This dynamic Orange County hub is home to Disneyland Resort, the Los Angeles Angels baseball team, and the Anaheim Ducks hockey team—plus a whole lot more that may surprise you. If you haven’t taken the time to explore Anaheim, you have multiple fun discoveries ahead.
Eat at the Packing District
Eating doesn’t get much cooler than this. Just a few miles from Disneyland, three historic landmarks—a 1919 Sunkist orange packing house, a 1925 Packard car dealership, and a 1917 orange marmalade factory—got new leases on life in 2013 as the Anaheim Packing District. The airy renovated warehouse spaces now house Anaheim Brewery, Umami Burger, Unsung Brewing Company, Pali Wine Company, plus the Packing House Food Hall—more than 30 food stalls and restaurants selling everything you could ever want to eat. There’s grilled cheese, ramen, Cajun seafood, soul food, organic curry, dim sum, Japanese crepes, gelato on a stick, and plenty more. The warehouse décor is as hip as the food. Air plants suspended on dangling ropes drape from the open-beamed ceiling, and BXCR Wine Bar is built into a converted 1920s railroad boxcar.
Explore Little Saigon
Hundreds of bustling Vietnamese-owned businesses and restaurants pack a three-square-mile area of Westminster and Garden Grove, home to almost 200,000 Vietnamese Americans and one of the largest Vietnamese communities outside of Vietnam. Get a taste of this fascinating area by browsing the Asian Garden Mall (aka Phuoc Loc Tho), a colorful two-story indoor shopping center filled with baked goods, jewelry, clothes, cosmetics, home goods, and ephemera. Be sure to eat at Little Saigon’s tantalizing restaurants: Sip perfect pho at Pho 79 or Pho Nguyen Hue, or tuck into banh beo (steamed rice cakes with shrimp) or bun bo hue (beef soup) at zen-like Quán Hy.
Simulate Soaring in the Sky
Tired of ho-hum get-togethers? This Friday night, take your friends to the Flightdeck Flight Simulation Center to experience the thrill of competing in air-to-air combat while flying at 600 knots. The action happens in simulators, not actual airplanes, but the sensation is astoundingly real. You’ll dress up in a genuine military-issue flight suit, attend ground school, then hop into one of Flightdeck’s eight F-16 fighter jet simulators and show off your best Top Gun maneuvers. Your goal is to blow the other jets out of the sky—and not get hit. If you’re more of a cruiser than a speed demon, try your hand at the commercial airline simulator instead. You’ll take the controls of a commercial plane and “fly” it through the friendly skies.
Taste at Noble Ale Works
Close to Angel Stadium and the Honda Center, Noble Ale Works is a fun-loving hub for beer connoisseurs. Find your bliss with Nobility—a national-award-winning IPA—or an array of light pilsners, or maybe a Naughty Sauce coffee stout. An industrial warehouse setting and sleek stool-and-barrel seating speak to Noble’s beer-centric focus. For food, hit up the food trucks parked outside. Anaheim’s beer scene is hopping—other noteworthy stops include Backstreet Brewery, Karl Strauss, and Golden Road near Angel Stadium; Legends Brewery near Disneyland; Bottle Logic on La Palma; and the Packing District’s Anaheim Brewery and Unsung Brewing.
Play at The Ranch
Get out your shiniest silver belt buckle and pointy-toed boots and make an evening of it. Start with dinner at The Ranch, where grand cedar beams and flagstone floors set the stage for upscale cowboy cuisine: Kobe beef carpaccio, bone-in rib-eye, Castroville artichokes, and a wine cellar stocked with more than 10,000 bottles. Then sidle over to The Ranch Saloon to work off your dinner by two-stepping and line dancing. Don’t know how to do the quick-quick-slow? Free dance lessons are offered Wednesday to Sunday evenings, or you can watch from the sidelines at the 47-foot-long Longhorn Bar.