We’re blessed to live here in Orange County, with beautiful weather and so many great things to do that people flock here from around the world.
But entertainment can get mighty pricey, here in the land of the Mouse and the Gold Coast. Here are 50 things you can do this summer that cost nothing at all.
1. Tuesday Movies At The Buena Park Mall: Yeah, let’s go. From June 14 to August 16, see a free kids movie at 10 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. at the Krikorian Metroplex 18, 8290 La Palma Ave., Buena Park. Get there early, before it’s full. Schedule: “Pan” (June 14); “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” (June 21); “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” (June 28); “Hotel Transylvania 2” (July 5); “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip” (July 12); “Minions” (July 19); “Home” (July 26); “Goosebumps” (Aug. 2); “The Peanuts Movie” (Aug. 9); “Max” (Aug. 16). buenaparkdowntown.com/events
2. Village Art Faire, San Clemente: On the first Sunday of every month, enjoy this downtown art fair, which highlights the work of more than 60 artists and artisans. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 5, July 3, Aug. 7, Sept. 4. villagesanclemente.org/village-art-faire/
3. Segerstrom Center Movie Mondays on the Arts Plaza, Costa Mesa: Bring chairs, blankets and a picnic, or patronize a food truck starting at 5:30, movies at dusk. Movies: “Grease” (July 11); “Selena” (July 18)’ “Elf” (July 25); “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (Aug. 1) and “Labyrinth” with David Bowie (Aug. 8). 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Scfta.org/moviemondays.
4. Pacific Marine Mammal Center, Laguna Beach: Right now, this rescue center in Laguna Canyon for sick and starving seals and sea lions is busier than ever, with calls coming in from all over. Come in any day between 10-4 to see them getting well before being released back into the wild. Warning, though: They’re so cute you’ll just have to donate fish for their dinner. 20612 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. pacificmmc.org
5. Shipley Nature Center, Huntington Beach: Stroll 18 acres of native habitat of the Shipley Nature Center, across from the Huntington Beach library. It’s open 9-1 Mondays-Saturdays, closed on Sundays. 17851 Goldenwest St. (at Talbert). Learn more: Shipleynature.org
6. Concerts In The Canyon: Boogie down in Anaheim Hills. Bring lawn chairs, blankets. Lawn games available. 80z All Stars (July 14); Born Jovi (July 21); the Petty Breakers (July 28); and DSB Journey Tribute (Aug. 4). Shows start at 6:30 p.m. Ronald Reagan Park, 945 S. Weir Canyon Road, Anaheim. 714-765-5263.
7. Free Pacific Symphony Plazafest, Costa Mesa: Enjoy a plaza party outside the Segerstrom Center starting at 5 p.m. June 4, with music, dance and art, and then watch a simulcast of the symphony being performed inside at 8 p.m, featuring Beethoven and Berlioz. Food trucks will be on-site. 615 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. pacificsymphony.org/plazacast.
8. Mason Movie Nights Under the Stars, at William R. Mason Regional Park Amphitheater, Irvine: “Inside Out” (June 10); “The Good Dinosaur” (July 15:); “Zootopia” (Aug. 12). Bring chairs, blankets and picnic outdoors on the grass. Free parking after 5:30 p.m. The movie starts at sunset. www.ocparks.com or 949-923-2220. 18712 University Drive, Irvine.
9. Community Day Sundays at the Back Bay Science Center, Newport Beach: Every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., enjoy the Upper Newport Bay and a research and education center. Experience tidepool touch tanks, see water birds, learn in the Teaching Lab. 600 Shellmaker Road, Newport Beach. All ages welcome. backbaysciencecenter.org
10. Sunday Concerts in the Park, with the Huntington Beach Concert Band: Bring chairs, blankets and a picnic. June 26-Sept. 4, starting at 5 p.m. Huntington Beach Central Park, behind the library. Hbconcertband.org or 714-891-6856.
