Southern California Close-Ups | A vacation guide to the Southland
South of Los Angeles and north of San Diego lies an intermittently magical 789-square-mile realm where freeways hum and Disneyland flourishes, where immigrants remake old communities as new ones ripple across the hills.

There is more here than Disneyland and beaches. And so we bring you these inland Orange County close-ups: 10 micro-itineraries for travelers and locals alike. This is the second installment in our yearlong series that looks anew at Southern California. (We started with in January and we'll come back to the O.C. coastline another day.) Read more...

--Christopher Reynolds, Los Angeles Times staff writer
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What would Nixon do? Disneyland can wait. First, consider the question they've printed on dozens of mugs and T-shirts at the Nixon Presidential Library & Museum in Yorba Linda, about 40 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. And get ready for a few more questions. Click for more...
The mouse that ate Anaheim. It's a given. If you have kids — and maybe even if you don't — you're going to Disneyland. And you're probably going to like it, because they're pros. So, brace for the bill — $76 for an adult day pass, $68 for kids ages 3-9 — and make your expedition easier by booking a night at a Disney hotel or one of the many "partner" hotels within walking distance. Click for more...
Where the boysenberries are. Knott's Berry Farm was up and running when Walt Disney was still a pup. It opened in the 1920s, http://www.knotts.com/public/news/history/index.cfm and despite its high-speed, high-tech rides, it feels more homespun than Disneyland. Click for more...
The Great Orange in the Sky. You are respectfully invited to step aboard a giant orange and hover above a mostly idle military base in Irvine. Now, stop snickering and suspend … yourself. It's true that the Great Park — the gradual conversion of the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro into a 1,347-acre public playground in the middle of the O.C. — will be years in coming. Click for more...
Surf, turf, balls and pucks. If you're looking for pro hockey or baseball in O.C., all roads lead to Anaheim. The Ducks (hockey) play from early October through early April (longer if the team makes the playoffs), with 41 home games at the 17,174-seat Honda Center. Most adult tickets cost $20-$110. Click for more...
Two words: biker bar. First, build thirst. You can do this by taking a hike or a bike or horseback ride in the Santa Ana mountains or the foothills near Rancho Santa Margarita. Maybe Limestone Canyon & Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park or O'Neill Regional Park, where you can make the 3.2-mile round-trip hike up Live Oak Trail to Ocean Vista Point, 1,492 feet above sea level, for a panorama of hills, suburban fringe and distant sea. Click for more...
Santa Ana, urban and artsy. Santa Ana has some of O.C.'s grittiest corners, but it's also home to a pair of worthwhile museums and a growing number of galleries. The kid-focused Discovery Science Center stands beneath the big black cube at the edge of Interstate 5 (the cube conceals a facsimile rocket) and has hands-on exhibits that cover populist themes such as the science of hockey, plus there's a modest climbing wall. About four blocks south of the cube at Main and 20th streets is the more grown-up Bowers Museum. Click for more...
Fullerton after dark. When night falls, downtown Fullerton hops. This is especially true along Harbor Boulevard near the railroad tracks, where more than two dozen bars and restaurants cater to the hunger and thirst of Cal State Fullerton students and others. Count on young demographics, designate a driver or take Amtrak or Metrolink to Fullerton's handsome old station. Click for more...
Retail detail. If you're not shopping, the recession wins, right? Now more than 40 years old, South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa is still the biggest mall (by square feet) in California. Shoppers come from as far as Asia to roam the 280 stores and restaurants. Click for more...
Welcome to Orange. Please set your watches to 1940. Plaza Square (a.k.a. the Orange Circle) is a roundabout that serves as the heart of the city of Orange. It's also a fine place for time travel, with hundreds of well-tended homes in the surrounding Olde Town Historic District dating from 1888 to 1940. Click for more...

Video: 10 places to visit in inland Orange County
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