1. Y'know Dudes, There's A Reason They Call This Place "Surf City USA"
Source: Flickr user Pascal Walschots
The biggest reason that people come to Huntington Beach is to surf. In fact, the city’s unofficial nickname is “Surf City USA.” If you get hungry from all the hanging ten, you’ll want to stop by The Seafood Zone on McFadden to grub down on some delicious seafood tacos like the surfers do.
2. Bolster Your Hipster Cred At SoCal's Hottest Indie Movie Festival
Source: SoCal Film Fest Facebook
If you like independent movies, you’ll enjoy attending the SoCal Film Fest every September. It has screenings, of course, but it also features workshops, celebrity panels, and celebrity guests. Awards are handed out for achievements in writing, directing, cinematography, and acting. If you’ve ever itched to walk down the red carpet, here’s your chance.
3. Cheer On Pro Volleyball's Finest As They Bump, Set, And Spike It
Source: Flickr user Nathan Rupert
If you love volleyball, you’re in luck. Huntington Beach is a stop on the annual Association of Volleyball Players Beach Volleyball Tour, and past famous participants include International Champion April Ross and Casey Jennings. It's yet another of the countless reasons to head for our favorite spot: the beach.
4. You Can Shoot Your Friends And Family In The Face At Fuzion Lazer Tag
Source: Fuzion via Facebook
Fuzion is a new family entertainment complex that recently opened its doors to Huntington Beach residents. Be prepared to be blown away by an impressive array of modern arcade games, but if you’re more of a retro gamer you can always venture over to the section that hosts classics like "Ms. Pac Man." the real draw though, is the Lazer Tag. After all, who doesn’t have fun chasing after family members with a laser pistol, even if it is only a toy? Afterwards, you can dine at the in-house sushi restaurant.
5. Lazer Tag Too Tame? Try Paintball, Or Just Watch The Pros Compete
Source: Flickr user jordandouglas
In case you don’t have enough to do already, you can wander over to the National Professional Paintball League's Surf City Open competition. The event draws surprisingly large crowds and is usually quite spirited, due to the cash prizes and furiously flying paint. If you're a paintball fan, you can also check out the numerous exhibitors selling guns, ammo, gear, and more.
6. Party At the Hottest Spot In Town: Your Very Own Beach Bonfire
Source: Flickr user Colin
Huntington Beach has two state parks: Bolsa Chica State Beach and Huntington State Beach. Bolsa Chica has several fire pits available for bonfires, but the wait for these pits usually starts around 5:00 a.m. Groups of people will drop off one person in the early morning to “guard” their fire pit, and will usually take shifts guarding it until it is finally nightfall. Unfortunately, parking will run you $15 a car for both state parks, but if you take a car full of friends, you should be able to easily split the price.
7. There’s Sand Freaking everywhere Here
Source: Flickr user Joseph Dsilva
If you love the beach, you’re in luck. One popular thing to do is to rent bikes from Bargain Bike Rentals on 5th Street by the International Surfing Museum. It’s $10 to rent a bike for the day, and many people end up riding all the way to Newport Beach or Laguna Beach on their day-long bike ride. If you prefer to be on foot, there are paved trails you can walk or run down.
8. Rub Elbows With The Uber Wealthy...
Source: Flickr user Chris
The median household income in Huntington Beach is $94,597 with companies such as Boeing, Quiksilver and Cambro Manufacturing paying their wages. You’ll usually find the wealthier set grabbing dinner at Duke’s Huntington Beach, a ritzy upscale steakhouse on the water. The dishes all have island influences, as a typical order of filet mignon will come with maui onion jam, watercress sauce and creamed corn as a glaze. Another ritzy favorite is the Ebi-Star Restaurant at the Hotel Huntington Beach. The restaurant is known for its boozy weekend champagne brunch, and you can be sure to find Huntington’s finest sipping a mimosa while enjoying gourmet crab legs.
9. …And Celebrities, Too
Source: Flickr user Sarie Cruz
Everyone loves Huntington Beach. It’s safe, clean, and has beautiful weather all year long. Therefore, it’s no surprise that lots of different celebrities like to call H.B. home. Among its famous residents are professional tennis players Scott Lipsky and David Martin, adult entertainment star Jenna Jameson, and Alien Ant Farm singer Dryden Mitchell. Many celebrities who no longer live in Huntington Beach also got their start in this thriving beach town. The popular teen band hellogoodbye was formed in Huntington Beach as was the reggae band The Dirty Heads.
