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5 Fun and Historic Things to See in Orange County

This community in the shadows of Anaheim—and the 600-pound gorilla that is Disneyland® Resort—has retained a measure of the small-town appeal its neighbor has lost. Yet the modern multicultural city that is home to the Christ Cathedral could hardly have been imagined by Dr. Alonzo Cook when he bought 160 acres of land for $15 an acre in 1874. What he envisioned was a “garden grove community” where there was little but pasture, until Cook donated land for a schoolhouse and post office. Garden Grove remained a quiet farm town for decades, until the post-World War II boom; in the late 1950s it was tagged the fastest-growing city in America.
The city’s heritage is beautifully preserved at Stanley Ranch Museum, 12174 Euclid St. Saved from the wrecking ball, some of the town’s oldest homes and structures can be found here; the focal point of the 2-acre site is the Ware-Stanley House, built by a noted horticulturist in 1892, where the late 19th and early 20th centuries come vividly to life. The community’s first post office/general store, a barber shop, a blacksmith shop and a vintage fire truck are all on exhibit here, along with Walt Disney’s 1923 garage studio—moved from North Hollywood—where he perfected an early animation machine; phone (714) 530-8871.
The play’s the thing at the 178-seat Gem Theater, 12852 Main St., which offers classics by One More Productions; phone (714) 741-9550. The 550-seat Festival Amphitheater, 12762 Main St., is home to resident Shakespeare Orange County, which presents award-winning shows; phone (714) 590-1575.
Garden Grove Park, 9301 Westminster Ave., is home to Atlantis Play Center, 13630 Atlantis Way, a 4-acre family playground open year-round. You’ll find sea serpents, whales and other aquatic creatures here plus numerous picnic areas; phone (714) 892-6015. Four miles south off Brookhurst Street, Mile Square Regional Park is the site of the annual Tet Festival, held in celebration of the Vietnamese New Year. Vietnamese food and culture are spotlighted during the 3-day February event, which includes a dragon dance, a firecracker display and a youth talent show.

Garden Grove Chamber of Commerce 12866 Main St. GARDEN GROVE, CA 92840. Phone:(714)638-7950 or (800)959-5560

Little Saigon, home to the largest Vietnamese community outside Vietnam, is a major shopping and dining destination spanning Garden Grove, neighboring Westminster and adjacent cities; it is roughly bordered by Garden Grove Boulevard, McFadden Avenue, Magnolia and Euclid streets. The landmark Asian Garden Mall, 9200 Bolsa Ave. in Westminster, is a two-story complex offering a distinctive shopping experience with more than 300 businesses.

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Christ Cathedral
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Top Hotels
Current Location: Garden Grove, California
Hyatt Regency Orange County
11999 Harbor Blvd. Garden Grove, CA 92840
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Hampton Inn & Suites
11747 Harbor Blvd. Garden Grove, CA 92840
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Residence Inn by Marriott Anaheim Resort Area
11931 Harbor Blvd. Garden Grove, CA 92840
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Sheraton Garden Grove Anaheim South
12221 Harbor Blvd. Garden Grove, CA 92840
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