Cypress California is a coveted postcode in glamorous Orange County. A stone’s throw from the beach, and ringed by some of the region’s best amusement parks, it’s a cheery place to be wined, dined, and entertained.
Cypress College has given the area a young and trendy flare, so it’s well worth exploring the bars and clubs here. Families are also well-served by the area’s many parks and family restaurants. Overall it’s a pleasant and thriving community with a dash of California cool.
Here are the 14 best things to do in Cypress.
1. Try Your Luck at the Gardens Casino
One of the OC’s best Casinos sits on the edge of the Cypress suburbs in Hawaiian Gardens. Located in an astonishingly regal building with fantastic facilities, you probably won’t ever want to leave the casino’s comfortable lounge area.
Most people come here to play cards specifically, and the casino is relatively small and designed for serious lovers of Texas Holdem and Omaha. If you’re not very confident, the casino has tables for low-limit games so you can get to grips with the rules of poker, without losing your shirt.
The brilliant on-site restaurant is designed to keep you at the tables and has won many awards for its mix of international flavors. Thai, Italian, Korean, and Vietnamese dishes are all on offer here.
2. Head to Seal Beach
Cypress is just 15 minutes from Seal Beach, one of Orange County’s surfing hotspots.
Unlike many nearby and better-known beaches, Seal Beach is not the product of a planned community but is a natural beach adjacent to a tiny old town. Replete with 19th-century architecture and plenty of outdoor dining, it’s a pleasant place to spend an afternoon.
For watersports, head to the north side of Seal Beach pier for surfing instruction and the best waves. The swell here gets pretty big, so if you aren’t used to tackling rough waters, you might be better off sunbathing and drinking in the lovely scenery.
You could also head over to Seal Beach’s nature reserve, a local salt marsh kept pristine for the benefit of local wildlife.
3. Explore St Isidore Plaza
Just west of Cypress is the lovely historic neighborhood of St Isidore Plaza, in nearby Los Alamitos. The buildings here were built in the Mission Revival Style, and the lovely catholic chapel is particularly well-loved. The stained glass is famous locally and was made in the 30s and 40s.
The plaza is also a brilliant hangout for locals and caters to many events. In the evenings the Spanish-style courtyard is often lit up with fairy lights, and legions of food trucks arrive to serve wine and local street food. Come here to mingle on a balmy summer’s evening.
4. Cool Down at Knott’s Soak City
This 15-acre water park is on the edge of Cypress in Buena Park. A great way to cool down in the baking California sun, it’s got its fair share of slides and pools and it will take you a full day to properly explore.
The slides here range from gentle streams to hair-raising circuits. One of the park’s best features is the Beach House, an area in which you can go to war with your fellow bathers using its array of water guns.
If you want to practice your body-boarding skills, head to the wave pool. The waves here reach up to four feet in height and can give you a taste of the Pacific Ocean without having to leave the suburbs.
5. Play Some Rounds at the Navy Golf Course
Cypress is home to a great local golf course. The green here is navy-themed and has many novelty features, including giant model battleships scattered around the park. There are multiple courses to try. Check out the “Cruiser” for a quick round, and the “Destroyer” for something a bit harder.
The site was once exclusively for members of the navy but is now open to the public as well. You may on occasion see some club members wandering around in their military fatigues.
The adjoining restaurant, the Take 5 Grill bar, stocks cold beers and piping hot burgers, to fill you up after a long day of putting.
6. Cycle the San Gabriel River Bike Trail
The San Gabriel River Bike Trail starts in the San Gabriel mountains to the north, runs through Cypress, and finishes at the Pacific Ocean in Seal Beach.
The whole stretch will take you 38 miles, so you may want to only do a small section if you aren’t up for the exertion. Many people choose to join the trail in Cypress itself, giving you a relatively short cycle out to the sea.
The section of the trail which runs through Cypress leads you along the riverbank and is a surprisingly good place to see wildlife, despite running through the suburbs. If you start in the San Gabriel mountains, the range of terrain is quite spectacular, and it’s a great introduction to Orange County.
