Best of OC

Best Of 2017


  • + 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

Food & Drink

Arts & Entertainment

Shopping & Services

Readers' Choice


Best Of :: Sports & Recreation

Best Surfing Spot

Huntington Beach and Trestles get all the worldwide love, but ask those looking for a truly gnarly experience, and they'll point to the Wedge. The size and consistency of the waves are unlike those anyplace else in the area, and the relatively pristine waters of Newport Beach are the kind that keep surf-seeking tourists coming. The Wedge isn't for beginners—even groms who consider themselves experienced can get eaten alive—but it's a place where real surfers can spend a morning without worrying about too many bros just wanting to sit on their boards and (maybe) catch a single wave over the course of the day. Of course, the scariest thing for anyone is just getting there and finding a decent place to park.

Readers' Choice: Huntington Beach

Best Golf Course

One of the biggest detriments to playing golf, besides cost, is the length of play. Rounds at heavily impacted courses—such as the ones most of us can afford—can take four hours, and if you're stuck behind some slow fuckers, it can stretch way longer. Add time driving to the course, warming up and getting pickled at the 19 hole, and half a day is gone. So why not cut it in half? Instead of playing 18 holes, stick with nine. You can do that at many courses, playing nine holes at a reduced rate, or you can take advantage of one of OC's last stand-alone nine-hole courses (which opened in 1950 and was called Aliso Creek Inn and Golf Course for years). The longest hole is 318 yards, so you won't need your driver—or the extra time searching for errant balls. But it will test your iron and short games, and located in Wood and Aliso canyons, it offers killer views and elevation changes. Green fees top out at $44 on weekend mornings, and you can play for as low as $25 during the week.

31006 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (800) 223-3309;

Readers' Choice: The Ranch at Laguna Beach

Best Dog Park

Ideal for curmudgeonly dogs and/or owners, this double dog compound has no amenities except poop bags. It's two side-by-side fenced-in runs, so you can isolate your lunatic canine if you need to. One of the pens is so long you can use a ball-throwing device. Once your animal has run off its manic energy, take a long stroll in the grassy park or through the tunnel and down onto Salt Creek Bluff for a rest. Parking is a problem only in summer or if the surf is up. Socializing is always possible once owners come to an agreement on safety, but if you are looking to do some human hooking up or gold-digging, go to the Laguna Beach Dog Park.

33501 Niguel Rd., Dana Point.

33501 Niguel Rd., Dana Point, 92629
Best Boot Camp

The fat-burning know-how here is scientifically based and will have you eating up calories long after the sweat from your class has been washed off. Offering a free first class and ocean views from both the Dana Point and San Clemente locations, your fitness goals will get all the help you need—and none of it from a drill sergeant screaming in your face. (Unless you ask for that from your personal trainer, of course, but don't let that be your first question.) Get cardio and metabolically healthy, strong and kinda badass.

32932 Pacific Coast Hwy., Dana Point, (949) 276-7650; also at 1030 Calle Sombra, San Clemente, (949) 218-2267;

Readers' Choice: Axioms Fitness

32932 Pacific Coast Highway, Dana Point, 92629
1030 Calle Sombra, San Clemente, 92673
Best Place to Play Pool

Mission Bar offers an unbeatable happy hour: $4 pints seven days a week. Top it off with the exceptional 36-line rotating tap list (as well as wines), a knowledgeable and approachable staff, a kickback atmosphere, and affordable prices—but don't forget the pool, especially on Free Pool Mondays.

303 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (657) 266-0699;

Readers' Choice: Danny K's Billiards & Sports Bar

302 N. Main St.,, Santa Ana, 92701
Best Beach

There's no shortage of gorgeous beaches in Orange County, but the biggest problem with many of them is the crowd. Then you have San Clemente's T-Street Beach: less packed than its Huntington and Newport counterparts, with visitors far less bro-y (though you may have to watch out for sharks). Sure, it doesn't have the same level of restaurants, bars and shops that surround some of the more popular spots, but we'll take the serenity of actually being able to spread out on the sand (most of the time) over that any day.

