Huntington Beach is a seaside city in Orange County in Southern California. The city is named after American businessman Henry E. Huntington. It is bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the southwest, by Seal Beach on the northwest, by Costa Mesa on the east, by Newport Beach on the southeast, by Westminster on the north, and by Fountain Valley on the northeast. Huntington Beach (AKA “H.B.”) is known for its long 9.5-mile stretch of sandy beach, mild climate, excellent surfing, and beach culture. The ocean waves are enhanced by a natural effect caused by the edge-diffraction of open ocean swells around the island of Catalina. Swells generated predominantly from the North Pacific in winter and from a combination of Southern Hemisphere storms and hurricanes in the summer focus on Huntington Beach creating consistent surf all year long, thus the nickname “Surf City, USA”.
Huntington Beach sits above a large natural fault structure containing oil. Although the oil is mostly depleted, extraction continues at a slow rate, and still provides significant local income. There are only two off-shore extraction facilities left, however, and the day is not far off when oil production in the city will cease and tourism will replace it as the primary revenue source for resident industry.
The downtown district includes an active art center, a colorful shopping district, and the International Surfing Museum. This district was also the home of the Golden Bear from 1929–1986. Originally a fine dining restaurant opened by Harry Bakre in 1929, the Golden Bear became a nightclub in 1963 and hosted famous-name entertainment until it was demolished in 1986. The list of artists who performed there includes BB King, Janis Joplin, Steve Martin, Charles Bukowski, The Ramones and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Huntington Beach has a very large Central Park, located between Gothard and Edwards Streets to the east and west, and Slater and Ellis Avenues to the north and south. The park is vegetated with xeric (low water use) plants, and inhabited by native wildlife. Thick forests encircling the park are supplemented with Australian trees, particularly Blue Gum Eucalyptus, a high water use plant.