Garden Grove is located in Orange County in California and was actually founded all the way back in 1874. This used to be a strong agricultural part of the country and the city quickly became known for its local produce like walnuts and oranges, and this is still alive today thanks to celebrations such as the annual Strawberry Festival that is held here.
After the fall of Saigon in the 1970s, a large number of Vietnamese refugees moved to Garden Grove, and as a result this city still has a huge Asian influence, with Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean residents all calling the city home.
This means that the city also has a wealth of delicious Asian restaurants as well as Asian supermarkets where you can pick up imported produce, and even Asian bakeries that sell both traditional sweet treats as well as those with a Vietnamese inspired twist.
As Garden Grove is located in sunny California, you can also expect a range of outdoor activities and spaces here, and you won’t be disappointed in the form of parks, aquatic centers, and even open air attractions like amphitheaters where you can catch a musical concert or a theatrical performance under the stars.
Lets explore the best things to do in Garden Grove:
1. Historic Main Street
For a little piece of history in Garden Grove, head to Historic Main Street where you will find a wealth of period buildings as well as some other cultural gems.
The area between Garden Grove Boulevard and Acacia Parkway is known for its concentration of interesting antique shops, and you can scout for vintage memorabilia here as well as hunt for period pieces that will make excellent souvenirs of your time in the city.
2. Atlantis Park
Atlantis Park is one of the best loved green spots in the city of Garden Grove and is a great place to come if you are travelling with younger visitors.
There are a number of grassy knolls in the park as well as play areas for children, and one of the signature attractions in the park is the dragon slide that takes the form of a large sea serpent.
You will also find a range of concrete animals that children can ride as well as climbers and swings that mean that little ones will never be bored.
3. Crystal Cathedral
You can’t come to Garden Grove and not visit what is arguably its most iconic building, the Crystal Cathedral.
The building was erected in 1981 and, as the name suggests, this is a working cathedral and place of worship that is owned by the Crystal Cathedral Ministries.
The cathedral is known as the Crystal Cathedral because it is made of reflective glass that makes it shimmer in the sunlight, and part of the architecture of the building looks like it is shaped from large, spiky shards of glass.
The building has a capacity of almost 3,000 worshippers and it is also the home of one of the largest musical instruments in the world in the form of the Hazel Wright Memorial Organ.
4. Garden Grove Strawberry Festival
If you happen to be in town over Memorial Day weekend then you can’t miss the Garden Grove Strawberry Festival which is held here annually.
This is known for being one of the largest festivals in the western part of the United States and around 250,000 visitors attend every year, so you will be in good company.
The Strawberry Festival has an illustrious history as it dates back to 1958 and started thanks to the strong agricultural roots of the city which used to be known for its world class oranges, peppers, walnuts, and strawberries.
At the festival you can expect an abundance of these delicious fruits as well as quirky events such as the world’s largest strawberry shortcake cutting showcase.
5. Festival Amphitheater
Festival Amphitheater is known as the place to come if you want to soak up some culture in Garden Grove and in particular is a top spot if you enjoy the works of Shakespeare.
The amphitheater is famous for its productions of Shakespeare plays, so if you want to catch one when you are in town then make sure you keep an eye on the local listings.
As well as Shakespearian theater, Festival Amphitheater has a range of other events throughout the year like dance events, musical concerts, and other drama based productions.
6. A.R Super Market
Many people may not know that Garden Grove has a large Asian population, and with that in mind it would be a shame to come here and not sample some of the eclectic produce on offer.
At the A.R Super Market you will find a huge range of specialty products from Korea as a well as a delicious Korean deli which is the perfect place to grab a spot of lunch or pick up some items for a picnic in one of Garden Grove’s many scenic parks.
7. United Methodist Church
One of Garden Grove’s claims to fame is that it has the most churches per capita of any city in the state of California.
With that in mind, make sure that you take a trip to the oldest church in the city which is the United Methodist Church that has been in operation for an impressive 140 years.
Not only can you take in the historic architecture of the building, but the church is still very much in working order if you want to take in a service while you are in town.
8. Southern California Indian Center
The Southern California Indian Center has the mission statement of preserving the history of American Indians in Southern California, so if you want to learn more about this amazing culture then this is the ideal spot.
The center has a range of exhibits here that will take you through the story of the historical and cultural significance of the American Indian community in Southern California and you can even read a tribal newspaper here.
9. Village Green Park
Village Green Park is one of the oldest parks in the city and as a result it is also one of the most popular.
The park is known for its relaxed feel that makes it a wonderful place to wander around in the afternoon sun and many locals come here to take advantage of the grassy picnic areas that abound.
Bring a blanket and enjoy the warm California weather and scenery with some snacks.
10. Van Bakery
Garden Grove is known for its large Asian population including Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese immigrants.
With that in mind, head to this Vietnamese bakery which is famous for its sweet treats including pastries, cakes, and savory bakes such as pies and puffs.
You can even indulge in the popular Asian treat of bubble tea, which is tea made with ‘bubbles’ in the form of tapioca balls and is the perfect way to cool down in the summer months.