What To Do In Westminster, CA
Located at the northwest corner of Orange County, Westminster California is a landlocked city bordered by Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach on the south, Garden Grove on the north and east, Sea Beach on the west. One of the most culturally diverse cities near the Orange County beaches,Westminster has a population of 92,114 as of 2015.
The second colony in Orange County to be founded, Westminster was established as a Presbyterian temperance colony by Reverend Lemuel Webber in 1870. The area was named after the Westminster Assembly of 1643. The Assembly established the tenets of the Presbyterian faith. Rev Lemuel Webber invited new settlers who were like-minded as it pertained to religion and morals. By the 1890s dairy farming was the primary source of income for most farmers. Known as the dairy capital of the country by the 1900s, Chinese, Japanese and Mexican farmers were brought in from San Francisco and Los Angeles to tend to the rich soil. In 1902 the Southern Pacific Railroad line reached Westminster and the Westminster Chamber of Commerce was established. The flowing artesian wells were permitted to fill ponds during 1910 which turned the area into a widely- recognized sportsman’s paradise.
Earthquakes and floods caused setbacks for growth in Westminster during the 1930s and the start of WWII brought changes to Westminster population. Young men left to join the armed forces; the Japanese who were largely farmers, were transferred out of the county. An influx of Defense workers moved into the area from the Midwest working mostly at aircraft factories and local shipyards. By the end of the war Westminster found new residents in the servicemen who appreciated the climate and chose to stay.
With 10,755 residents, Westminster was incorporated in1957. During the 1970s a large migration of Vietnamese refugees immigrated to Westminster as they were fleeing conflict in their homeland, settling in an area now known as Little Saigon. This was also a prosperous decade for commerce in the area. Bolsa Avenue welcomed over 500 new businesses. Today Little Saigon is home to over 3500 Vietnamese-American businesses and Westminster is considered the Vietnamese capital of the US.
Westminster was named “An All-American City” in 1996 by the National Civic League. By the end of 2005, Westminster had a population of 92,000 and was steadily growing. Today Westminster is a city committed to improving the quality of life for all residents through innovative programs and services.
Our Favorite Things to Do in Westminster
One of the more culturally diverse cities in Orange County, Westminster offers a wide array of opportunities to learn about its past and its present. From historical adventures to local theater to immersing yourself into the oldest Little Saigon community in the country,there are plenty of ways to explore the city. Some of our favorite arts and cultural activities are listed below.
If you are in Westminster, you won’t need to get on a plane to explore the wonders of Viet Nam; you won’t even need a passport; just head to Bolsa Avenue which is the epicenter of Westminster’s Little Saigon. This roughly 3 mile strip is packed full of Vietnamese-Americanowned businesses which include an endless array of colorful shops and flavorful restaurants. Be sure to stop in to some of our favorite places in Little Saigon, listed below.
Experience Little Saigon at: 9200 Bolsa Avenue
Rose Center Theater
Opened in July of 2006, this state-of-the-art theater produces 4 Broadway-style shows each year in addition to hosting several national touring companies. The theater is also the home to the Vietnamese Philharmonic Orchestra. The theater is small (capacity is 419) so there isn’t a bad seat in the house.
Catch a show at: 14140 All American Way
Give them a call at: (714) 793-1150 Ext 1
Blakey Historical Park and Museum
This two acre park is home to, and is maintained by, the Westminster Historical Society. Donated to the city by early settler Leaora Blakey the majority of the historic buildings on site were moved to the property from their original locations. The exhibits depict life in Westminster during the 19th and 20th centuries, including the McCoy-Hare House which was the city’s first drugstore and the fully restored Wane farmhouse from 1915.
Explore some history at: 8612 Westminster Boulevard
Give them a call at: 714-891-2597
Westminster offers a range of amenities for families to enjoy, including twenty-four parksand a good selection of outdoor activities. Whether you prefer to stay indoors or would rather spend the day outside, there are some great attractions to enjoy with the family. You can opt for an educational adventure or a day in the sun. We’ve listed some of our favorite things to do with the family below to help you plan your time in Westminster!
