Orange County, California

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Orange County, pressed against the Pacific Ocean and brushing the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains, Orange County is located in Southern California. Orange County is bordered on the southwest by the Pacific Ocean, on the north by Los Angeles County, on the northeast by San Bernardino County, on the east by Riverside County, and on the southeast by San Diego County. The county is included in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim Metropolitan Statistical metropolitan area in the U.S. state of California and is a region in Southern California. It's known for Anaheim’s Disneyland Resort, Knott's Berry Farm, cities with surf beaches, boat-filled harbors, tide pools and oceanfront.


Anaheim Hills Golf Course with the backdrop of mountains and homes.

Neighborhoods of note in Orange County are Anaheim Hills, encompassing the eastern portions of the city of Anaheim, it's a planned community and considered one of the best places to live in California. The public schools in Anaheim Hills are highly rated and the distance between Anaheim Hills and Disneyland is approximately 8 miles.

Newport Beach, home to the Balboa Peninsula, Newport Harbor, and two piers, Newport Beach is a town that prides itself on its diversity of restaurants and top-rated schools. Particularly the East Bluff/Harbor View neighborhood is safe.

Laguna Beach, the art capital of Orange County. Settled by a group of artists in the 1920’s, the area consists of rolling hills and a rocky coastline to the beaches. Diamond Crestview is a hillside neighborhood with a beach view. South Laguna Bluffs have easy access to several beaches. Lagunita, Irvine Cove and Montage are just a few of several notable neighborhoods in Laguna.

Yorba Linda, frequently identified as the richest city in the U.S. by the Census Bureau, is a suburban town with a thriving job market.

Dana Point marked by it’s coastal bluffs and the tide pools that run along the beach, the coastal neighborhood area is an idyllic example of Southern California living.

Irvine has been found to be the Safest Big City in America by the FBI for the past decade. Irvine has been a destination for many singles families with it's big open spaces and wide streets in it's neighborhoods.

San Clemente is known for its hiking and biking trails that snake across the town’s coastline and ridgeline, leading to a spread of great beaches.

Aliso Viejo, Seal Beach, Mission Viejo, Lake Forest, University Park, Turtle Rock, Northwood and Westpark are notable neighborhoods that are commonly given good ratings and recommendations in Orange County California.


California State Flag

Orange County has 34 incorporated cities. The oldest is Anaheim (1870) and the newest is Aliso Viejo (2001). Older cities like Santa Ana and Fullerton have traditional downtowns dating back to the 19th century.

The earliest known people to live in Orange County lived by hunting and fishing, and gathering plants and seeds. Later, Shoshonean-speaking people arrived, the ancestors of the tribes we know today as the Acjachemen (Juaneño) and the Gabrielino. The Acjachemen (Juaneño) traditionally lived in what is now Long Beach, Orange and Northern San Diego counties. In the late eighteenth century, these Native American Indians were commonly refferred to as Juaneño by Spanish colonizers after baptism occurred at Mission San Juan Capistrano, today that mission is location at address 26801 Ortega Highway in San Juan Capistrano, Orange County, California.

Though Spain had claimed California for more than 200 years, it was not until 1769 that the first efforts were made to colonize the area. Catholic missionaries and Spanish soldiers were sent north to establish a chain of missions and forts. Don Gaspar de Portolá led the first overland expedition through Orange County in 1769, and two years later Father Junipero Serra founded Mission San Gabriel in what is now Los Angeles County. Father Junípero Serra named the area Valle de Santa Ana (Valley of Saint Anne) after the 1769 Spanish expedition he lead. Mission San Juan Capistrano was founded on November 1, 1776. These two missions laid claim to much of what is now Orange County, grazing cattle, horses, and sheep becoming the area's first permanent European settlement until the 1830s.