10. Not To Be Crude, But It’s All About Oil Here
Source: Flickr user Chris
Huntington Beach’s economy was founded on oil, as the city rests upon a natural fault structure containing oil reserves. Even though oil has played an important part in the city’s history, residents have a love-hate relationship with the oil rigs that are set up along the city’s main streets. You’ll notice the oil rigs sticking out like a sore thumb when you drive down the streets of Huntington Beach for the first time, but they’ll eventually just become part of the scenery to you as the years pass.
11. Have The Sweetest Brainfreeze Of Your Life At Ruby’s
Source: Flickr user Truus, Bob & Jan too!
Located at the end of the Huntington Beach Pier, Ruby's Diner provides a 360 degree view of the Pacific Ocean and can enjoy the waves while slurping down a milkshake. Sometimes, you can even see dolphins. We strongly recommend ordering the Oreo Cookie Fantasy Milkshake and the greasy Chili Fries to truly feel like a local.
12. Stroll Down Our Pier (That's Totally Without Peer)
Source: Flickr user Neil Kremer
The Huntington Beach Pier spans from Main Street to the Pacific Ocean and is1,850 feet long, making it one of the longest piers on the West Coast. Many people stroll down the pier to catch views of the ocean and check out the several tourist shops along the pier, but you’ll also find local surfers and fishermen peering over the pier’s edge, scoping out the surf and the fishing scene. When the Beach Boys crooned, “At Huntington and Malibu, they’re shooting the pier…?” Well, this is the one they were singing about.
13. Watch The World's Best Surfers Hang Ten For Fame and Fortune
Source: Flickr user Joe Nash
The U.S. Open of Surfing takes place on the south side of the pier every summer and is the largest surfing competition in the world, attracts around half a million visitors every year. Not into surfing? Entertain yourself with food trucks, live music, and people watching. Be sure to arrive early, though, because parking will be a nightmare. You might even want to look into parking several miles away and walking over to avoid being trapped in your car in traffic on a hot summer day.
14. Make Your “Baywatch” Fantasies Come True At The Lifeguard Biathlon
Source: Flickr user Mary Austin
Hosted by the Bolsa Chica & Huntington Beach State Lifeguards, the Lifeguard Biathlon is an annual event in which there are no prizes or awards—just lifeguards out to prove to each other and the community who is the fittest. Of course, you can help decide that too because they’re all shirtless. As you can imagine, this event draws throngs of spectators who are just there for one purpose: to watch the lifeguards run, Baywatch style.
15. All Other Fourth Of July Celebrations Bow Before Ours
Source: Flickr user jcookfisher
If you think you’ve seen the Fourth of July done right before, think again. Our parade starts at Pacific Coast Highway, ends right after Yorktown Avenue, and features hundreds of performing arts teams, floats, and exhibitors. Some people even open up their homes to the general public for parties. Parking starts filling up around 5 a.m., so if you are planning on attending, you'd better get there early.
16. Our City Marathon Ends With Three Words: Free Beer Garden
Source: Flickr user Richard
If you’re a runner, you’ll love the Surf City USA Marathon, which attracts over 20,000 runners every February. The run takes place along the oceanside and live bands are strategically placed along the way to cheer you on. Once you reach the end, it’ll all be worth it as you celebrate with your fellow marathoners in the free beer garden.
17. Yes, There Are Kite Parties, And We Have One Of The Best Anywhere
Source: Flickr user CAHairyBear
Huntington Beach has an event for every possible hobby, and kites are no exception. The annual Kite Party takes place over a weekend every March, and while you need to register to participate, the public is of course invited to pop by and take a look. Hosted by Kite Connection owner Dave Shenkman, the event attracts a wide and eclectic variety of people who may come for the colorful kites but stay for the socializing.
18. Drool Over Cars You’ll Never Be Able To Afford
Source: Flickr user Moto "Club4AG" Miwa
If you think you’ve been to a lot of car shows, you haven’t seen anything yet. Huntington Beach is home to several different car shows such as the Concours d’Elegance and the Beachcruiser Meet, as well as a small, informal car show is held every Saturday morning on Magnolia Street. At these shows, you’ll spot anything from a ‘50s Mercedes Benz to a Lamborghini 400GT, and the organizers are used to mopping up drool.
19. Surf City Nights Makes All Other Street Fairs Look Like Just A Bunch Of Booths
Source: Flickr user Oliver Chua
Every Tuesday night, Surf City Nights is held on the first three blocks of Main Street bordering Pacific Coast Highway and Orange Avenue. The Tuesday event is a community-oriented party that has food, entertainment, a farmer’s market and carnival rides. Plenty of people walk their dogs around the event, so feel free to bring your pup on a leash. Parking will generally set you back around $8 to $10 for the night due to the crowded streets. If you can, visit the Totally Nutz booth. You can get a bag of mind blowing cinnamon & vanilla roasted pecans for about $4.
