Top 10 things to do in and around Orange

Chapman University is located in the heart of Orange County, in the bustling city of Orange. From Disneyland to scenic beaches, nearby attractions are among the many reasons students decide to patronize Chapman.

“When I first visited Chapman, I fell in love with the campus and the city,” says Belana Beeck ’20 (MFA ’23). “The energy and calm of the region was so warm. I saw myself having coffee in the Plaza between classes or taking daily walks in the pretty neighborhood.

Chapman students can find fun activities within walking distance of campus, plus campus shuttles and the Orange transport center help students explore southern California more broadly.

Here, Beeck shares his top 10 things to do in and around Orange:

Find your happiness at Plaza Park

In the middle of Old town orange is the historic square, elected one of the Great places in America for 2018 by the American Planning Association. Dating back to 1880, the Plaza is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s a great place to people watch and get inspired. The fountain and the life it attracts provide a sense of serenity that students appreciate.

“I loved it when one of my creative writing teachers decided to teach by the fountain. It was a really relaxing place to learn and write, ”says Beeck.

The Plaza also hosts festive events, such as the Orange International Street Fair, street treats, menorah lighting and a Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

Enjoy the atmosphere in the old town of Orange

Facade of Watson's Soda Fountain Cafe

Old Towne Orange has something for everyone. From plant shops to quirky boutiques, cafes to unique restaurants, the area seems modeled after the quintessential university town.

“I recommend Pandor Artisanal Bakery and Café and the new restaurant Bosscat cooking and libations, an awesome themed restaurant that was once a car store, ”says Beeck. “Old Towne is always adding new places, so you never run out of new things to try. I can sit with friends for hours, forget about the time and just enjoy each other’s company while eating the best avocado toast I have ever had.

Other student favorites in the Plaza area are Urth Cafe, Cafe Philz, Blue bowl, the Gas station cafe, Towne Thai Restaurant, Rutabegorz, The pizza press, Watson’s soda and coffee fountain and The hole in the pie.

Chapman’s students get discounts for many of these restaurants and shops. Most restaurants offer a 10-15% discount and many clothing stores offer a 10-20% discount. Just show your Chapman ID!

Go to Disneyland and Universal Studios

People on the roller coaster

Disneyland, California Adventure, and the Downtown Disney shopping and dining district are just 15 minutes from campus. Students visit for a whole day or just for a quick stop between classes.

Disneyland and Californian adventure are great places to have fun and temporarily forget about your responsibilities, ”says Beeck.

Even without paying an annual subscription, students can visit Disney downtown or the Anaheim Garden Walk for shops, restaurants and tourist sites.

If you’re more of a thrill-seeker than a Disney fan, Universal Studios may be the place for you. It is full of rides, shows and, in the fall, spooky attractions.

Chapman students can visit Universal Studios at a reduced rate by visiting this page.

Catch a game at Angel Stadium

Aerial view of the Angel Stadium field illuminated at night

Also in Anaheim is Angels Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Angels.

In addition to baseball games, Angel Stadium hosts many other events, from food festivals to art fairs and Bubble Run, where you can run through bubbles and foam.

Try everything in the Anaheim Packing District

Another popular the place is Anaheim packaging district: food hall, “a culinary collection on foot of 50 artisans.” The Packing District offers indoor and outdoor dining as well as take-out at restaurants such as Adya, with its fresh Indian flavors and Fish & Chips for comfort food.

Go on an adventure with a local hike

Image of trail leading through foliage in the Santa Ana Mountains

Orange County is home to the Santa Ana Mountains, where hikers can enjoy hidden waterfalls, breathtaking sunsets, and trails for all skill levels. Popular hikes include Peters Canyon Lake View and East Ridge Loops, Santiago Oaks Trail, and Bobcat Meadow Trail.

Scenic coastal hikes also abound. Favorite destinations include Crystal Cove State Park and Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve.

Visit one of the nearby beaches

Lifeguard Tower at Laguna Beach

World-class SoCal beaches are known for their surf spots and secret coves. Laguna Beach, Balboa Island, Corona del Mar, Newport Beach, and Huntington Beach are great beach towns to visit.

“The beach is the perfect place to take long walks and enjoy the sunrise or sunset.” Beeck said. “Thanks to Chapman’s Greek life, I was able to bond and create lasting memories with friends when we were planning beach cleanups and fun outings there.”

While visiting the coast, Chapman students can go whale watching at Newport Beach at half price of $ 18 by entering “18whalecruises” in the voucher box on the last page of the checkout.

Discover the unexpected The LAB Anti-Mall

Sign for the Anti-Mall Lab on top of a scaffolding

If you’re looking for a different kind of mall experience you’ll love the LABORATORY, also known as “American Small Business”. LAB’s mission is to combat the monotony of retail by recognizing the “need for a quirky, unconventional indoor-outdoor meeting place,” its website says.

This vibrant community is perfect for fashion gurus and those who want to try new and exciting food options like Habana, The Den, and, for dessert, Good Town Donuts. Music and art lovers will also find fun places to shop at Creme Tangerine Records and The Artery.

Buy sustainably at Orange thrift and music stores

Vinyl records hang in front of a window in an Old Towne Orange music store.

If you love hidden gems, you’ll find Orange is a paradise for anything retro. Shop for amazing furniture and decorations to enhance your space, as well as out-of-print and vintage CDs and vinyls. Nearby you will find Plato’s Closet, where you can buy, sell and trade items.

Get a little culture on the Chapman campus

A piece of the Berlin Wall in Liberty Plaza at Chapman University

Chapman University loves to celebrate art in all its forms. The campus is home to several renowned sculptures, such as “Levitating the Enchanted Princess” near the Irvine Lecture Hall.

Discover a fragment of the Berlin Wall, located in Liberty Plaza near Roosevelt Hall. This majestic piece of history is surrounded by hedges, providing a nifty space for students who want some quiet time between lessons.

The Hilbert Museum of California Art focuses on paintings of the California scene, with an extensive collection of oils, watercolors, and sketches capturing everyday life in California, from the 1920s. Find more information on the Museum here.

The Guggenheim Gallery exhibits works of art by students and community arts organizations as well as established artists. The gallery strives to exhibit contemporary art that expresses a critical, ethical and moral vision of the world.


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