Under Spanish rule, all lands were considered property of the King, who was Charles (Carlos) III, King of Spain. But a few retired soldiers were granted grazing permits. One of the first was Manuel Nieto, who came from Sinaloa on the northwest coast of Mexico. He was a soldier at the presidio in San Diego. Nieto owned some cattle and horses which he recieved from the presidio's stock, and was grazing them on the presidio grounds. When he was near retirement age, he sent a request to Governor Fages saying that his herds were increasing and he needed a better place to keep them. Nieto's request was granted by Governor Pedro Fages in 1784. Nieto was allowed to occupy 146,454 acres which included the Rancho Los Nietos known as the Nieto Family Ranch, which also included occupying all the land between the Santa Ana and San Gabriel (Los Angeles) rivers.

When Manuel Nieto died in 1803, his will claimed half of the cattle on Rancho San Pedro, owned by Juan José Domínguez had been stolen by Domínguez from him over the years.

Around 1800, Juan Pablo Grijalva began running cattle south and east of the Santa Ana River. In 1810 his son-in-law, José Antonio Yorba, and his grandson, Juan Pablo Peralta, received a formal concession to the land that became known as the Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana.

Mexico broke away from Spain in 1821, taking California with them.

In 1822, when Mexico took control of California, Rancho Los Nietos was regranted to the Nieto family. In 1834 the rancho was divided into five smaller ranchos, each of which was granted to a member of the Nieto family. Rancho Las Bolsas, a grant of about 31,000 acres, was given to Catarina Ruiz, widow of Manuel Nieto.

In 1834, the Mexican government began the secularization of the California missions, restricting the padres to their religious duties, and placing civil administrators in charge of the operation of the missions.

Juan José Nieto also became the owner of Rancho Los Coyotes in 1834. This land changed hands several times in the next few years. At one time it, too, was owned by Stearns.

Abel Stearns was an American from New England who came to California in 1828 and began acquiring land and cattle. He was soon the richest "foreigner" (non-Spanish) in California. Stearns was a shrewd businessman who got wealthy by lending money to his friends, then taking their land when they couldn't repay the loans.

The Mexican government also authorized land grants of up to 44,000 acres to Mexican citizens who would occupy and improve the land. By 1846, almost all of Orange County was part of one rancho or another.

Cattle ranching became the backbone of the local economy. Trading vessels from the United States and other countries sailed up and down the California coast, collecting cattle hides and tallow in return for manufactured goods.

At the end of the Mexican War in 1848, California was ceded to the United States by Mexico. When California became a state in 1850, what is now Orange County became a part of Los Angeles County.

The Gold Rush of 1849 brought tens of thousands of new settlers to California. This gave the rancheros a new market for their cattle, which were sold as beef to feed hard-working miners. The local economy in Orange County and Los Angeles County soared.

Some of the old ranchos were sold to American owners with names like Abel Stearns, John William Bixby and James Irvine.

With cotton production disrupted by the Civil War, sheep ranching began replacing cattle. Other ranchos were broken up and sold off in pieces to settlers and developers.

Anaheim was the first American town founded in Orange County. In 1857, a group of German immigrants living in San Francisco bought a portion of the Rancho San Juan Cajon de Santa Ana to start a new community, built on wine making. The area was subdivided, an irrigation ditch dug, and the vineyards planted before the first colonists moved to Anaheim in 1859.

Following the drought in 1864 James Irvine, Llewellyn Bixby, and Benjamin and Thomas Flint made the purchase of the 48,800-acre Rancho San Joaquin from José Andrés Sepúlveda. This land would eventually became part of the Irvine Ranch.

In 1866 Rancho Lomas de Santiago, the name meaning "Hills of St. James", was a 47,227-acre and was also acquired by James Irvine, Llewellyn Bixby, and Benjamin and Thomas Flint. This land would also eventually became part of the Irvine Ranch.

In 1868, vast areas on either side of the Santa Ana River were placed on the market, and the towns of Santa Ana, Tustin, Orange, Westminster, and Garden Grove were soon founded. The county is said to have been named for the citrus fruit in an attempt to promote immigration by suggesting a semi-tropical paradise – a place where anything could grow. Farming became the backbone of the local economy. Wine and raisin grapes, wheat, barley, and corn were all successful. Other citrus crops, avocados, and oil extraction were also important to the early economy. In the 1870s, new irrigation systems were built, which allowed more trees crops to be planted, including walnuts, apricots, and oranges.

