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Orange, California
City of Orange
Starbucks at Wells Fargo building, Plaza, 101 E. Chapman Ave., Orange, California.jpg
Chapman U DSC 0030 (6156096508) (cropped).jpg
Orange Circle Central Fountain-15.jpg
Chapman U 2010-03-04 09-15-58 (4407506164) (cropped).jpg
Orange Circle Old Camera Store-17 (cropped).jpg
Clockwise: Downtown Orange; Memorial Hall; Plaza Park; Chapman University; Old Towne, Orange Historic District.
Flag of Orange, California
Official seal of Orange, California
A Slice of Old Town Charm
Location of Orange within Orange County, California
Location of Orange within Orange County, California
Orange, California is located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area
Orange, California
Orange, California
Location in the Los Angeles metropolitan area
Orange, California is located in California
Orange, California
Orange, California
Location in California
Orange, California is located in the United States
Orange, California
Orange, California
Location in the United States
Country United States
State California
County Orange
Founded 1869
Incorporated April 6, 1888
 • Type Council–Manager
 • Total 25.81 sq mi (66.86 km2)
 • Land 25.66 sq mi (66.47 km2)
 • Water 0.15 sq mi (0.39 km2)  1.75%
190 ft (58 m)
 • Total 139,911
 • Rank 6th in Orange County
43rd in California
196th in the United States
 • Density 5,452.49/sq mi (2,104.87/km2)
Time zone UTC−08:00 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−07:00 (PDT)
ZIP Codes
Area codes 657/714
FIPS code 06-53980
GNIS feature IDs 1652765, 2411325

Orange is a city located in Orange County, California. It is approximately 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) north of the county seat, Santa Ana. Orange is unusual in this region because many of the homes in its Old Town District were built before 1920. While many other cities in the region demolished such houses in the 1960s, Orange decided to preserve them. The small city of Villa Park is surrounded by the city of Orange. The population was 139,911 as of 2020.


View of the early rural farm community in the town of Orange. A railroad train can be seen on the left.

Members of the Tongva and Juaneño/Luiseño ethnic group long inhabited this area. After the 1769 expedition of Gaspar de Portolà, an expedition out of San Blas, Nayarit, Mexico, led by Father Junípero Serra, named the area Vallejo de Santa Ana (Valley of Saint Anne). On November 1, 1776, Mission San Juan Capistrano became the area's first permanent European settlement in Alta California, New Spain.

In 1801, the Spanish Empire granted 62,500 acres (253 km2) to José Antonio Yorba, which he named Rancho San Antonio. Yorba's great rancho included the lands where the cities of Olive, Orange, Villa Park, Santa Ana, Tustin, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach stand today. Smaller ranchos evolved from this large rancho, including the Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana.

Don Juan Pablo Grijalva, a retired known Spanish soldier and the area's first landowner, was granted permission in 1809 by the Spanish colonial government to establish a rancho in "the place of the Arroyo de Santiago."

After the Mexican–American War, Alta California was ceded to the United States by México with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, and though many Californios lost titles to their lands in the aftermath, Grijalva's descendants retained ownership through marriages to Anglo-Americans.

Since at least 1864, Los Angeles attorneys Alfred Chapman and Andrew Glassell together and separately, held about 5,400 acres (22 km2) along both sides of the Santiago Creek (Glassell also had a 4,000-acre (16 km2) parcel where Costa Mesa is today). Water was the key factor for the location of their townsite (bordered by Almond Avenue on the south, Lemon Street on the west, Glassell Street on the east, & Maple Avenue on the north). Glassell needed a spot he could irrigate, bringing water down from the Santa Ana Canyon and the quality of the soil may have influenced his choice. Originally the community was named Richland, but in 1873 Richland got a new name. In the book, "Orange, The City 'Round The Plaza" by local historian Phil Brigandi, it states, "In 1873 the town had grown large enough to require a post office, so an application was sent to Washington. It was refused, however, as there was (and is) already a Richland, California in Sacramento County. Undaunted, the Richlanders proposed a new name – Orange."

The small town was incorporated on April 6, 1888, under the general laws of the state of California. Orange was the only city in Orange County to be planned and built around a plaza, earned it the nickname Plaza City. Orange was the first developed town site to be served by the California Southern Railroad when the nation's second transcontinental rail line reached Orange County.

The town experienced its first growth spurt during the last decade of the 19th century (as did many of the surrounding communities), thanks to ever-increasing demands for California-grown citrus fruits, a period some refer to as the "Orange Era." Southern California's real estate "boom" of 1886–1888, fueled by railroad rate wars, also contributed to a marked increase in population. Like most cities in Orange County, agriculture formed the backbone of the local economy, and growth thereafter was slow and steady until the 1950s, when a second real estate boom spurred development. Inspired by the development of a region-wide freeway system which connected Los Angeles' urban center with outlying areas like Orange, large tracts of housing were developed from the 1950s to the early 1970s, and this continues today, albeit at a much slower pace, at the eastern edge of the city.


