Set in Orange County and just over 30 miles from Los Angeles, Brea is a small Californian town that offers an array of things to see and do. Downtown Brea is a popular dining, entertainment and shopping district with a vibrant mix of trendy restaurants and outdoor cafés. There is a choice of movie theaters, comedy clubs, art galleries, museums, and several community parks and golf courses.
1.Carbon Canyon Park
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Carbon Canyon Regional Park is a 124-acre regional park in Brea that was created after the Carbon Canyon Creek was dammed and links up with Chino Hills State Park on the East side. The park features an array of attractions, including large grassy areas for picnicking, four playgrounds with climbers, swings, and ride-on spring toys, a Butterfly Garden, tennis courts and other sports facilities, and a beautiful four-acre lake with two piers in which fishing and water sports can be enjoyed. There are also several hiking and biking trails that lead to three acres of majestic Coastal Redwoods, Orange County's only grove of redwoods.
4442 Carbon Canyon Rd, Brea, CA 92823, Phone: 714-973-3160
2.Brea Museum & Heritage Center
© Brea Museum & Heritage Center
The Brea Museum and Heritage Center is home to the Brea Historical Society, which is dedicated to the preservation of the rich history of Brea and its region, from its founding in 1917 to the present day. Located in the old American Legion Hall on the corner of Elm Street, the Brea Museum and Heritage Center feature more than 15,000 artifacts, including photographs, objects, and models of historical significance that document the city’s history. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the museum boasts an array of exciting exhibits ranging from a fossilized skeleton of a saber-toothed cat and oil derrick models that were built by oil workers recuperating from injuries in the oil fields to a small jail cell, which was used as a holding cell by the Brea Police in the 1970s. The Brea Museum and Heritage Center is free and is open on Thursdays and on Saturdays at various hours.
495 S Brea Blvd, Brea, CA 92821, Phone: 714-256-2283
3.Brea City Hall Park
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Designed by architect Allen Routt, Brea City Hall Park is home to the Brea City Hall, which was built in 1928 in a combination of Art Deco and Spanish Colonial Revival styles and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Once home to the Brea Police Department and jail and a public library, today the beautifully restored building houses the Brea Lions Scout Center and is one of the city's oldest remaining structures. Located on Brea Boulevard, the park also features a 25-meter municipal pool - one of the oldest swimming pools in California, a rose garden, playground, and basketball court, as well as beautifully manicured grassy lawns and trees.
401 S Brea Blvd, Brea, CA 92821, Phone: 714-990-7103
4.Chino Hills State Park
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Chino Hills State Park is a state park located in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains known as the Chino Hills. The park is a primary botanical habitat reserve for resident and migrating wildlife and a critical link in the Chino–Puente Hills wildlife corridor. The park features numerous hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding trails along ridge tops and through valleys of woodlands, grasslands, and sage scrub, as well as over 60 miles of fire roads, all of which offer excellent opportunities for discovering the local fauna and flora. Facilities in the park include camping sites and picnic areas, a historic barn, an equestrian staging area and corrals, drinking water fountains and restrooms.
4721 Sapphire Rd, Chino Hills, CA 91709, Phone: 951-780-6222
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The Brea Mall is a large shopping mall in downtown Brea with over 1,310,000 square feet of space and over 175 specialty shops and boutiques, including several brand stores. Opened in 1977 and owned and operated by the Simon Property Group, the mall features a food court with a variety of fast food and casual restaurants, and four major department stores including Nordstrom, Macy's & Macy's Men Children & Home, and JCPenney. Boasting Italian tile walkways, vaulted skylights, fountains and original art sculptures, the mall also features a full service day spa and several favorite restaurants. The mall is currently under development and will feature various new retail stores, an array of entertainment, and three levels of apartments.
