Brea is a city with an estimated population of 42,000 situated in Orange County. Once known for crude oil and citrus production, today it’s a popular shopping and entertainment destination.
The city, considered a suburb of Los Angeles, boasts beautiful year-round weather and is located close to the coast and to the nearby cities of La Habra, Fullerton, Placentia, and Yorba Linda.
The lively downtown area features many entertainment venues, nightclubs, and restaurants. Around the city, there are numerous parks and shopping areas, such as Brea Mall, Brea Marketplace, and Brea Union Plaza.
As you explore the city you’ll also see a lot of public art which is part of a project started in the mid-70s.
Many festivals and events take place in Brea throughout the year, including the City of Brea’s Wellness Festival and Brea Fest: A Taste of the Arts and Brea Jazz Festival.
Below are 15 of the best things to do in and around Brea, California.
1. Spend an Afternoon in Carbon Canyon Park
Carbon Canyon Park is a fairly large park with many facilities and a variety of activities.
If you’re seeking a place to relax in the sun or shade, or have a family picnic, there’s no shortage of wide-open green space in this park.
Some of the park’s facilities include four playgrounds, a butterfly garden, and tennis courts. The on-site lake is a popular spot for fishing and various water sports, and there are a series of hiking and biking trails.
2. Learn About Regional History at the Brea Museum & Heritage Center
The Brea Historical Society showcases the vibrant history of Brea and the city’s surrounding areas. Much of this history is displayed at the Brea Museum & Heritage Center.
This museum, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has a wide variety of exhibits displaying over 15,000 items related to the city’s history and culture, including artefacts and old photos. A fossil of a sabre-toothed cat and models of oil derricks are just some of the items on display.
3. Play a Round of Golf at Birch Hills Golf Course
Said to be one of the region’s best executive golf courses, Birch Hills Golf Course is scenic, well-maintained, and suitable for all skill levels.
This 18-hole, par-59 course features a driving range that is lit up after dark and a putting green. Golf clubs are available for rent and lessons are offered.
After your game, you can head to the on-site Treehouse and Grill to enjoy some delicious food and drink while looking out over the course.
4. Admire Art From Around the World at the Brea Art Gallery
Within its 6,000 square feet, the Brea Art Gallery has been showcasing beautiful art from around the world since 1980.
Several exhibits are displayed during the year and they feature a wide range of local and international artists. This museum is also known for its Art in Public Spaces program that showcases over 160 sculptures around the city.
Many events are hosted at the museum throughout the year, including workshops and lectures, and a gift shop is on-site.
5. Visit the Wonderful World of Disney at the Disney Theme Parks
Nearby Anaheim is home to some of the region’s top attractions, including two Disney theme parks.
Disney California Adventure Park is where visitors of all ages can learn about the history and culture of California through fun and interactive experiences. Live entertainment, thrilling rides, and costumed Disney characters are some of the attractions at this park.
Disneyland Park is a bigger and older park featuring themed attractions, rides and of course, the prominent Sleeping Beauty Castle.
The park is divided into various areas, including Adventureland and Frontierland. Both parks have a wide variety of food options.
6. Enjoy All-day Breakfast and More at TJ’s Cafe Restaurant
TJ’s Cafe Restaurant is a friendly, laid-back place to enjoy classic American and Mexican food for breakfast and lunch. In fact, breakfast is so good, it’s served all day.
On the menu, you’ll find a wide variety of appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, and salads. There is a daily happy hour.
7. Visit Brea City Hall Park
The building that houses Brea City Hall has served many purposes since it was constructed in 1928. It was a police station, jail, and public library.
Today, it’s part of Brea City Hall Park and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
This beautiful building, featuring both Spanish Colonial and Art Deco design, is one of the oldest in the city. The park that surrounds it also has a large public swimming pool, a pretty garden, a playground, a basketball court, and wide-open green spaces with many trees.
8. Lighten up at Improv Brea
Improv Brea is a beloved comedy club situated in the downtown area. This venue seats over 500 people and showcases both seasoned and up-and-coming comedians. It also hosts concerts, plays, and television productions from time-to-time.
On-site is a restaurant serving classic American favourites and a posh bar serving steak and seafood.
9. Visit the Olinda Oil Museum & Trail
The Olinda Museum & Trail is a 12-acre historic park that showcases the history of the Olinda Oil Production Operation.
The main attraction in this park is The Field House which used to be the operation’s headquarters. Today, it features a variety of exhibits that display artefacts, including old equipment and the original Olinda Oil Well Number One.
Guided tours are available with advance notice and a two-mile walking trail is on-site.
10. Learn How to Ride a Horse at Yater Performance Riding
It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned rider or never ridden a horse before in your life, Yater Performance Riding has activities suited to your level.
Some of the available lessons include riding, horse-training, grooming and saddling. These lessons are provided by skilled instructors.
If you already know how to ride a horse and would just like to ride off into the sunset or sunrise, you have the option to do that here too.
11. Take Control at Flightdeck Flight Simulation Center
At the Flightdeck Flight Simulation Center in nearby Anaheim, you’ll have the opportunity to get inside the cockpit of your chosen aircraft and feel what it’s like to fly a plane.
A Boeing 737 commercial airplane and an F-16 Fighting Falcon are among the types of aircraft simulators available.
12. Get Pampered at The Spa at the Glen
Slip into a comfortable robe and slippers before starting your spa session at this relaxing and luxurious space.
Some of the services available include facials, manicures, pedicures, body treatments, foot scrubs, and body wraps. Massages include hot stone, deep tissue, and firm pressure massages.
After your session, you’re welcome to indulge with a soak in a Whirlpool spa or session in a steam room. Before departing feeling rejuvenated and renewed, take a moment to unwind in the peaceful solarium where you can enjoy a healthy snack and beverage.
13. Test Your Skills at Red Lantern Escape Rooms
If you enjoy solving puzzles and finding clues, an escape room adventure is a fun activity. Red Lantern Escape Rooms, the biggest escape room facility in the county, is where you can go on one of these adventures in Brea.
Once you and your group are secured in the room, you can start working together to figure out how to open the locked door before your one hour is up.
The rooms are based on a variety of themes and include Midnight on the Bayou and Cormier Parish.
14. Explore the Anaheim Packing District
The Anaheim Packing District is full of things to see and do and is a great place to spend an afternoon or evening.
This refurbished historical district is where you’ll find many of Anaheim’s historic buildings, such as the Packard Building and the Citrus Packing House.
The district is also home to over 20 restaurants and cafes offering almost every type of food you can imagine. Breweries, wine bars, and lively pubs are also in the area. You’ll even find an outdoor lounge with a fireplace.
Many events take place in the Packing District, including concerts and farmers’ markets.
15. Have a Thrilling Day at Adventure City
Adventure City in nearby Anaheim is a great place for the whole family to spend the day.
Across the two acres of this adventure theme park are a variety of amusements, including a roller coaster, a Ferris wheel, an arcade, a theatre, a petting zoo, and a climbing tower.
Visitors both young and old are fascinated by the historic rides that are on-site, including the mini railroad from 1938 and the carousel from 1946.