California is well known for its sunny weather and beautiful beaches. But is there more to it than Los Angeles and San Francisco? The short answer is ‘yes’. The long answer is ‘Garden Grove’. Garden Grove is a city located in California’s Orange County. It was founded in 1874 but it was only in the 20th century that it started to grow out of its agricultural roots. Today, it is a city full of entertainment and places to visit. Think of it as a child in the form of a city: it is a lively place that seems to look into the future, with hopeful eyes.
Garden Grove has plenty of places to ensure your visit is a memorable one. But what are the best things to do in the city? Keep reading and you’ll find out!
1. Marvel at the Crystal Cathedral
An impressive structure made of reflective glass, the Crystal Cathedral is the largest glass building in the world and is home to one of the largest musical instruments to ever exist: the Hazel Wright Memorial Organ. The Crystal Cathedral is Garden Grove’s most iconic building and the most popular attraction in the city. Although it is a place of worship, it doesn’t matter if you’re religious or not: you will not stay indifferent to this incredible building and its beauty.
Address: 13280 Chapman Ave, Garden Grove, CA 92840, USA
Website: Crystal Cathedral
2. Walk around historic Main Street
If you’d like to learn more about the history of the places you visit, head to the historic Main Street of Garden Grove. Here, you’ll be able to appreciate the architecture of the many period buildings, go for a shop in the antique stores and, if you’re lucky enough to be there on a Friday night, get to be involved in a classic car show! You’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time.
Historic Main Street
Address: 12905 Main St (at Garden Grove Blvd.), Garden Grove, CA 92840, USA
Website: Historic Main Street
3. Enjoy a play at the GEM Theater
If you love plays, why not stop by Garden Grove’s GEM Theater and watch a great performance? Right at the end of historic Main Street, you will find the city’s treasure: the Gem Theater. Because it is small, it will help you feel closer to the actors and more involved. It also means that wherever you sit, you’ll have a great view of the stage! This is the place you’ll want to go to after a having a lovely dinner at one of the quaint restaurants that surround it and watch a show in the company of your travel companions.
The GEM Theater
Address: 12852 Main St, Garden Grove, CA 92840, USA
Website: The GEM Theater
Buy tickets: here
Contact: [email protected]
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4. Visit the Stanley Ranch Museum & Historical Village
Considered the historical gem of Garden Grove, the Stanley Ranch Museum & Historical Village is surely the best place to visit if you’re interested in the city’s past. You’ll get to see the best collection of historic homes and buildings, preserved from demolition, until today. Every detail about the Historical Village is preserved in its original condition – even the lamp posts from Garden Grove’s main boulevard.
Here, you’ll even find Walt Disney’s uncle’s garage, which Walt used as his studio in the early days. Unfortunately, you can only enter the buildings on the first and third Sunday of every month, so make sure you schedule your visit to Garden Grove on one of these days!
Stanley Ranch Museum & Historical Village
Address: 12174 Euclid St, Garden Grove, CA 92840, USA
Opening times: Monday - Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
5. Go for a slide at Atlantis Play Center
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
One of the most attractive places for the young, Atlantis Park is the best choice on a hot day when you need to feel fresh again. It has grassy knolls, perfect for picnics and play areas with swings and climbers to keep the children entertained, while you enjoy the sun (or shade). You can’t enter without a kid and your kid can’t enter without you so be sure to bring your little one along and you’ll have a blast!
Atlantis Play Center
Address: 13630 Atlantis Way, Garden Grove, CA 92844, USA
Website: Atlantis Play Center
Opening times: Tuesdays - Saturdays: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.; Sundays: 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Prices: from 2 USD
Contact: +1 (714) 892-6015
6. Have a picnic at Village Green Park
Village Green Park is one of the oldest parks in Garden Grove and the most popular one to spend a lazy day. It has the perfect relaxing atmosphere and it’s where locals go for big picnics. Sounds nice? It is! This park is also known for its many events, which include concerts and even festivals! Make sure you do some research before you go, so you can enjoy the live concerts in the park.
Village Green Park
Address: 12732 Main St. Garden Grove, CA 92843, USA
Website: Village Green Park
7. Be a part of the Garden Grove Strawberry Festival
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
If you’re visiting Garden Grove during Memorial Day weekend you have to go to the Garden Grove Strawberry Festival. It’s one of the biggest festivals in the United States and hundreds of thousands of people are part of it, every year. The festival started in the 50s, to celebrate the strong agricultural roots of Garden Grove, which remain very much alive, up until today.
You’ll have the chance to buy delicious fruit at the festival and have lots of fun if you attend its many events, which include the world’s largest strawberry shortcake!
Garden Grove Strawberry Festival
Address: Euclid St & Main St, Garden Grove, CA 92840, USA
Website: Garden Grove Strawberry Festival
8. 'To be or not to be' at the Garden Amphitheatre
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Love Shakespeare? We have the perfect festival venue for you: the Garden Amphitheatre (formally the Festival Amphitheatre). This stage is home to the only group of performers in Orange County dedicated to the classics. Its outdoor seating makes it very pleasant to watch a play in the open air. The stage is also used for lectures, concerts and professional workshops, so do some research beforehand and you’ll surely find the best event for you!
Address: 12762 Main Street, Garden Grove, California 92840, USA
Website: Garden Amphitheatre
Garden Grove: A small place with a big heart
Garden Grove may be small compared to the most famous cities in the state of California, but it has its own special charm. With its rich historic past, this city has plenty remnants of its history to take you back in time to its early days. And it is not a city stuck in the past: it has been growing in popularity and forms of entertainment and will keep you busy during your trip, especially if you choose to visit during one of its various festivals. Try to go during Memorial Day, so you can attend the Strawberry Festival or during the concerts in Village Green Park. You won’t regret it!
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