Many of Southern California’s coolest pastimes are built for good weather, so you may think there’s not much to do when it rains. Check out this list of the best rainy day activities in Orange County for adults. No, this list does not include going to the movies – you know it’ll be too busy there anyway!
Eat At A Food Hall
What could be better for a rainy day than a delicious meal? Visit one of OC’s best food halls so you don’t have to pick just one entree! Check out Union Market in Mission Viejo at the Kaleidoscope, the Anaheim Packing District, Trade Food Hall in Irvine, or 4th Street Market in Santa Ana.
Support your Local Library!
Library – you know that big building filled with books? Our OCPL libraries are under-utilized. There are branches all over the OC just waiting for you to come visit them. Bring your laptop and get some work done, renew your library card, or just come for the priceless people-watching.
Feeling creative? Harness that energy and visit a local studio to make something! Try to find a local group painting event from
See A Play or Show
If you’re looking for more of a laid-back rainy-day experience, go see a local play or show! The Irvine and Brea Improvs offer affordable comic relief while you can catch a more refined play at the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa. If you’d rather see a concert check out the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano or the Observatory in Santa Ana. If you want to satisfy the kid inside you (or maybe just have a restless kid) visit Medieval Times or the Pirates Dinner Adventure in Buena Park. Be sure to check Groupon before buying any tickets!
Orange County has a handful of ice skating and roller skating rinks open year-round. Find the best rinks here. We love the Anaheim Ice rink because it’s nice and spacious so you won’t run into other people! As for actual roller skating, the Fountain Valley Skating Center can’t
If you have the need for speed, you have a few options for racing go-carts. On the more expensive end is K1 Speed in Irvine and Anaheim. You can find kid-friendly go-carts at Boomers in Irvine and Fountain Valley. This can get a little pricy so only go if you’re open to spending at least $30 per person.
Play with Reptiles!
For some indoor animal fun, stop by Fountain Valley’s Reptile Zoo. If you’re not a snake person, check out the monkeys at the Santa Ana Zoo or the zoo in Orange. For wildlife viewing and bird-watching, try the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary in Silverado Canyon.
Visit a Local Botanical Garden
If you don’t mind a little rain, there are several OC gardens that are beautiful and usually pretty empty on rainy days. Check out the 26-acre Fullerton Arboretum on the Cal State Fullerton campus (free entry) and the 12.5-acre Arboretum near the University of California in Irvine (free entry). The Sherman Library in Corona Del Mar is also beautiful although they charge an admission fee of $5.
Learn More At A Museum
Most people are surprised to learn that Orange County also has a good amount of museums! Check out the list below for ideas.
- Lyon Air Museum – Santa Ana, a great museum for fans of aviation. $12 entrance fee.
- Marconi Auto Museum – Tustin, a beautiful gallery (see above) of exotic, unique, and expensive cars. Free entrance, unfortunately not open on the weekends.
- Richard Nixon Presidential Library – Yorba Linda, honoring former President Nixon and his time in office. $16 entrance fee.
- Mission San Juan Capistrano in San Juan Capistrano, historic chapel, museum, and landmark. $10 to get in.
- Muzeo Cultural Center – Anaheim, unique art from various cultures. Most exhibits are free.
- Ocean Institute – Dana Point, focused on our oceans and the creatures in it. $10 for adults on the weekends, $5 on weekdays.
- International Surfing Museum – Huntington Beach, celebrates the rich history of surfing and the culture behind it.
- Laguna Art Museum – Laguna Beach staple for local art. $7 to get in, $2 discount for students.
- Orange County Center for Contemporary Art – Santa Ana, part of the Artists’ Village. Free admission focused on more modern techniques such as crafting.
Check Groupon for Activities
Groupon is a mecca of random activities and is the perfect place to buy a ticket to something you may not normally do. A quick look at their “Things to Do” category shows me knitting classes, ballroom dancing admission, bowling, wine tasting, rock climbing, and whale watching. Before you buy tickets for any of the above activities, check Groupon for discounts!
Now that you have some ideas for rainy day activities, get moving! Don’t let bad weather stop you from getting outside, use it as motivation to do something different and explore Orange County! Tell us your favorite rainy day activities in the comments below.