Orange County is a county in the U.S. state of California. Its county seat is Santa Ana. It is the second most densely populated county in the state, second only to San Francisco County. The county’s four largest cities, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Irvine, and Huntington Beach each have populations exceeding 200,000. Several of Orange County’s cities are on the Pacific coast, including Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, and San Clemente. It is mostly suburban except for some traditionally urban areas at the centers of the older cities of Anaheim, Fullerton, Huntington Beach, Orange, and Santa Ana. Orange County is the home of many colleges and universities.
Orange County is the headquarters of many Fortune 500 companies including Ingram Micro and First American Corporation in Santa Ana, Broadcom in Irvine, Western Digital in Lake Forest and Pacific Life in Newport Beach. Irvine is the home of numerous start-up companies and also is the home of Fortune 1000 headquarters for Allergan, Edwards Lifesciences, Epicor, Standard Pacific and Sun Healthcare Group. Irvine is also the home of notable technology companies. Also, the prestigious Mercedes-Benz Classic Center USA is located in the City of Irvine. Fashion is another important industry to Orange County. Restaurants such as Taco Bell, El Pollo Loco, In-N-Out Burger, Claim Jumper, Marie Callender’s, Wienerschnitzel, have headquarters in the City of Irvine as well. Gaikai also holds its headquarters in the Orange County.
Orange County contains several notable shopping malls. Among these are South Coast Plaza (the largest mall in California, and the third largest in the United States) in Costa Mesa and Fashion Island in Newport Beach. The outlets at San Clemente are the newest addition to shopping in Orange County.
Tourism remains a vital aspect of Orange County’s economy. Anaheim is the main tourist hub, with the Disneyland Resort’s Disneyland being the second most visited theme park in the world. Also Knotts Berry Farm which gets about 7 million visitors annually located in the city of Buena Park. The Anaheim Convention Center receives many major conventions throughout the year. Resorts within the Beach Cities receive visitors throughout the year due to their close proximity to the beach, biking paths, mountain hiking trails, golf courses, shopping and dining. The area’s warm Mediterranean climate and 42 miles of year-round beaches attract millions of tourists annually. Huntington Beach is a hot spot for sunbathing and surfing; nicknamed “Surf City, U.S.A.”, it is home to many surfing competitions.
Orange County has a history of large planned communities. Nearly 30 percent of the county was created as master planned communities, the most notable being the City of Irvine, Coto de Caza, Anaheim Hills, Tustin Ranch, Tustin Legacy, Ladera Ranch, Talega, Rancho Santa Margarita, and Mission Viejo. Irvine is often referred to as a model master-planned city because its villages of Woodbridge, Northwood, University Park, and Turtle Rock that were laid out by the Irvine Company of the mid-1960s before it was bought by a group of investors that included Donald Bren. Orange County has some of the most exclusive and expensive neighborhoods in the U.S., many along the Orange Coast, and some in north Orange County.