Orange County Curling Club
No, we’re not talking hair, we’re talking curling on ice. It’s an Olympic sport and one of the fastest growing sports in the US. It’s sort of like shuffleboard or chess, on ice, with brooms. The two hour “Learn to Curl” sessions offered attract everyone from children aged 10 and over to seniors.
Learn to curl at: 13071 Springdale Street
Call them at: 714-987-CURL (2875)
Westminster Community Playhouse
Founded in 1961, the Westminster Community Playhouse has been a cultural staple in the Westminster area for over 50 years and is one of the oldest running live theater venues in Orange County. This in an intimate theater setting with 122 seats a small snack bar which is open during intermission and offers cookies and coffee for a donation. The size of the theater allows the audience a unique perspective and offers a truly memorable experience. Tickets range from $17 – $20 depending upon the production.
Purchase tickets at: 7272 Maple Street
Reach the theater at: 714-893-8626
California is crawling with skate parks and luckily the city of Westminster has a slew of them in their backyard. Designed for the beginner to intermediate skaters, Liberty Skate Park is free to the public and open 7 days a week. You’ll need your own board and helmets and knee padss—they’rerequired.
Grab your board and go to: 3866- 13930 Monroe Street
Give them a call at 714-891-6678
Sigler Park Splash Pad
Take a break from the ordinary beach day and head over at Sigler Park Splash Pad. A water-spewing playground, Sigler Park Splash Pad is the perfect place to cool off during a hot Southern California afternoon. As you and your kids play, a myriad of strategically placed nozzles spray up from the ground as you walk by. There are water features for every age and even a separate play area for toddlers and younger children.
Splash around at: 7200 Plaza Street
If you want to experience true Vietnamese cuisine then head to Little Saigon. This is a combination of old world and new. Older barbecue joints exist next door to new and trendy noodle cafes. There are thousands of restaurant options so it can be a little overwhelming. We have listed some of our favorites below.
Thanh Mai Vietnamese Cuisine
Largely known for their outstanding Pho, Thanh Mi Vietnamese Cuisine serves a variety of traditional Vietnamese dishes including Cha Gio Chao,Cha Gio Tom Cua, Bun Mam, Pho, Banh Xeo and Lau Mam. They also have some of the best egg rolls in all of Orange County. One of the friendliest spots in Little Saigon, you’ll be greeted with a smile and a warm welcome and they’ll even offer a primer on how to eat each dish.
Find them at: 9142 Bolsa Avenue
Call them at: 714-893-2288
The age old tradition of Chinese barbecue is still alive in Little Saigon. And while there is a long rivalry between barbecue legends in the community, BBQ One is now giving these chefs a run for their money. And while BBQ One offers the same barbecue pork, duck and soy sauce chicken they also have an edge with indoor seating (the others only offer take out).
Find them at: 9299 Bolsa Avenue
Call them at: 714-898-0800
Garlic & Chives
Opened in 2015, Garlic & Chives has quickly become one of the best dining rooms in the community. While the menu boasts traditional Vietnamese fare, every dish has been reconfigured and is offered in small plate fashion. While that may make you think “Asian-fusion” this is still very much traditional Vietnamese cuisine. Be sure to try the sticky rice, the toothpick lamb, the deep-fried salmon belly and the pomelo salad.
Find them at: 9892 Westminster Boulevard
Call them at: 714-591-5196
One of the few places in Orange County that specializes in Vietnamese family style dining, Mai’s is a real treat in Little Saigon. The dining room is small (40 seats) so expect a wait on weekends. But the service is exemplary and you’ll be glad you waited. While everything on the menu is good and prices average under $10 a person, be sure to turn to the last page of the menu where it says “Family Style;” this is where all of the best dishes are hidden.
