Best of Orange County 2022: See & Do

Global Wine Tasting

Worldly Saturday tastings at Wine Exchange take curious wonks to Napa, New Zealand, northern Spain, and far beyond. Sample a dozen regional offerings hunted down by power buyers Kyle Meyers and Tristan Beamon. Pricing varies, reserve online. Santa Ana,, 714-979-1509


A view of the Pacific Ocean and Dana Point Harbor from Outer Reef. Photograph Courtesy of Outer Reef

Place to Impress a Seafood Lover

Yes there’s highly acclaimed chef John Tesar’s name attached, and the menu at Outer Reef is completely seafood forward and unanewport dupologetically in your face. But the best reason to visit might be the breathtaking view of the ocean and the cliffs above overlooking Dana Point Harbor. Dana Point, 949-487-7555


Paddleboarders and an inflatable water park at Newport Dunes. Photograph Courtesy of Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina

Alternate Beach Day

Play on the sand and in the water but without waves or the biggest crowds at Newport Dunes. Rentals for stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, and pedal boats provide a chance to relax on top of the water, while the inflatable water park gives adventurous types a place to climb, bounce, slide, and swim. With a snack bar and weekend movies, there’s a full day of activity waiting for your whole group. Newport Beach, 949-729-3863


Jewelry Making Parties

The Bead Shop Laguna Beach offers a fun and unique way to celebrate a birthday or special occasion with its jewelry making parties ($150). Select from an assortment of beads, charms, and gems for the type of item you’re hoping to create. The shop also allows walk-ins at the creative table based on availability. Laguna Beach 949-494-2115

Silk Photograph Courtesy of Mayu Silk Art

Silk Scarf Painting

Book a private party at Mayu Silk Art ($80 to $250) where you’ll get the chance to create a silk scarf with a design unique to you. First, select the colors you want and create the design on top of a tray of water. Your scarf will then be placed on top of the design, which will transfer onto the silk. Huntington Beach, 714-379-1990


Beer and Paint Night

If the thought of everyone replicating the same painting never appealed to you—or you just love beer more than wine—try one of Craft & Arts’ Paint-ish Parties ($40). Billed as “not your average paint night,” the pop-ups take place at local venues such as Green Cheek and Radiant Beer Co. Your ticket includes a drink, a piece of plywood, a quick art lesson, and access to a ton of materials including paint, glue, and magazines for collaging. Multiple cities, 714-322-9371


Themed hat contests showcase impressive works of art. Hat Photograph Courtesy of Sherman Library and Gardens

Excuse to Wear a Hat

The annual garden party at Sherman Library & Gardens includes a hat contest for enthusiasts to show off their creative skills. Prizes in categories such as best handmade hat and best garden-themed hat tease out some impressive works of art and ways to defy gravity. This year, the garden will add a category specifically for kids. Corona del Mar, 949-673-2261


Instagram Spot for Your Dog

Stop by Faux Paw Petique to browse whimsical pet art and gifts by local artist Debbie Carman. While  there, be sure to snap a photo of your pooch sitting in the gallery’s signature Insta-worthy spot: a decorative bathtub lined with pillows and surrounded by colorful pieces of art. Laguna Beach, 949-274-3111


Stowaway’s Enchanted Escape Magic & Cocktails show in Tustin. Photograph by Jeromy Chan

Close-Up Magic

Fans of tiki drinks and card tricks converge at Stowaway’s Enchanted Escape Magic & Cocktails shows. Featuring ace magicians who regularly appear at The World Famous Magic Castle in Hollywood, the intimate performances allow the audience to witness mesmerizing sleight-of-hand while sipping on creative cocktail specials. $40 plus two-drink minimum. Tustin, 657-208-2088

Swing Dance Pop-Ups

Irvine-based Street Swing Productions hosts live bands and dances at various venues in the county. Every Tuesday night, for instance, you can swing, jive, and groove to the sounds of a new live band on the outdoor deck at Hangar 24 (no cover). Check the Facebook page for more upcoming events. Multiple cities,


The shaded alley on Peppertree Lane in downtown Laguna Beach. Photograph by Emily J. Davis

Charming Alley

Downtown Laguna Beach in the summer can be fun but also hot and crowded. Take a respite by turning down Peppertree Lane. The shaded alley is surprisingly picturesque, bringing to mind a quaint European village. Deep within, you’ll find two fitting dessert shops: Gelato Paradiso and La Ru du Chocolat. Laguna Beach

Party Boba Bar

Before opening a brick-and-mortar shop in 2019, Fruitea Boba started as a catering business. The spot continues to specialize in bringing imported milk teas, fruit teas, and toppings to parties and special events. The charming setup includes a chalkboard menu and large light-up letters spelling out BOBA. Orange, 714-912-4009


“Six” Photograph Courtesy of Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Lineup of Shows

It’s hard to imagine a better schedule than the stunning 2022-23 season in Orange County. Local Broadway lovers will delight in being some of the first in the nation to see “Six” and “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical” as well as the return of the most award-winning musicals in history—“Hamilton,” “Chicago,” and “The Book of Mormon”—all at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. For more intimate concerts, Irvine Barclay Theatre’s highlights include multitalented Alan Cumming, Grammy-winning jazz bassist Christian McBride, highly acclaimed actor John Lithgow, and world-class violinist Midori. Hop online for tickets now!,

Christian McBride Photograph Courtesy of Irvine Barclay Theatre

Local Credit Card Perk

You don’t have to be a Capital One customer to take advantage of the Capital One Café at Irvine Spectrum. Anyone can work, study, or hang out at the sleek space with free wifi and even private meeting rooms. But if you do have a Capital One card, be sure to use it to get half-off drinks at the cafe serving coffee from Peet’s. Irvine, 949-656-2449

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