In 1870, the first commercial vessel entered Newport Bay, which soon became a regular shipping point along the coast. The Southern Pacific built the first local railroad in 1875, extending its tracks south from Los Angeles to Anaheim. The line was extended to Santa Ana two years later.

The Southern Pacific held a monopoly in Southern California until 1885, when the Santa Fe pushed its tracks over the Cajon Pass. Competition brought a burst of advertising and a sharp drop in ticket prices, setting off a great real estate boom throughout the region. Existing communities expanded, and new towns and subdivisions sprang up by the dozens as tourists and settlers poured into Southern California. But in less than two years, the boom had collapsed, and with it, many of the new towns. Carlton, San Juan-by-the-Sea, St. James, and other “paper towns” faded away. Others, like Fullerton, Buena Park, and El Toro survived.

The burst of economic growth and local pride in the late 1880s led to the formation of the County of Orange in 1889. As early as 1870, local residents had tried to break away from Los Angeles and form their own county, but it was not until 1889 that the California Legislature passed a bill to allow a vote on county division.

The oil industry also played a key role in the development of Orange County. The first successful wells were drilled locally in the 1890s along the northern edge of the county. Oil fields were soon developed in La Habra, Brea Canyon, and Olinda.

Between July 4, 1904, completion of the Pacific Electric Railway and 1910 a trolley connecting Los Angeles with Santa Ana and Newport Beach. Pacific Electric Railway built these three branches to serve Orange County with its “big red cars.” The link made Orange County an accessible weekend retreat for celebrities of early Hollywood coming south to Orange County. It was deemed so significant that Pacific City changed its name to Huntington Beach in honor of Henry E. Huntington, president of the Pacific Electric and nephew of Collis Huntington. In the 1910s and ‘20s, new highways led the way to new communities. In 1915, California’s first state highway was completed across Orange County, running from La Habra to San Juan Capistrano. Transportation further improved with the completion of the State Route and U.S. Route 101 (today mostly Interstate 5) in the 1920s.

Freeway construction began in the 1950s with the opening of the Santa Ana (I-5) Freeway

Agriculture, such as that involving the boysenberries made famous by Buena Park native Walter Knott, began to decline after World War II. However, Orange County's prosperity soared during this time. By the mid-1950s, Orange County’s farms were being replaced by tract housing. Existing cities began annexing territory in every direction, and new cities incorporated almost every year. The completion of the Santa Ana (I-5) Freeway in 1954 helped make Orange County a bedroom community for many who moved to Southern California. Orange County received a further boost in 1955 with the opening of Disneyland making Orange County an international tourist destination. In the late 1950s, aerospace firms and light industry began expanding here, and the increasing population meant more and more jobs at hospitals, restaurants, and stores.

South Orange County began to grow in the 1960s, with master planned communities such as Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel and Irvine. The Irvine family were agricultural pioneers and prominent landowners in California who gave their name to the city of Irvine, California.

In 1969, Yorba Linda-born Orange County native Richard Nixon became the 37th President of the United States.

Aliso Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, Ladera Ranch, and other planned communities followed more growth in the 1980s and 1990s.

In 1994, the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history occurred in Orange County when an investment fund meltdown led to the criminal prosecution of Treasurer-Tax Collector Robert Citron. The county lost at least $1.6 billion through high-risk investments in bonds occurring during 1993 and early 1994. Citron, who didnt benefit or profit, was involved illegally in transferring interest payments from the Orange County investment pool, which included schools, cities and other government agencies into the county account. The loss was blamed on derivatives by some media reports. On December 6, 1994, the County of Orange declared Chapter 9 bankruptcy, from which it emerged on June 12, 1996. Also in 1996 Citron, the former Orange County Treasurer was sentenced to one year in jai; and also fined $100,000 and put on probation.

