Villa Park is an affluent city in northern Orange County, California, near and surrounded by the city of Orange, and close to Anaheim Hills, that incorporated in 1962. As of the 2010 Census, the city had a population of 5,812, down from 5,999 at the 2000 census, making it the smallest city in Orange County by population (La Palma is Orange County's smallest city in area). The city is largely zoned for single-family residences on lots that average about , or 1/2 acre, in size. Within the city limits there is one small shopping center that includes a Ralph's "Fresh Fare" grocery store, three banks, a pharmacy with a postal substation, and a variety of stores and offices. City Hall, including a community room, and a branch of the Orange County Public Libraries system is adjacent to the city's only shopping center.
There are four public schools with the city: Serrano and Villa Park Elementary Schools, Cerro Villa Middle School, and Villa Park High School. All are operated by the Orange Unified School District (the city's largest employer).
There are no public parks within city limits; many homes have pools and/or tennis courts. Unlike more urban areas of Orange County west of the city, Villa Park has winding streets with few sidewalks and limited street lights. Throughout are trees and flower beds in planted medians and parkways. Surrounded by the city of Orange, Villa Park has the appearance of an enclave: the city's early unwillingness to annex lands beyond Santiago Creek and those east of a power line easement between the city and Anaheim Hills.
After the 1769 expedition of Gaspar de Portolà, a Spanish expedition led by Father Junipero Serra named the area Vallejo de Santa Ana (Valley of Saint Anne). On November 1, 1776, Mission San Juan Capistrano became the areas first permanent European settlement in Alta California, New Spain. In 1810, the Spanish Empire granted to Jose Antonio Yorba, which he named Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana. Yorba's rancho included the lands where the cities of Olive, Orange, Villa Park, Santa Ana, Tustin, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach stand today.
After the Mexican-American war in 1848, Alta California became part of the United States in 1850 and American settlers arrived in this area.
Villa Park was known as "Mountain View" in the 1860s. The U.S. Post Office refused to allow the local post office to be so named as there was already a post office with that name in Mountain View), so the post office and hence the area came to be called Villa Park. It was then an agricultural area producing, in turn, grapes, walnuts, and apricots. Finally, citrus became the major crop for about 60 years.
Ranchers established the Serrano Water District, which still provides Villa Park's water, and founded the Villa Park Orchards Association (still a business in Orange, although the packing house that was a local landmark was torn down in 1983).