11. San Joaquin Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary, Irvine: Enjoy more than 12 miles of trails on 320 acres owned by The Irvine Ranch Water District. 5 Riparian View, Irvine. (Enter off Campus Drive) Learn more: Call Sea and Sage Audubon House at 949 261-7963 or the water district at 949 453-5500 or visit irwd.com/san-joaquin-marsh
12. Downtown Fullerton Art Walks: Every first Friday of the month, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. stroll the galleries and venues of this event. June 3, July 1 and Aug. 5. Start your walk at one of more than a dozen galleries and other businesses, where you can get a map of the venues. Fullertonartwalk.com
13. Do It Yourself Festival at the La Habra Library: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 4. All supplies provided. Learn how to tap dance, make gourmet coffee, grow succulents, do your own nail art, talk like a pirate, do Tai Chi, do bonsai, protect yourself from the Zika virus, play the harmonica, play chess, make a basket, donate hair and more. La Habra Library, 221 E. La Habra Blvd. 562-694-0078.
14. Concerts on the Green, Newport Beach: Sundays, 6-7:30 p.m. On the lawn, Newport Beach Civic Center, 100 Civic Center Drive, Newport Beach. Bring beach chairs, blankets and a picnic. Hollywood Stones (July 31); Rumours (Aug. 21); The Springsteen Experience by Josh Tanner (Sept. 11).
15. Tustin Street Fair and Chili Cook-Off: Annual festivities in Old Town Tustin include salsa competitions, craft booths, food vendors, live entertainment, kids fun, and more. 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. June 5. El Camino Real and Main Street. 714-573-3326,
16. Pacific Symphony In the Cities: Musical playground at 5:30 p.m. concerts at 7 p.m. Village Green, Oso Viejo Community Park, Mission Viejo (July 30); Mike Ward Community Park, Woodbridge, Irvine (July 31). Also, an Aug. 14 concert at a location to be announced. Learn more: PacificSymphony.org.
17. Family Funtime shows, Yorba Linda: Enjoy three magic shows on June 23: 1, 3 and 6:30 p.m. Three variety shows June 30, 1, 3 and 6:30 p.m. Two marionette shows Aug. 18, at 3 and 6:30 p.m. Get there early – these shows fill up. Community Room, Yorba Linda Public Library, 18181 Imperial Hwy. Learn more: YLPL.net.
18. Bugs and Butterflies at Riley Wilderness Park, Coto de Caza: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 5, at the Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park. Learn about interesting insects. There will be a butterfly tent, arts and crafts table, hikes, face painting, interpretative exhibits and butterfly garden presentations at this 544-acre park. Parking fee is waived. Location: 30952 Oso Parkway, Coto De Caza. ocparks.com/parks/thomas or 949-923-2265
19. Shakespeare by the Sea: People look forward all year to the annual outdoor festival. This year, they’re doing “Othello” and “Cymbeline.” Shows start at 7 p.m. Bring chairs, blankets and dress warmly. “Othello” (July 16) and “Cymbeline” (July 17) at Saddleback College (Upper campus quad) 28000 Marguerite Pkwy, Mission Viejo; “Othello” (July 21) at Huntington Beach Central Park, 18100 Goldenwest St.; “Othello” (July 23) and “Cymbeline” (July 24) at Rush Park, 3021 Blume Drive, Rossmoor; “Othello” (July 28) at Birch Park, 210 N. Birch St., Santa Ana; “Othello” (Aug. 7) at Eisenhower Park at the Seal Beach Pier; “Cymbeline” (Aug. 10) at Soka University’s Campus Green, 1 University Dr. Aliso Viejo; “Othello” (Aug. 14) at Crown Valley Park in Laguna Niguel, 29751 Crown Valley Parkway; “Cymbeline” (Aug. 17) at Irvine Valley College, Live Oak Terraces Theater, 5500 Irvine Center Drive. Shakespearebythesea.org
20. Visit Bolsa Chica, Huntington Beach: Enjoy walking these wetlands at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. Public tour, first Saturday of the month, 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m., docents give tours starting from the south parking lot, starting every 15 minutes on history, wildlife, birds, endangered species, ecology and restoration of the wetlands. 3842 Warner Ave, Huntington Beach. amigosdebolsachica.org. Pacific Coast Highway, across the street from the main entrance to Bolsa Chica State Beach, Huntington Beach.
