Find a healthy dose of history and charm packed into the single square mile of Old Towne Orange. Known colloquially as the “Orange Circle,” this bustling historic district is the heart and soul of the city of Orange. Don’t let the size fool you—there’s much to see, do and taste in a neighborhood where gourmet restaurants are as much at home as antique shops. Check out seven stops on our Old Towne tour featuring experiences you’ll find only in Orange.
A 1920s-era gas station turned restaurant, The Filling Station Cafe is a delightful blast from the past. Slide into a red vinyl booth and browse a menu packed with mouthwatering classics like Eggs Benedict, French Toast and the always-popular breakfast burrito featuring grilled potatoes and an optional protein upgrade (bacon, anyone?). fillingstationcafe.com
Walk off those calories with a self-guided tour of the antique boutiques spread across Old Towne Orange. Glassell Street, which wraps around the traffic circle, is a hot spot for discovering vintage treasures. Peruse popular shops including Orange Circle Antique Mall, OC Diamond Estate Jewelry and Antique Station for hidden gems like first-edition books, collectibles and even furniture.
Hungry again? You will be when you catch a whiff of a dish cooked with love from chef Gabbi Patrick, who opened Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen in Orange Circle more than a decade ago. Here, patrons can enjoy traditional Mexican cuisine with modern flair such as the savory tacos, filled to the brim with fresh veggies, salsas and well-seasoned meats like duck carnitas. gabbipatrick.com
Specialty shops abound in the Orange Circle. Big Red Comics, Mr. C’s Rare Records and Tiddlywinks Toy Shop are a few of the fun favorites, but pound the pavement to follow your interests. Beer lovers will drool over the craft selection at Provisions Market, while others will be captivated by the sage bundles and beautiful woven blankets at Matoska Trading Company.
Just off the traffic circle on Chapman Avenue, another all-day breakfast joint doubles as a place where kids—and kids at heart—can indulge in a sweet treat. Overflowing root beer floats and thick, creamy milkshakes are served up in a vintage space that was once a pharmacy back in 1899. watsonscafe.com
If you’re feeling fancy, book a seating at the only tea shop in Orange Circle. Tastefully decorated with glass chandeliers and elegant marble tabletops, Paris in a Cup offers afternoon tea service with more than 125 options to choose from, as well as light bites ranging from scones with house-made creme fraiche to beautiful petit fours. parisinacupteasalon.com
Grab a seat at the bar at Haven Gastropub for an ice-cold craft brew or well-composed cocktail. Dinner here is a culinary adventure—think accessible yet elevated bites like the Haven burger featuring wild arugula and roasted red bell peppers. Raise a glass to a day well-spent. havengastropub.com