The city has a total area of 25.2 square miles (65 km2), 24.8 square miles (64 km2) of which is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2) of which is water. The total area is 1.75% water.


Weather chart for Orange, California
temperatures in °F
precipitation totals in inches
source: / NWS

Southern California is well known for year-round pleasant weather:
– On average, the warmest month is August.
– The highest recorded temperature was 110 °F (43 °C) in 1985.
– On average, the coolest month is December.
– The lowest recorded temperature was 22 °F (−6 °C) in 1950.
– The maximum average precipitation occurs in January.

The period of April through November is warm to hot and dry with average high temperatures of 74 – 84 °F (29 °C) and lows of 52 – 64 °F (18 °C). Due to the moderating effect of the ocean, temperatures are cooler than more inland areas of Orange County, where temperatures frequently exceed 90 °F (32 °C) and occasionally reach 100 °F (38 °C). The period of November through March is somewhat rainy, as shown in the table to right.

The Orange County area is also subject to the phenomena typical of a microclimate. As such, the temperatures can vary as much as 18 °F (10 °C) between inland areas and the coast, with a temperature gradient of over one degree per mile (1.6 km) from the coast inland. California also has a weather phenomenon called "June Gloom" or "May Gray," which sometimes brings overcast or foggy skies in the morning on the coast, but usually gives way to sunny skies by noon, during late spring and early summer.

The Orange County area averages 15 inches (385 mm) of precipitation annually, which mainly occurs during the winter and spring (November thru April) with generally light rain showers, but sometimes as heavy rainfall and thunderstorms. Coastal Torrance receives slightly less rainfall, while the mountains receive slightly more. Snowfall is extremely rare in the city basin, but the mountains within city limits typically receive snowfall every winter.


Orange City Hall, Orange, California, ca. 1921
Orange City Hall, c. 1921. This building was razed in 1964 and is the site of the current Orange City Hall.

Old Towne, Orange Historic District, a one square-mile around the original plaza, contains many of the original structures built in the period after the city's incorporation. It is a vibrant commercial district, containing Orange County's oldest operating bank and the oldest operating soda fountain. The Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997, and is the largest National Register District in California. The Old Towne Preservation Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining the district.

Orange is unique among the region and the state in that it has the second largest concentration of historic buildings. A list of all of the buildings and sites in Orange appears in the National Register of Historic Places.

Architectural styles in Old Towne Orange


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 679
1890 866 27.5%
1900 1,216 40.4%
1910 2,920 140.1%
1920 4,884 67.3%
1930 8,066 65.2%
1940 7,901 −2.0%
1950 10,027 26.9%
1960 26,444 163.7%
1970 77,365 192.6%
1980 91,450 18.2%
1990 110,658 21.0%
2000 128,821 16.4%
2010 136,416 5.9%
2020 139,911 2.6%
U.S. Decennial Census


The 2010 United States Census reported that Orange had a population of 136,416. The population density was 5,404.7 people per square mile (2,086.8/km2). The racial makeup of Orange was 91,522 (67.1%) White (46.8% Non-Hispanic White), 2,227 (1.6%) African American, 993 (0.7%) Native American, 15,350 (11.3%) Asian, 352 (0.3%) Pacific Islander, 20,567 (15.1%) from other races, and 5,405 (4.0%) from two or more races. There were 52,014 Hispanic or Latino residents, of any race (38.1%).

The Census reported that 130,163 people (95.4% of the population) lived in households, 2,587 (1.9%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 3,666 (2.7%) were institutionalized.

There were 43,367 households, out of which 16,303 (37.6%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 23,572 (54.4%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 5,260 (12.1%) had a female householder with no husband present, 2,424 (5.6%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 2,442 (5.6%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 373 (0.9%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 8,480 households (19.6%) were made up of individuals, and 3,115 (7.2%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.00. There were 31,256 families (72.1% of all households); the average family size was 3.42.

In Orange, there were 32,096 people (23.5%) under the age of 18, 16,420 people (12.0%) aged 18 to 24, 39,574 people (29.0%) aged 25 to 44, 33,698 people (24.7%) aged 45 to 64, and 14,628 people (10.7%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.8 years. For every 100 females, there were 101.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.7 males.

There were 45,111 housing units at an average density of 1,787.3 per square mile (690.1/km2), of which 26,319 (60.7%) were owner-occupied, and 17,048 (39.3%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.1%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.1%. 77,179 people (56.6% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 52,984 people (38.8%) lived in rental housing units.

During 2009–2013, Orange had a median household income of $78,838, with 11.8% of the population living below the federal poverty line.