21. Kids Fishing Clinic, Buena Park: Kids can have fun learning to fish, and maybe catch a few. Age 15 and under. 7 a.m. to noon June 18. The lake at Clark Regional Park in Buena Park will be stocked with catfish, two-fish limit. Prizes for the biggest fish. Register in person at the OC Parks check-in table. Bring your own fishing pole; a few may be available to borrow. Fishing is free, $5 per vehicle to park. 8800 Rosecrans Ave. Buena Park. 714-973-3170.
22. Go swimming, Placentia: From Jun. 20-Aug. 18, the city offers free recreational swimming every Monday through Thursday, 3-4:30 p.m. at Whitten Community Pool, 900 S. Melrose Ave., and Gomez Community Pool, 1701 Atwood Avenue. Kids 7 and under must be accompanied in the water by an adult.
23. Fullerton Arboretum: Kids love to look for turtles here. Stroll these lovely gardens seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. There are more than 4,000 plant species, along with ponds, wildlife and good smells. They also have free tours. Donations accepted. 1900 Associated Road, Fullerton, fullertonarboretum.org
24. Prehistoric Playground Dinosaur Park, Laguna Hills: This clever and creative park includes a recreation of a fossil reef, with imprints of actual fossils more than 15 million years old. Under the bridge, a replica of a 70 million-year-old hadrosaur fossil is embedded into the bridge wall, along with fossil pieces of a saber toothed cat, duck-billed dinosaur and mammoths. Corner of Alicia Parkway and Paseo De Valencia – behind the Laguna Hills Community Center. 25555 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Hills. 949-707-2680.
25. Coastkeeper Garden, Orange: Open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., this sustainable garden in Orange is really six kinds of Southern California habitats; it includes a cool Natural Play Garden, which just might inspire all kinds of cool outdoor planting and play at your house. Workshops (for adults) the first Saturday of every month, 10 to 11 a.m. 1560 E. Santiago Canyon Road in the City of Orange. The Garden is near Santiago Canyon College. coastkeeper.org
26. Birding Basics walk in Bommer Canyon, Irvine: Take this two-mile walk with other birders looking for birds of the coastal sage scrub, including the endangered California gnatcatcher and cactus wren. 8 a.m. to 11 a.m June 10. Sturdy shoes, hat and sunscreen are musts. Binoculars if you have them. Meet at Bommer Canyon Cattle Camp. letsgooutside.org.
27. Historic Yorba Cemetery Tours, Yorba Linda: This pioneer cemetery opens to the public with free tours, on the first Saturday of every month from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Next first Saturdays: June 4, July 2, Aug. 6. Pioneers of Santa Ana Canyon and their descendents were buried here from 1860 until 1939. It is located in Woodgate Park. Today, it is a historical site operated by Orange County Parks. Tour dates may be scheduled by reservation. 714-973-3190 or email@example.com.
28. Stanton Central Park Grand Opening: Enjoy exploring this new 11.5-acre community park opening on June 25 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. including a concert starting at 5 p.m. 10660 Western Ave. (near Katella) ci.stanton.ca.us/
29. Heritage Hill Historical Park, Lake Forest: Open Tuesdays-Saturdays, with six free walk-up tours weekly. The park sprawls over four acres, including four restored buildings from the early Saddleback Valley. The Serrano Adobe, 1863, shows the Mexican Rancho era. The El Toro Grammar School, 1890, and St. George’s Episcopal Mission, 1891, showcase the early town of El Toro. The Harvey Bennett Ranch House, 1908, is an example of an early citrus farmhouse. Guided tours are at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday from the front porch of the Serrano Adobe. 25151 Serrano Road. 949-923-2230 or Ocparks.com/historic /heritage.
30. Friday movie matinees, Yorba Linda: Come and beat the heat at 2 p.m. on July 15, 29 and Aug. 12, when the library will be screening movies, complete with popcorn and refreshments. Community Room, Yorba Linda Public Library, 18181 Imperial Hwy. YLPL.net.