In recent years, land use conflicts have arisen between established areas in the north and less developed areas in the south. These conflicts have regarded issues such as construction of new toll roads and the re-purposing of a decommissioned air base. El Toro Marine Corps Air Station was designated by a voter measure in 1994 to be developed into an international airport to complement the existing John Wayne Airport. However subsequent voter initiatives killed the measure, particularly on March 5, 2002 the vote was the climax of a divisive decade-long political and legal battle about the future of the military base causing the airport plan to be permanently shelved. Instead, approximately 29% of the area became the Orange County Great Park, a sports, agriculture, and the arts public park, located in Irvine, California.

Notable Cities

Anaheim, the largest city in Orange County, was ranked as the 7th most conservative city in the United States by Forbes in 2020.[1]

  • Anaheim
  • Brea
  • Buena Park
  • Costa Mesa
  • Dana Point
  • Fullerton
  • Garden Grove
  • Huntington Beach
  • Irvine
  • La Habra
  • Lake Forest
  • Laguna Beach
  • Los Alamitos
  • Newport Beach
  • Orange
  • Placentia
  • San Clemente
  • San Juan Capistrano
  • Santa Ana *The county seat of Orange County, California
  • Tustin
  • Westminster
  • Yorba Linda


Overall, 10 Orange County school districts made the top 100 in the California statewide rankings and nine were among the top 100 schools in the nation according to Niche in Aug 2018. To arrive at these rankings, Niche looked at data from the U.S. Department of Education as well as test scores, college data and ratings. The best school district in Orange County is the Irvine Unified School District. The district was also listed as No. 1 in the national and statewide rankings.

Placing the highest ranked after Irvine Unified School District was Los Alamitos Unified School District, Laguna Beach Unified School District, Huntington Beach Union High School District, and Capistrano Unified School District.[2]

Spectator Sports

Home to the Los Angeles Angels of Major League Baseball (MLB). Opened on April 19, 1966, Angel Stadium of Anaheim was formerly a completely enclosed stadium. After The renovated stadium reopened on April 1, 1998 Angel Stadium of Anaheim was one of the largest stadium renovations in U.S. history

The Major League Baseball (MLB) team in Orange County is the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels began play in 1961. The Angels were originally based in Los Angeles and were owned by “Singing Cowboy” Gene Autry. The Angels moved to Anaheim in 1966, after playing four seasons at Dodger Stadium, and changed their name from Los Angeles Angels to California Angels. Later the team, then known as the Anaheim Angels, won the World Series under manager Mike Scioscia in 2002. In 2005, new owner Arte Moreno wanted to change the name to "Los Angeles Angels" in order to better tap into the Los Angeles media market, the second largest in the country. However, the standing agreement with the city of Anaheim demanded that they have "Anaheim" in the name, so they became the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The county's National Hockey League team, the Anaheim Ducks, were founded in 1993 by The Walt Disney Company as the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, a name based on the 1992 film The Mighty Ducks. On March 1, 1993, at the brand-new Anaheim Arena (Now Honda Center) – located a short distance east of Disneyland the team name was announced. On October 8, 1993 the Mighty Ducks played their first NHL game, against the Detroit Red Wings at what was then called the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim. The Ducks won the 2007 Stanley Cup beating the Ottawa Senators. Previously the Ducks also came close to winning the 2003 Stanley Cup finals after losing in Game 7 against the New Jersey Devils.

The Hoag Classic (formerly Toshiba Classic), the only PGA Champions Tour event in the Orange County area, is held each March at The Newport Beach Country Club. It's a a golf tournament televised domestically on the Golf Channel, and internationally on PGA tour television partners outside the U.S.

From 1994 to 1999 the National Basketball Association's Los Angeles Clippers played several home games at The Arrowhead Pond, now known as the Honda Center, which served as a second home for the NBA team, before moving to Staples Center in Los Angeles sharing the arena with the Los Angeles Lakers. During the exact same time frame from 1994 to 1999 the professional inline hockey team Anaheim Bullfrogs of Roller Hockey International played their home games at The Arrowhead Pond, now known as the Honda Center.