20. Discover The Next Van Gogh (Or Get Discovered Yourself) At The Downtown Huntington Beach Art Walk
Source: Flickr user jaubele1
The Downtown Huntington Beach Art Walk takes place on the third Thursday of each month and features artist displays in various restaurants such as the Shorebreak Hotel and Gallagher’s Pub and Grill. Many of the artists are on hand to discuss their work, and if you’re an artist, you can apply to have your work shown. The vibe is kind of a mix between hipster and surf culture, so you’ll fit right in if you’re a Huntington Beach local.
21. Catch A World Champion Little League Team Playing... Golf?
Source: Jeff Pratto
Huntington Beach’s Ocean View Little League beat Japan 2-1 in the 2011 Little League World Series championships. The Ocean View Little League hosts a popular golf tournament every year at the Seacliff Country Club to raise funds for their travel expenses. Lots of community members attend to support the little sluggers and to speculate on which ones will end up turning pro a few years down the line.
22. Your Canine Friends Have It Anything But Ruff Here
Source: Flickr user John Liu
If there’s one thing you need to know about Huntington Beach, it’s that people love their dogs. There are tons of specialty dog food and grooming stores such as Animalia on Bolsa Chica and Bubbles Dog Grooming & Spa on Magnolia that cater to keeping your best friend happy and healthy. Dog Beach is one of the only places in the city where dogs are actually allowed around the cliff area. Parking is horrible, but you’ll forget all about that once you see how happy your puppy is running around in open air.
23. Ditch the Sand For The Forest Without Leaving Downtown
Source: Huntington Beach Tree Society
In the middle of Huntington Beach is Central Park, with its Urban Forest made up of Australian trees and native wildlife. Once you step foot inside, you’ll feel like you’re on a completely different continent. There’s also a small cafe called the Park Bench Cafe at the entrance that serves some great breakfast burritos.
24. You Will Believe A Library Can Be Awesome After Visiting Ours
Source: Flickr user Karin Dalziel
The Huntington Beach Library is not just your average, everyday library. It has indoor fountains, a beautiful theater, and lots of spacious study areas. The library is so beautiful that it has actually been used for weddings, plays, and community meetings. It even has an incredible little cafe on the first floor that serves coffee drinks, smoothies, and snacks.
25. We Thoroughly Encourage Horseplay
Source: Flickr user Chris
If horses are your thing, you’ll love the Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center. It houses 420 privately-owned horses and covers 25 acres. If you don’t have any experience with horses, you can rent one to go on a one-hour guided tour of the beautiful hills of Huntington Central Park.
26. Get Hands On With Nature While Actually Making A Difference
Source: Flickr user Terry Tyson
The Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve contains several trails, walking paths, and scenic routes to enjoy. There are also numerous community service events held there in an effort to restore the wetlands. The wetlands are home to creatures such as the cottontail rabbit, coyote, red-tailed hawk, and savannah sparrow, some of which are endangered, hence the widespread conservation efforts. One of the more popular events is volunteer trash clean-up the last Saturday of every month.
27. Our Community Theater Is No Laughing Matter
Source: Huntington Beach Playhouse Facebook
If you’re interested in theater, the Huntington Beach Playhouse is a great way to go. The plays that this venue does are definitely obscure, but you'll probably enjoy them nonetheless. Previous shows include “Man of La Mancha” and “Laura.” The playhouse is always seeking volunteers to help with all aspects of production such as concessions, ushering, and more, so if you're not too busy cleaning up the Bolsa Chica Wetlands you can pitch in here, too.
28. Fall Into A Food Coma At The Taste Of Huntington Beach
Source: Taste of Huntington Beach Facebook
The Taste of Huntington Beach is an annual event that takes place at the outdoor Sports Complex every April and is worth every penny of the admission price. Why? Because you get to eat all day. Previous participants have included: Slater’s 50/50, RA Sushi, Monkey House Cafe, Dukes, Sandy’s Beach Grill, Slapfish and many, many more. The portions are a little bit small, but it’s totally acceptable due to how many restaurants participate every year.
Huntington Beach is a great place to live. Yes, a lot of that has to do with the copious sand, year-round sun, and soothing surf, but as you can see this town has a lot more to offer. Just be prepared to drop 20 bucks a month on sunblock and you'll be all set.
Feature Image: Source: Flickr user Pascal Walschots