to the North. Irvine visitors can enjoy a wide variety of experiences…just outside the city’s borders!

 

Holiday Happiness in Old Towne Orange

I love to bring first time visitors to Old Town Orange because they are always surprised. 

Most expect to find mega-tourist attractions, modern, planned cities, and sunny, sandy beaches. They don't expect to find the quaint little shops and cafes that surround the Orange Plaza; a town where vintage isn't just the latest trend. Irvine visitors only need to make a short, 20 minute drive to the north to take a trip back back in time.

Orange, California was founded in 1888 and can trace its roots back to Orange County's earliest days when it was the town center for nearby citrus farms. Today, Orange maintains its heritage. When many of the county's original towns were demolishing their historic neighborhoods, Orange had the foresight to preserve theirs. Old Towne, Orange Historic District, a one square-mile around the original plaza, contains many of the original structures built in the period after the city's incorporation. It is a vibrant commercial district, containing Orange County's oldest operating bank and the oldest operating soda fountain. 

Old Town Orange Christmas

Orange oozes small town charm and historic Old Towne Orange tops the list as the County's favorite downtown. The Plaza conjures up images of Main Street, USA complete with outdoor dining, specialty shops, and the central Plaza Park. 

The Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997, and is the largest National Register District in California. The Plaza commercial district and the surrounding historic neighborhoods encompass one square mile and approximately 1,300 buildings representing a diverse array of early California commercial and residential architectural styles.

The holidays are all about tradition, and there is no better place to feel that "old time holiday spirit." than in Old Town Orange. The streets are draped in lighted garlands and shoppers move from shop to shop searching for the perfect gifts. At night, festive cafes are filled with cheer as people toast the season. At the center of it all is a giant, glimmering tree in The Plaza. There's so much nostalgic Christmas spirit that you begin to expect Jimmy Stewart to appear at any time and remind you that "It's a Wonderful Life." after all. 

The Holiday Season Begins on Saturday, December 8th at 3:30pm with the official Tree-Lighting Ceremony and Carol Sing Along. The Main Musical Program and Tree Lighting Ceremony begins at 5:15 pm.

Orange Plaza Tree Lighting
  
This is the 25th Anniversary of the event and as a special treat, the guest of honor will be olympic gymnast and Broadway star, Cathy Rigby. 
 

Old Town Orange will be sparkling with holiday cheer all month long as neighbors compete for the best home lighting displays...Grab a hot chocolate and walk the few blocks near The Plaza to see proud homeowners welcoming you to their neighborhood. 

Most Beautiful Award for Christmas Decorations in Orange

Family Looking at Christmas TreeTo Visit Old Towne Orange from Irvine 

Take to 55 Freeway North to Chapman Ave. (West)

Follow Chapman Ave about 2 miles to the Orange Plaza.

Old Towne Orange Preservation Association