Best Residential Neighborhood - 2011
Old Towne Orange Historic District
42 Plaza Square
Orange, CA 92866
As much as we love the whole midcentury-modern thing (and we do), there was some damn-fine architecture going up in the early part of the 20th Century, as well as the tail end of the 19th. And the best place to see how entire neighborhoods looked a century ago is the blocks surrounding the Orange Circle. Stroll these placid streets, and you'll spot a diversity of architectural styles, from endearingly boxy hip-roof cottages to broad-gabled Craftsmans to elegantly understated Folk Victorians. But what the structures share is a sense of proportion and scale: They're in harmony with the size of the lot, their neighbors, the well-developed tree cover. Factor in the easy walking/biking distance to the shops and restaurants of the ever-more-interesting intersection of Chapman Avenue and Glassell Street, and even allowing for the middling ratings of the public schools in the area, you've got yourself a livable slice of Orange County history.