Located approximately 32 miles southeast of Los Angeles, Orange is one of the few cities in Southern California that has preserved its older buildings and its small-town feel. Orange is known for its antique shops, historic central plaza, beautiful parks, and great shopping.
Though it shares its name with its county, the city of Orange did not receive its name from Orange County. According to local legend, in 1873 civic leaders in Orange played a poker game for the privilege of naming the town. Andrew Glassell won the game and named the city Orange after his birthplace in Orange, Virginia.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
The city of Orange enjoys a fairly stable economy. The median household income in Orange is higher than the statewide median.
Educational services and health care are major industries in Orange. Other prominent industries in the city are manufacturing, finance, insurance and real estate rental and leasing.
A few of Orange's larger industrial companies include SC Fuels, Sybron Dental Specialties, Varco International, MSI International, Volt Information Services, Foamex, Hamilton Materials, and West American Rubber Company.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
All of the population in Orange is urban. Neighborhoods and districts of Orange accommodate around 41,700 houses, out of which more than 40,800 are occupied. Of the occupied houses, more than 62 percent are owner-occupied while renters occupy around 38 percent of the houses. The median value of a house in Orange is significantly higher than the statewide median home value.
The walkability of Orange is excellent, most schools, coffee shops, drug stores and restaurants are within a mile's distance from the center of the city.
Orange can be divided into three areas:
- Old Town, with its quaint bungalows and Victorians, is Orange's most established residential neighborhood. Homes are mostly one-story, with a mixture of styles from the 1950s through the 1970s.
- East Orange is distinctively more modern than Old Town. This predominantly affluent area features ranchettes and upscale homes built on hills, mesas and ravines. The East Side is home to four large regional parks, which gives the neighborhood a country feel.
- Orange's newest neighborhood sits west of the Santa Ana River and takes in the Block at Orange shopping mall. This commercial section of the city takes advantage of the neighboring city of Anaheim, which is home to Disneyland and Angel Stadium. This includes three hotels, the UC Irvine Medical Center, and government and office buildings.
- The Old Towne Historic District, also called The Plaza, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997 and includes more than 1,300 homes and other buildings. It is approximately one square mile in size, making it the largest National Register district in California. The district provides a condensed picture of what life in Orange looked like between the years 1888 and 1940, showcasing more than 50 different architectural styles. With most of the vintage buildings functioning today as shops and restaurants, Old Towne is a favorite destination among residents and visitors alike. The county's oldest bank is located in Old Towne. Watson Drugs and Soda Fountain is the longest-running business in Orange County and has served as a backdrop for movies including Cannonball Run and That Thing You Do.
- Over 60 antique shops are located in the downtown area, making Orange one of the top antiquing destinations in Southern California.
- In addition to Old Towne, shoppers will find specialty shops and restaurants at The Village, Town and Country, and Main Place Mall.
- The Block at Orange is a major shopping and entertainment venue. It includes the Vans Skate Park, which has a 20,000-square-foot indoor street course, a concrete outdoor course with moveable obstacles, and a beginner's area.
- Irvine Park is the oldest park in the county. Set on 477 acres covered with oak and sycamore trees, the park offers scenic landscape views along either a paved hiking and biking trail that winds through the park or a four-mile horse trail around the perimeter. Guests may rent paddleboats at the pond, take a pony ride, or ride on the Irvine Park Railroad. Sports facilities at the park include baseball fields, a volleyball court, and horseshoe pits.
- The William Harding Nature Center is also located in Irvine Park and features exhibits of mounted animals, fossils and plants, educational films, and a self-guided nature trail.
- Peters Canyon Regional Park offers insights into the native habitats of local flora and fauna. The graded trails are open to hikers, bikers, and horses.
- The Santiago Oaks Regional Park and Nature Center has five miles of trails that access an adjoining ten miles of trails in Anaheim Hills; however, a wildfire in 2007 burned almost 90 percent of the park's acreage. Visitors are asked to abide by all trail signs in order to protect the fragile landscape.
The Orange County Zoo is located within Irvine Park and features a wide array of local wildlife. Perhaps the zoo's most famous resident was Samson, who was known as the Hot Tub Bear because he preferred visiting residential hot tubs and eating trash from garbage cans to living in the wild. Locals saved the bear from being killed after his capture, and he lived as a resident of the Orange County Zoo until he died of old age in 2001. A children's book by Wendy Tokuda details Samson's story.
Dromo 1 is an indoor racing facility. After a 10-minute safety briefing, racers suit up for a qualifying round on the 1,000-foot track. The gas-powered "karts" can go as fast as 40 miles per hour. Racers compete based on their qualifying times.
- Third of July Festival: Held at the stadium at El Modena High School, this annual event features food booths, games, a bounce house, and a fireworks show with music.
- Orange International Street Fair: Proceeds from this Labor Day weekend event benefit nonprofit organizations and charities in the community. The street fair features food, dance, and exhibits from cultures around the world.
- Veteran's Day Celebration: Held at the Veteran's Memorial at Depot Park, this event honors past veterans and present military personnel.
The Metrolink train station connects Orange with Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Diego counties. Local bus service is also available at the Metrolink hub.
The junction of Interstate 5 with Orange Freeway (SR 57) and Garden Grove Freeway (SR 22) is one of the busiest in Orange County and is referred to locally as the Orange Crush. Tourism heavily influences traffic patterns, thanks largely to Disneyland's location five miles northwest of Orange.
Orange is home to Chapman University, which is the largest private university in Orange County.
Santiago Canyon College is a two-year college that features an award-winning forensics program and successful women's soccer team.
The Orange City News is a weekly newspaper devoted to local news. Other regional newspapers include the Foothills Sentry, Orange County Register, and the Orange County Business Journal.