Sunny Downtown Fullerton with its palm tree-lined streets and low-rise historical buildings is full of old California style and character. The district, founded in the late 1880s, was built on level ground which makes walking around the area easy and a great way to explore. Forget about packing an umbrella. Downtown Fullerton is blessed with the wonderful Californian weather and receives rain on average just twenty days out of the entire year.
While Downtown Fullerton is definitely not Nashville, it does have lots of lots of exciting live music venues and has had a lasting impact on the music industry. How and why you can discover by reading about the Fullerton Museum Center below.
There’s never a dull moment in Downtown Fullerton for anyone, no matter what their interests. Fun escape rooms, a face-the-ghost haunted house, creative art nights plus a bootleg-style brewery are just a few of of the fantastic activities you’ll find there. Check out these top fifteen things to do in Downtown Fullerton and make the most of your visit to the district.
1. Heritage Walking Tour
Join a guided Heritage Walking Tour of Downtown Fullerton and discover all about the district, past and present, while strolling its broad boulevards.
The tours set off from the Fullerton Museum Center and include a two-hour exploration of Downtown full of informative details delivered by a qualified docent. It’s recommended to use sunscreen, take a sun hat and to wear suitable shoes on the walking tour.
For sightseeing with an added chill factor try the Haunted Fullerton Walking Tour. It’s guaranteed to raise some goosebumps.
2. Villa del Sol
Stop off at the Villa del Sol, a Spanish Colonial-style shopping mall and event venue, on North Harbor Boulevard for either a meal or some specialist shopping.
The mall, a 1920s restored hotel building, has a beautiful open-air courtyard with a fountain at its center which is surrounded by cafes and restaurants. At the Villa del Sol, you can browse the vintage items in the Gild the Lily store or the collections of sports memorabilia at Past Times then stock up on some English delicacies from the British Grocer.
Take a Mexican flavored lunch on the courtyard terrace of the Cafe Hidalgo or head down into the basement for dinner in the nostalgic, Old Europe atmosphere of The Cellar. The mall is a great place to spend a leisurely, retail-orientated afternoon.
3. Muckenthaler Cultural Center
Visit the Muckenthaler Cultural Center to get a taste of what life was like in Downtown Fullerton in bygone times and take in a jazz concert or art exhibition at the same time.
The Muckenthaler Cultural Center, part museum and part cultural center, is a 1920s built, eighteen-room mansion which sits in eight and a half acres of landscaped gardens with a gazebo and auditorium.
Once a family home, several of the rooms contain period furniture pertinent to the original owners while others have been converted into galleries where there are temporary art shows held throughout the year.
4. Fox In A Box
Test both nerves and problem-solving skills on a visit to Fox In A Box escape rooms on West Amerige Avenue.
Once inside the room, there are just sixty minutes to solve the clues on how to steal diamonds from a bank vault, prevent an apocalypse or find the antidote to a zombie outbreak.
All escapes are overseen by a gamemaster who gives hints and helpful advice when needed.
5. Downtown Fullerton Market
Find the Downtown Fullerton Market to get a feel of the city vibe. The market on East Wilshire Avenue has a diverse array of stalls offering everything from fresh produce to palm reading.
The market has a large beer garden, the perfect place for a cold beer to cool off with after shopping in the warm California weather, and there are regular live music performances to add to the vibrant atmosphere. When hunger strikes, check out some of the street food vendors, they’ve got plenty of tasty treats to offer.
6. Stubrik’s Steakhouse
Enjoy a night out at Stubrik’s Steakhouse and Bar on East Commonwealth Avenue.
Stubrik’s has a twenty-year long reputation for serving up excellent food accompanied by live entertainment. At Stubrik’s sample some great comfort food prepared with serious culinary flair. Menu favorites include New England-style crab cakes or Stubrik’s wings followed by a Porterhouse steak or Mahi Mahi with a mango relish.
Live music is hosted on Friday and Saturday nights. If you’re in Downtown Fullerton, don’t miss it.
7. Fullerton Train Museum
The Fullerton Train Museum on Santa Fe Avenue is a museum dedicated to preserving the state of California’s rail heritage.
