18. Downtown is always where you want to be
Any Downtown: Fullerton, Santa Ana, Brea, Orange, Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach. If a city doesn’t have a downtown, it’s probably not worth bothering with. HB is a world unto itself, Santa Ana is funkier, Orange (by the Circle) is quainter, Brea is posher (and smaller), Laguna is artier (especially during Pageant of the Masters), and Fullerton is crawling with college students even when Cal State isn’t in session. Take your pick. All of them have more to offer than Olive Garden and a coterie of drive-thrus.
19. Garden Grove is home to one of the largest Vietnamese populations in the US
If we’re going to be eating our way through one neighborhood, it’s Little Saigon. Then once we’re done, we shift our attention to Anaheim’s Little Arabia. Then scout out all the Korean eateries along Harbor Blvd, before eventually winding up at Rosine’s in Anaheim Hills for the best Mediterranean meal between the 213 and 909.
20. The “Y” and the Orange Crush will destroy your soul
The first of these traffic nightmares occurs where the 5 meets the 405 near the Irvine Spectrum. The second is where the 57, 22, and 5 all merge, near Angel Stadium. During rush hour — let’s say 2pm until 7pm — both get more bloated than Val Kilmer’s whale belly. Avoid them, although side-street capillaries can get just as crowded.