view of Angel stadium entrance

Best Cities in North Orange County, CA

Orange County is in Southern California, home to Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Angel’s Baseball team. Not to mention some fantastic beaches. There are nearly 40 cities found in Orange County, so we have broken them down into “regions” so as not to bore you with bios of all the cities.

Let’s talk about the best cities and all the fun in North Orange County.

Angels baseball cap at the angel stadium

Anaheim

Anaheim is a city in Orange County, California. It’s home to the famous Mickey Mouse, Disneyland, Anaheim Ducks Hockey Team, and the Angels baseball team. It is the largest city in Orange County by population. Anaheim was founded in 1857 by fifty German families and remained an agricultural community until Disney landed and opened in 1955. This led to the significant construction of several hotels and motels around the areas, and residential districts soon followed.

Anaheim’s city limits are expansive, from Cypress in the west to the Riverside County line in the east. Anaheim Hills is a master-planned community located in the city’s eastern stretches. You will also find three mixed-use historic districts, the largest in the Anaheim Colony. Second, the Anaheim Resort, which includes the Disneyland Resort and a retail district. The third district is the Platinum Triangle, a redevelopment district surrounding Angel Stadium. Fun Fact about Anaheim: Milo Ventimiglia, from This, Is Us, and Greg Burson, the voice of Yogi Bear, both called Anaheim home.

Brea ca welcome sign

Brea

The name Brea means “oil” or “tar’ in Spanish. It became the 8th city official city of Orange County in 1917, with a population of 752. The city was a center for crude oil production, then later propelled by its Citrus production. It’s now home to the large Brea Mall. Carl N. Karcher, the founder of Carl’s Jr. restaurants, opened the first two locations, one in Brea and one in Anaheim.

Brea was built around the oil industry and Union Oil Company of California. Baseball legend Walter Johnson grew up in the area and worked in the oil fields as a youth. As oil production declined, agricultural development took over. About 30 years later, the citrus groves gave way to industrial parks and residential development. Followed up the Orange Freeway. Enjoy the weekend walking Downtown Brea featuring movie theaters, a weekly farmer’s market, sidewalk cafés, and more.

Roller coaster at knotts berry farm

Buena Park

Buena Park was incorporated in 1953 and, at the time, was an agricultural center, particularly dairy, wine, and citrus products. Today, more than 80,000 people call Buena Park home.

Buena Park’s E-Zone district, located along Beach Boulevard, has many attractions: Knott’s Berry FarmSoak CityPirates Dinner Adventure, and Medieval Times DinnerLos Coyotes Country Club is a 27-hole championship golf course in the city's northeast section. Looking to enjoy the beautiful South California weather? Check out the Ralph B. Clark Regional Park.

Cypress california residential homes 1

Cypress

Cypress was initially nicknamed “Waterville” due to the preponderance of artesian wells in the area. Local dairy farmers incorporated it in 1956 at Dairy City to stave off developers. After World War II, the land became too valuable for farming and ranching, and slowly, the dairies sold out to housing developers during the 1960s; by 1970, all dairies were sold. The city was renamed from Dairy City to Cypress after the Cypress trees were built around the elementary school to protect it from the Santa Ana winds.

Annually, the city hosts the Cypress Community Festival, currently the largest single-day birthday celebration for a city, on the 4th Saturday in July at Oak Knoll Park. A few notable natives called Cypress home, including John Stamos and Tiger Woods.

California state university

Fullerton

Founded in 1887, it was famous for Valencia Orange Groves and other citrus crops. It is home to Cal State Fullerton and Fullerton College. Fullerton is said to be the birthplace of the electric guitar, due in large part to Leo Fender. Fender Musical Instrument Corporation, with its proud roots in Fullerton, greatly revolutionized the music business and contributed to the rock and roll scene. Greats such as Gwen Stefanie and Singer-Songwriter Tim Buckley grew up in Fullerton.

Fullerton has over 50 city parks, including Hillcrest Park, Craig Regional Park, and Ralph B. Clark Park. The Fullerton Arboretum comprises 26 acres of sculpted gardens and unusual plants. The city features approximately 200 acres of recreational land in the Brea Dam Recreational Area, an equestrian center and trails, two golf courses, a tennis center, and a swim complex.

Downtown clock tower in la habra california

La Habra

Founded in 1896 and was famous for being the largest producer of avocados. Specifically, Read and Haas avocados…Yum! An interesting fact that you may not know is that La Habra has an annual Corn Festival, usually held around August to November, at the El Centro Lions Park. Another exciting fair to check out is the La Habra Citrus Fair.

Need something for the kiddos to do? You can find The Children's Museum at La Habra as a great children’s museum inside a 1923 Train Depot and was the first of its kind west of the Mississippi. Looking for something sports-related? Check out the La Bonita Sports Complex featuring a baseball diamond and skate park. Not to mention over 20 parks with walkways, picnic areas, and bike paths. Get out today and check La Habra.

Runners on the road

La Palma

La Palma was incorporated in 19655 as Dairyland and was one of the three dairy cities in the region. In 2015, La Palma was ranked 43rd in the “Best Places to Live” among small cities (50,000 or fewer in population) in the United States. According to the City Website, La Palma prides itself on a responsive government and a strong sense of community, with one of the lowest crime rates in Orange County.

La Palma hosts several community events annually, including the Halloween Carnival, Hometown Heroes Concert, the Fitness Run for Fun, and the Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony. The goal of the city is to promote “hometown living.” Where residents feel safe, and everyone knows their names. If you are looking for a home, check out La Palma.

Placentia sign in a tower

Placentia

In 1971, Placentia was honored with the prestigious “All American City” award, given out annually by the National Civic League. Currently, the city is part of a Metrolink project and will assist in revitalizing the area. The project is estimated to be completed by Mid of 2025 and is slated to include housing for those who commute but don’t want to live in the “city,” along with retail and entertainment. This is excellent news for purchasing an investment property or two, three, or four!

Placentia is home to the Heritage Festival, held in October each year. You will find the Placentia Certified Farmers Market in the Town Center on Tuesday evenings. Here, you will find approximately 30 vendors offering yummy treats and more.

Yorba linda welcome sign

Yorba Linda

Yorba Linda, known as the “Land of Gracious Living”, has a strong sense of community and small-town character. More than likely, you had heard of this city once or twice, especially if you were alive when Nixon was President. Yorba Linda was his birthplace and is a National Historic Landmark, thanks to the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. Farmers could grow barley and sheep grazing during the city's early years. Followed by citrus groves and avocado trees. Today, residents oppose further urban development and have organized to reduce traffic. In 2012, Yorba Linda was ranked 42nd on Money magazine’s list of America’s best small cities.

Plenty to keep you busy in this “small town”, from the Black Gold Golf Club to the Nixon Library and lots of Equestrian Centers to choose from. The city has over 100 miles of trails for hikers, bikers, and equestrians. Looking for a place to hang your hat? Yorba Linda might be the city for you.

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