There’s No Downtown Orange County!

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There’s No Downtown Orange County!

How do you solve a problem like downtown Orange County?

Much as the nuns in the Salzburg Abbey tried to define the young abbess, Maria, many people have trouble succinctly describing Orange County, California.  While Los Angeles and San Francisco to our north, and San Diego to our south all have downtowns, clearly identifiable by both iconic skylines and iconic abodes, there is no downtown Orange County.  There’s no “main city” in Orange County – although urban legend describes some epic battles between Santa Ana, Anaheim, and Orange – which clearly ended without a winner rushing out to build an iconic skyline that one would recognize as downtown Orange County.

Instead, Orange County is made up of 34 incorporated cities, and lots of random unincorporated areas, covering 948 square miles with a 2013 population estimate of 3,114,363 human soles, according to Wikipedia.  This is very difficult to describe to a transplant from Manhattan, Chicago, Dallas, or St. Louis.  Or add in any other major US metropolitan area you’re familiar with.  When Gertrude Stein accused Oakland, CA of there being “no there, there” I think she’d clearly never made it down south to Orange County – where there definitely is no “there” spot to speak of.  So, enough of what we don’t have – what about what Orange County does have?  In no particular order,  here are my five top reasons you should be glad you’ve been transplanted to Orange County from somewhere else, just like I experienced as a 12 year old moving to Orange County from Houston, Texas.

  1. Disneyland was built in Anaheim because Walt Disney couldn’t find a big enough plot of buildable land near Burbank. Disneyland opened on July 17, 1955. It was Walt’s dream come true.   It cost him $17M to build, the annual income is now estimated to be $3B per year.   I nominate Disneyland as the official capital of Orange County.  Unless I come up with a better alternative.  PS – I was a cast member at Disneyland in for two summers after high school, and loved every minute of it!
  2. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim used to be known as the Anaheim Angels and they play at what used to be called Anaheim Stadium. Anaheim Stadium also used to host the Los Angeles Rams before they fled to greener pastures in St. Louis.  I still get stoked to be one of the 42,000 people in attendance when the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim win the ball game, and they light up the halo.  And Mike Trout is the new Tim Salmon.  We love our Angel fish.
  3. Orange County Colleges – You pick – Chapman University, UCI, Cal State Fullerton, Concordia and countless satellite campuses like UCLA, Azusa Pacific, Pepperdine, and USC.
  4. Museums – From the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, to the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach, and the International Surfing Museum in Huntington Beach, and off to the Nixon Library and Museum – we have your art and history covered.
  5. Name Dropping Good Schools – for the creative ones – consider Orange County High School of the Arts (OSHA for short), for sports go Mater Dei , Santa Margarita Catholic High School, or Newport Harbor.   For high school  academics, many including IB,  go Oxford Academy, Troy, University, Laguna Hills or Sunny Hills for public schools.  Back to SM and Mater Dei for the pricey private options.   Unparalleled educational opportunities all.

Bragging rights, yes.  Something to be proud of, of course.  An iconic skyline?  Not at all.  There’s no here, here in Orange County.  But we love it!

Faced with a move to Orange County?  Leslie Sargent Eskildsen is a local Realtor who can steer you in the right direction.  Call or text her at 949-678-3373.  Or Email at


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