1065 Brea Mall, Brea, CA 92821, Phone: 714-990-2733
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Improv Brea is a favorite comedy club that hosts renowned traditional comedy shows with regular comedians and newcomers, as well as musical performances, plays, TV shows, and other entertainment. Located in Brea Downtown, Improv Brea, the 528-seat theater features two restaurants, an American-style restaurant and bar called Copper Blues that serves prime steaks, fresh seafood and other American fare in an upscale setting. The club can be hired for private events and functions, with full catering and bar services provided. Complimentary parking is conveniently located in the parking garage across the street, and there is valet parking behind the Yardhouse restaurant for an additional cost.
180 S Brea Blvd, Brea, CA 92821, Phone: 714-482-0700
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ZenCat Lounge is a unique facility that offers meditation sessions and the therapeutic benefits of petting and playing with cats. Owned and operated by a mother-daughter team, ZenCat Lounge was founded by a love of cats and meditation and interacting the two to become mutually beneficial – socialization for the cats that would otherwise be caged in a shelter, and stress-relief for the people petting them. The fully licensed animal facility offers free 5-minute meditation demonstrations, group classes, and individual guided meditation for beginners, along with one-on-one support and mentoring.
1211 W Central Ave, Brea, CA 92821, Phone: 562-451-3934
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8.Memory Garden Memorial Park and Mortuary
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Memory Garden Memorial Park and Mortuary is a family-owned and operated full service facility providing a range of funeral services for the communities of Orange County and Los Angeles. Memory Garden Memorial Park and Mortuary offer several packages for funeral services, including funeral and cremation arrangements, burials, and memorials. The office at the Memory Garden Memorial Park and Mortuary are open seven days a week, cemetery visiting hours are from dawn until dusk, and special events such as candlelight vigils are held throughout the year.
455 W Central Ave, Brea, CA 92821, Phone: 714-529-3961
9.Seas the Day Scuba
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Seas the Day Scuba is a leading dive shop for the Southern Californian region that provides a range of scuba diving services, equipment, and courses. Located on E. Imperial Highway, the shop offers complete PADI diving education programs and courses for all levels of divers from beginners to technical and salvage divers, led by experienced instructors and divers. In addition to instruction, the shop offers a wide range of diving equipment and gear and expert advice on selecting the best equipment for various needs, as well as equipment service, inspection, and repairs. Seas the Day Scuba is open Monday through Saturday.
1039 E Imperial Hwy F1, Brea, CA 92821, Phone: 949-220-0500
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10.Brea Art Gallery
© Brea Art Gallery
The Brea Art Gallery is a 6,000 square foot exhibition space that celebrates artworks from around the world. Located in the Brea Civic and Cultural Center on Civic Center Circle, the contemporary area presents four significant exhibitions throughout the year of inspiring works by regional and international artists. Established in 1980, the gallery has been offering such presentations, as well as educational workshops for all ages, live art demonstrations, and artist lectures to the community for the past 38 years and continues to do so today. The Brea Art Gallery is renowned for its world-class Art in Public Places Program, which features over 163 sculptures throughout the city. The gallery has a gift shop selling artworks, souvenirs, books, and other art-related items and is open Wednesday through Sunday.
1 Civic Center Cir # 1, Brea, CA 92821, Phone: 714-990-7730
11.Yater Performance Riding
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Yater Performance Riding offers an array of equestrian-related activities, such as horse-riding lessons, training horses, and the basics of learning how to be a horse owner. Located on Carbon Canyon Road in Brea, the riding school offers lessons for all levels of rider from the age of three years and up, as well as outrides in the surrounding hills and valleys, and special excursions such as sunrise and sunset rides. Riders are also taught how to groom and saddle the horse, as well as other equestrian skills, led by experienced instructors and riders.
