Top things to do

Top Choice Amusement Park in Northern Orange County

Knott’s Berry Farm

Old West–themed Knott's Berry Farm often teems with packs of speed-crazed adolescents testing their mettle on an intense lineup of thrill rides. Gut-wrenchers include the wooden GhostRider and the '50s-themed Xceler…
Top Choice Museum in Northern Orange County

Bowers Museum

From its stately, Spanish Colonial–style shell, the Bowers Museum explodes onto the scene every year or so with remarkable exhibits that remind LA-centric museum-goers that the Bowers, too, is a local and national p…
Top Choice Church in San Juan Capistrano

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Plan on spending at least an hour poking around the sprawling mission’s tiled roofs, covered arches, lush gardens, fountains and courtyards – including the padre’s quarters, soldiers’ barracks and the cemetery. Admi…
Top Choice Museum in Northern Orange County

Discovery Cube

Follow the giant 10-story cube – balanced on one of its points – to the county's best educational kiddie attraction. About 100 hands-on displays await, covering everything from dinosaurs to robotics, rockets to the …
Top Choice Mall in Costa Mesa

Camp

Vegans, treehuggers and rock climbers, lend me your ears. The Camp offers one-stop shopping for all your outdoor and natural-living needs. Active Ride Shop and Seed People’s Market for outdoor gear and fair-trade ho…
Top Choice Mall in Costa Mesa

Lab

Sister property to the Camp across the street, this outdoor, ivy-covered ‘anti-mall’ is the original in-your-face alternative to South Coast Plaza, even if nowadays more (cool) national chains have moved in. Sift th…
Top Choice Californian in San Juan Capistrano

Ramos House Café

The best spot for breakfast or lunch in Los Rios Historic District, this Old West–flavored, wood-built house from 1881 (with brick patio) does organically raised comfort food flavored with herbs grown on-site: blueb…
Top Choice Mexican in Anaheim

Pour Vida

Chef Jimmy, who has worked in some of LA's top kitchens, returned to his Mexican roots to make some of the most gourmet tacos we've ever seen: pineapple skirt steak, tempura oyster, heirloom cauliflower...caramba! E…
Top Choice Seafood in Seal Beach

Walt’s Wharf

Everybody’s favorite for fresh fish (some drive in from LA), Walt’s packs them in on weekends. You can’t make reservations for dinner (though they’re accepted for lunch), but it’s worth the wait for the oak-fire-gri…
Top Choice Mexican in Costa Mesa

Taco Mesa

Brightly painted in Mexican Day of the Dead art, this out-of-the-way stand is a local institution for fresh, healthy, sustainably farmed tacos of steak, beer-battered fish and more, with an awesome salsa bar. We lik…