The outdoor museum exhibits a collection of vintage rail cars and cabooses dating from 1929 to 1961. Take a trip into the past of transportation by stepping aboard a Union Pacific dormitory-lounge car to experience its restrictive confines or wander through the 1949 lunch counter and diner car while attempting to imagine eating a meal there when the train was moving. It’s quite surreal.
The museum, located in the Fullerton Transportation Center, is open on the first and third Saturday of the month.
8. Bootlegger’s Brewery
Drop in at The Bootleggers Brewery on South Highland Avenue for a session of craft beer tasting.
The Bootleggers Brewery was Fullerton’s first brewery and has been producing their trademark beers such as Knuckle Sandwich and Golden Chaos for ten years as well as a good choice of other brews on short-term rotations.
The Bootleggers Brewery has a tasting room with an outdoor patio that opens seven days a week. To organize a visit to the brewery, make a prior reservation via their website.
9. Art Studio B Creative
Find your artistic flair at the Art Studio B Creative. Pick a day or night with an artistic prompt which grabs your imagination from the website, then arrive at the studio on South Raymond Avenue ready to unleash your hidden talents on the chosen theme.
Art Studio B Creative provide all the equipment required to create your own personal masterpiece, brushes, paints, and a big blank canvas, plus professional help and advice if needed.
10. Hi-Tech Archery
Test your aim with an archery lesson at the Hi-Tech Archery shooting range on West Commonwealth Avenue.
Under the vigilant eye of a qualified tutor, pull back the string on a recurve bow, let the arrow fly and see if it hits the bullseye.
There are multiple slots for lessons throughout the day on Thursday, Friday and Saturday’s. Places are limited so reserve a spot in advance. All equipment is provided.
11. The Night Owl
Going out in Downtown Fullerton doesn’t just mean going to a pub or cocktail bar. The Night Owl on North Harbor Boulevard is a specialist tea and coffee shop which also has live music.
The super chic cafe has an overload of owl-themed décor and an outside terrace with rustic wooden furniture. Whatever coffee you can think of the Night Owl has got it, including an Elvis Latte with peanut butter, banana, and honey. Tea addicts don’t need to feel left out either as there are Blueberry Muffin Latte or a spicy Dirty Hippie on the menu for them.
12. Fullerton Museum Center
The Fullerton Museum Center is a small museum and event venue on North Pomona Avenue.
The museum houses various exhibitions on pop culture including a gallery dedicated to the legendary Leo Fender, a lifelong Fullerton resident, and the creator of the famous Fender guitar used by many of the world’s best musicians.
The museum hosts frequent open mic nights, shows from live musicians and multiple festivals including the Fullerton Taco Festival held in August every year.
13. Hillcrest Park
Hillcrest Park is a large green space on North Harbor Boulevard and the best place to go to get panoramic views of Downtown Fullerton.
The park has a stunning fountain which is illuminated with different colors in the evening and several walking trails with great views, but to see the best of DT Fullerton requires just a little more energetic input than a stroll around the park’s perimeter.
Climb the set of stairs in the park, and you’ll be rewarded with some stunning views across the city. It’s tiring but well worth the effort.
14. 17th Door
Meet some ghosts with flesh on their bones at the 17th Door haunted house on West Orangethorpe Avenue.
Enter the 17th Door horror story rooms and be prepared for a full-on five-dimensional scare. There is no telling what or who will be around the next corner.
To get through the full scare treatment takes around thirty-five minutes. All participants are issued with a safe word to use so they may exit the haunted house if they’re too scared to continue. Don’t forget it!
15. Slidebar Rock-N-Roll Kitchen
When it’s time to party everyone heads to the Slidebar Rock-N-Roll Kitchen on East Commonwealth Avenue.
The Kitchen has a rock-themed décor of bare brick, bar stools made from recycled drums and atmospheric neon lighting. The menu is rock-n-roll orientated too, and there are barbecue brunches held every weekend with live music from local bands.
The Slidebar Rock-N-Roll Kitchen – the same as Downtown Fullerton – absolutely rocks Orange County.