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Orange County

Free or inexpensive things to do in Orange County?

I'm going to be Orange County for a few weeks and want to know what the best free or inexpensive things there are to do in the OC area? I love being outdoors, music, art, festivals. Open to all suggestions. Thanks!

3 Answers

answered by
Frances from Newport Beach

There are tons of great things to do for free in the OC! Downtown Disney District is free entry which is really cool because it feels like you're in Disneyland just with no rides. They have the music playing, the Disney stores, and cute little places to eat. It gets pretty crowded but it's still fun to feel like you're at Disneyland :)

The Dana Point Harbor is a really beautiful area to watch the ships roll in. There are 3 big ships there that are somewhat of a tourist attraction, really interesting to look at though. 

Balboa Island is really fun and such a cute area! The ferry only costs a dollar and it's a fun area to just walk around in. 

My favorite beach is Victoria Beach because of the cute little castle like structure that's built up against the cliff. Worth checking out for a pretty stroll down the beach. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Downtown Disney District (attraction)
  2. Dana Point Harbor (attraction)
  3. Balboa Island (attraction)
  4. Victoria Beach (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Mira from Los Angeles

Hey Elaina! 

Ok not many people know this but you can explore Downtown Disney District for free! Seriously. It's Disneyland minus the rides. Tons of Disney stores around and restaurants. Pretty cool :)

Since you like the outdoors, Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve is free and cool to hike through, lots of wildlife around there. 

Muckenthaler Cultural Center is a free art exhibit and the estate is gorgeous!!

I love walking through Old Towne in Orange. Loads of cute shopping places there (vintage and antiques). It's nice to just stroll through and do some window shopping :)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Downtown Disney District (attraction)
  2. Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve (attraction)
  3. Muckenthaler Cultural Center (attraction)
  4. Old Towne (attraction)
1 thanks

answered first by
Sally from Los Angeles

Hey Elaina,

Depending on which season you'll be there (I'm hoping / assuming summer), there are plenty of great things to do in OC!

Crystal Cove State Park: beautiful and easy coastal hikes. Not very crowded at all but a great way to enjoy the beach while getting some exercise. I believe parking is $20. 

Angel Stadium of Anaheim: If you like baseball, you can do a tour of restricted areas at Angels stadium. Should be around $7. 

Huntington Beach: Huntington has a great and lively pier filled with music, people, food and shops. The beach itself has a ton of locals and surfers so it's great for people watching. 

Visit Balboa Island: you can drive onto the island with a car, but it's more fun to take the $1 (very) short ferry ride. It's a cute little neighborhood with local boutique shops, beach homes and little cafes. 

Fullerton Arboretum: open 7 days a week with several thousand species of plants plus ponds and cool wildlife too. 

OC hosts a ton of cool summer events that are free for the public including movie screenings, concerts, and plays. You can check out the list here for specifics: 

I also recommend checking out They have a very extensive list of what's going on all over OC which will cater more to events on the dates you'll be here.

Have a great trip!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Crystal Cove State Park (attraction)
  2. Angel Stadium of Anaheim (attraction)
  3. Huntington Beach (attraction)
  4. Balboa Island (attraction)
  5. Fullerton Arboretum (restaurant)
1 thanks

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