4449 Carbon Canyon Rd, Brea, CA 92823, Phone: 714-561-6804
© The Hat
The Hat is a popular Southern California fast-food restaurant chain that specializes in pastrami dip sandwiches, along with other all-American fare. Established in 1951, the restaurant began with humble beginnings in a small shop in Alhambra and has grown to become a state-wide institution with restaurants all over Southern California. Located on Imperial Highway, the Brea restaurant features the tell-tall retro neon sign featuring a chef’s toque, after which the chain is named, and the words "World Famous Pastrami.” In addition to their famous pastrami dip sandwiches, the eatery also serves hot dogs, burgers, gourmet sandwiches, chili dogs, and cheese fries. The Hat is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
1210 E Imperial Hwy, Brea, CA 92821, Phone: 714-257-9500
13.TAPS Fish House & Brewery
© TAPS Fish House & Brewery
TAPS Fish House & Brewery is a casual restaurant and brewery that serves a diverse menu of seafood and prime steaks with flavors from Asia and New Orleans, along with a variety of brews on tap and by the bottle. Located in a beautifully restored brick warehouse in Brea Downtown reminiscent of those from grand old New Orleans or San Francisco, TAPS Fish House & Brewery is a landmark North Orange County dining institution. The restaurant features a warm interior with wood soaring ceilings, wooden finishes, and hand-crafted wrought iron accents, and serves a comfortable menu to match of fresh seafood, prime steaks, and burgers, and fresh salads accompanied by award-winning ales and lagers handcrafted in the European tradition and an award-winning wine list. TAPS Fish House & Brewery is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
101 E Imperial Hwy, Brea, CA 92821, Phone: 714-257-0101
14.Cedar Creek Inn
© Cedar Creek Inn
The Cedar Creek Inn is a warm and welcoming Craftsman-style eatery on Pointe Drive that serves fresh seafood, prime steaks and burgers, and signature desserts in a casual, relaxed atmosphere. Owned and operated by the Ayres family, the restaurant has been serving delicious, house-made New American fare for decades and is well known for their signature coconut cake. Other menu favorites include ahi sashimi and smoked salmon, New York steak, and boneless braised short ribs, along with globally-inspired wines from around the world. The restaurant features a comfortable main dining room, as well as a private dining for functions and events, and a lovely covered patio for alfresco dining or special celebrations. The Cedar Creek Inn is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
20 Pointe Drive, Brea, CA 92821, Phone: 714-255-5600
15.Red Lantern Escape Rooms
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Red Lantern Escape Rooms offer a thrilling way to spend the day. Red Lantern Escape Rooms is a 1,000 square foot escape room (a physical adventure game in which players are ‘locked’ in a themed room and have to use elements of the room to solve a series of puzzles and escape within a set time limit) and the largest in Orange County. Inspired by the sets of movies and local theme parks, two escape rooms, namely ‘Midnight on the Bayou’ and ‘Cormier Parish’ takes visitors into the swamps of Louisiana for a carnival-themed high school reunion and the mysterious scene of a Homecoming barn fire. Visitors must follow the clues and solve the puzzles to escape in enough time.
471 W Lambert Rd #108, Brea, CA 92821, Phone: 714-232-8698
15 Best Things to Do in Brea, California
- Carbon Canyon Park, Photo: Courtesy of olezzo - Fotolia.com
- Brea Museum & Heritage Center, Photo: Brea Museum & Heritage Center
- Brea City Hall Park, Photo: Courtesy of Victoria - Fotolia.com
- Chino Hills State Park, Photo: Courtesy of sumikophoto - Fotolia.com
- Brea Mall, Photo: Courtesy of zinkevych - Fotolia.com
- Improv Brea, Photo: Courtesy of Fotolia.com
- ZenCat Lounge, Photo: Courtesy of Stanislaw - Fotolia.com
- Memory Garden Memorial Park and Mortuary, Photo: Courtesy of Sergey - Fotolia.com
- Seas the Day Scuba, Photo: Courtesy of Raymond - Fotolia.com
- Brea Art Gallery, Photo: Brea Art Gallery
- Yater Performance Riding, Photo: Courtesy of PROMA - Fotolia.com
- The Hat, Photo: The Hat
- TAPS Fish House & Brewery, Photo: TAPS Fish House & Brewery
- Cedar Creek Inn, Photo: Cedar Creek Inn
- Red Lantern Escape Rooms, Photo: Courtesy of Victor Moussa - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Brea City Hall