31. Summer Concert Series, Brea: The summer season at the Curtis Theatre is scheduled to be announced June 1. Check the website. Brea Civic & Cultural Center, 1 Civic Center Circle, Brea. 714-990-7729. cityofbrea.net
32. Cypress Summer Concerts on the Green: Bring chairs, blankets and picnics for 6 p.m. Saturday concerts June 4-Aug. 20. Food available for purchase. No drinking or smoking. No set up before 2 p.m. Abbey Road & Surfin’ (June 4); Aquarius (June 11); Southbound & Co (June 18); the Alley Cats (July 9); West Coast Pops Orchestra (July 16); Elvis Tribute (Jul. 30); Pickleback Shine (Aug. 6); Springsteen Tribute (Aug. 13); Elm Street Band (Aug. 20). Cypress Civic Center Green, 5275 Orange Avenue. 714-229-6780.
33. First Thursday Art Walks in Laguna Beach: 6-9 p.m. June 2, July 7, Aug. 4. Stroll numerous galleries and ride the free shuttle bus to visit art-related businesses in Laguna on the first Thursday of every month. Also, you can download the free izi.TRAVEL smartphone app and search “First Thurdays Art Walk” for an interactive gallery tour. firstthursdaysartwalk.com
34. Adult Coloring Club Tuesdays at the Tustin Library: 10 a.m. to noon. Get together, make new friends and enjoy the latest craze. Ask for a free coloring packet at the Information Desk. Adults only. 345 E. Main Street,Tustin. 714-544-7725.
35. Watercolor Class, Aliso Viejo: Take a “Mommy, Daddy and Me” watercolor art class taught by professional artist Katherine Taylor, ages 4 and up. The third Saturday of the month, 2-4 p.m. at the Aliso Viejo Library. Jun. 18, July 16, Aug. 20. Registration required. 1 Journey, Aliso Viejo. 949-360-1730.
36. Centennial Farm, Costa Mesa: Yes, everyone loves the little chicks the best at this working farm at the OC Fair & Event Center, which includes goats, chickens, pigs and examples of actual live agriculture such as corn and potatoes. It’s open 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. weekends. (The farm is closed just before, during and after the OC Fair in July and August) 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa. ocfair.com
37. Children’s Museum of La Habra: The Target Free Sunday on June 5 is Railroad Round Up. Miniature trains chugging on tracks set up by the Toy Train Operating Society. A limited number of hand stamps available for entry at 1 and 3:15 p.m, on free first Sundays. Location: 301 South Euclid Street, La Habra. Lhcm.org/933/Target-Free-Days
38. Adult BYOI Bring Your Own Instrument, Yorba Linda: Bring your own instrument and learn the basics of playing playing ukulele with instructor Jack Ehlers from Uke Life. 7 p.m. Wednesday. Limited to the first 15 adults. Call 714-777-2873 ext. 6 to learn more. Storytime Theatre, Yorba Linda Public Library, 18181 Imperial Hwy. YLPL.net.
39. Downtown Buena Park summer concert series: Bands perform at 7 p.m. at the plaza shopping center in front of the Krikorian theater. Paperback Writer (July 27); Elvis tribute (Aug. 3); the Society Band (Aug. 10); Billy Joel Tribute (Aug. 17); Journey tribute (Aug. 24). 8308 On the Mall, Buena Park. Learn more: buenaparkdowntown.com
40. Concerts in Peppertree Park, Tustin: Enjoy the summer breezes in Tustin. All concerts start at 6 p.m. Rolling Stones tribute (June 22); Kelly Rae Band (June 29); The Moods (July 6); Silky Riot (July 13); Johnny Cash tribute (July 20); Pettybreakers (July 27); Surftunes (Aug. 3); and Journey tribute (Aug. 10). Peppertree Park, 230 W. First St. Tustin. 714-573-3326.
