Orange Coast Staff Members Share Their Favorite O.C. Places

In honor of our December cover story, we went around the office asking our staff their go-to spots in the county.
J. Christopher Launi courtesy of Crystal Cove Conservancy

“Whenever I visit Aldrich Park at UC Irvine, I relive so many happy college memories—sitting with friends on the sprawling roots of the giant Moreton Bay fig tree, reading on the sunny lawn between classes. I took my daughter there on a walk recently, and it was beyond surreal.”
—Astgik Khatchatryan, Senior Editor and Intern Coordinator

“I love going to Disneyland, especially in the spring when the pink tabebuia blossom trees bloom around the Partners statue. No matter how many times I’ve been, each visit always yields new experiences. It’s also where my boyfriend and I met!”
—Michelle Pagaran, Digital Media Editor

“Our family likes to take the dog out along the hiking trails at Weir Canyon Wilderness Park. It quickly feels like you’re out away from the bustle of O.C. cities. We take plenty of water and follow the trail up to rising viewpoints, from which we can see down into Santiago Oaks Regional Park as well as all the way up to the San Gabriel Mountains.”
—Phil Metzger, Digital and Dining Editor

“I love the volleyball courts in Huntington Beach. We play every Sunday morning. When we go out there, it just kind of erases everything else and I look around at all of the people enjoying the same space—it just reminds me of how lucky I am to live here.”
—Kelly Lewis, Design Director

“Kean Coffee in Newport Beach. Their coffee is really good, and they have unusual flavors.”
—Andrew Hart, Art Director

“Sessions in Woodbridge. I like sitting out there in the morning and looking at the lake.”
—Sue Branica, Production Director

“Peters Canyon because it feels like you’re in the middle of the mountains when you’re really in the middle of the neighborhood. It’s a great place for running, hiking, nature, and wildlife.”
—Anet Myer, Advertising Art Director

“I love Old World in Huntington Beach and all the festivities, especially during Oktoberfest.”
—Richard Lockhart, Account Director

“Madison Salon in Costa Mesa because I feel so pampered, and they always do my hair and make me feel pretty, relaxed, and beautiful.”
—Traci Takeda, Director of Marketing and Events

“The beach in front of the Montage because that’s where I take my dog to run on the beach.”
—Christopher Schulz, President and Publisher

“Red Rock Canyon is a short hike that is about four miles round trip. When you get there, it’s this landscape that is reminiscent of Arizona. It’s just so unexpected and surprising for Orange County.”
—Ping Tsai, Digital Director

“Ty Alexander Salon and the two people that I go to that I adore are Laura Zavala who colors and Neil Letham who cuts. I’ve been going to them for forever. They are always so accommodating and do a fabulous job.”
—Linda Goldstein, Executive Vice President

“North Beach in San Clemente. I was vice president of sales for a company in San Clemente back in the ’90s and to get away from all the chaos, I’d go to Lucky’s and grab a chicken box or a sandwich, and there are picnic tables right there where Ole Hansen is with a grassy area. It’s a great place to relax.”
—Randy Bilsley, Account Director

“The Aussie Bean in Orange. The coffee is just incredible. It’s super smooth and really rich and flavorful. They make really good lattes there.”
—Emily J. Davis, Staff Photographer

“Disneyland and the feeling that I get when I walk underneath the train tracks. It’s just myself and whoever I go with and all my worries are forgotten for those few hours.”
—Edward Estrada, Account Director

“I love Orange Coast Winery. My boyfriend and I are members, and we love taking our friends with us, getting food, and trying the wines as if we know what we’re doing.”
—Chelsea Raineri, Associate Editor

“Ridgeline hiking trail in San Clemente. It’s in my backyard, and it has a beautiful view and overlooks the beach.”
—Heidi Lawrence, Account Director

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