The Los Angeles Rams relocated to St. Louis in 1995. The Los Angeles Rams called Anaheim Stadium in Orange County home from 1980-1994. They relocated back to Southern California in January 2016 in Los Angeles County. Angel Stadium of Anaheim is often referred to by its unofficial nickname “The Big A”. Aside from professional baseball and football, Angel Stadium has hosted high school and college football games, National Football League pre-season games, the short-lived World Football League, two crusades by evangelist Billy Graham and nearly 20 consecutive annual crusades by evangelist Greg Laurie.

Amusement and Historical locations

Walt Disney company owns the world famous Disneyland theme park in Anaheim.

One of the most famous theme-parks on the planet Earth is located in the Orange County city of Anaheim, Disneyland. The park, which opened in 1955, was created by Walt Disney, and took one year to build, at a total cost of 17.5 million dollars. The Los Angeles Times reported in December 2019 that Disneyland park reached capacity and stopped selling daily tickets for one day, seven months after a 14-acre expansion opened at the time. The new land expanded the size of the park from 85 acres to nearly 100 acres earlier in 2019. The May 31, 2019 opening of a $1-billion expansion to build Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in the northwest corner of the park was the largest portion of this expansion.[3] In May 2020 it is reported that Disneyland is the second most visited theme park in the world (18.6 million visitors per year compared to Disney World's 58 million).

Pixar Pal-A-Round (formerly known as the Sun Wheel and Mickey's Fun Wheel) is a 150-foot-tall eccentric wheel at Disney California Adventure, at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California.

One of the more notable rides at Disney California Adventure includes the iconic face of Mickey Mouse on the Paradise Bay side of the 150-foot-tall eccentric wheel. The ride is named "Pixar Pal-A-Round". Each of the 24 gondolas feature different pairs of Pixar pals, including Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl from “The Incredibles”, Lightning McQueen and Mater from “Cars,” and Miguel and Hector from “Coco”, among many others

Known as The OC, Orange County is located in the heart of Southern California and is a tourist center, with other attractions in addition to Disneyland include Knott's Berry Farm, Mission San Juan Capistrano, Modjeska House, Yost Theater, Balboa Island, Old Towne in Orange Historic District, Wild Rivers water park, Discovery Cube Orange County, Angel Stadium, Honda Center, and several popular cities with beaches boardering the Pacific Ocean as follows: Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, Laguna Beach, Dana Point and San Clemente. In addition to the world famous Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks, the Downtown Disney District boasts dining, shopping, and music in an outdoor promenade style setting.

Along its more than 40 miles (64 km) of coastline. Long Beach Opera, founded in 1979, is the oldest professional opera company serving the Los Angeles and Orange County regions.

Anaheim Convention Center, is home to several world famous conventions, notably hosting WonderCon, which is one of the largest annual comic book, science fiction, and film conventions.

Anaheim Convention Center is located across from the Disneyland Resort on Katella Avenue in Orange County. The Convention center opened in July 1967 holding many events. The largest Disney fan event in the world, D23 Expo is held at Anaheim Convention Center. Other events like VidCon, BlizzCon, Anime Expo, NAMM Show, competitions, and more. The Anaheim Convention Center was used to host the wrestling during the 1984 Summer Olympics.

WonderCon in Anaheim, California at the convention center was held annually from (2012–2015) then left for one year in 2016 as it was held in Los Angeles. In 2017 WonderCon returned to the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California and was there also in 2018 and 2019. WonderCon was canceled for 2020 due to coronavirus pandemic.

Orange county has several performing arts venues, some of the more notable ones are: Segerstrom Center for the Arts, The Pacific Amphitheatre, Irvine Barclay Theatre, Rose Center Theater, Costa Mesa Playhouse, Curtis Theatre, The Laguna Playhouse, and Chance Theater.

