Fountain Valley was transferred to the United States as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
Today it serves as a cultural center- if you’re looking for delectable food, interesting museums, and a true California suburb, look no further.
Where exactly is Fountain Valley, CA?
Fountain Valley is a suburb in Orange County.
It takes about 45 minutes to drive from Fountain Valley to Los Angeles via I-405 N, I-605 and I-5 N.
It takes an hour and a half to drive from Fountain Valley to San Diego via I-5 S.
It takes almost seven hours to drive from Fountain Valley to San Francisco via I-5 N.
Things to do in Fountain Valley, CA
1. Mile Square Park
The Mile Square Regional Park has an incredibly impressive array of facilities, including:
Boys & Girls Club
20 acres of California native plants
Baseball and softball fields
Three 18-hole golf courses
Phew! If that’s not a mouthful, nothing is!
The park is named after being nearly a perfect square. It’s one square mile.
2. Catch a show at The Observatory
The Observatory is a premiere music venue in Orange County and has the best selection of musicians from all genres performing every night.
Although it’s a large room, it feels small, having great views no matter where you are and Premium Seating options.
The box office is only open on the day of the show.
Although the venue is standing room only, there is an ADA section, ramp, and bathrooms. Talk to the staff and they’ll get you into the building once doors open. Each ADA guest can have one extra guest in the ADA area.
Parking is $10 per car (no cash accepted). There are streets within walking distance, but don’t park in any surrounding lots because you’ll probably be towed.
3. Get strawberry croissants at Cream Pan
Everything is freaking delicious here, especially the strawberry croissants and are a must-have if you’re passing through. They’re the best seller and if you’re going to Cream Pan, you have to order one.
The pastry is perfected in every way, from its triangular shape that fits in your hand, to its flakey croissant. The custard is as smooth as silk and the strawberries taste like they were picked right out back.
Don’t doubt that it’s covered in powdered sugar!
Just know that they sell out fast, and if you come in the afternoon they’ll likely be gone. But don’t worry, their mini strawberry croissants are just as good!
4. Get spring rolls at Brodard Restaurant
In 2017, Brodard’s flagship restaurant was moved from Garden Grove- its location since the 90s- to a larger space in a Fountain Valley shopping center.
The new building is polished and full of light with high ceilings and dark wood. Come any later than 5pm on the weekend and you’ll have to wait for quite some time to be seated!
Brodard single handedly popularized nem nuong cuon- grilled pork spring rolls- in SoCal. Grilled slabs of pork sausage (sans case) cooked with fish sauce and sugar are traditionally served on their own with other things like veggies, herbs, and rice paper wrappers to DIY a spring roll yourself.
But the family behind Brodard had a different idea- preassemble the roll! It’s the star of the show, filled to the brim with pork, fresh herbs, and green onions.
Dip the rolls in their meaty yet sweet dipping sauce to get the full experience.
5. Fountain Valley Skating Center
Fountain Valley Skating is one of the best places to have fun in Orange County. Serving the area for over four decades, stop by for an open skate or skating class.
During a normal skating session you can expect the Cha-Cha Slide, Hokey Pokey, Races, Red Light-Green Light, the Dice Game, and Boys/Girls skates.
Their music library is always being updated with new hits. The music in the afternoon is geared more towards families, whereas night music is more for teens and adults.
They have an incredible Snack Bar along with vending machines, so don’t worry about bringing your own food. You can bring water, though!
While they don’t offer inline roller-blades to rent, you can rent traditional quad roller-skates. But of course, bringing your own skates is encouraged if you have them!
6. Fountain Bowl
Fountain Bowl is a 60-lane bowling alley complete with a grill, full bar, and weekly events!
They are a family owned bowling center that has something for everyone. They serve all of Orange County including Garden Grove, Westminster, Costa Mesa, and Huntington Beach.
With a brand new scoring system and lots of recent upgrades, they’re always improving. Some of their services include:
Leagues for all skills
Bumper bowling on all lanes
This is your all-in-one bowling alley and there’s nothing you’ll be without if you make the stop!
7. Santa Ana River Brewing Company
Santa Ana River Brewing Company was started to create hop-forward ales in west coast brewing style with the goal of offering idiosyncratic and unique takes on your classic favorites.
The concept was conceived by Mike Miller and Geoff Brand. They love hops, and although they respect everything that goes into brewing beers, one main theme runs throughout all of them: a plethora of hops! They are always looking for examples of hoppy beers to enjoy and eventually decided to explore creating their own hop-forward ales.
8. Heritage Museum of Orange County
The Heritage Museum of Orange County is home of the John Maag Farmhouse and H. Clay Kellogg House. The Heritage Museum of Orange County has the mission of restoring, promoting, and preserving Orange County’s heritage through interactive education.
The museum is a cultural history center in SoCal. A 12-acre historic plaza features many buildings from the 1890s set in the middle of beautiful citrus groves and floral gardens.
Other features found at the museum include the Gospel Swamp Natural Area and the Gospel Swamp Farm. The farm is maintained by local college volunteers and high school students.
Stop by for museum events and guided tours for a taste of Southern California’s late 19th century and early 20th century history!
9. Bowers Museum
The Bowers Museum opened up in 1936 as a city-run museum primarily devoted to preserving the history of Orange County. In the late 1980s, the city closed the museum, with the intention of reopening as a completely transformed museum ready for the 21st century.
In 1992 it reopened, about six times larger than its original counterpart. The crowd was over 17,000 people! Ever since the huge reopening it’s had over 150 unique exhibitions from all over the world, created six permanent galleries, and observed its membership grow to almost 8,000 members.
Visit this museum for interesting exhibits highlighting both worldwide and local artifacts, information, culture, and more!
10. The Reptile Zoo
The Reptile Zoo provides its local community (and fellow travelers) with an educational and entertainment environment with over 100 exotic species of arachnids, amphibians, and reptiles from all around the world.
The animals at the zoo each have unique stories. A lot were born at the zoo, while others were part of private collections.
Guests can learn about all of these animals first-hand via interactive presentations and displays. Through handler guidance, you can learn the correct handling techniques, the basics about each animal, and grow more appreciation for the natural world.
11. Hot N Juicy Crawfish
Hot N Juicy Crawfish is the perfect place to get seafood without a long wait. There are sports televisions throughout the restaurant, and service is always A+.
The food is tasty, fresh, and most importantly, spicy!
Get the Drool Combo with shrimp, sausage, potatoes, corn, and crab legs. Don’t forget the catfish basket!
The catfish is hot and crispy.
The sausage is to die for.
The corn is drenched in flavorful sauce.
The manager will make her rounds and make you feel at home. When she offers “Let me know if you need anything,” she really means it!
12. South Coast Plaza
South Coast Plaza is the biggest shopping center on the West Coast and fourth-largest in the country. Pre-COVID, it had annual sales of over $1.5 billion, the highest in the US!
Having 275 retailers, that’s the highest concentration of designer fashion retail in the country. Its sales-volume is $800 per square feet (with the national average being $411 per square foot).
If you enjoy high end shopping, this is the place to be. Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Rolex and pretty much any store you can think of and shop to your heart’s desire!