Hidden Gems in Old Town Tustin

Your first thought of Tustin might be strip malls and suburban sprawl, and it doesn’t make it onto most tourists lists of “must-sees.” However, Tustin has all the makings of an enjoyable day, especially the charming Old Town, which feels like a little old town from the Midwest (along with the friendly attitude you’d expect), but with cooler shops and better restaurants.




Breakfast at El Camino Cafe

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Occupying an inviting corner location, El Camino Cafe serves up tasty Mexican food in a casual atmosphere. Prices are fair and the service is friendly. Using tarot cards as your order number and providing “fancy water” (water with lemon) are fun touches. Customers rave about the Huevos Rancheros and the Chilaquiles. Enjoy your meal on the sunny patio.

Visit the Tustin Area Museum

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It won’t take long to tour this little museum, which is staffed by passionate and knowledgeable volunteers. There are displays on the history of the area and it is fun to look at their turn-of-the-century machines that were used in local homes and businesses, such as huge calculators and early washing machines. The museum also provides a free booklet with walking tour of the local historical buildings. Just be aware, opening hours can be sporadic.

Peruse the Old Town Shops

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Workshop meets art gallery at James Kanan Design (see Yelp Reviews). The father and son team can tell you about their inspiration for their beautiful, unique jewelry and sculpture and can even show you their pieces in progress in their workshop.

Stop by Mrs. B’s (see Yelp Reviews)  to see if you can find any vintage treasures. Interestingly, Mrs. B’s is not just a consignment store, it’s also a post office!

True to its name, Johnny Jeans (see Yelp Reviews) has a great selection of high-quality jeans along with a nice selection of designer clothes.

The Elegant Hive (see Yelp Reviews) is overflowing with great gifts for the ladies on your list. There is even a small section for children’s gifts. There is also a popular florist on site.

Snack Time at Cream Pan

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The long lines move quickly at Cream Pan, and even if they didn’t it would still be worth it for a taste of their famous strawberry croissants. Flaky, buttery, creamy and sweet, these are their signature pastry, but they have a wide selection of bread and pastries and also serve lunch items such as katsu and curry.

Channel your inner artist at Brushstrokes

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Plan ahead to attend an open painting session at Brushstrokes (reservations required). They have friendly artists on-hand to help you create your best work. Or get a group together, bring food and drinks, and have a private session where they will guide you step-by-step through an art project.

If you all of that creativity made you hungry, popular Rutabegorz (See Yelp Reviews) is right next door.


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