"Fleeting Light Laguna" an art piece of Laguna Beach in the OC by award winning artist Ray Roberts who grew up in Orange County, California

The Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA) runs a yearly invitational since 1998 for painters, which includes a “Best in Show” award. Ray Roberts shared the 2004 “Best in Show” award with LPAPA Signature Artist Calvin Liang for the 6th Annual Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational. In 2006 Roberts shared the Laguna Invitational “Best in Show” award with artist Joe McGurl, and in both 2011 and 2015 Roberts was presented with the Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational “Best in Show” awards.[4]

Orange County, California is also home to multiple museums, Historic houses, and Art Center's.

The below is a list of Museums in Orange County:

  • Arden Modjeska Historic Home & Garden in Lake Forest
  • Astor Classics Event Center in Anaheim
  • Balboa Island Museum in Balboa Island
  • Bowers Museum in Santa Ana
  • Bradford House in Placentia
  • Beall Center for Art and Technology in Irvine
  • Brea Museum and Heritage Center in Brea
  • Casa Romantica in San Clemente
  • Children's Museum at La Habra in La Habra
  • Costa Mesa Historical Society Museum in Costa Mesa
  • California State University, Fullerton Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana
  • Diego Sepúlveda Adobe in Costa Mesa
  • Discovery Cube Orange County in Santa Ana
  • Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle House and Medical Museum in Santa Ana
  • ExplorOcean in Newport Beach
  • Fullerton Arboretum in Fullerton
  • Fullerton Museum in Fullerton
  • George Key Ranch Historic Park in Placentia
  • Heritage Hill Historic Park in Lake Forest
  • Heritage Museum of Orange County in Santa Ana
  • Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University in Orange
  • International Surfing Museum in Huntington Beach
  • Irvine Fine Arts Center in Irvine
  • Irvine Historical Museum in Irvine
  • Irvine Museum in Irvine
  • Kawasaki Museum in Lake Forest
  • Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach
  • Los Alamitos Museum in Los Alamitos
  • Lyon Air Museum in Santa Ana
  • Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin
  • Mission San Juan Capistrano in San Juan Capistrano
  • Mother Colony House in Anaheim
  • Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton
  • Murphy-Smith Bungalow in Laguna Beach
  • Museum of Teaching and Learning in Fullerton
  • Museum of The Republic of Vietnam in Westminster
  • Muzeo in Anaheim
  • Newland House in Huntington Beach
  • Ocean Institute in Dana Point
  • Old Orange County Courthouse in Santa Ana
  • Orange County Center for Contemporary Art in Santa Ana
  • Orange County Museum of Art in Santa Ana
  • Pretend City Children's Museum in Irvine
  • Ralph B. Clark Regional Park Interpretive Center in Buena Park
  • Ramon Peralta Adobe in Anaheim
  • Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda
  • Santa Ana Fire Department Museum in Santa Ana
  • Stanley Ranch Museum in Garden Grove
  • Surfing Heritage and Culture Center in San Clemente
  • Susanna Bixby Bryant Museum and Botanic Garden in Yorba Linda
  • Tustin Area Museum in Tustin
  • University of California, Irvine University Art Galleries in Irvine
  • Westminster Museum in Westminster
  • Whitaker-Jaynes House in Buena Park


Orange County, traditionally considered by liberals to be somewhat conservative compared to all other urban locations in the left-wing Blue state California, is the third most populous county in California.[5] It was created in 1889 and was given the name for its extensive orange groves.[6]

From 2014 through 2018 Orange County had the three most conservative cities in the entire state based upon multiple polls, surveys, and news sources among the largest populated places in California. The three top conservative cities with these registered voters are Newport Beach, Yorba Linda, and San Clemente in Orange County of Southern California.[7][8] As an urban area, Orange County has been shifting increasingly liberal. In 2016, the county voted for a Democrat for president for the first time since 1936, and in 2018, the county became entirely represented in Congress by the Democratic Party.[9] In 2019, registered Democrats in the county had grown to outnumber registered Republicans.[10]

In 2017, Harley Rouda, a one-time Reagan and Bush voter who had quietly severed his Republican ties to identify as an independent, made one of the rarest of political transformations. He registered as a Democrat with the express purpose of running against Dana Rohrabacher, a 15-term Republican congressman in Orange County, a place famous as a redoubt of the California GOP.

