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Best Downtown Orange County 2008 - Orange

It's a national joke that Southern California considers a building historical if it has survived at least one presidential administration, but downtown Orange boasts quite a few buildings that have been around much longer and would legitimately be considered historic to all but the most stringent observer. This, in addition to its charming traffic circle, delicious restaurants (don't miss the tres leches cake at Felix) and expert municipal landscaping would make downtown Orange a contender on anyone's list for an ideal afternoon stroll. But what really pushes it over the edge is, of course, the antiquing opportunities. Even the most mundane objects gain gravitas as they age, and downtown Orange is filled with discarded treasures waiting to be recontextualized and turned into ironic party gifts. Sorry, Santa Ana: You may have the quinceañera shops, but Orange has the undies our grandmas wore.

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