Peters Canyon Park in east Orange

As of the census of 2000, there were 128,821 people, 40,930 households, and 30,165 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,506.4 inhabitants per square mile (2,126.5/km2). There were 41,904 housing units at an average density of 1,791.2 per square mile (691.7/km2).

The racial makeup of the city was 70.60% White, 1.59% African American, 0.78% Native American, 9.22% Asian, 0.23% Pacific Islander, 13.84% from other races, and 3.74% from two or more races. 32.21% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 40,930 households, out of which 37.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.1% were married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.3% were non-families. 19.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.02 and the average family size was 3.43.

The population was spread out, with 26.7% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 33.3% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 9.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 100.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $58,994, and the median income for a family was $64,573 (these figures had risen to $75,024 and $85,730 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $42,144 versus $34,159 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,294. 10.0% of the population and 6.8% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 12.5% of those under the age of 18 and 7.5% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

People and culture

Points of interest

Orange Circle 5-21-05 4634
A view of the fountain currently located at the center of the Orange Plaza, dedicated on December 1, 1937. The original fountain had been erected on this spot in 1886. A plaque at the fountain's base proclaims "Whoever passes here, let him remember the brave men of the Orange community who have in all times gone to the defense of their country."

Orange is home to parks, lakes, a small zoo, a university, and a wildlife sanctuary.

The Outlets at Orange, a large, outdoor shopping and entertainment center, is located on the western edge of the city. It features Neiman Marcus Last Call Old Navy, Hollister, Ann Taylor Factory Store, and Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th as well as high quality entertainment venues including AMC Theatres, Dave & Buster's, Vans Skatepark and Lucky Strike Bowling Center.

Historically, the plaza has been primarily home to a wide variety of antique shops—and has become a well known destination amongst antique collectors. A more recent trend has brought clothing boutiques, and several casual and upscale restaurants. It also features two Starbucks locations, mirroring each other on opposite ends of the plaza, Wells Fargo bank, a Masonic lodge, and is within walking distance of Chapman University and the newly reconstructed public library. Films such as That Thing You Do starring Tom Hanks, Accepted starring Justin Long, and Big Momma's House, Ghost Whisperer, Black Sheep were all filmed in the historical Old Towne Orange.

The Woman's Club of Orange Organized February 1915, is located near the plaza in the Old Towne District. Their clubhouse, built in 1923–1924, is entered in the National Register of Historic Places. In 2009 Woman's Club of Orange, a member of the General Federation of Women's clubs, is still a very active and vibrant club of 180 members. Their annual Flower Show, celebrating its 72nd year in April is a major city event.

Since 1973, during Labor Day Weekend, the plaza plays host to the Orange International Street Fair. Friends, families and neighbors get together to experience a variety of food, music and dance from cultures around the world. The profits from the event go to non-profit charities that help people in the community.

The "Villa Park Orchards Association" packing house, located along the former Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (now BNSF Railway) mainline, is the sole remaining fruit packing operation in Orange County.

The Lewis Ainsworth House is the city's only restored house museum.



Like most cities in Southern California, the primary means of transportation is by automobile. Orange is situated near many state freeways, as well as Interstate 5, also known as the Santa Ana Freeway. The junction of I-5 with two state highways (SR 57, the "Orange Freeway" and SR 22, the "Garden Grove Freeway"), commonly called the "Orange Crush", is one of the busiest interchanges in Orange County, and is located on the southwestern edge of the city. The Costa Mesa Freeway (SR 55) also passes through Orange, meeting the eastern terminus of SR 22 in the southern part of the city. The eastern areas of Orange are served by the Eastern and Foothill Toll Roads (SR 261 and SR 241), two of California's first toll highways, which connect the city with the cities of Irvine and Rancho Santa Margarita.


Former ATSF Station in Orange CA 7-14-04
The former Santa Fe depot, now housing a restaurant. Metrolink service at Orange Station uses the adjacent platforms.

The town's first rail service, the Santa Ana, Orange & Tustin Street Railway, was a 4.04-mile (6.5-km) long horsecar line that ran between Santa Ana and Orange, beginning in 1886. One year later, the Santa Ana & Orange Motor Road Company purchased the line, using a steam "dummy" car and a single gasoline motorcar as its means of conveyance. In 1906, Henry E. Huntington acquired the company under the auspices of the Los Angeles Inter-Urban Railway and electrified the line.

Passenger service over the new line operated by Huntington's Pacific Electric Railway began on June 8, 1914, originating at the PE's depot on Lemon Street. The route provided freight service to the local citrus growers, in direct competition with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Pacific Electric sold out in 1961 to the Southern Pacific Railroad, who ultimately abandoned the line in 1964.