Following the 2018 US General Election, Democrat Harley Rouda became California's 48th congressional district representative (based in Orange County), declaring victory after amassing a 3.6% and growing lead in the results, defeating incumbent Republican Dana Rohrabacher, Rouda won by 7 points.

In 2020, Young Kim is one of two Orange county women who contributed to "the year of Republican women" in part for the record number of women who flipped districts from blue to red on Nov. 3. It’s the second congressional seat that Republicans have flipped this 2020 election in Orange County
Harley Rouda quietly severed his Republican ties to identify as an independent, then registered as a Democrat to run against Dana Rohrabacher, a 15-term Republican congressman in Orange County. Following the 2018 election he won, then lost re-election in 2020 to Republican Michelle Steel for the U.S. Representative seat from California's 48th District.

In the 2020 elections, Orange County Republicans celebrated a second victory in flipping back a Congressional seat they lost in 2018, with Young Kim declaring victory after Democrat Rep. Gil Cisneros conceded the north OC-based 39th District.

Democrat Harley Rouda lost re-election in 2020 to Republican Michelle Steel for the U.S. Representative seat from California's 48th District.

The current mayor of Anaheim, Orange County's largest city is Republican. Mayor Harry S. Sidhu, won the office in the 2018 election. Sidhu was born in India. He moved to the United States in 1974 and became a U.S. citizen in 1979. Sidhu is the first Sikh mayor of the city and the first person of color to serve as mayor of Anaheim.

Amidst the Orange County protests against police violence sparked by the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, On June 3, 2020, an Orange County, CA Sheriff’s deputy was filmed wearing unauthorized right-wing patches on his vest during a Black lives matter demonstration in Costa Mesa, CA. Sheriff Done Barnes responded with concern that symbols have “multiple meanings” and instituted “re-briefing” of OCSD uniform policy per the story from newspaper "Voice of OC". One of the patches was a half United States other half Oath Keepers logo. The Oath Keepers is a non-partisan organization, sometimes viewed as anti-government American, or far-right organization associated with the militia movement. The Modern Day 3 percenters are a loose affiliation of Americans who vow to refuse to comply with laws that violate the second amendment right to keep (own) and bear (carry) firearms and believe that when tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes duty.

Evangelicals and politics

Mega-churches” brought in evangelicals to the region like Calvary Chapel, Robert Schuller’s Garden Grove Community Church (which later became the Crystal Cathedral) later passed on and pastored by Robert's firstborn child Sheila Schuller Coleman. Sheila Schuller Coleman, who broke off in spring 2012 from the Crystal Cathedral Ministries that her father founded is one of many stories of high profile evangelical political change in Orange county. Other churches like Melodyland Christian Center, attracted large numbers of social conservatives and preaching messages that echoed their concerns over issues like abortion, sex education, and gay rights. Churches like these in the late 1970's and well into the 1980's grew and began to emerge evangelicals, who tended to focus on single issue campaigns, like Fullerton State Senator John Briggs, who championed a 1978 proposition that would have allowed public school to fire teachers who were gay. Orange County was home to some of the most important megachurches and televangelists of the day. By the 1990s, the Southern California region had the highest concentration of megachurches—large mostly conservative theological churches—in the nation. Times have shifted and changed, not only from the churches messages, but the politicical evangelicals in Orange County to more liberal and not as politically powerful today.

