Best of OC

Best Of 2016

Neighborhoods

  • + Aliso Viejo
  • + Anaheim
  • + Arcadia
  • + Avalon
  • + Azuza
  • + Bakersfield
  • + Balboa
  • + Bellflower
  • + Beverly Hills
  • + Brea
  • + Buena Park
  • + Burbank
  • + Cabazon
  • + Capistrano Beach
  • + Carlsbad
  • + Carson
  • + Cerritos
  • + Chatsworth
  • + Chino Hills
  • + Claremont
  • + Colton
  • + Corona
  • + Corona Del Mar
  • + Costa Mesa
  • + Coto de Caza
  • + Covina
  • + Culver City
  • + Cypress
  • + Dana Point
  • + Diamond Bar
  • + Downey
  • + El Segundo
  • + Encino
  • + Escondido
  • + Fallbrook
  • + Fontana
  • + Foothill Ranch
  • + Fountain Valley
  • + Fresno
  • + Fullerton
  • + Garden Grove
  • + Gardena
  • + Glendale
  • + Granada Hills
  • + Hawaiian Gardens
  • + Hermosa Beach
  • + Highland
  • + Huntington Beach
  • + Indio
  • + Irvine
  • + Julian
  • + La Canada Flintridge
  • + La Habra
  • + La Jolla
  • + La Mirada
  • + La Palma
  • + Ladera Ranch
  • + Laguna Beach
  • + Laguna Hills
  • + Laguna Niguel
  • + Lake Forest
  • + Lakewood
  • + Las Vegas
  • + Lawndale
  • + Lomita
  • + Long Beach
  • + Los Alamitos
  • + Los Angeles
  • + Malibu
  • + Manhattan Beach
  • + Marina Del Rey
  • + Maywood
  • + Midway City
  • + Mission Viejo
  • + Montclair
  • + Mountain Center
  • + Mt Baldy
  • + Newport Beach
  • + North Hollywood
  • + Northridge
  • + Norwalk
  • + Oceanside
  • + Orange
  • + Out of Town
  • + Palos Verdes Peninsula
  • + Panorama City
  • + Paramount
  • + Pasadena
  • + Pioneertown
  • + Placentia
  • + Pomona
  • + Portola Hills
  • + Rancho Cucamonga
  • + Rancho Palos Verdes
  • + Rancho Santa Margarita
  • + Redlands
  • + Redondo Beach
  • + Riverside
  • + Rossmoor
  • + Rowland Heights
  • + San Bernardino
  • + San Clemente
  • + San Diego
  • + San Francisco
  • + San Juan Capistrano
  • + San Marino
  • + San Pedro
  • + Santa Ana
  • + Santa Monica
  • + Seal Beach
  • + Sherman Oaks
  • + Sierra Madre
  • + Signal Hill
  • + Silverado
  • + Solana Beach
  • + South El Monte
  • + South Gate
  • + South Pasadena
  • + Stanton
  • + Studio City
  • + Sunset Beach
  • + Temecula
  • + Torrance
  • + Trabuco Canyon
  • + Tustin
  • + Twentynine Palms
  • + Universal City
  • + Unknown
  • + Venice
  • + Villa Park
  • + Westminster
  • + Whittier
  • + Wilmington
  • + Woodland Hills
  • + Yorba Linda
Map It

Arts & Entertainment

Food & Drink

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Sports & Recreation

Readers' Choice

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Best Of :: Sports & Recreation

Best Coach

After arriving at UC Irvine in 2010, Mark Deppe has specialized in out-of-the-box thinking that has led to more outside attention on the school. Having coordinated six consecutive Guinness World Records, Deppe generated even more international buzz by helping to establish an e-sports program that actively recruits the best gamers to major in computer game science and/or participate in live gaming competitions at the Bren Events Center. Deppe is acting director of an e-sports program that was mocked in some corners when it was announced in 2015. But the offering of e-sports scholarships, the opening of a state-of-the-art arena and the enrollment of the brightest gaming minds at Irvine have shot naysayers down as if they were Soap MacTavishes.

