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Introduction

Fullerton is an inland city in north Orange County in Southern California. Situated just north of Anaheim and its far better-known tourist attractions, Fullerton has a few surprises up her sleeve. Fullerton has undergone several transformations from its 1887 founding as a rural stop on the Santa Fe Railroad. A longtime agricultural powerhouse in fruit and nut trees and ranching, Fullerton's economy exploded in the early 1900s with the development of the petroleum industry, with many fine homes and civic buildings constructed with oil money into the 1920s. After World War II, manufacturing displaced oil drilling, dominated by companies like Hughes Aircraft and Val-Vita Foods (later Hunt-Wesson, of Hunt's Ketchup and Wesson Oil). By the 1960s, Fullerton was also a bedroom community for booming Los Angeles.

In the 21st century, Fullerton's economy has shifted again, this time to education (driven by California State University, Fullerton and Fullerton College) and healthcare (driven by St. Jude's Medical Center). Its historic downtown has been revitalized into a regional shopping and entertainment district. Fullerton has a thriving arts culture, home to several theatre companies as well as a vibrant music scene that has its roots with famous guitarmaker Leo Fender. Fender was the first company to mass-produce solid-body electric guitars in 1950 (nowadays that model is known as the Fender Telecaster), hence Fullerton has been considered the birthplace of the electric guitar.

Fullerton has a large ethnic Korean community, drawn to its excellent schools. Unlike Westminster's Little Saigon or Garden Grove's Little Seoul, however, is no single Koreatown. Instead, you will find Korean restaurants, bakeries, churches, and shops scattered in pockets throughout the city.

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Sights and Activities

  • Fullerton Arboretum, 1900 Associated Rd (Yorba Linda exit off the 57 freeway), ☎ +1 714 278-3407, fax: +1 714 278-7066. 8AM-4:30PM (extended hours in summer months). A collection of 4,000 plants from around the world on 26 acres. Of note is the 100' tall Ombu tree and the large collection of desert plants. On the grounds is Heritage House an Eastlake-style cottage built in 1894 by one of Fullerton's pioneers. The home and grounds have been restored to portray life in turn-of-the-century Fullerton. Free - suggested $3 donation.
  • Fullerton Museum Center, 301 N. Pomona Ave., ☎ +1 714 738-6545, fax: +1 714 738-3124, e-mail: FMC@ci.fullerton.ca.us. Tu, W, F-Su: Noon-4PM; Th: Noon-8PM; M: Closed. General Admission: $4, Seniors 65+: $3; Students (13+ with I.D.): $3; 6 to 12 $1.00; 5 and under: Free.
  • Muckenthaler Cultural Center, 1201 W. Malvern Ave. (At Euclid St.), ☎ +1 714 738-6595. (Gallery) We–Su 12PM-4PM. The former mansion of Walter and Adella Muckenthaler, “The Muck” is part art school, part performance space, and part gallery. A variety of music festivals, art shows, and other exhibits call it home; check the website calendar for details. Free (galleries).
  • Moped Museum at Myron's Mopeds, 1879 W Commonwealth Ave, Unit L, ☎ +1 714 992-5592. This is a collection of classic vintage mopeds from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. If you're looking for a unique place to visit in Orange County this is it.

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Events and Festivals

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.

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Getting There

By Plane

The closest commercial airports are John Wayne Airport (SNA IATA) to the south and Long Beach Airport (LGB IATA) to the west. The principal international airport serving the region is Los Angeles International Airport (LAX IATA). If you happen to have a pilot's license, you could fly right in to 1 Fullerton Municipal Airport, Orange County's last strictly general aviation field, boasting a 3,121-foot (951 m) runway.

By Train

Amtrak has a station at the Fullerton Transportation Center at 120 E. Santa Fe Avenue. It is served by the frequent Pacific Surfliner train between San Diego and Los Angeles and the daily long-distance Southwest Chief which runs between Los Angeles and Chicago through the Southwest. The regional Metrolink commuter rail service also serves the station with two different lines: the Orange County Line between Union Station in Downtown L.A. and Oceanside in San Diego County, and the 91 Line which runs between L.A. Union Station and Riverside.

By Car

The usual way to get into and around Fullerton is by car. The city is close to Interstate 5, connecting it to Los Angeles and Santa Ana, and State Highways 91 and 57 run along its southern and eastern borders. Downtown Fullerton is a 15-minute drive north of Disneyland straight up Harbor Boulevard.

By Bus

The nearest intercity bus/coach service are Greyhound, Megabus and Tres Estrellas de Oro in the nearby Anaheim.

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Getting Around

Fullerton, like most of Southern California, is overall a very car-centric city, but there are respites. The city's street address grid is centered at the intersection of Harbor Boulevard and Commonwealth Avenue, in Fullerton's walkable downtown. Just down the street is the Fullerton Transportation Center, a major transfer point for OCTA buses.

Beyond downtown, Fullerton is criss-crossed with about 28 miles of public recreational trails for mountain bike, equestrian, or hiking use. It is possible to walk all the way across the city from Ralph B. Clark Regional Park in the west to Craig Regional Park in the east on these trails.

  • Orange County Transit Authority (OCTA). Fullterton is serviced by several OCTA lines.