Films/TV set or filmed in Orange County

North Orange County is approximately 20 miles from downtown Los Angeles, so movie filming occasionally rolls over into Orange County. There were several scenes in the first season of “Star Trek: Picard” that were filmed at Anaheim Convention Center, which was fictionally Starfleet Headquarters in the late 24th century. The MTV/Paramount movie “Orange County” starring Colin Hanks, son of Tom Hanks and Schuyler Fisk, the Red head actress is the daughter of Academy Award-winning actress Sissy Spacek. The film Life as a House was set in Laguna Beach, although it was completely filmed in Los Angeles County. Notably Colin Hanks went to Chapman University in Orange County.

The Old County Courthouse in Santa Ana was a filming location for the Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks film “Catch Me If You Can”.

“Jerry Maguire” had multiple scenes filmed in Orange County, including John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California and Fashion Island in Newport Center, Newport Beach, California.

A popular office building turned movie set, the former Nikken headquarters in Irvine was the location for the film “Iron Man”. Many office scenes have been shot here, including a few featuring Tony Stark.

Though the Fox Network series titled “The O.C.” was completely set in Orange County, after the name of the show, it was never filmed there. The Cohen family’s Mansion is in Malibu, which is not in Orange County, but fictionally in the show they lived in Newport Beach at this Mansion. To reduce production costs, the interior of the house was recreated on a sound-stage at Raleigh Studios in Manhattan Beach, about 40 miles away from Newport Beach, but exterior shots of the original house were used throughout the series. The "Newport Pier Plaza" we see on the show is actually nothing more than a large set inside a sound stage at Manhattan Beach Studios. Other locations in Los Angeles County used in the series were as follows: The Shoreline Village - Long Beach, CA, Warner Grand Theater - San Pedro, CA, Fisherman's Village - Marina Del Rey, CA, The Lifeguard Tower - Playa Del Rey, CA, Redondo Beach Coffee Shop - Redondo Beach, CA, Sea Level Restaurant & Lounge - Redondo Beach, CA, Tony's Restaurant - Redondo Beach, CA, Redondo Beach Pier - Redondo Beach, CA. Many of the beach scenes were also filmed in Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and Torrance, while most of the show was filmed in Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles County region.

Other films include:

  • “Ocean’s Eleven” – Scenes at UCI Campus
  • “Beaches” – Crystal Cove
  • “Savages” – Laguna Beach
  • “The Hangover III” – 73 freeway between Costa Mesa & Newport Beach
  • Rain Man” – Santa Ana Train Station
  • “That Thing You Do” – Old Town Orange near Chapman University
  • “American Sniper” – Seal Beach
  • “Pearl Harbor” – Tustin Hangar

Other TV shows include:

  • “The Real House Wives of Orange County” | Various OC Locations
  • “American Horror Story” | The Old County Courthouse in Santa Ana
  • MTV's “Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County” | Laguna Beach
  • “Flip or Flop: Orange County” | Various OC Locations
  • “The Aquabats! Super Show!” | Irvine, Silverado, Yorba Linda, Huntington Beach, Fullerton, Santa Ana
  • “BrainRush” | Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park
  • “Christina on the Coast” | Various OC Locations
  • “Dead to Me (TV series)” | Various OC Locations
  • “Mighty Ducks: The Animated Series” | Various OC Locations
  • “Scrubbing In (TV series)” | Various OC Locations
  • “Son of Zorn” | Various OC Locations
  • “Sunset Beach” (TV series) | Seal Beach



Population, race, and income
Total population 3,185,968
  White 71.5%
  White non-Hispanic 40.1%
  Black or African American 2.1%
  American Indian or Alaska Native 1.0%
  Asian 21.4%
  Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0.4%
 Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 34.2%
Per capita income 2013–7 in 2018 dollars $37,603
Median household income 2013–7 in 2018 dollars $81,851


  1. The Most And Least Conservative Cities In America 7. Forbes.
  7. Wisckol, Martin (August 25, 2014). [1]. Survey: 3 O.C. cities are state’s most conservative. Retrieved December 26, 2019.
  8. Martin, Ted (May 17, 2018). [2]. The ten most conservative cities in California. Retrieved December 26, 2019.
  9. Multiple references: See also:
  10. Multiple references:

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