Best Place to Get High
Thousand Steps Beach
Rockography

The picturesque Thousand Steps Beach is not just a place to work out at until your legs feel like Jell-O, but it's also a great place to be stoned, especially at night. Next time you're feeling like being one with nature and herb, head down to the gorgeous shores of Thousand Steps Beach to witness a clear night sky spotted with a sea of sparkling-white stars. If you're faded enough and stare deeply up above, the tiny beacons of light will start to blur into vivid white streaks across the pitch-black sky to the soothing soundtrack of ocean waves crashing onto the shore. Pair this beautiful setting with some indica, and you've got one of the most relaxing places in Orange County. And with the city of Laguna Beach inching closer to passing a medical-marijuana initiative this November, Thousand Steps Beach may become South County's first stoners' paradise.

Pacific Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, 92651
MAP
Best Sunday Funday

First, drive to Fifth and Grand streets in the Financial District, find cheap parking, and rise in an elevator 1,000 feet in the air to take in a 360-degree view of Los Angeles via the OUE Skyspace LA, the tallest open-air observation deck in California. For $8 more than the usual $19-to-$25 entry fee, you can ride the enclosed slide affixed to the 70th to 69th floors of the U.S. Bank Tower. Calm your nerves across the street at LA's Central Library, where four large murals depict different points in Golden State history. Ying your yang in the outdoor Maguire Gardens before walking half a block on South Flower Street to Public School 213, a mellow gastropub that serves pleasing appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, salads, wine, cocktails, craft beers and dinner fare, all in the $$ range.

OUE Skyspace LA, U.S. Bank Tower, 633 W. Fifth St., Ste. 840, Los Angeles, (213) 800-5659; www.skyspace-la.com.
Los Angeles Central Library, 630 W. Fifth St., Los Angeles, (213) 228-7000.
Public School 213, 612 S. Flower St., Los Angeles, (213) 622-4500; www.psontap.com.

Readers’ Choice: Mutt Lynch’s

633 W. Fifth St., Los Angeles, 90071
MAP
213-894-9000
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630 W. Fifth St., Los Angeles, 90071
MAP
213-228-7000
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612 Flower St., Los Angeles, 90071
MAP
213-622-4500
Best Electronic Gaming Center

This isn't your average PC café, but rather America's first facility dedicated to e-sports. Whether your competitive game of choice is League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, Hearthstone, Halo, Smash or Call of Duty, Esports Arena holds events and tournaments for every premier title. Add in special meet-and-greets and signings with pro-gamers and elite teams and gaming organizations such as Team Solomid, and you have a modern-day gamers' paradise.

120 W. Fifth St., Santa Ana, 92701
MAP
714-462-5592
Best Martial-Arts Studio
The Dragon House Gym
Rockography

Self-described as "a family training center," the Dragon House Gym lives up to the billing; many who took classes as children under Sensei Daniel Higgins now bring their own children here to learn boxing, Muay Thai, jiu-jitsu and other forms of self-defense. The Dragon House Gym also specializes in getting you in shape—fighting or otherwise—through personal-training sessions. After transforming your rocking bod, you can cover it up with Dragon House clothing, available for sale in the front.

Readers’ Choice: Gracie Barra Garden Grove

7626 E. Chapman Ave., Orange, 92869
MAP
714-516-0972
Best Sports Comeback (Individual)

The retinas in both of Christopher Swieca's eyes becoming detached was likely caused by his severe nearsightedness, not his career as a water-polo player. But surgeries to repair the damage prevented the 6-foot-4 business-economics major from attending UC Irvine's June 10 graduation with his fellow students and teammates. A date was set a month later for Swieca to swing by the UCI Chancellor's office to pick up his diploma, but he was told to wear his cap and gown so he could pose for a photograph. Little did he know he was walking into a commencement ceremony for one, with his family, friends and teammates in attendance to cheer him on.

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Best Coach: Mark Deppe

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