7. Solve the Puzzles at Cinema Escape Rooms
Supernatural mysteries and 1980s nostalgia combine at this local escape room on the edge of Los Alamitos. The success rate for completing “the Strange Thing” escape room is currently at 40%, so if you like those odds give it a go and test your deduction skills.
Alternatively, their ark of the covenant room pits your wits against the Nazis in a race to find a holy relic.
The fun pop-culture-themed puzzles here are great fun for couples and big groups alike.
8. Ride the Roller Coasters at Knotts Berry Farm Theme Park
This part of Orange County is well known for its wealth of amusement parks, but Knotts is the oldest in the area. Featuring themed areas, including a Wild West section, Snoopy Land, and Fiesta Village, this large park is a good alternative to the always-packed Disney California. The diner here is also highly praised and has been serving much the same fare since it opened in the 1920s.
Knotts’ best coaster, the Silver Bullet, is part of the Wild West area, an extremely detailed part of the park and a surprisingly cool place to learn about history. Don’t miss the shoot out in the mock ghost town while you’re there.
9. Catch Some Sports at the Campus Billiards Craft Sports Bar
This local billiards hall and craft beer establishment is the haunt of many local students, as well as major sports fans. This place is a great all-rounder of a bar, with lots of things to do.
Darts, giant Jenga, and other board games are stacked up around the bar for when you get tired of playing billiards. Simple but tasty fare and creative cocktails are served in large portions and are super cheap to boot.
The huge projection screens allow you to watch baseball, basketball, or football at your leisure. Come here when there’s a big game on for some great atmosphere.
10. Try Italian-Japanese Fusion at Café Hiro
If you don’t think Italian and Japanese food should be mixed, this place will change your mind. This completely mad concept for an eatery is one of the most popular in the area and is known for its attractive décor and its incredible fusion cooking.
The string lights and painted walls make it a truly beautiful place to eat, and although it’s small that just adds to the coziness. The Uni Pasta here, an Italian style pasta dish with seaweed and wasabi root, is the restaurant’s number one seller and many people come here just to try it.
Come here to discover the perfect marriage of green tea and panna cotta for yourself.
11. Take a Trip to Disney California
Staying in Cypress puts you within a short distance of California Disney in Anaheim. Less well-known than its Florida cousin, it is nonetheless extremely popular.
Small children will love the Disney characters that roam the park, and kids and adults alike will appreciate the many rides from various pop-culture franchises.
If you only do one thing here, check out the incredible Stars Wars area, a place where giant AT-AT walkers and laser-toting bad guys will pursue you through a maze of space-themed corridors.
12. Karaoke at the Starting Gate
If karaoke nights have you in stitches, this is the place for you. Offering themed nights every day of the week, it’s the best place to come for a dance, a drink, and a laugh with friends.
Serving up Tex-Mex snacks and classic cocktails, come here early for cheap drinks and wholesome comfort food.
In contrast to some of the more hipster bars in the area, this place attracts a slightly older crowd, due to their excellent 1970s nostalgia nights. Its vibe is low-key and cheerful for those who prefer a friendlier party atmosphere.
13. Chill Out at Oak Knoll Park
This 22-acre park in the center of Cypress caters to all tastes and has a range of sports facilities and relaxation areas. Three baseball courts, a volleyball court, and a basketball court are supplied with equipment so you needn’t take your own.
You’ll find many local families here on the weekends, sunning themselves in the picnic areas or using the BBQ grill pits.
The kid’s adventure playground includes many obstacles for kids to climb, including a cool fake pirate ship.
14. Visit T-One Hookah lounge
One of the cooler bars in the Cypress area, this spot is a great place to try hookah if you never have. The cool décor is a fun blend of Middle Eastern smoking den meets LA nightclub. Some of the pipes glow in the dark, thanks to the club’s blacklight.
If your idea of a night on the town is a relaxed affair, this is a great place to chill on comfy sofas and bliss out with some high-quality cocktails.
Try their chicken shawarma for some authentic middle eastern cuisine. Their generous happy hour is every day between 5-8 pm.