41. Summerfest in Fountain Valley: Live entertainment daily, classic car show, carnival (additional charge) and more. Jun. 23-26. at Recreation Center & Sports Park, 16400 Brookhurst. fvsummerfest.com or 714-839-8611
42. Tustin Movies in the Park: Movies start at dusk. “Shaun the Sheep Movie,” July 28 at Cedar Grove Park, 11385 Pioneer Road; “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” Aug. 4 at Peppertree Park, 230 W. First St.; “The Little Prince,” Aug. 11 at Camino Real Park, 13602 Parkcenter Lane.; “Kung Fu Panda 3,” Aug. 18 at Frontier Park, 1400 Mitchell Ave. TustinCa.org or 714-573-3326.
43. Movies in the Park, Fountain Valley: “Monsters vs. Aliens,” Aug. 2 at Recreation Center & Sports Park, 16400 Brookhurst St. (part of National Night Out starting at 5 p.m.) ; “Space Jam,” 6 p.m. Aug. 12 at Los Alamos Park; “Home,” 6 p.m. Aug. 19 at Westmont Park, 8640 El Rancho Ave.; “Big Hero 6,” 6 p.m. Aug. 26 at Courreges Park, 8664-8665 Rogue River Ave.
44. San Clemente Classic Car Show: Get ready to rumble on June 12 in downtown San Clemente, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This annual show has 300 cars, from classic to exotic. Food booths, vendors, disc jockey entertainment and farmers market. Free shuttle bus from San Clemente High School. 949-279-9211 or villagesanclemente.org/annual-car-show/
45. Movies In the Park Fridays, Placentia: Shown at dusk at Champions Sports Complex. Food available for purchase. Movies are “Minions” July 8; “Aladdin” (July 15); “The Good Dinosaur” (July 22); “Inside Out” (July 29); “Descendants” (Aug. 5); “Goosebumps” (Aug. 12) and “Hotel Transylvania” (Aug. 19). 505 S. Jefferson St. 714-993-8232 or Placentia.org/movies
46. Wednesday Concerts at Hart Park, Orange: Bring your picnic and your dancing shoes to the bandshell at Hart Park from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Lineup: Knyght Ryder (June 22); Night Owl Productions (June 29); Stone Soul (July 6); the Trip (July 13); Kelly Rae Band (July 20); Tom Nolan Band (July 27); Wiseguys (Aug. 3); Cold Duck (Aug. 10). 701 S. Glassell, Orange. CityofOrange.org.
47. Sunday Concerts at Sea Terrace Park, Dana Point: Two acts perform from 2:30 to 6 p.m. Skynyrd Reloaded and Southbound (July 10); Lights and BOSTYX (Jul. 17); Tricia Freeman Band and Peaceful Easy (Jul. 24); Fan Halen and Led ZepAgain (July 31); Raymond Michael’s Casino All Stars and Hot August Night (Aug. 7); Brent Payne and Craig Wayne Bond (Aug. 14). Pacific Coast Highway and Niguel Road. Free parking along Stonehill Drive and Niguel Road or paid metered parking at Salt Creek Beach. Free park-and-shuttle at Dana Hills High School 1:30-7 p.m. from 33333 Golden Lantern Road. danapointconcertseries.com.
48. Concert at Heritage Park, Dana Point: Groove to Savor the Band Santana tribute and the Fabulous Ultra Tones 2:30-6 p.m. on Aug. 21 at Heritage Park, 34000 Old Golden Lantern. Bring chairs and blankets. Learn more: danapointconcertseries.com.
49. Ride the Laguna Beach trolley: Until June 24, this cute trolley runs only Fridays-Sundays. On June 24, it begins its daily summer schedule, operating 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. every day until Aug. 31. The trolley runs along the PCH from Dana Point to North Laguna, and also to the festivals in the summer. Download the app. (Note: Dana Point has a connecting trolley, but they haven’t published their summer schedule yet.) Visitlagunabeach.com/trolley or 949-497-0766.
50. Concerts in the Park, Placentia. At Tri-City Park, 2301 N. Kraemer Blvd. starting at 6:30 pm. Lineup: Neil Diamond Tribute (July 7); Upstream Steel Drum, (July 14) the Fenians (July 21); Darden Sisters (July 28); Smokin’ Cobras, rock oldies (Aug. 4); Mariachi Divas (Aug. 11). 714-993-8232 or Placentia.org/concerts
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