What is it? It’s still the happiest—though starting to feel like most expensive—place on Earth.
Why go? Say what you will about the House of Mouse; its wondrous, immersive lands still provide a joyous escape for everyone from budding princesses to nostalgia buffs. Venture into the Temple of the Forbidden Eye with Indiana Jones, soar over London’s twinkling lights en route to Neverland, and speed through the galaxy aboard Space Mountain’s interstellar coaster. Plus, now that Disney does drinks, you can knock back a Racer 5 IPA alongside Lightning McQueen in Radiator Springs.
Once famed for its namesake citrus, Orange County today offers contemporary delights that are just as juicy. Disneyland looms large, literally, with its snow-capped Matterhorn poking above the sprawling, seaside suburbia. Prominent shopping centers, which serve as popular gathering places, take cues from the theme park with elaborate, compelling designs—frequently set outdoors to enjoy a blissfully sunny climate. Yet, it’s not all Real Housewives parading their yorkies around Neimans. Before OC native Gwen Stefani put her name on a perfume, she was part of hip, youthful scene that still informs towns such as Fullerton, Anaheim, and Santa Ana. Plus, an increasingly diverse population means more enticing and sophisticated dining options. And then there’s the dreamy, tropical-like beaches, arguably the most alluring in Southern California. Peek behind the Orange Curtain, and you’ll discover numerous noteworthy destinations—mouse ears optional.
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