The O.C. Bucket List: Free Edition

Can’t splurge at the moment? These free things to do in Orange County also made our bucket list

Yoga On Huntington Beach

This is part 2 of our Bucket List O.C. series with some amazing things you can experience in Orange County – free of charge!

If you are looking to spend some money on more elaborate experiences, check out our SPLURGE EDITION.

Cherry Blossom Festival Bucket List O.C. Free Orange Coast Magazine


The annual OC Cherry Blossom Festival returns March 11. The three-day spring fling is a celebration of Japanese American culture with proceeds helping fund an international student exchange program between Huntington Beach and its sister city, Anjo, Japan. While the cherry blossoms are in bloom at Huntington Beach Central Park, enjoy a vibrant display of Japanese dance, music, arts and crafts, games, food, and drinks. Huntington Beach


No matter the time of year, sunset at the water’s edge is something to behold. The folks at Beachcomber Cafe agree and make it a celebration every evening by raising a martini flag. You don’t have to visit the bar to participate, however; bring a picnic to the sand at the historic area of Crystal Cove, walk through the visitors center to learn more about the history of the cottages, and watch the sun lower beyond the horizon. Crystal Cove State Park

Rogers Gardens Holiday Boutique Bucket List O.C. Free Orange Coast Magazine


Roger’s Gardens decorates its boutique for Halloween and Christmas so elaborately, it’s easy to forget that it’s a store. Shop (or window shop) for Christmas ornaments or spooky decor while taking in the sights. Next month, check out more than 250 types of tomatoes during Tomatomania. Corona del Mar, 949-640-5800


Celebrate 10 years of corgis playing at the beach April 2 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Whether you own a corgi or not, head to Tower 22 in Huntington Beach for activities such as a costume contest, limbo contest, photo stations, a corgi kissing booth, and food trucks. There are often hundreds, if not thousands, of corgis in attendance. Huntington Beach


Grab a seat outdoors at Huntington Beach’s Pacific City, the downtown area, or even on the beach outside of general admission to get views of the Pacific Airshow—the largest air show in the country. The whole family can watch the planes soaring overhead and performing incredible maneuvers. Huntington Beach

Cultural Festivals Bucket List O.C. Free Orange Coast Magazine


Each month, Bowers Museum hosts Free Family Festivals in its courtyard. For February, the theme is Chinese Lunar New Year, with traditional dance performances, art projects, and face painting. Next month, the museum hosts a Celtic Festival. Santa Ana, 714-567-3600


Experience a yoga or Pilates class on the beach at 14th Street in Huntington Beach. Each week, instructors offer donation-based classes for experts, newbies, and those in between. With morning and late afternoon classes, there are plenty of options to stretch. Start or end your day next to the ocean and the serenity it provides. Huntington Beach,


Available on a first-come, first-served basis, the fire rings at the various beaches in O.C. are often snapped up by 10 a.m., or earlier, in the high season. But don’t let that deter you. Getting there early just means spending a whole day at the beach. And gathering around one of the many pits with friends and family as the sun sets is worth the effort. Dana Point, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, San Clemente

Other Things to do AROUND O.C. 

Free Concerts

Packing House in Anaheim: Bands perform every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.

Julianne and George Argyros Plaza in Costa Mesa: Family Concert Series throughout the year.

O.C. Regional Parks: Concerts at various parks, including Mile Square Regional Park, during the OC Parks Summer Concert Series.

Outdoor summer concerts: Cities from Seal Beach to San Clemente host additional performances.


Second Harvest Food Bank: Plant, harvest, or distribute food.

Irvine Animal Care Center: Help animals at this no-kill shelter. Miracles for Kids: Assemble welcome boxes for families of critically ill children.

Hilbert Museum of California: Work as a volunteer docent.

Chance Theater in Anaheim: Support the arts by becoming an usher.

International Events

Oktoberfest at Old World in Huntington Beach: Have German beers, large pretzels, sauerkraut, and watch the dachshund races.

Orange International Street Fair: Check out booths from around the world featuring various types of food and drinks to try.

OC Greek Fest in Anaheim: You’ll find delicious food, drinks, and a live band.

The Irvine Global Village Festival: Come for music, kids’ activities,
and dozens of international food vendors.

Read our other O.C. Bucket List sections





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