339 W. Paseo De Cristobal, San Clemente, (949) 361-8219;

Readers' Choice: Laguna Beach

339 W. Paseo De Cristobal, San Clemente, 92672
Best Gym

Depending on who you ask, strength training and cardio are head-to-head for the preferred way to lose weight. The good thing about Orangetheory Fitness is that every workout incorporates both. A heart-rate monitor tracks your calories, and personalized data is emailed to you afterward. Memberships can travel, meaning folks have little excuse when there's a location in the vicinity. Orangetheory realizes that your energy varies (hangover, anyone?), offering alternatives to adjust movements and intensity and still get a solid workout. Win-win!

Readers' Choice: CKO Kickboxing

Multiple Locations
Best Ride at Disneyland
Space Mountain

Perennial favorite Space Mountain thrills with its combination of perceived speed and danger as you zoom through the dark, unsure of your location or exactly where those support beams are. Just how close are your hands from being removed from your body? Only few know (there is video of the ride on YouTube with the lights on right before it goes into unplanned maintenance, and it doesn't put your mind any more at ease).

1313 Disneyland Dr., Anaheim;

1313 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, 92802
Best Neighborhood Park

Take the tablets out of your kids' hands, and watch them improve their muscle strength, coordination and cognitive-reasoning skills. This Cypress green­space boasts three slides, a rope ladder and semifunctional chimes. Tucked into a neighborhood off Knott Avenue, you barely hear the sounds of traffic through the fence. There's no bathroom, and weirdos are a rare sight. There are plenty of grassy fields for frolicking, if you're into that. And if you're not, there's also a full-size basketball court, with a bench in the far corner for spectators and the socially awkward.

11666 Luau Lane, Cypress.

Readers' Choice: Irvine Regional Park

11666 Luau Lane, Cypress, 90630
Best Yoga

We all know most yoga studios in OC are for those who can easily achieve the "wallet stretch" pose. But who would've guessed the most accessible and awesome yoga classes are in the middle of master-planned Irvine? Be the Change Yoga is all that its name implies, offering everything from beginner to advanced classes with gentle and therapeutic options in between. There's no rigid fee structure here, either. Be the Change displays true flexibility with a donation-based system. And the studio's name isn't all talk. It's linking up with UC Irvine and Kaiser Permanente to promote the benefits of therapeutic yoga, and instructors deliver weekly bilingual classes to underserved residents at the Melissa Hoag Smith Center for Healthy Living in Newport Beach. 

3943 Portola Pkwy., Irvine, (714) 417-9834;

Readers' Choice: Spectra Yoga

3943 Portola Parkway, Irvine, 92602
Best Local Surfer

The Huntington Beach native was the youngest surfer to win the U.S. National Championships for under-18s (at 14) and the youngest rookie in the World Surf League's Men's Championship Tour in 2016. This year, he won the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing, receiving a hometown hero's welcome for winning in the waves he has surfed since he was 3 and for being the first American to win the title since HB's Brett Simpson did it in 2010. Did we mention Igarashi's only 19?

Instagram: @kigarashi.

Readers' Choice: Kanoa Igarashi

Best Martial Arts Studio

Although Colin Oyama made a name for himself training some of the biggest names in mixed martial arts—including Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Ian "Uncle Creepy" McCall—his Irvine dojo reinvented itself over the past year or so to focus more on both young prospects and everyday members. Rather than putting an emphasis on the champions and former champions that still train at Team Oyama, the academy stands by a strict policy of treating everyone as equals. That mentality has created a vigorous rebirth among not only Oyama's pro fighters, but also the amateur and casual classes offered every day.

16632 Hale Ave., Irvine, (949) 250-3117;

Readers' Choice: West Coast TaeKwonDo

16632 Hale Ave., Irvine, 92606

Best Surfing Spot: The Wedge


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