|Orange County nightlife used to be an oxymoron. However, in the past few years, quite a few establishments have sprung up,Orange County nightlife used to be an oxymoron. However, in the past few years, quite a few establishments have sprung up, ranging from network-owned sports bars to sexy Parisian-inspired lounges to dance clubs. And there's never been a shortage of cultural events or live entertainment in Anaheim and the surrounding cities.
Though few outsiders realize it, this area hosts at least as many major concerts and sporting events as Los Angeles , if not more. Two venues—Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim and Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine—accommodate stadium-sized crowds, while Disneyland, Disney California Adventure and Knotts Berry Farm can host thousands at their main stage areas. If you're staying at a luxury hotel like the Disney Grand Californian or the Hyatt Regency, the concierge can probably provide you with a wealth of information. Failing that, any local paper should be able to tell you who's coming to town.
Most classical music concerts and ethnic dance performances are held at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, just steps away from the Costa Mesa Hilton. Occasionally, there are concerts on the campus of UC Irvine. And in the summertime, Downtown Anaheim hosts an “Under the Stars” concert series that's great for the whole family.
If your tastes run more to intimate venues and diverse entertainment, there's Chat Noir, a gorgeous Parisian-style jazz bistro near the Costa Mesa Hilton, House of Blues (conveniently located in Downtown Disney within easy walking distance of the Disneyland Hotel or Disney Paradise Pier), or stand-up comedy at the Irvine Improv. The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano is the hub of Orange County 's live music scene. It's quite a ways away from Anaheim , but local music fans make the drive all the time.
Want to shake your bootie and drink Vodka RedBulls all night long? Head to Shark Club in Costa Mesa or the Boogie right in Anaheim . Not much of a dancer? Make Irvine , home of Fox Sports Grill and the Yard House, your destination.
If you don't know what you want to do, just head over to Downtown Disney. Packed full of cool theme bar/restaurants, shops and theaters, this place has something for every mood and every kind of person.
The only problem you'll have to work around is simply suburban sprawl—and unfortunately, there's not much you can do about it. Unless you're heading to only one destination, staying all night, and then walking or cabbing it back to your hotel, make sure your party includes at least one designated driver.