While Orange County is probably best know for turning out "Laguna Beach" and "The Real Housewives", those who are from the area know it's actually a pretty charming place. The collection of beach cities from Laguna to Sunset have a laid back costal appeal that is a mecca of surf culture and areas like downtown Fullerton, and the Orange Circle are perfect for spending an afternoon browsing antiques.
• International Surfing Museum: A small building off of main street in Huntington Beach aka "Surf City, USA" houses a collection of old boards, video, still images and other artifacts for an interesting look into the culture and history of the movement.
• OCMA: Home of the California Biennial show the museum features modern art, installations, and multimedia works incorporating video and sound.
• Santa Ana Art Walk: The walk takes place once a month allowing visitors to visit exhibitions in the old Central Station building and open studios in the surrounding downtown artists lofts.
• Yost Theater: The Yost is a historic theater transformed into a music venue. The architecture and existing decor creates a dramatic environment for the roster of local talent from the immediate area and nearby LA.
• 1,000 Steps & The Wedge, Local Beaches: If you're looking for a spot a bit more off the beaten path 1,000 Steps might be your answer. With a steep staircase actually descending 230 steps the payoff is a quiet sandy beach without the packs of locals and tourists. If you want a bit more excitement try the wedge, with a giant shore break the wedge is where you can go to see local surfers tackle big waves.
• Orange Circle & Fullerton Antiques: Both the Orange Circle and Downtown Fullerton are filled with quiet antique shops perfect for an afternoon of browsing.
• The Lab & The Camp: Both run by the same company the Lab in Costa Mesa is a collection of shops, restaurants and art galleries in an open, outdoor area. It has a sort of urban up-cycled ascetic with colorful installations made from everything to brightly painted metal barrels to old auto parts and has an outdoor fire pit to encourage mingling. The Camp has a similar feel but with an active, outdoorsy slant. Here you can gear up for your adventures with biking, climbing and camping gear. The also boast a scuba lessons, a yoga studio and barre studio.
• Harbor House Cafe: This breakfast served all day spot serves giant omelets stuffed with cheese and guacamole and creamy hot chocolate topped with fresh whipped cream along with a slew of other options. The walls of the cozy restaurant are lined with classic movie posters, and other vintage tchotchkes.
• Gypsy Den: With locations in both Santa Ana and Costa Mesa the Gypsy Den is a cozy restaurant/cafe with eclectic furnishings and walls hung salon style with art and tapestries. The chai latte and bread pudding are popular picks.
• Hotel Laguna: The historic Laguna Hotel sits along a picturesque coastline and is steps away from downtown Laguna beach and it's collection of boutiques and restaurants. The building itself is a popular site for weddings.
• Shorebreak Hotel: Keeping with the local surfer vibe of Huntington Beach the Shorebreak has a modern aesthetic with a coastal feel.
(Images: 1. & 3. Shutterstock, 2. ColinYoung-Wolff/OCMA, 4. The Camp, Gypsy Den, 5. Shorebreak Hotel)