The Santa Fe, under its affiliate the Southern California Railway, laid its first tracks through Orange in 1886, and established its first depot the following year. The route would become part of the railroad's famous "Surf Line", and by 1925, 16 daily passenger trains (the Santa Fe's San Diegan) made stops in Orange. During peak growing seasons, as many as 48 carloads of citrus fruits, olives, and walnuts were shipped daily from the Orange depot as well.

Orange's former Santa Fe depot, in Mediterranean Revival style, still stands adjacent to the current Orange Station, which uses the platform area. It was dedicated on May 1, 1938, and was closed with the discontinuation of passenger service in 1971, though commuter service resumed at the adjacent platform in 1993. The building was granted historic landmark status by the city on November 15, 1990. In July 2004, the facility was home to a Cask 'n Cleaver restaurant and was remodeled and reopened in 2011 as a Ruby's Diner.

Rail connections to Los Angeles, the Inland Empire, and Northern San Diego County are provided by the Metrolink regional commuter rail network. The Orange Metrolink station's platform is situated adjacent to the former Santa Fe depot in the downtown Historic District, which is also home to an Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) bus station, is the second busiest station of the entire Metrolink train system due to its position serving as a transfer station for the Orange County and the IEOC Metrolink lines. The former Santa Fe mainline links the cities of Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Diego via a junction north of the station.


John Wayne Airport (SNA) in nearby Santa Ana, provides daily scheduled airline service for the area.

Sister cities

Orange used to have two community partnerships with Utrecht, the Netherlands; and Santiago de Chile, Chile.


Largest employers

According to the city's 2021 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of employees
1 University of California, Irvine Medical Center 4,995
2 Children's Hospital of Orange County 3,938
3 Sisters of St. Joseph Hospital 3,500
4 Chapman University 1,300
5 Western Dental Services, Inc. 1,266
6 Santiago Canyon College 950
7 CalOptima Health Plans 930
8 City of Orange 727
9 Chapman Integrated Healthcare Holdings 500
10 Orange County Transportation Authority 500


In 1978 and 1979, the California Sunshine was a professional soccer team that played regular season games in Orange.

The city roots for major league teams: the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of baseball and the Anaheim Ducks of ice hockey, right along the city borders across the Santa Ana River in Anaheim.

In the city proper: the SoCal A's of the Southern California Collegiate Baseball Association play in Athletic (or Richland) Field.


All public schools (excluding Santiago Canyon College) in the region are managed by the Orange Unified School District, which serves approximately 28,000 students across the cities of Orange, Anaheim, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, Villa Park, and some unincorporated parts of Orange County. 19 of the district's 42 schools are recognized as California Distinguished Schools. Three of its four high schools are consistently listed among Newsweek's 1,000 Best Public High Schools in America. Some elementary and middle schools within the district also continue to achieve above average standardized test scores and national distinctions, while others are state designated Underperforming Schools under the No Child Left Behind Act's sanctions. Generally, its highest performing schools are in the Anaheim Hills area, where all schools have been named California Distinguished Schools and constantly rank among the best schools in the county, whereas schools in the City of Orange tend to have lower standardized test scores.

The following is a list of schools:

High schools

  • Orange High School
  • Villa Park High School
  • El Modena High School
  • Canyon High School

Middle schools

  • Cerro Villa Middle School
  • El Rancho Charter School
  • Portola Middle School
  • Santiago Charter Middle School
  • Yorba Middle School

Elementary schools

  • Anaheim Hills Elementary School
  • California Elementary School
  • Crescent Elementary
  • Cambridge Elementary School
  • Canyon Rim Elementary School
  • Chapman Hills Elementary School
  • Crescent (formerly Peralta) Intermediate School
  • Crescent Primary School
  • Esplanade Elementary School
  • Fairhaven Elementary School
  • Fletcher Elementary School
  • Handy Elementary School
  • Imperial Elementary School
  • Jordan Elementary School
  • La Veta Elementary School
  • Lampson Elementary School
  • Linda Vista Elementary School
  • McPherson Magnet School
  • Nohl Canyon Elementary School
  • Olive Elementary School
  • Palmyra Elementary School
  • Panorama Elementary School
  • Prospect Elementary School
  • Running Springs Elementary School
  • Serrano Elementary School
  • Sycamore Elementary School
  • Taft Elementary School
  • Villa Park Elementary School
  • West Orange Elementary School

Universities and colleges

Other schools

  • International School of Los Angeles (LILA) has its Orange County campus in Orange. The Orange campus had 75 students in 2001. In September 2005 the campus moved to Santa Ana. In July 2015 it moved back to Orange, on the grounds of Covenant Christian School.
  • Eldorado Emerson Private School — preschool and K-12
  • McPherson Magnet School
  • Lutheran High School of Orange County
  • Richland Continuation High School
  • Parkside Education Center
  • Canyon Hills School

Notable people

Alexander Levy
Alexander Lévy

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Orange (California) para niños

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