Find them at: 9039 Bolsa Avenue
Call them at: 714-898-9889
Not only does breakfast provide us with the energy we need to start the day, it’s a great excuse to combine some of our favorite foods on one plate. And. there’s no wrong way to eat breakfast. Many of us even love breakfast for dinner. So whether you want to smoosh together your bacon and pasty or you’re craving a nice big omelet for your last meal of the day, Westminster has plenty of great breakfast spots to satisfy your appetite. These are some of the local favorites below.
Pam’s is a family-owned and operated homestyle restaurant specializingin great breakfast and brunch. The stand out here is their zucchini fries although the pancakes are fluffy and delicious as well. Walk in with an appetite because portions are generous at Pam’s. This is a local favorite and they make you feel like family as soon as you walk in the door.
Find them at: 13085 Springdale Street
Call them at: 714-248-9446
Uncle Pete’s Café
A small locally owned café, Pete’s is known for friendly service, a relaxing environment and great food. Serving breakfast all day (and who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner?), they also offer a large menu full of Greek, Mexican and traditional American lunch and dinner favorites as well. There are several TVs for sports fans to watch their favorite teams and outdoor patio seating.
Have breakfast all day at: 14276 Beach Boulevard
Give them a call at: 714-893-4991
The outdoor patiocomes equipped with games like Jenga and sandbag toss. And you can call in your order so it is ready when you get there. It is easy to miss so look for the burgundy umbrellas behind the Avalon office buildings. They have daily specials and specialize in breakfast burritos. Make note that they are not open on weekends.
Find them at: 5455 Garden Grove Boulevard
Call them at: 714-230-8481
Sophia’s Donuts & Sandwiches
If you are looking for a fresh and tasty donut for breakfast then be sure to give Sophia’s Donuts & Sandwiches a try. They also have breakfast sandwiches like the turkey breakfast burrito with avocado, tomato, egg, cheese and hash browns and the ham and cheese croissant. But the real standouts here are the Matcha Green Tea donuts and the Vietnamese coffee. They’ve been a staple in the community for a long time now and are a local favorite.
Bite into this local favorite at: 16507 Magnolia Street
Give them a call at: 714-848-2263
With its close proximity to the beach, Westminster has a comfortable, laid back, California vibe. While you can easily find a drive-through in town, why not take your time, sit back and relax at one of the many casual dining restaurants in town. Whether it is great seafood you crave or some really tasty wings, there is something for everyone in Westminster. We’ve listed some of our favorite casual dining spots below.
Shackie’s Seafood and Oyster Bar
Specializing in Vietnamese-Cajun seafood,Shackie’s Seafood and Oyster Bar sets itself apart due to their buttery garlic sauce which rivals the traditional hot, oily sauces often found in these spots. Come prepared to chow down on oysters, clams, crawfish, mussels, king crab, lobster and clams. And while you’re at it, be sure to order the Cajun garlic fries which are topped with chopped garlic and Cajun powder.
Find them at: 7681 Westminster Boulevard
Give them a call at: 714-899-6100
Don’t let the name fool you; SoCal Wings isn’t just wings, although their wings are some of the best in the OC. They also offer menu items like mozzarella egg rolls, shrimp and rice bowls. SoCal Wings features wing meals, family meals and “Just Wings” with a variety of both wet sauce and dry rub options. Ranging from Honey Garlic Sriracha to Garlic Parmesan to Honey Citrus to Red Curry, it’s almost impossible to choose just one.
The wings the thing at: 14502 Beach Boulevard
Call them at: 714-773-2664
A Cajun seafood restaurant with an Asian twist, Jumpin’ Crab is famous for seafood boils and fried seafood. Their menu allows you to “pick your catch” (although chicken is listed here as well) and then determine both flavor and heat. They also have Asian-fusion options ranging from appetizers and entrees to noodles and rice. Their specialty, however, is the Hot Pot which features crab, lobster or mixed seafood in a pot with crispy skin.
Find them at: 15342 Beach Boulevard
Give them a call at: 714-710-7800