Skip to main content
playoffs

Stanley Cup Playoff postcard: Orange, California

NHL.com's Tim Campbell visits a present-day Main Street U.S.A.

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

ORANGE, Calif. -- It is both past and present, modern and traditional, square and circle.

Not far from Honda Center -- no freeways involved -- at the heart of Orange, California, you'll find no beach, no waves. Just good old-fashioned Main Street U.S.A. character.

Population 139,812 (2014 estimate), Orange was built and thrives today around its original city center plaza, home to restaurants, outdoor cafes, a traditional barber shop, an original soda fountain and antique shops, all where the locals go.

Sprinkle in a few watering holes -- places where hockey writers hang out for postgame and on off days for orange juice and sarsaparillas -- and you've got an unexpected social and cultural magnet in the land of West Coast sunshine and tourist traps.

Chapman Avenue and Glassell Street don't actually intersect. From four directions, each feeds the roundabout that is Orange Circle in the city square.

Video: Anaheim is electric as the Ducks march toward the Cup

Stand in the center (the locals won't appreciate it if you go to the exact center, in the city fountain) and whatever direction you look, you'll see the Old Town District, the square mile that is the heart of the city.

The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.

Most of the district's old homes and business buildings are originals, pre-dating the 1920 building boom.

The history books say most other surrounding communities demolished their old buildings in the 1960s but Orange decided to preserve many of its old structures and today it thrives in its time-machine look of what actual Main Streets used to look like.

Hollywood certainly knows this place.

Among the films that have used Orange as a location are "That Thing You Do," that starred Tom Hanks, "Accepted," "Big Momma's House," "Ghost Whisperer," and "Black Sheep."

The feel is Anytown, Anystate, any year of the past 100 years you might imagine.

The character is the comfort. The comfort is the character. Orange isn't the new black, it's my new cup of iced tea.

View More