DescriptionThe city once called Richland is officially known as Orange, but Chance is its rightful name. The town owes its very existence to a default on a loan and the resulting lawsuit. Alfred Chapman and Andrew Glassell, two Los Angeles lawyers who handled the suit, accepted 1,385 acres of Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana as payment for services circa 1869. Adding their take to the rancho acreage they already owned, they hired a surveyor and divvied up the land into tracts. When the fledgling town of Richland turned out to have a namesake in Sacramento County, they reportedly played a game of poker and gave the winner renaming rights.
As the one-time farming community mushroomed into a full-fledged city, it steadfastly clung to its small town ambience—a quality that radiates from the circular plaza at the junction of Chapman Avenue and Glassell Street, the heart of town since its beginnings. Chapman University, 2 blocks north of the Plaza, is infused with much the same spirit. The liberal arts-based institution is home to a state-of-the-art film studio and a center for Holocaust studies; the campus has served as a film location for numerous movies and TV shows, including “The West Wing.”
Visitor InfoOrange Chamber of Commerce 1940 N. Tustin St. Suite 107 ORANGE, CA 92865. Phone:(714)538-3581
ShoppingOld Towne Orange , the self-proclaimed “antique capital of California,” boasts more than 60 dealers of antiques and collectibles. This historic district, centered around the Plaza and its pocket-sized park, is studded with a growing number of restaurants and coffee houses. Many of the buildings date back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries—notably Watson's Soda Fountain & Cafe, 116 E. Chapman Ave., the oldest on-going business in the city, established in 1899. A Hollywood favorite for its classic “small town” look, Old Towne has provided the backdrop for such films as Tom Hanks’ “That Thing You Do.”
Antique shops and mini-malls, boutiques and specialty stores line Glassell Street and Chapman Avenue in the vicinity of the Plaza. Once the scene of pageants and parades celebrating the citrus industry, the neighborhood now hosts antique fairs, during which many shops are open extended hours.
The Outlets at Orange, 20 City Blvd. W. at Chapman Avenue, is an open-air shopping, dining and entertainment complex anchored by Dave & Buster’s and Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th. It’s also home to Van’s Skate Park, a 46,000-square-foot recreation facility.
Self-guiding toursInformation about walking tours of restored Victorian-style neighborhoods is available from the chamber of commerce.
Things to SeeOrange County Zoo