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Eat

  • Rutabegorz, 211 N. Pomona Ave. (Pomona Ave. between Amerige and Wilshire), ☎ +1 714 738-9339, e-mail: fullerton@rutabegorz.com. M-W 4PM-10AM, Th-F 4PM-3:30AM, Sa 11AM-3:30AM, Su 11AM-8PM. A local landmark, Ruta's is known for their health-conscious, yet tasty - or should it be tasty, yet health-conscious? - offerings, from gigantic salads to lean deli meats to their famous cheesecake. The staff does not wear uniforms, but don't worry they'll make themselves known. Do: seat yourself (there are no hosts to seat you). Don't: order falafel, it's the one thing on the menu that everyone agrees is horrible. Fairly cheap. edit
  • Kimmie's Coffee Cup, 1605 W. Commonwealth Ave, ☎ +1 714 449-1580. A classic American diner with a woman's touch. Independently owned, with just two locations, the Fullerton Kimmie's boasts an outdoor heated patio. It's only open until 2PM, so you have to come by for breakfast or lunch, but no matter what time you show up, you should order from the breakfast menu because that's where the goodies are. Banana-nut pancakes, build-your-own omelets, and the coffee, of course, you have to try the coffee. The waitresses are all smiles, and their aprons all handmade.
  • Thai BBQ, 211 East Orangethorpe Ave (Harbor and Orangethorpe), ☎ +1 714 870-1333. The best and most expensive Thai in Fullerton. There are cheaper options at nearly every shopping center but what you sacrifice in cost you also sacrifice in authenticity and variety. If you are just getting your monthly Pad Thai fix, then any place will do and you'll save a few bucks, but if you're looking for the quality of a home-cooked Thai meal, then hit up Thai BBQ, and ask your server for recommendations. Be adventurous. Drink the Thai tea, with or without boba
  • Roman Cucina, 211 N. Harbor Blvd, ☎ +1 714 680-6000. Dark decor and fabulous dim lighting to set the mood. It's great to go with a date or a group of friends for an intimate dinner. Go Monday for Martini night, all menu martinis $5, or go on Wine Wednesdays when all bottles are 1/2 price. Their pasta dishes are hearty and delectable. They are only open for dinner.
  • The Mulberry St. Ristorante, 114 W. Wilshire Ave, ☎ +1 714 525-1056. The Italian food is good, but go for the seafood. Ask your server for a good wine pairing. Go on the weekend when there is live entertainment. The entertainment won't be as good as the food, but it adds ambience to a night on the town. Monday night is Karaoke night. Open for lunch and dinner.
  • The Cellar, 305 N. Harbor Blvd, ☎ +1 714 525-5682. Fine French cuisine underground. The restaurant is beneath the historic Villa Del Sol, a beautiful building and plaza in the heart of downtown. The wine list, as you may have guessed, is impressive and the menu is, well, French. Foie gras, escargot, and the like. A lovely experience for any day, but an excellent place to mark a special occasion.
  • In-N-Out Burgers, 1180 South Harbor Blvd (Harbor and Orangethorpe), ☎ +1-800-786-1000. Most television series based in California will pay homage to In-N-Out at some point. It's classic California. Californians can't resist the fresh-cut potato fries, the Grade A beef (never frozen), and the spread. The spread used to just come on the burgers but they had to start packaging the spread for easier distribution because their customers always ask for extra to smother their fries in. The menu is as simple and classic as their image, but there is "the secret menu" that any local, or even the cashier, can tell you about. If you want to pretend to be in the know, just Google it before you go.
  • Taqueria de Anda, 300 W. Valencia Dr, ☎ +1 714 871-4211. Part of a Southern California chain. They make the most authentic tacos north of the border. Drive-thru is open 24-hours. Enough said.

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Drink

Downtown Fullerton is one of the biggest and most popular bar areas in Orange County. Offering over 20 bars and dozens of restaurants of all shapes and sizes. Most bars begin getting crowded by 9-10PM and go until 1:30-2AM. Parking is easily available and taxis are abundant at night.

  • 419 Veronese Cafe, 419 West Commonwealth Ave, ☎ +1 714 578-8265.
  • McClain's, 817 North Harbor Blvd, ☎ +1 714 525-5282.
  • Back Alley, 116 1/2 W Wilshire Ave, ☎ +1 714 526-3032.
  • Bourbon Street, 110 E. Commonwealth Ave., ☎ +1 714 626-0050. M-Th 4PM-2AM, F-Sa 11AM-2AM, Su 10AM-2AM.
  • Slide Bar, 122 E Commonwealth Ave, ☎ +1 714 871-2233.

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Sleep

  • Fullerton Marriott at California State University, 2701 East Nutwood Ave, ☎ +1 714 738-7800, fax: +1 714 738-0288.
  • HI Hostel, 1700 N Harbor Blvd. (Orange County Transit (OCTA) Take OCTA Bus #43 to North Court House (last stop). Walk to Harbor Blvd. Cross Street and walk north to 1700 N. Harbor Blvd. (you will pass a Auto Club Office and Farmer Boys Restaurant then Golfer Paradise Driving Range. The entrance to the Brea Dam Park is the next driveway on the right. Walk up the service road to the hostel.), ☎ +1 714 738-3721. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 10:30AM. $25.

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Learn

  • Cal State Fullerton (CSUF (California State University, Fullerton)), 800 N. State College Blvd. (Yorba Linda Blvd. exit from SR-57. Call 657-278-3082 for parking information.), ☎ +1 714 278-2011. CSUF is a 4-year university that offers 105 degree programs, including a doctorate in education. It is the largest unit of the California State University system by enrollment.
  • Fullerton College, 321 E. Chapman Ave., ☎ +1 714 992-7000. Fullerton College is a two-year college offering 90 Associate degree programs.

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

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This is version 2. Last edited at 13:20 on Apr 12, 19 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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